Football: Dykes’ decision to make no change at quarterback is bolder than you think

First-year coach Sonny Dykes, who has reshuffled the hand dealt him regularly this fall in hopes of reversing the Golden Bears’ fortunes, made perhaps his boldest move yet Friday.

He changed nothing at the most important position on his team.

After nearly a week of speculation, Dykes announced that freshman Jared Goff has retained his starting quarterback job entering Saturday night’s game at Washington.

Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline shared first-team reps in practice and the stage seemed set for Kline to get his first chance to take the reins as the starter.

The Bears are 1-6, winless in Pac-12 Conference play and there was a bit of a “why not?” feel to the prospect of a change at quarterback.

It would have been the easy call, perhaps the popular one among Old Blues dying to see some tangible results from a season whose initial promise largely has drained away.

There are few sports bar arguments about making a switch at offensive guard. But everyone’s an expert at picking a quarterback, and Dykes¬†will get a push back from fans over this call if it doesn’t work out.

He didn’t bite.

Goff has been spectacular at times in the Bear Raid offense, three times eclipsing 450 passing yards in a game, including a school-record 504 yards in just his fifth start.

But the Marin native has had a rougher time recently. Turnovers are coming more regularly and the Bears generated just one touchdown with Goff on the field the past two weeks.

By Dykes’ own assessment, Goff’s confidence has been shaken a bit.

Kline, the Danville native who lost a fall camp battle with Goff for the starting assignment, has thrown three touchdowns in two competent relief appearances, including a pair in last week’s 49-17 loss to Oregon State.

Clearly there is some risk in not providing Kline an opportunity when the team is mired in a five-game losing streak and the coaching staff has tweaked the lineup at virtually every other position.

Kline and those in his corner could be wondering if this isn’t the time, then when? Kline might view the decision as a signal he should consider transferring.

Dykes doesn’t want that, but he and his staff are smart enough to have considered all these variables and more.

Quite likely it came down to this: They believe Goff still gives them the best chance to win right now.

Even if not everyone agrees.

Jeff Faraudo

  • covinared

    Juancho, your thoughts?

  • Juancho

    Hope goff has a great game. Im glad they stuck with him. Kline only should have started had he been given all the reps this week.

    Now i hope he doesnt sub in kline if goff struggles.

  • Juancho

    So does tedford get a statue for the boldest move in history by sticking with maynard ?

  • Juancho

    Brother covinius. First and foremost you are my brother.

    As a fan im okay with it. It doesnt make me feel better or worse about our chances this year. Did i want kline to start. Sure. I probably have a liking for kline. Nothing over the top. But im probably a fan.

    As a coach of 8th grade baseball i have a different opinion. And i do agree, being cals coach is nowhere near as challenging as 8th grade baseball. You know how they get when a girl shows up to practice?

    As a coach i feel had they put goff on a week ling break to rest his mind and see kline lead it would be a win win. But to have a week long competition for the second time this year and stick with goff, in my opinion is the easy way out. Its a way to say sorry guys not my fault, kline didnt do enough again.

    And that puts too much public blame or pressure on both goff and kline. Sure theure adults and can handle it. But bc its the second time this year. Its a hand as a coach i would not have played.

    You get paid the big bucks or in my case zero bucks to take that pressure and blame off your guys.

    Lets say goff fumbles in the first half. Wouldnt a valid excuse be he had to split practice with kline? Lets say kline throws a pick, same excuse is even more valid.

    This week long competition is not the right aplroach in my opinion hfcway into the year. And it does too much to make it goff vs kline even now for us fans.

    Riddle me this. If goff struggles hiw fast are we goint to post the i told you sos saturday. And thats not fair to goff either.

  • rotfogel

    If I can say one thing positive, Goff reminds me of Sean Mannion in his first year.

    Sean Mannion, in my opinion, is going to be good in the NFL. I hope that Goff has a similar trajectory.

    That said, I am disappointed in the decision. I want to see how Kline performs given the chance to start.

  • Rollonubears

    The practices are open. Does the media even attend anymore? Did Kline flop?

  • NapaBear

    My impression from following the published accounts of spring and fall camps is that Goff was a more consistent thrower at both venues. My guess is that he still probably is and that if the main reason they are sticking with him.

    Interestingly, if you look at Dykes history with quarterbacks, the initial starter has been supplanted by the number two more often than not.

  • Heteroscedastic bear

    Goff gives us the best chance to win? Give me a break. 3 points and 3 turn overs in the last game. Game is going to r from 8-12 midnight in Seattle. Can someone say moisture?

    I wish Dykes were honest and say that he doesn’t care about winning. He just wants someone who will stay in his system. Dykes is the new Tedford. Kline is now stuck behind Goff, the new Maynard.

    I love Cal. I love Kline’s love for Cal. I feel sorry for him he’s committed to our university but plays for a coach that clearly has some bias against him. I hope he transfers. Kline is a good young man. He deserves a shot and it seems like Dykes isn’t giving it to him.

    Fire Dykes! If Goff fumbles 3 times I hope he sticks by his QB like a man and go down with the ship.

    Man, I hate how the program is going.

  • What? Dykes hasn’t been fired yet?

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    The Cal Football program is on life support, and Sonny Dykes has officially pulled the plug by choosing Goff. I am doubtful that the administration and the staff care about the program. I really feel sorry for the players. They deserve better than this. If Goff fumbles again and Kline comes in for relief, I hope someone pulls the plug on Dykes.


    With the OL moves, Dykes is clearly playing for next year. He believes Goff is his best option next year. The consequences of the decision will praise or plague Dykes more than us.

  • CalBearister

    HeteroscedasticBear should rename himself HysterionicsBear.

  • stay golden

    7 games people. Our o-line sucks, our running game sucks, our schedule sucks and all the injuries suck. But noooo, it’s the true freshman quarterbacks fault.
    Cal fans have become some of the biggest whiners around (#8, cry me a river).

  • rob Bear

    We can put a hybrid of Joe Montana, Bradshaw and Aikman back there and we would still be in about the same predicament as we currently are now. It’s not the QB who cannot sustain blocks, shed blocks and defend receivers in open space. Dykes is our coach. Let him coach and we should be okay in about a year or two

  • rotfogel

    I think the majority of Cal fans can agree that Kline should be given a fair shot to see how he performs. In both his relief efforts he was FAR superior to Goff during those games.

    What Dykes is doing is not fair to Kline. I too hope he transfers. Dykes is having a really difficult time with seemingly easy decisions. Not sure how much longer I want to have Dykes around.

  • covinared

    From now on coaching decisions should be made by Rotfogel and those that agree with him, not by the professionals who work with the players on a daily basis.

  • If you are Kline and you believe you are the best you sit tight and wait for Goff to sink. If he doesn’t, are you the best?

  • Anybody else having trouble watching Cal play? I used to be pissed when Cal games weren’t televised. Now I’m pissed when they are televised. It’s agonizing to watch Cal get destroyed. These days, you’ve got to have a touch of masochism in you to watch the Bears play. Not sure I can stomach the upcoming massacre in Seattle.

  • stay golden

    # 15. “What Dykes is doing is not fair to Kline”

    Comments like this just make me cringe.

  • Kotempman

    I’m completely drained by this season….never saw this coming….just turned the game off in Washington….would rather argue with wife….