Football: No surprise — it’s Goff

There was no surprise Thursday evening when coach Sonny Dykes announced that freshman Jared Goff will continue to be the Bears’ starting quarterback.

Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline shared reps all week after the Bears’ 55-16 loss at Oregon in a rainstorm, but Goff gets the call for the Washington State game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


Ex-Cal coach Jeff Tedford says no thanks to USC consultant offer


“He practiced well. Had a good body of work thus far, other than the beginning of the Oregon game. We felt he deserved it,” Dykes said. “Both practiced really well this week and I think we could have been comfortable with either one of them.”

Dykes has indicated at times all week he expected Goff to be the choice.

“I just wanted to see how he responded. I anticipated him responding the way he has, but you never know with an 18-year-old kid and how he’s going to handle when things don’t go his way,” Dykes said. “We’ve had some struggles, but for the most part he’d played pretty well.”

Dykes said there is a “possibility” both could see action Saturday, but could not lay out a scenario that would necessarily lead to that. “It’s always a feel thing.”

Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said Goff’s performance the first three games earned him the chance to start again, even after he was yanked from the game late in the first quarter at Oregon, with Cal trailing 27-0. Goff had two of the four fumbles the Bears lost on their first four possessions of the game, and Franklin shouldered some of the blame for that.

Calling it the “worst weather I’ve ever been in in my life,” Franklin said, “As a 56-year-old coach who’s been doing this forever, I didn’t prepare well enough. That’s really bad coaching on my part, to not be prepared for that and not have a solution.”

Junior running back Brendan Bigelow, who had knee surgery last spring, had his best week of practice, Dykes said.

“It’s all confidence with him. Every week he feels better,” said Dykes, adding that it would be up to Bigelow whether he wears a knee brace Saturday.

Franklin, who played running back in college, said, “You always hope that they go out and immediately it comes back. I know this for me, I played running back and when I was overcoming injuries, especially surgery, I was bad and it took me a long time to get this (mental) part right.”

Dykes, who took no questions on injuries Thursday, said freshman Jeffrey Coprich will be the No. 3 running back. That suggests that freshman Khalfani Muhammad, who suffered a head injury at Oregon, likely won’t play.

Jeff Faraudo

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    I just want to say that I haven’t been happy with the football program since our first game against Northwestern (when we were winning, before those pick sixes).

    I hope the coaches know what they’re doing. I could use some elation right now.

  • rotfogel

    The more Dykes I read, the less I like him too. Would really like to see better personnel moves by him. Having Bigelow continue to be the starter despite being vastly outplayed by Lasco is a massive head scratcher.

    I also think he’s fallin’ in love with Goff despite the fact I think Kline gives the Bears a better chance of winning.

    Is this going to be a one and done year for Dykes?

  • Eric

    Some statistical analysis:

    Bigelow has carried the ball 62 times, averaging 3.8 yards a carry. That isn’t great. But he has also caught the ball 9 times for an 8.2 yards per catch, which is pretty good for a RB.

    Lasco has carried 34 times, averaging 4.5 yards. Definitely better than Bigelow, though I wouldn’t say “vastly outplayed.” He has caught the ball 8 times, averaging 6.9 yards per reception. If Lasco has vastly outrun Bigelow, Bigelow is a vastly better receiver, and two match one another.

    Of course, Khalfani would be better than both. He has run 22 times, averaging 4.5 yards per carry (equal to Lasco, better than Bigelow). He has caught the ball 6 times, averaging 19.5 yards per catch (way better than the other two).

    All three are playing a lot, so these are not garbage time statistics for any of them. If there is a head scratcher, it is not playing Khalfani more (putting aside the head hit he suffered last game).

    Or maybe that is Dykes’ offense – playing multiple RBs. Bigelow is the starter, but a starter in this offense doesn’t mean that much.

    As for the QB choice, hard to criticize Dykes for playing Goff, considering his completion percentage (including Oregon) is 60.9%, he has thrown 7 TDs versus 4 INTs (though there is no doubt 2 were not his fault) and, until the Oregon game, led the nation in yards. Hard to say what to think of Kline’s performance – 48.6% completion percentage and a 4.46 yard per completion are terrible and far below Goff’s, but Kline was playing in a monsoon and playing catch up. That being said, if one were to just look at statistics, it isn’t close. Up until the Oregon game, everyone on this board (including Juancho) acknowledged that playing Goff had paid off. In the Oregon game, when Goff certainly seemed lost, Dykes yanked him after one quarter, which suggests he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger if a QB is playing poorly.

    I do find it interesting that a number of Cal fans have broad very serious and long-reaching conclusions about the coaching staff on the basis of four games, three of which are ranked teams, two of which are in the top four. I said before we played Ohio State you had to just ignore the results of Ohio State and Oregon. Even if every break went our way, we were still likely to lose, and every break definitely did not go our way. I think the NW is a much more telling game – we had two unlucky pick-sixes; but for those, we likely win.

