Cal football: Quarterback Jared Goff shows he can fire a wet football at pro day

Staff writer Dan Brown covered Cal’s pro day today while I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament. Here’s his report on Jared Goff’s day in front of the NFL scouts:

On an otherwise gray, cool day at Memorial Stadium, it rained specifically for Jared Goff.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton made sure of that by dousing a few footballs with water before handing them to the Cal quarterback.

It was a Pro Day wrinkle designed to see if Goff — and his reportedly small hands — could throw with velocity and accuracy in adverse weather conditions.

Goff launched the wet ones just fine, including a 45-yard deep shot on the final throw of his session Friday in front of NFL draft evaluators.

Asked later about the wet footballs, Goff saw the sunny side.

“Yeah, growing up in California, they probably wanted to see that,” the Novato native and former Marin Catholic High star said. “That makes sense.

“At the same time, I’ve played in cold weather before. I wouldn’t be the first quarterback to go from California to cold weather. I think Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have done pretty well.”

The Browns have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on April 28 and are believed to also be considering North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson, a former Cal offensive coordinator, was on hand Friday for Goff’s workout.

Also in attendance was 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, whose team has the No. 7 overall pick.\

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Cal football: Jared Goff impresses scouts with throws

This report is courtesy of colleague Cam Inman, who is at Indianpolis covering the NFL scouting combine:

Watching Jared Goff impressively pass the football Saturday sure trivialized all the NFL scouting combine’s other nuances.

How a quarterback can throw in a pass-oriented league arguably should trump reports about body measurements, interview questions and medical reviews in a draft prospect’s evaluation.

Goff, a Cal product, lived up to his billing as a polished passer, perhaps the best available come draft day.

Watching quietly together from Lucas Oil Stadium’s stands were 49ers coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. They, you well know, might be in the market for a quarterback, especially if they acquiesce to Colin Kaepernick’s trade request and scour for a new challenger to Blaine Gabbert.

“(Goff) looked good. He was the standout,” said Bill Polian, an ESPN analyst who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year for his front-office expertise.

Polian cautioned that he doesn’t know what Kelly wants to do with the 49ers once-sacred quarterback throne. But Polian didn’t hold back in praising Goff.

“He rose to the occasion,” Polian added. “Everything he does is athletic. The ball came out on time. He throws a nice ball. His feet are really good. His balance is good.”

Polian watched from a luxury suite as Goff and eight other quarterbacks delivered in the combine’s first throwing sessions.

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Football: Jared Goff says hand size is no issue

This story is courtesy of colleague Cam Inman, who is at Indianapolis covering the NFL scouting combine:

Cal product Jared Goff laughed off what has become a hot story at the NFL scouting combine: his 9-inch hands, diminutive by league standards for a quarterback.

“I’ve been told I have pretty big hands my whole life. I heard I have small hands yesterday, apparently,” Goff said Thursday. “Naw, I’ve never had a problem with that or expect it to be a problem at all.”

Goff is projected as one of the top quarterbacks in April’s draft, so every detail about him is being unearthed by NFL personnel evaluators this week.

Chip Kelly, the 49ers’ new coach, described any quarterback’s hand size as: “Huge. You better have big hands. Russell Wilson is 5-101/2 but he’s got 101/4 hands. You better have a big paw to manipulate the football.”

OK, then what about a quarterback with, say, 9-inch hands?

Kelly responded: “They’re measureables. They’re guidelines. They’re not like, ‘He has 9-inch hands. He’s out.’ ”

Of the 21 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2008, only Miami’s Ryan Tannehill had hands that small, according to ESPN.

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Cal football: Jared Goff has split Super Bowl rooting interest

Jared Goff is making a 24-hour sprint through the Bay Area, but the former Cal quarterback will watch the Super Bowl from Southern California, where he is training for the NFL combine later this month.

Who is he rooting for Sunday?

“I’m a big Peyton Manning. If this is his last one, I’d like to see him go out on top,” Goff said, suggesting he will pull for the Denver Broncos.

“At the same time, I’d like to see Ron Rivera win a Super Bowl. He’s a Cal guy, great coach, great guy,” Goff said of the man leading the Carolina Panthers.

“I’m going to be happy either way.”

Goff made an appearance Tuesday night at a pre-Super Bowl party at the Durant Hotel in Berkeley that was hosted by Cal grad and NFL Network analyst Mike Silver. On Wednesday he was scheduled to do media appearances in San Jose.

