Here’s a new flash: No decision on Cal’s starting quarterback was made at Monday’s first practice of fall camp.
“These guys made a couple hundred throws apiece,” coach Sonny Dykes said afterward. “We’ll go in and evaluate all those and try to start ranking guys. I don’t know how quickly we’ll be able to do that, but that’s our goal.”
Zach Kline, Jared Goff and Austin Hinder made all those throws, each of them trying to find a rhythm at the first full team practice since spring ball ended. And each trying to show the one trait they’re convinced can earn them the job.
“It’s a long fall camp,” Hinder said. “Whoever’s going to be the most consistent quarterback is going to get the spot.”
“It’s mostly about consistency,” Goff echoed. “Completing passes is how you’re going to win the job. Not take sacks, don’t throw picks, complete passes.”
Kline said his goal for the next four weeks is to play error-free football.
“Today I took too many sacks,” he said. “I’m going for no turnovers this camp — that’s my goal — and keep the sacks to a minimum.”
Hinder, a junior from Steamboat Springs, spent his summer working on his footwork, at the urging of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Perceived as the “runner” of the three, Hinder is determined to show he’s a capable passer.
“This fall camp I’m going to try to stay in the pocket and show that passing is what I’m about,” he said. “And if I have to, I’ll take off. In the spring game I got a little happy feet and took off when I shouldn’t have and got in a little bit of trouble for that.”
Goff, the true freshman from Marin County, has worked hard since spring ball to build himself up, and now feels more comfortable carrying 195 pounds — 15 more than he played with last fall in high school.
“It’s made me a little stronger, a little bit faster and given me a little more zip (throwing the ball). It feels a lot better,” Goff said. “Makes my mom a lot happier — she can sleep a lot easier. She’s not worried about anything except me getting hurt.”
Kline, a redshirt freshman from Danville, seems eager to continue the process of digesting and perfecting the new Bear Raid spread option offense.
“Spring was the kind of the birth of the new stuff and now it’s just refining and keep it going,” he said. “I’m almost there, but I have a lot of work to do.”
No doubt, they all do.