Nothing is settled, but for perhaps the first time on Monday coach Sonny Dykes suggested a leader in the quarterback battle.
“Looks a little bit like Zach Kline is starting to get a little bit more settled in,” Dykes said of the redshirt freshman from San Ramon Valley High. “I’ve seen him kind of make a move here over the last two practices.”
Kline, freshman Jared Goff and junior Austin Hinder have battled throughout the spring and shared reps. Cal has two more practices — Wednesday and Friday — before closing down for the off-season with its spring game Saturday at Memorial Stadium, beginning at 4 p.m.
Asked if he has any clarity on the quarterback picture, Dykes initially said, “I’m liking what I’m seeing from all of them.”
Then he singled out Kline.
“His reads are happening a little faster, seems like he’s a little more accurate on his mid-range throws than he was,” Dykes said. “I saw some of that in the scrimmage Saturday and it carried over to practice today.
“I think he’s improved and getting better and better. It’s good to see that.”
Kline said he hasn’t been given any indication by the coaching staff that he has perhaps moved to the head of the class.
“Can’t really pay attention to anything, unless it’s constructive criticism,” he said. “Just got to keep doing what you’re doing, day in and day out.”
But Kline did say he is seeing the game better now.
“Oh yeah, totally. I’m feeling like this is my offense now. I’m feeling like this is my team now,” he said. “I’m comfortable in it. Coming off being a red-shirt freshman last year and being new to everything, you just feel like you’re part of the team.
“Now I feel like this is my team, this is family.”
Kline said he wasn’t satisfied with his scrimmage performance on Saturday, but is excited about the spring game.
“A lot of growing to do. Right now I’m just trying to get better each day. Last scrimmage, I tried to make the most of it — be consistent with the ball, just put the ball in the end zone,” he said.
“I wish I did better. I’ve always got to be the toughest critic — that’s how you become a great quarterback.”
Dykes said all three quarterbacks are beginning to understand how to use their velocity appropriately.
As he’s done throughout spring ball, Kline said the competition is fierce, and he doesn’t expected to be settled until fall camp.
“Everyone’s making their reads, everyone’s doing well. There’s no weak links in this competition,” he said. “This is going to definitely be a battle, right up to the first week (of the season). This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
“But you do want to have a good start.”