Cal Bears Quarterback Picture a Little Clearer with New Transfer

Oct 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb (7) during the game against the Baylor Bears at AT&T Stadium. The Bears defeat the Red Raiders 63-35. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb (7) during the game against the Baylor Bears at AT&T Stadium. The Bears defeat the Red Raiders 63-35. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cal Bears’ quarterback situation may be a little clearer with the addition of transfer quarterback Davis Webb.

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One of the biggest questions for the California Golden Bears’ football team this season was who would be under center for the first game of the Bears’ Post-Jared Goff era. There were a lot of players competing for the spot, with Zach Kline (a former Golden Bear who is back as a walk-on), Chase Forrest (a sophomore who appeared in three games last season as Goff’s backup), and freshmen Max Gilliam and Ross Bowers all in the running.

But the blurry quarterback picture may have gotten a little clearer on Wednesday, when news was broken that graduate transfer Davis Webb would be joining the Cal program for his last year of eligibility. Webb initially committed to transferring to the University of Colorado in January, but changed his mind, instead opting to head to Cal after graduating from Texas Tech.

With the Red Raiders, Webb was a starter for most of his freshman and sophomore seasons in 2013 and 2014. In 18 games over those two years, he completed 61.9 percent of his passes (437-for-706) for 5,357 yards. He threw twice as many touchdowns (44) as interceptions (22). His 2014 season was cut short by an ankle injury, and while missing time because of that, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Upon his return in 2015, with sophomore Patrick Mahomes firmly entrenched into the starter’s role, Webb played in just five games. He completed 22 of his 41 pass attempts for 300 yards and two touchdowns with no interception.

Cal and Texas Tech run similar offenses, with both utilizing spread sets that consist of four or five wide receivers on the field most of the time. With the addition of Jake Spavital, former Texas A&M Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, to the Cal staff in the same capacity, the offense should not change much, giving Webb a perceived advantage in the quarterback competition (or at least, he won’t be at a disadvantage).

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Like his predecessor Goff, Webb has some NFL aspirations. ESPN’s resident draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. has Webb is his top-ranked senior quarterback coming into the season (ESPN Insider required).

There are still plenty of questions surrounding the Cal offense, even with Webb now in the picture. The team’s top six pass catchers from last season are gone, all of them now trying to make it in the NFL (Trevor Davis was the Green Bay Packers’ fifth-round pick, Kenny Lawler was the Seattle Seahawks’ seventh-round pick, Darius Powe is with the New York Giants, Bryce Treggs is with the San Francisco 49ers, Maurice Harris is with the Washington Redskins, and Stephen Anderson is with the Houston Texans).

That leaves junior wide receiver Chad Hansen (19 catches in 2015), and junior flex tight end Raymond Hudson (10 catches) as the team’s most experienced pass catchers. But whoever is quarterback, whether it’s Webb or someone else, will have plenty of talented, young players to work with. Incoming freshman Melquise Stovall, Zion Echols and Demetris Robertson are the headliners of a recruiting class that also includes receivers Jordan Veasy and Jordan Duncan. They will also get Carlos Strickland and Greyson Bankhead, both of whom redshirted last season, on the field.

And though they will be known mostly for their pass happy offense, Cal should have a dynamic running game as well, despite losing Daniel Lasco to the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round of the draft. The Bears will have three talented, and quite diverse running backs carrying the load out of the backfield. Junior Vic Enwere acts as a power back, although he also brings his own share of speed with him, senior Khalfani Muhammad is the premier speed back, and junior Tre Watson serves as a sort of combination between the two.

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The defense is still questionable, and will remain as such until they prove otherwise. The offense will probably have to carry more than their share of the load this season, as they have done for the last couple of years, but the addition of Webb should help make the offense stronger, even if it isn’t quite as strong as it was last season.