Football: Zach Kline gets our attention

I got my first impressions Monday of redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Kline, other than watching him deliver a few laser-beam passes in last year’s spring game.

Because Kline essentially was off-limits to reporters last season as a freshman, Monday’s informal post-practice interview session was the first chance most of us had to talk with the young man from San Ramon Valley High.

And he got our attention.

Asked a routine question about the pace of Cal’s new no-huddle, spread offense, Kline said he loves it.

Then he added:

“Really demands the best … which is what this program needs. We’re kind of in a lull, but we’re going to get right out of it, that’s for sure.

“We’re obviously expecting a national championship. I know the fans want Rose Bowl, but this teams wants national championship. We’re not going to settle until we get that.”


Let’s see, Cal hasn’t played in a Rose Bowl since probably before Kline’s parents were born, but the Bears will zoom past that directly to the national championship game. That’s right, the team that was 3-9 and ended last season by allowing 62 points to Oregon State.

Look, I’m not making fun of Kline here. He’s a kid, and kids say outrageous stuff. None of us who have lived a little really believe the Bears can win the national championship next season, right?

But sometime after that . . . well, I’m willing to let Kline and his teammates dream. That’s what they should do, what they have to do.

He understands there is a lot of work to be done, that achieving big things isn’t simply a matter of wishing for them.

Kline certainly isn’t assuming he will be the No. 1 quarterback. He said all the right things on that count.

Asked what he expects from the quarterback battle that also involves senior Allan Bridgford, junior Austin Hinder, sophomore Kyle Boehm and true freshman Jared Goff, Kline showed appropriate deference.

“All I know is all these guys are studs. Hinder over there, he’s a stud. I have no idea,” he said. “I’m just trying to compete, do my best and, you know what, if it’s God’s plan, then I’ll be on the field. If it’s not, then I’m going to cheer on my teammates. Just going to try my hardest out here.”

Asked what it will take to emerge as the No. 1, Kline said, “Put the ball in the end zone and don’t turn it over. Complete the ball and just do your job.

“It sounds easy, but obviously with studs on the other side of the ball it gets to be complicated sometimes. I was pleased with all the QBs today. It was awesome to see Hinder throwing freaking dimes down there … Bridg and all the guys.”

Hinder and Bridgford also were upbeat and enthusiastic after the first workout of the spring. But neither of them referenced winning a national title.

Still, the Wright Bros. never would have gotten off the ground at Kittyhawk if they didn’t cling to a dream everyone else probably thought was a little nuts.

Maybe this was Kline’s sly way of trying to display some of that leadership and ability to inspire those around him that Sonny Dykes and his staff are looking for in their quarterback. Show ’em he’s not just a big arm, but a big-picture┬á thinker.

Or maybe he just made the kind of outrageous, wonderful, crazy remark that anyone in his position at his age might make.

I have no problem with that.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Gobears49


    I’m waiting for some comment from you about your favorite player!

    I’m interested in the competition for QB, as I want to form my own opinion regarding it, and so will try to attend a practice or two. Should be interesting to watch and then later see who ultimately starts. Sort of like the watching films nominated for best film and then see who wins the Oscar.

  • Eric

    Like the moxie. Not sure God has anything to do with scoring TDs, but I like the fact that the kid wants it all now.

  • ConcordBear

    Sounds like Kline was having fun, being himself and dreaming big.
    I love it.
    All our QB’s need to have each others backs and have personality to lead the team and earn respect. Looks like Kline set that tone on day 1, good for him.

    Love to hear this stuff from a young talented QB

  • rollonubears

    I’m expecting to win a national championship next season, and will continue to think we have a shot at it until we have two losses, because based on our schedule, we do.

  • daredevilfan

    A big part of winning is expecting to win. I like a young team that knows it needs to change its mindset. Let’s reach for the stars. Just like Steve Williams, who just ran a 4.25 in the 40 at the Combine. Time to buy his stock….