    If we do poorly against Washington State, let the dogs of war howl. I’ve put a C-note on Cal to win straight up. Got +1 at Green Valley Ranch sports book.

  • rotfogel

    Hey Eric,
    I see you’re citing stats. In the case of Lasco v Bigalow, I’m not sure stats are the best tool for comparison, the eyeball test does much better. Lasco is bigger and doesn’t go down after someone touches him. He also appears to play with much more energy. And actually, 3.8 vs 4.5 is fairly significant, especially in the long run.
    On the Kline argument, I may be a bit opinionated. Here’s what I see, if there is any water on the ball, Goff has zero chance of actually holding onto the ball. I don’t know about you, but that freaks me out. You actually cited Kline’s stats in his first start at Oregon in the pouring rain? Regardless, his release and arm strength are both superior to Goff, that much is evident. Perhaps Goff is a bit more cool a customer, but I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Kline get reps in every game. I guess what I’m saying is I’d like to see a split QB system as both QBs appear to have their own unique talents. It would really be a shame for Kline to leave because I would bet 99% of college football would love to have him on their team.

  • Re:Goff – Kline. Goff certainly rum the offense efficiently. Don’t quite have enough data points on Kline to say the same. Accuracy and touch still an open question in my mind for Kline. Issue I am focused more on is whether Goff can run the offense effectively from an overall perspective. I have a nagging feeling that Goff does not project the run uncertainty factor that this offense really needs to take off. While Goff is not a bad scrambler when he has to, he does not seem comfortable jumping on the opportunity when it presents itself. If the D perspective is stop the pass by coverage and QB pressure, and account for the backs to focus on the run option, then the quarterback becomes only a component of the passing game and not one in the running game. Frankly, that is what I see now with Goff. Kline’s reputation is one of looking for the run opportunity when it presents. What I will be looking for tomorrow is whether Goff shows that element or whether, as has been the case, he runs the offense in terms of distributing the ball to runners and making accurate passes to receivers. I want to see the third element of the quarterback- improvising to take advantage of a situation to throw three-dementional fear into the defense. For that reason, I believe it would be worth the experiment to give Kline some extended minutes to see whether he can bring that factor to play without losing Goff’s demonstrated ability to run the offense efficiently. Efficient play is a basic prerequisite; effective play is the objective because that is what wins in the P12 now.

  • CalBearister

    What I find amazing is that anyone wants to be a college football coach these days (although the pay is nice). I mean, if I had a bunch of people who don’t have an expertise in my job blogging about what a crappy job I’m doing based not on results but on rank speculation, I’d find another profession. Tedford earned his firing based on performance – what has Dykes done to earn all this scorn? We’re 1-3. Guess what our record should be right now based on expectations? What’s that? 1-3. So at worst you can say he’s meeting expectations.

    @rotfogel: On what basis do you make the claim that “Kline gives the Bears a better chance of winning”? They’re both great kids and good quarterbacks – where do you see evidence that Goff is the reason we’re 1-3? He’s throwing at a good accuracy rate for a true freshman, is throwing for a ton of yards, and has only two picks that are truly on him (the other two being because our receivers aren’t catching balls that hit them in the hands). So other than the fact that you have been “fallin’ in love” with Kline, what’s the basis for your argument? And if Kline chooses to transfer (which I hope he won’t do), why is that catastrophic for the team? If Coach Dykes promoted Kline and demoted Goff, would you not fear that Goff might transfer? Would not the same 99% of college football like to have Goff on their team? And with talent coming in behind them (like Rebenzer), is that really the end of the world?

    As for Bigelow vs. Lasco, I like what I’ve seen on the field from Lasco in terms of power running. That said, being the starter at tailback is really kind of meaningless. They could both get 20 carries. It’s not like QB where subbing is uncommon. And Bigelow’s speed is the x-factor. So if Coach Dykes says he’s had a great week of practice, that he’s moving faster without the brace, and playing with more confidence, then so be it. I’m certain if he fails to move the ball in the first quarter we’ll see more of Lasco.

    As for this being a “one and done year” for Coach Dykes, if it is, we all deserve to have a losing football program for the rest of our lives. Should Stanfurd have fired Jim Harbaugh for going 1-3 in their first four games, with those three losses coming at home to ranked teams at a combined score of 141-51 (in other words, outscored by an average of 30 points)? Oh what’s that? The following week that pathetic team beat #2 $UC on the road? But then lost 5 of 6 games before beating us to finish 4-8 on the year? Was Harbaugh a one and done? No.

    Give Coach Dykes the time and the support to get his job done, and stop being such a bunch of primadonnaish fair weather fans who act as though Cal Football has an entitlement to be 12-0 every year. It’s pathetic.