Then it’s back to work for the Marin native, who broke nearly every Cal passing record in three seasons before declaring for the NFL draft.

Goff said he plans to participate fully at the NFL combine, Feb. 23-29 at Indianapolis.

“I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s what guys do now if you want to be successful.”

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Football: Tony Franklin praises Jared Goff for work ethic that elevated him to `elite status’

No one on the Cal football staff worked more closely with Jared Goff on a day-to-day basis than offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tony Franklin.

Franklin was visiting family in New York on Thursday and unable to be on hand for Goff’s announcement that he is entering the NFL draft. Franklin offered his thoughts and sentiments in a statement:

“I am excited for Jared and his family as they move into their next challenge. I include his family because I firmly believe that Jerry and Nancy have played an integral role in molding Jared into one of the best quarterbacks to ever play college football. But more important is how they raised him to being a really good human being with a heart and soul that all parents should strive for their children to possess.

“It has been a beautiful adventure traveling this journey with Jared and watching him develop from a skinny kid — who was extremely well-coached in high school — to a young man with elite leadership skills that blended perfectly with his physical talent. Jared worked diligently to master his craft.

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Football: Cal quarterback Jared Goff has known for a while it was time to enter the NFL draft

Jared Goff said he’s known since midseason that he was ready to enter the NFL draft, but that didn’t make it any easier when the Cal junior quarterback announced his intentions Thursday morning.

At a news conference at Memorial Stadium, with his parents and family members in the audience, Goff was uncharacteristically emotional as he talked about his plans and thanked all those who contributed to his prolific college career.

“All the people that have had an impact on me, it’s kind of hard to put into words. That’s why I’ve been a little emotional,” said Goff, fighting off tears. “Thinking about all my teammates and all the fun we’ve had. But I’m definitely excited.”

A 21-year-old from Marin, Goff is rated as one of the top two NFL quarterback prospects in this class and projected to be a high first-round draft pick.

Jerry Goff, a Cal alum and former major league baseball player, said Jared’s decision was “foregone conclusion” even before the bowl game. But watching his son take the next step toward his football dreams hit him hard, too.

“I got a little emotional. It’s stuff you always think about, but when you see it . . . it’s a little surreal,” he said. “I’m happy for him and excited and anxious and all the other words for his future.”

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Football: Jared Goff schedules Thursday news conference, expected to announce he will enter NFL draft

Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff will hold a campus news conference Thursday at 10 a.m., when he is expected to announce he will forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

Goff, 21, has consistently declined to publicly discuss his future. He said after the Bears’ 55-36 win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl that he would discuss matters with his parents and have an announcement.

Every indication is that Goff – who set Pac-12 Conference single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns and is projected as a high first-round pick – will make the jump.

A source said the news Thursday morning will surprise no one.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes conceded the decision may be fairly clear for Goff.

“Look, the way I see this thing is if he’s got an opportunity to be one of the top draft picks or the first quarterback taken in the draft, then I don’t think there’s much of a decision to make, quite frankly,” Dykes in Tuesday’s post-game news conference.

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Football: Does this sound like a guy who is coming back?

After Cal’s 55-36 win over Air Force, Jared Goff stopped short of saying he is headed to the NFL.

Goff said he would discuss the issue with his family, then make a decision. But the junior from Marin spoke in past-tense terms about his Cal career.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Goff said. “To go from 1-11 (in 2013) to last year being so close, to this year winning eight games and finishing with a bowl victory, it’s really as much as you can ask for. It’s been a lot of fun.”

That’s all we have for now. But it sounds like the remaining process may be little more than a formality.


Columnist Marcus Thompson says it’s time for Goff to try the NFL


Cal fans at Fort Worth chanted, “One more year,” at the game’s end.

“I was chanting that, too,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said, only half-joking.

Dykes said he will confer with Goff, but also sounded like he already knows the outcome.

“None of these decisions these guys have to make are easy decisions,” Dykes said. “I’ll give my two cents and just try to advise him but the way I see this thing is if he’s got an opportunity to be one of the top draft picks or the first quarterback taken in the draft, then I don’t think there’s much of a decision to make, quite frankly.

“I’ll be incredibly supportive. Whatever he decides, he’ll make the decision for the right reasons and I have complete confidence in that. Ultimately my job is to give him my advice and tell him what I think and what I feel and he’s got to sit down with his family and decide what’s best.”

