Quarterback Jared Goff picked up 5 more passing yards on Thursday — five days after the Bears’ season-opening game against Northwestern.
The official stats were changed, with a 5-yard Brendan Bigelow run on a lateral becoming a 5-yard pass reception. Thus, Goff was 39 for 64 for 450 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The yards, by the way, are the most ever by a Pac-12 “true” freshman.
Three other freshmen passed for more yards in a game, but all three were redshirt freshmen:
– Connor Halliday, WSU, 494 yards in 2011
– Jonathan Smith, PSU, 469 yards in 1998
– Rudy Carpenter, ASU, 468 yards in 2005.
Goff may or may not ever pass for as many yards again, but Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin was clear about one thing: He’d prefer not to have to put the ball in the air 64 times.
“I don’t care if he throws for that many yards. I wish it were on about 20 attempts,” Franklin said. “Sometimes you’re efficient and you have 300 yards. Sometimes you’re not efficient and you have 600 yards.
“We need to be efficient when we have the ball and not make the mental errors we made in that last game.”
The inefficiencies included penalties and three interceptions, two of them on tipped balls.
“Two of them, theoretically, are not his issue. The last one was a bad decision,” Franklin said. “It’s a learning experience, everyone goes through it. We just don’t need to lose going through it.”
Those are experience issues, Franklin said, and Goff simply needs to play to overcome those things. There was lots he liked.
“The biggest thing I was pleased with was his poise. He never got rattled,” Franklin said. “It was good for me to be on the sideline to watch his body language and mannerisms, especially when all the bad stuff happened. There was a lot of bad stuff.
“To see that gave me confidence that he’s got a chance to be a really good football player.”
Franklin said he will remain on the sideline Saturday against Portland State, to serve as “a security blanket.”
“They haven’t quite figured out yet how to play,” said Franklin, who expects soon to return to his booth in the press box. “I’m looking forward to the day when it’s rainy and cold or hot and muggy that I’m up there eating a hot dog and a Coke.”
The biggest thing Goff and the passing attack need on Saturday is an improved run game. The Bears picked up 55 rushing yards on their first three carries against Northwestern, then netted 33 yards on the ground the rest of the night.
“It’s very seldom that you can have a real good offense where you have to throw that many times,” Franklin said. “I don’t mind doing it to win, but that’s not what we want. We definitely need to run the football better. If we don’t, we’ll struggle.”