New Cal Bears head coach Sonny Dykes surprised many when he decided to hand true freshman Jared Goff the reins of the offense over redshirt freshman Zach Kline, who has already been with the team for a year.
However, with a new era now underway, it does make sense to go with Goff. The freshman has great size at 6’4”, 220 pounds, outstanding accuracy, and good pocket presence. He is one of the more underrated quarterback prospects in the 2013 class, and he possesses one of the most valuable traits for a young signal-career: a quick release.
This will especially come in handy in Dykes’ high-powered offense. Last season, while Dykes was at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs averaged nearly 45 pass attempts and 350 yards per game through the air. This indicates a heavy workload for Goff in his first season under center, and his accuracy and quick release will be extremely valuable.
So, what can we expect from Goff in 2013?
Well, certain factors are out of his control. Two of the team’s first three games are against ranked teams, the first coming against Northwestern and the third against an outstanding Ohio State team. We will learn a lot about Goff’s intangibles, such as poise and leadership, during these first three matchups.
The schedule does not really let up either, as Cal travels to Oregon for their next game. However, a bigger concern than the schedule may be the Bears’ offensive line. The front wall was helpless in pass protection last year, allowing 40 sacks in 2012.
Pass protection is key for any quarterback to succeed, but it is particularly essential for a true freshman who is trying to get his bearings at the college level. The Cal offensive line needs to improve if Goff wants to get settled in quickly.
With all that being said, it is pretty clear that Goff possesses the talent to make the Bears’ offense into something special. The loss of Keenan Allen at receiver hurts, but he has a young stable of promising receivers returning including Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.
Let us not forget that Cal’s passing offense averaged barely over 200 yards per game last year, good enough for ninth in the Pac-12 and 89th nationally. Therefore, I think it is safe to say that any change at quarterback is welcome in Berkeley, especially when it is a freshman as promising as Goff.
Overall, Goff has the arm, accuracy, and quick release to make the many quick throws that Dykes’ offense will require of him. It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to think that Goff could eclipse 3,000 yards passing and turn the Bears’ aerial attack into one of the Pac-12’s better ones in 2013.