BERKELEY -- A month ago, California inside receiver Ray Hudson let everyone in on just who quarterback Jared Goff is, behind all those touchdowns.
One could argue that Goff and Hudson’s friendly – and, let’s be honest -- downright brotherly rivalry goes back to when they first decided to live together as freshmen at Cal.
“I made a terrible mistake, obviously,” Goff says, as Hudson peers over his shoulder after practice at Memorial Stadium, cantankerous grin plastered across his cheeks, eyes bright with mischief.
Hudson makes a noise that can only be described as a mixture of bewilderment and betrayal in the background. Goff still doesn’t know he’s back there. But, he always knows where Hudson is on the field.
This ersatz work-spouse relationship between the two started in the summer of 2012, when Hudson picked Goff off during a Passing Down seven-on-seven event in Sacramento (at the mention of this, Hudson quietly raises his fist in victory). Instead of holding a grudge, Goff came to a June 2012 camp at Witter Rugby Field, knowing that, like himself, Hudson dreamed of playing for the Bears. There was nowhere else either of them wanted to be, and though the only connection the two had was an interception earlier that summer, Goff looked at Hudson and said, ‘Let’s get you a scholarship.’
Then-special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Jeff Genyk wanted to see if Hudson could be a true blocking and receiving tight end, and by the end of that day – which included a drive up to Grizzly Peak to see the entire Bay – Hudson had his scholarship. A week later, he committed, and he and Goff began planning their conquest of Berkeley.
So far this season, Goff has found Hudson when he most needs to – twice hitting him multiple times in the same drive to convert third downs – and, perhaps because they spend 90% of their time together, as they have since their Summer Bridge session before the 2013 school year, they have an almost telepathic connection on the field.
“Oh, yeah, of course,” says Goff. “When I see him open, I can trust him, to throw him the ball, because I know he’s going to do what he’s supposed to do. He’s a big target, he’s a good target, has great hands and he’s not overly fast, where I have to be exact with it, like Bryce, where he’s so fast that I have to lead him by a lot. I just throw it right on his body, and he makes plays. He’s done a good job so far.”
Hudson – who originally came in as a big, blocking tight end – has turned into a safety valve receiver for both Goff and Luke Rubenzer, catching eight passes for 124 yards. He’s also a pressure-release valve in the locker room, with an easy smile and a fun-loving attitude. His name is Ray, after all.
Hudson may have had plenty of dirt on Goff as a roommate, but, as is the starting quarterback’s prerogative, after our Behind the TDs feature shed light on his frat-tastic dressing habits and water balloon shenanigans (“My room’s above his, and I looked out my window with a big water balloon, and threw it in his room,” says Goff. “He got it all over my couch,” says Hudson), Goff wanted a little get-back, and we here at BearTerritory are nothing if not obliging.
“I asked my roommates for some advice on what to say,” Goff told BT last week. “So, he never does the dishes.”
But, doesn’t he just use paper plates? Over Goff’s shoulder, Hudson nods his head.
“He uses paper plates sometimes, but when there are dishes in the sink – and this dates back to our dorm days, too -- they’re never his,” Goff says, facetiously. “They’re just, magical dishes appear, and I know they’re not mine. He plays a lot of video games. A lot. An unhealthy amount. Call of Duty just came out a couple days ago, and I’m talking, 10 hours, first day out. It’s a bye week, so he’s got plenty of time.”
Hudson is known among his roommates as the House Troll. No, not that kind of troll. Think more Brothers Grimm.
He only leaves the room to conduct the Cal Band after games, when there is a party afoot or when he needs to use the facilities – which, conveniently, are just across the hall.
In fact, inviting the band in was Hudson’s idea.
“That was absolutely nuts. It was pretty funny,” says roommate and Bears fullback Jackson Moffet, the self-appointed House Dad of the former fraternity house. “We heard them down the street, and, first thing we know, Ray went out and said, ‘Come on in here!’ Ray was standing on a chair, acting like he was the director of the band. I was like, ‘Ray, get down from there. They’re not listening to you.’ You literally had 40-some people crammed in this room meant for 20 people. You’ve got people playing the trombone crammed on the couch, somebody’s hiding in the bathroom, playing the flute. It was definitely a show.”
Other than that, though, the Troll keeps to his cave.
“His room’s on the first floor of the house, and I don’t know if he’s ever been to the second floor, because he just goes in his room and closes the door,” Goff says.
So, going to Goff’s room and telling him to #Drop50?
“He might be lying about that. He’s a big liar,” Goff says.
“He does a good job,” Goff admits. “He’s funny, he lightens the mood. We have a roommate power ranking, and he’s very towards the bottom.”
But, a month ago, Hudson said that Goff was towards the bottom.
“But,” Goff protests, “he’s a liar.”
“90 percent of it was embellished. The water balloon thing, they may have thrown one at me, but I don’t think it ever hit me. They never got me with it,” Goff continues.
So, is Hudson just an embellisher, or a pathological liar?
“Both,” Goff says. “Both.”
Hudson, still lurking – and, as you’ll see, lurking is his specialty – brings his hand to his chest, feigning offense and mild shock.
The episode where a particularly enterprising roommate used an app to track Goff’s goings-on, so that they could hit him with the water balloon as he entered the house? It was just Find My Friends.
“He doesn’t have it because he’s secretive. He doesn’t want us to know what he’s doing. He tends to embellish,” Goff says, as Hudson chimes in: “You’re not my friend.”
As we’re fond of saying in this business, there are three sides to every story: Yours, mine and the truth. So, playing the part of The Truth is Moffet.
