BTTV: Head to Head
BERKELEY -- Both contenders for California's vacant starting quarterback spot had perhaps their best practices of fall camp on Monday, making the decision head coach Sonny Dykes will have to make that much tougher.
When asked if he has any kind of timetable, Dykes let out a heavy sigh.
"Not yet, not yet," he said.
The choice will "probably not" come by the end of the week, and the Bears' second scrimmage, which is scheduled for Saturday.
Learning lessons from an uneven first scrimmage on Monday, Tuesday's practice saw both Jared Goff and Zach Kline put together several multi-play drives, marching the offense down the field. During seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 play, Goff had only one incompletion.
"It felt good. I was just trying to do my job, stay consistent and make completions. That's what we're all trying to do, and I felt like I had a pretty good day," said the true freshman.
Goff took one sack and was hurried several times on Monday, and looked unsettled at times. On Tuesday, he used those lessons to help get the ball out quicker and make more snap decisions.
"That was one thing, but I think the main thing I learned was that we need to calm down when we get out there," said Goff, referring to the six penalties committed by the offense. "At first, we were kind of a little bit frantic. The offense as a whole was a bit frantic, and we had a few penalties early. We just need to calm down and do what we've been doing in fall camp this whole time and not treat it like anything else."
On Tuesday, Goff took the bulk of the first-team reps in 11-on-11 and seven-on-seven, and tore off a 15-yard run in the second set of 11-on-11s against the defense.
In his final 11-on-11 series, Goff started off with a 10-yard dumpoff down low to Brendan Bigelow after escaping pressure, then found Bryce McGovern for six. Daniel Lasco then ran for nine to keep the sticks moving. Goff faced more pressure on the next snap from Jacobi Hunter, underthrowing his receiver for a rare incompletion. Khalfani Muhammad then got a big block by Lucas Gingold on Isaac Lapite, shook Jason Gibson and broke a long touchdown run.
"I thought I did well. I had a lot of completions," Goff said. "That's what we're trying to do: Make fast decisions and throw completions."
Kline also took a lot from his first scrimmage.
"I need to get more air on cover-zero, so I can score on that corner," he said. "We need to get that quick score in. Other than that, I thought we played pretty well. It was a good first scrimmage, but we have a long way to go, for sure."
Both quarterbacks seemed much more comfortable and confident with the offense, improving on the timing routes so crucial to the operation of the Bear Raid offense.
"The reads were good," Dykes said. "The thing we've got to not do is not get in third-and-long. That's an issue, especially early in camp. We're a little bit young up front, so we've got to stay out of long-yardage situations."
Kline also benefitted from an adjustment to his drops, which allowed him to get the ball out quicker and make better reads.
"We're going to more of a five-step drop, instead of going on three, so we have more time," Kline said. "Your feet are hotter the entire time, so, personally, I felt that was a lot better for me, because I'm not the tallest guy. I could see better and I could pick out where I wanted to go. If I want to get out of the pocket, it's a lot easier. They have a farther way to go, and it's just easier."
Kline not only moved the pocket, but also showed off his legs. After finishing his previous 11-on-11 drive towards the end of practice by sailing a pass over the crossbar of the field goal uprights, he started off at his own five. Under pressure, he stepped up through the middle and ran for well over 20 yards before the play was whistled to a stop.
Earlier in practice, Kline directed the No. 2 offense on a long drive, stringing together four straight completions of five to seven yards, including a bullet on a drag route to Jeffrey Coprich and another to Patrick Worstell on an inside screen.
"That's the best. That's gold for a QB," Kline said. "You just need to build that confidence -- that's the biggest thing – before you hit the big guy. You have to get those five-to-seven, and also, it just gets the offense rolling, marching down the field a little bit, picking up the first down. You need six yards on offense, your first play. Your first down, you need six yards, because then, you're not going to get into third-and-long. You build that momentum and then, once you keep going and once you hit those five yards, seven yards, get a six-yard or a seven-yard run, it's just going to snowball and you're going to keep going and going and going."
With the competition still limited to Goff and Kline (who will get the majority of reps on Wednesday), the additional snaps have helped both competitors become sharper, and the offense to look a bit more cohesive as the days wear on.
"I think the biggest part was being able to finally really see the guys and really know if there's a blitz, now we're on the same page if it's his hot and he's open and flashing his hands, flashing his eyes, I think that was the biggest thing," Kline said. "We're finally on the same page, where I'm looking at you, you're looking at me, or when you break off and I already threw the ball, you're already looking up in the air, so I think it's just the little things now that we're finally getting to mesh on, which is big. I think, being able to improvise, and the guys know when I'm out of the pocket, what they need to do to improvise, it's that tandem of things."
Echoing Goff, Kline said that the biggest takeaway from the scrimmage that fueled Tuesday's practice was the importance of having a sense of calm, particularly after the first three offensive series stalled thanks to penalties and poor execution.
"On film, the first series, we had things blocked, and then one little thing happened and the whole play went down. That's easy to correct. That's just focus and discipline and once you see it, it's easy to correct," Kline said. "It's just a different approach. When we're here, you're still going 100 percent, and obviously practice is extraordinarily important, but the energy is just a little bit different when you have a game-like setting, when you have referees. You kind of play a little bit differently in those. You want to move the chains, you want to make completions, you're probably not going to try and force the ball and see what can happen. It's more wanting to move the chains and feed the machine."
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