True freshman Jared Goff has beaten out redshirt freshman Zach Kline for California's starting quarterback job, reports Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, and Goff is exactly the type of quarterback that Cal needs to succeed in 2013.
Head coach Sonny Dykes has already showed that he favors Goff, but it will take a few games before he really sees just how great of a decision he has made. Goff is a pocket passer that possesses a quick release and tight spiral. He has top-notch fundamentals and accuracy for a quarterback his age.
Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin are likely planning a prolific offensive attack for 2013, and Goff should be the focal point. The two coached together at Louisiana Tech last season and turned their passing attack into the third-best in the nation. Their 44 attempts and 350.8 yards per game show just how pass-heavy LaTech's offense was.
Their rushing attack ranked No. 17 in the nation (nothing to sneeze at, mind you), but the team was pass first, run second. This is the type of offense that Dykes and Franklin should introduce to Goff and the rest of the Bears. It gives the entire team the best chance to succeed.
Dykes will be implementing the "Bear Raid" offense in his first season with Cal, a spread offense that looks to move the ball down the field quickly. A quarterback with the arm strength and accuracy of Goff fits this system best.
Kline, the quarterback Goff beat out in training camp, has the arm strength to run this type of offense, but lacks the accuracy and touch to be as effective as his counterpart. A quarterback lacking touch or consistency on the deep ball in this system would be a liability for the offense. A spread offense will feature a ton of plays that go over the top of defenses, so big-time arms with big-time accuracy are ideal.
Goff's ability to keep the fast-paced offense moving (Franklin has averaged 79 snaps per game over the last three seasons, ranking him third in the nation) and in rhythm will be what makes the Bears one of the most prolific offenses in college football. Naming a true freshman the starting quarterback of a major university is a risky move for a first-year head coach, but Dykes has made the correct decision.
Building off a 3-9 season in 2012 won't be an easy task, but Dykes has already taken steps in the right direction with his new offensive attack and new quarterback. There's no better situation for a true freshman quarterback to be in than on a team that is coming off a down season, with a new head coach and offense that suits his skill set. Goff should be able to transform a poor offense into one that boasts both depth and explosiveness.
Which quarterback fits Dykes' system the best?
It's not like he doesn't have weapons around him. Bryce Treggs and Jackson Bouza are solid options at receiver, while Darren Ervin is a running back with the potential to balance out the offense if need be.
The Bears will likely improve on their 3-9 season from a year ago, but picking them for a bowl game may be a stretch. There are simply too many "firsts" on this team (first-year coach, first-year quarterback, first year with new offense, etc.) to count on them being consistent. That doesn't mean they won't be improved, though.
Goff should be able to lead his team to a record in the 5-7 range. The team plays tough opponents in Ohio State, USC, Stanford and Oregon this season, and Goff could really put his team on the map with an upset victory over one of them.
The fact remains that Goff is the best option for California—for both now and the future. He will be the quarterback there for at least the next three seasons and has plenty of time to win some games with the Bears. All he needs to show this season is that he has potential in the role Dykes envisions for him.