California Golden Bears Position Preview: Quarterbacks


Before the football season starts, lets look at how the California Golden Bears are doing at each position entering the spring, and see where there are potential position battles. With a squad that’s returning 17 of 22 starters from a year ago, we might not see a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, but it doesn’t hurt to know who’s new, and who’s backing up those 17 returning starters.

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A Year Ago…

Jared Goff came into the 2014 season as the projected starter with high expectations. Five games into the season, Goff looked like he would meet those lofty expectations, and would send the Bears into the top half of the Pac-12 conference.

He had already thrown for 1,875 yards and 22 touchdowns, and the Bears had won four out of their first five games. However, in the game against the Washington Huskies, Goff and the Bears seemed to have hit a brick wall. Goff threw for 304 yards, but had no touchdowns, and had a total QBR of 26.6. It was a terrible day for Cal, and it really showed on offense as they only managed to put up seven points in garbage time.

After the Washington game, the Bears season went downhill — and so did Goff — as he threw for plenty of yards, but wasn’t making the great decisions that he had been making in the first half of the season. Then-freshmen quarterback Luke Rubenzer had primarily been used as a wildcat quarterback, and saw action later in the season when games were already decided.

Saying Goodbye: 

New Faces:

  • Ross Bowers, 6-2, 180

Current Roster:

  • Jared Goff, Jr, 6-4, 210
  • Luke Rubenzer, Sr, 6-0, 190
  • Cole Webb, Sr, 6-0, 185
  • Chase Forrest, Fr, 6-3, 190
  • Ross Bowers, Fr, 6-2, 180

2015 Preview:

Nov 29, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback

Jared Goff

(16) throws the ball against the Brigham Young Cougars during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Brigham Young Cougars defeated the California Golden Bears 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

While Goff is most certainly most likely to be the starter at quarterback for a third straight year, there is still some intrigue at the position for the Golden Bears. Last season’s backup quarterback, Rubenzer, has played most of spring ball at the safety position, meaning that the Golden Bears will most likely look elsewhere for a backup quarterback.

Enter Forrest, a coveted freshmen out of high school, who was redshirted last year. Forrest has stepped up this spring and has drawn praise from the coaching staff, with his great throws, better decision making, and his ability to step up in the pocket with poise.

While the competition for the backup job is still up for grabs, it looks like Forrest will serve as Goff’s main backup most of the season. If not Forrest, the only other options are Webb, who transferred from El Camino College and was hurt most of last year, or Bowers, a talented newcomer out of Bothell High School who led his team to a 4A Washington state title — and while doing so, probably had the High School Play of the Year in the championship game, doing a flip over a defender to cap off a four-yard touchdown run.

But given that Forrest has all but secured the backup position for the Bears — and Goff is the clear starter — it looks like Bowers will be redshirted this season, while Webb will ride out his last season of eligibility as a reserve quarterback behind Goff and Forrest.

Next: Are the Bears Making the Right Decision in Holding Goff Back?