  • Juancho

    Klines going to be the starter.

    Eric – kline is from a conservative christian family so get used to the God references.

  • 1brsfan

    I agree with Daredevil- it’s a mindset and if the young guys set their sights on the NC then anything less will be seen as having to work harder to attain it. Go Bears!

  • BlakeStreetBear


  • Raf

    KA said the same thing at the beginning of last season. Don’t remember seeing an entire article devoted to it.

    Was the SW time official?

  • bluehenbear

    In 1991, someone asked Mike Pawlawski for his expectations for the season. He replied: “If we win every game we’ll be national champions.” He didn’t quite get there, but that was a fun season.

  • Gobears49

    I expect Cal to win a national championship THIS SEASON — in men’s golf.

  • Kotempman

    Great to hear that from Kline; seems the team spirit is spreading and rightfully so….it has always started with the Quarterback and trickles down to others that bring National Championships through the leadership of the quarterback…whether Kline or Hinder or whoever, let’s go Bears!!!!!! Damn…wish it were August 31st!!!!!!!! I’m driving my wife nuts with anticipation!!!!

  • H8sRed

    There was a story out of last year’s spring practice that Kline came to the team as a humble, hard-working team player, and he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates as a result. With all the accolades he had received coming out of high school, I think this demonstrates great maturity. In addition to his raw talent, I’m sure it was a factor in Tedford deciding that he would travel with the team in 2012 and dress for every game, even though it was clear he would redshirt.

  • 66Bear

    Dear H8sRed:

    I’m pretty sure that Tedford didn’t make any rational QB decisions for the last two years (at least), including whatever nonsense that he chose to do with Kline (and the other QBs who sat the bench with him without a chance to compete for the starting job). In any event, it is wonderful to hear that there’s excitement and exuberance in the Bears’ practice again–and I thank you, Jeff, for your encouraging report (and Coach Dykes for letting the fans and reporters watch practice, where they belong). I envy all the Cal students who have been able to watch the start of new football era at Cal under Coach Dykes. Go Bears! ­čÖé

  • rotfogel

    From ESPN:
    Rob Peterson @ShotDrJrUh, 4.25? Yikes… Steve Williams of Cal.

    9:30 AMRob Peterson @ShotDrJrSteve Williams from Cal about one-tenth slower than his first 4.25* Still, he gets to where he wants to go fast than nearly all of us.

  • Hungry

    I remember watching an interview of Aaron Rodgers the beginning of his 2nd season at Cal and he said the same thing. The reporter asked whether he’s aiming at the Rose Bowl and he said, “Rose Bowl? I’m thinking of National Championship.” I have no problem with that. GO BEARS!

  • Boaltblue

    I have become a Jim Harbaugh fan now that he is the 49ers coach. While at Stanford, Harbaugh expected his coaches to believe that they would win a national championship or they were told to seek employment elsewhere. While Jim Harbaugh did not win a national championship or a Super Bowl, I am convinced that his winning attitude certainly helped his college and 49er teams attain higher goals and achievements than non-believers.

    In the same way, I welcome Zach Kline’s winning attitude. Believing that you will win is a large part of winning in life. Swagger is good.

  • Manus

    Remember, Aaron Rodgers always dreamed big, too.

  • Juancho

    National champ

    Kline you are the warmth in our sky.

  • Larry

    National Championship or Rose Bowl, I’ll take it!

  • Daniel

    I’d take being in the discussion for an NC because it means a Rose Bowl is within range. If it is God’s will nobody can argue.

    Maybe we can open a better pipeline to Servite, Bosco, Mater Dei, and De La Salle with the big guy’s help too.

  • Tom S MV

    Got to be Kline. Go with it, run with it, make it happen.

  • daredevilfan

    I’m gonna have my WWZD wristbands made up to sell next time I am up on campus.

  • Juancho

    Hahaha nice one daredev.