The California Golden Bears presumably found the face to their offense going forward in freshman quarterback Jared Goff. Goff given the starting job following fall camp, after beating out red-shirt freshman Zach Kline. Kline was the favorite to take starting position, due to him being in the system and Goff being a true freshman, and Goff was able to show that he had a skill set to better fit what Sonny Dykes wanted to accomplish with his “Bear Raid” offense.
Goff was pleasant surprise for the Bear’s coaching staff, especially early on in the season. In Goff’s first three games, a 61.3 completion percentage for 1,306 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had four combined interceptions in those three games, but at least two of those were tipped passes. Goff would have an up and down season, following a disastrous outing against the Oregon Ducks. That Ducks’ game seemed to be the tipping point for his season, as he confidence seemed to falter going into the remaining schedule.
Many people want to put the success of the offense on the shoulders of the quarterback, but Goff was put a position that would be difficult to succeed in. His supporting cast was severely lacking, outside of his receiving group. The line play in front of Goff was dreadful at best, granted the line had suffered some key injuries. Goff was sacked 32 times behind a leaky offensive line, which would put him in the top seven of the most sacked quarterbacks.
The poor offensive line play affected their ability to to run the ball, as well. The Bears’ running game was anemic at best and that put even more pressure on the shoulders of the young quarterback to move the ball. The lack of a consistent running game allowed opposing defenses to drop back in coverage and allow their pass rushers to get after the quarterback, which combined with the poor pass blocking spelled disaster for Goff.
Overall, it is was pretty impressive year for a true freshman on a team in a flux. He finished the season with a 60.3 completion percentage for 3,508 yards and 18 touchdowns. He suffered from the inconsistencies you expect from a true freshman, but he was able to produce some decent numbers and showed flashes of his potential. So, what exactly can the Bears expect from their young signal-caller in year two of the “Bear Raid?”
Bear fans should be excited moving forward with Goff and his improvement. One of the major issues for Goff last season was experience, as sometimes the game got a little to fast for him to comprehend. Having that first season under his belt and then a full off-season workout should help to slow the game down and create an air of confidence moving forward.
Bears’ fans should look at the development of coach Dykes’ last quarterback, Colby Cameron. Cameron was a sophomore during Dykes’ first season as head coach at Louisiana Tech. Cameron saw some action early in the season, but struggles led to him being benched behind a senior quarterback.
During his junior season, Cameron saw playing time in the second half of the season and he excelled and took the most of his opportunities. He finished with 1,667 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns in just seven games. He cemented his position as the starter heading into his senior season.
Cameron’s senior year is when he really broke through. Cameron was at the helm of the nation’s number one ranked offense and led LaTech to the best season in school history. Cameron completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 4,147 passing yards and 31 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Goff’s career could have a similar growth over the seasons. Think of Goff’s first season a mixture of Cameron’s first two season, but maybe a much smaller jump forward next year and then a huge leap in his junior year. A 4,000 plus yard and 25 plus touchdown season would be the ideal jump for Goff in his sophomore season.
Then Goff could potentially become one of the top quarterbacks during his upper class years being among the upper percentage in yards and touchdowns, if the team can provide him with a much stronger supporting cast.
While there is a chance of injury or he does not grow into his potential, but the sky is the limit for the young quarterback. He is already embracing his role as a team leader and he should fully embrace his potential to become an impact player.