  • wehofx

    Again, I fall into the above “Chill” and give SD – and buh – a chance to succeed camp.

    It used to be an HC was given 4 years – a complete recruiting cycle – to implement his system. Now, it appears to be 2 or 3 years. Where this 4 game sh*t comes from, I cannot fathom.

    If you have kids, deal w kids or can remember what it was like to be a kid, one of the first BIG life lessons is that instant gratification is fool’s gold for #########. Success is all about the long game.

    Now, if after 3/4 years, our Bears do not show marked improvement then, it’ll be time for SD to go.

    Bigs vs Lasco: It appears as IF Bigs is back from injury/surgery. If true, then he should be the starter. My only concern w Bigs is his tendency to fumble. (Quick google search couldn’t find the stats.) But this year and last, I know he had an inordinately high fumble to carry ratio. Limited sample size so I say give him the benefit of the doubt, for now.

    If he – or any of the rb’s – does fumble against wsu, I hope SD and Co go Old School and sits his ass down for at least a quarter.

    As has been mentioned, for me, the most troubling stat on O – despite the gaudy O numbers – is the lack of production in the red zone. O Line, Running game, Play Calling and Goff all share responsibility. In their defense, Red Zone efficiency is always the last piece on O to fall into place.

    I’m taking Cal +1.5 and the over.

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    So is Kline a legit QB or a motivational tool? I think it’s unfair to Kline to say that we opened up QB competition, but all along Dykes wanted to whip Goff into shape.

  • rollonubears

    i think he opened it up again because goff flopped so badly, he probably thought he might never recover, like the pitcher who throws 5 wild pitches in a row and never throws again in his life. if that were to happen, kline would need to be ready. goff apparently bounced back. i’m eager to see how he does. he’s a freshman, for heaven’s sake. i thought kline did well, and would love to see him play, too, but given the choice right now, i’ll take goff.

  • 707 Bear

    Eric you are wise: Let’s see how we do against the Cougs.

    If Cal loses–even a close game–I’m afraid the season may be lost.

    No excuses tomorrow: perfect weather, a familiar offense, hardened by tough opponents.

    Let slip the dogs of war!

    Go Bears!

  • Eric


    yes, I am citing statistics. That is why I started it off with a statistical analysis.

    On the RBs, you say the difference between 3.8 and 4.5 yards per run is big. I don’t dispute that, but then I point out the difference in yards per catch (and Bigs is better, statistically speaking), and then point out Khalfani, so if we go down this route, you must concede Khalfani should start and get a majority of the touches. Add in the fact that he is our kickoff guy, and he is probably leading the team in total yards.

    But, like you, I agree there is an intangible aspect to RBs. Maybe Lasco is the right guy. I’m not sure yet – I haven’t focused on his blocking ability or his ability to run pass plays out of the backfield, which is key in an offense like this. I’m just providing more information – information that itself isn’t in dispute – so that when people offer their opinions, they do so on an informed basis (which, for some, is labeled “excuses”).

    Same goes the QBs. Yes, I was citing Kline’s statistics in the monsoon (which also qualifies as an “excuse” in the books of a few who post here). I am sure you recognized my caveat when I wrote: “Hard to say what to think of Kline’s performance – 48.6% completion percentage and a 4.46 yard per completion are terrible and far below Goff’s, but Kline was playing in a monsoon and playing catch up. That being said, if one were to just look at statistics, it isn’t close.” So it is HARD TO SAY what to think of Kline, based on the sole statistical evidence that resulted from PLAYING IN A MONSOON. But, on statistical evidence, Goff is doing just fine – indeed, pretty damn good. I don’t want Kline to transfer, and I absolutely think he should get meaningful reps this season (even in games where it remains close, because I think change of pace can be a good thing), but sitting here today Goff hasn’t lost the job. He may at some point tomorrow, or some game down the road, but not yet.

  • rotfogel

    YPC can be a bit misleading, again I’ll reiterate that the eyeball test is the best gauge at this point. In terms of yards per catch, that depends on a lot of factors (blocking, where the ball is caught, screen, etc).

    I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a bit more of Kline regardless of health or rain, or at least we should see more of him. Too talented to sit on the bench. And I’m not saying I don’t like Goff, I really think he has a bright future as well, I just really like what I’ve seen out of Kline. A two QB system can work, especially in college. In this instance, I think it’s a primary example of when to use a two qb system.

  • Juancho

    I think goff is the right choice. But i am impressed with how theyre giving kline a shot and keeping him motivated.

    To cite some more stats. Goff 7 tds, 8 turnovers (int + fumbles).

  • Charlie

    I haven’t read all the entries…but it’s funny how some folks aren’t impressed with Goff in spite of the kid throwing over 1100 yards in his first 3 games.

    As poorly as he played against the Ducks, one can’t ignore how he played against Northwestern and Ohio St.