“In the roommate power rankings, Ray and Jared are both down, because they don’t like to clean, exactly,” Moffet says. “Of course, they come back after a game, and they say, ‘Oh, we were gone all weekend, so we’re not cleaning up anything,’ so that’s always funny. It’s a fun house.”
“We’ll have cleaning days,” Goff says. “Every Sunday, we’ll get up and the rest of the house will clean for an hour, and [Hudson] just won’t do it. He’ll find a way to escape, or he’ll go to the bathroom for a half hour.”
This entire time, Hudson has been over Goff’s shoulder, nodding, smiling, listening, wild-eyed, verbally adding to the comments section that nobody asked him to create. At this particular accusation, he turns, and goes “Oooh! Really?” It’s the first time he’s made Goff aware of his presence.
“No, you have to go,” Goff shoots back at Hudson, who, of course, stays, about seven feet away, stroking his chin, nodding, shaking his head, and otherwise looking rather incredulous.
“He likes to embellish, and the story on me was very exaggerated,” Goff deadpans. “There wasn’t too much truth to it. There were some truthful parts. There were kernels of truth.”
Again, a mildly offended gasp issues forth from Hudson.
“His room’s on the first floor, so he sits in there and just trolls out all day,” Goff says. Hudson nods with affirmation. “Like a cave troll. He comes out to see the light, every once in a while.”
Why does Hudson stay in his cave?
“It’s unbelievable. He has the best room in the house […] in Berkeley,” Goff says. “He has a California King in his room, with space. He has a full fridge, a TV on the wall. Everything he needs is in his room.”
Why would anyone ever leave that room?
“That’s his defense,” Goff says. “To be a social, normal person, maybe?”
The self-proclaimed House Dad Moffet has a theory.
“Ray and Jared, last year, were talking about, ‘Oh, we’re going to start our own, like fraternity, next year, and it’s going to be a football fraternity house,’ and I was like, ‘Alright, guys, whatever,’” says Moffet. “I didn’t really think much of it, but they, with all the rugby guys that lived with us, were able to find a house. Ray and Ray’s mom, I think, were the people who found the house, and then, afterward, he was like, ‘I found the room I want; now I’ve got to assemble all the people, in order for me to get this room.’”
So, add ‘schemer’ or ‘mastermind’ to the list of Hudson roommate flaws.
“Exactly. He was just like, ‘I just need to pull in enough people so I can get this place, so I can have my den,’” says Moffet.
What does he do in his den? Like any self-respecting (or self-disrespecting? Self-loathing?) Cave Troll, he hoards (I may be getting that mixed up with dragons, but they live in caves, and Hudson did this last year to his helmet before Big Game, so whatever. I’m not backing down.)
“He doesn’t share,” Goff says.
“What? Fruit snacks?” Hudson objects.
“Gatorades?” Goff retorts.
“Why would I share Gatorades?” Hudson asks.
Goff turns to me, issues a perfunctory nod of his chin, almost imperceptible, with a look of smug satisfaction.
“Never. Never. I have to steal it,” Goff says.
Hudson, however, has a response: “You have stuff in your room!”
Goff: “Not Gatorade or fruit snacks.”
“We share amongst ourselves, so when you need a snack, you take a snack. He doesn’t share,” Goff explains. “If he’s playing video games and you say, ‘Hey,’ – you know, in Call of Duty – ‘Let me get one death, one kill,’ it’s not happening.”
Hudson then trumpets his kill-to-death ratio, which, he says is 1.8.
“I’m talking to him. You can’t come in,” Goff admonishes Hudson, who, before scurrying up the north tunnel, interjects: “1.8.”
What’s Goff’s? “I don’t play that game.”
What game does Goff play? What would the man who is fourth in the nation in passing yards (3,119), 15th in QB rating (154.9), sixth in completions (233), fourth in touchdowns (27) and among the top five of touchdown-to-interception ratios (27:4 ranks just behind Marcus Mariota’s 29:2 and USC's Cody Kessler’s 25:2, as well as Baylor’s Bryce Petty, who owns a 21:3 ratio), play in his down time?
“He’s always in his room playing FIFA and whatnot,” says Moffet. “Ray and Jared are both big gamers. Ray lives on COD. The other day, I think he literally went four hours straight, trying to level up on everyone.”
Goff has gone over the talking points his roommates have set out for him: Too much Call of Duty, never does the dishes, takes long showers (and, with several rugby players as roommates, that’s a major offense), never shares his bounty of gummy snacks and Gatorades (brought to him, Moffet says, by his mother), never helps clean (a crime of which he, too, is guilty) and Trolling. But wait! There’s more.
“I’ve gone into his room before, and he tends to keep his door locked – again, the cave troll thing – but I’ve been into his room before, and I’ve seen him watching a questionable movie,” Goff says.
What species of questionable movie?
“Like, a chick flick. By himself,” Goff says. “The one with Reese Witherspoon: Legally Blonde. That one.”
“He is very stingy with his food,” adds Moffet. “Ray is one of those guys who, his mom will drop off an entire Costco supply of gummies and cookies, and he’ll have 100 Gatorades, but, of course, he’s not sharing. He’d rather let the food get stale in his room, than let us get one of them.”
Does Hudson do any shopping?
“Oh, no. Ray? Shopping? None,” Moffet says. “Usually, after the games, his parents – because all of our parents will come to games and drop off something – but Ray has always got a nice stash of goodies. I mean, he’s got an industrial-sized fridge in his room.”
Right where only the Troll can get to it.
At the end of the day, though, there's a reason why Goff and Hudson have lived together for two years. They argue and bicker and poke and prod and pick at every little scab they can find, because they found more than just common ground at that Cal camp two years ago. Maybe they really did wind up creating their own little fraternity, whether they meant to become brothers, or not, or, maybe, it's because they were brothers already.