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Football: Bears’ No. 1 priority — red-zone efficiency

The No. 1 priority of the Cal offense this season is to transform opportunity into points.

The Golden Bears piled up gaudy yardage totals during their 1-11 season in 2013, but it didn’t translate into touchdowns.

More often than not, the red-zone became a dead zone for the Bears.

“It’s definitely frustrating, getting down there so many times and not being able to punch it in,” Goff said Wednesday during Pac-12 media day at Paramount Studios. “Getting that ball from the 20 to the goal line is the whole game, really.”

Cal moved the football inside the opponent’s 20-yard line 43 times last season, but came away with just 21 touchdowns. That ranked the Bears last in the Pac-12 in red-zone efficiency.

Goff passed for a single-season school record of 504 yards against Washington State. Often his yardage totals were hollow footnotes after defeats.

“We know we need to score more points,” he said.

Coach Sonny Dykes, whose offense featured as many as five freshmen at times last season, said the team’s inexperience was highlighted in the pressure situtations.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way things go when you’re taking over a program,” Dykes said. “The red-zone is always the last area that gets cleaned up.

“The field is condensed. Decisions have to be made faster, routes have to be more precise, blocks have to be held a little bit longer. It comes down to execution.”

Cal scored at least 30 points in each of its first three games last season, then never reached that plateau again.

Asked what areas of his game he worked on during the offseason, Goff said, “Everything. Accuracy is a big thing for a quarterback. Producing in the red-zone is something I need to do better. I need to be a better leader. Improve my completion percentage.”

Dykes said a quarterback can only be as good as the players around him, and last year the Bears often asked too much of their rookie behind center.

“The thing we need to do is put him in good situations,” Dykes said. “We had to score a lot of points every game last year. He felt pressure to do that.

“If you look at his performance last year, in the middle of the season he took a step back. I think it was a result of us putting so much on him.”

Jeff Faraudo