Stay tuned. We should know something soon.

If we don’t already.


Football: Takeaways from Cal’s 55-36 Armed Forces Bowl victory over Air Force

— What I saw that’s worth remembering from Cal’s 55-36 victory over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday:

— PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jared Goff achieved one of two things: He either established himself as a high first-round NFL draft pick or a (very) early frontrunner for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. Cal fans shouldn’t get their hopes up and count on the latter. Goff was spectacular in what is expected to be his final college game, completing 25 of 37 passes for 467 yards with no interceptions and six touchdowns. His TD total tied the second-most by a quarterback in any bowl game He broke the Pac-12 single-season TD record of 42, set last year by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, and he eclipsed the conference season passing yards record set in 2013 by East Bay native Sean Mannion of Oregon State. Goff finished the year with 43 TD passes and 4,719 yards. His crazy, three-year career totals: 96 TDs and 12,200 yards.

— FAMILY DAY: Senior wideout Bryce Treggs caught four passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, boosting his career marks to 195 receptions for 2,506 yards and 15 touchdowns. Added to Brian Treggs’ numbers from 1988-91, and the father-son receiving duo totaled 362 catches for 4,841 yards and 30 TDs.

— PLAY OF THE GAME: Cal forced Air Force kick returner Timothy McVey to fumble midway through the second quarter and Kyle Kragen recovered for the Bears at the Falcons’ 24-yard line. Goff delivered a TD pass to Kenny Lawler on the next play and the Bears forge a two-touchdown lead, 28-14. The Falcons never again were a threat.

— TURNING POINT: From the Air Force point of view, the game changed when senior safety Weston Steelhammer was ejected for a targeting penalty on Cal’s third play of the game. Besides having a cool name, Steelhammer is regarded as the Falcons’ best defensive player and the emotional and vocal leader of their secondary. Let’s face it: Air Force had little chance of defusing Goff and the Cal passing attack anyway. Without Steelhammer, the game became a track meet for the Cal offense.

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Armed Forces Bowl: Jared Goff carves up Air Force in 55-36 victory, holds off on announcing plans

FINAL: Cal 55, Air Force 36. The Bears (8-5) took their foot off the pedal in the fourth quarter, content to run clock and go home. Still, they broke the school record for points in a bowl game, breaking the mark of 52 they set against Virginia Tech in the 2003 Insight Bowl.

Jared Goff took home a pair of Pac-12 single-season passing records to go with Cal’s first eight-win seasons since 2009, its first bowl victory since 2008. Goff’s 43 touchdown passes and 4,719 passing yards eclipsed records set by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon in 2014 and Sean Mannion of Oregon State in 2013, respectively.

As expected, Goff made no announcement about his future and the NFL.

“I’m going to sit down with my parents, discuss it and decide. You should know soon,” he said afterward.

Cal finished with 586 total yards and 27 first downs. The Bears had the ball for just 10 minutes, 14 seconds in the first half, yet led 35-21. They scored on seven of eight red-zone chances, five of them touchdowns.

UPDATE: The early word on offensive tackle Steven Moore, who came off the field with an apparent injury to his left foot or lower leg, was that it did not appear to be serious. Moore, a junior and one of four expected returning starters on the offensive line, was wearing a protective boot after the game.

— Junior wideout Kenny Lawler, banged up and quiet for weeks, obviously got healthy during the pre-bowl break. He caught five passes for 75 yards, including three of Goff’s six TDs, and has 13 touchdowns on the season. That’s one shy of Sean Dawkins’ 1992 school record of 14. Lawler has 27 career TD catches, tied for second at Cal and four behind Dawkins’ all-time mark.

Like Goff, Lawler will soon decide whether he is returning for his senior season and entering the NFL draft. The deadline for juniors to submit their name to the NFL is Jan. 18.

— Trevor Davis caught two passes and Maurice Harris pulled in four, giving Cal six receivers with at least 40 catches — the only team in the country with that distinction.

— Matt Anderson fumbled a direct snap on a fake field goal try in the first quarter, but made both of his FG tries and finished the season 18 for 21, including his last 12 in a row.

— Sophomore Tre Watson rushed for 70 yards and will head into spring ball as the No. 1 running back in a deep group that also includes Khalfani Muhammad and Vic Enwere.

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