On Wednesday, California head coach Sonny Dykes said that the Bears would make a decision on who would replace Jared Goff at quarterback when the decision was ready to be made. On Thursday morning, Cal confirmed what was expected by many: Texas Tech graduate transfer Davis Webb will succeed No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff a Cal's starting quarterback.
"We felt like it was the right decision to make once separation occurred," Dykes said in a statement. "Davis' maturity and knowledge of what we're trying to do put him a little bit ahead of our other quarterbacks. He's new to our program but he came in with three seasons of experience at Texas Tech running this style of offense. We wanted to work out the details of our offense and put all the pieces together, and the quarterback is a pretty important part of that."
On the first day of camp, offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said that Webb's addition "upped everyone's play in the entire quarterback room," and that his knowledge of the offense -- virtually the same one he ran in Lubbock under Spavital mentor Kliff Kingsbury -- had given him an edge.
"Davis has a lot of experience as a starting quarterback at the collegiate level and that's why he separated himself from the others early in camp," Spavital said in a release. "He also played in a similar system at Texas Tech and his familiarity with what we are trying to do offensively was another major factor in our decision. We felt that we needed to start building continuity with the ones and we want to be ready to go once we get on the plane to go to Australia so that sped up the process. Fans are going to see a very confident quarterback who likes to take control of the game and compete every play. He's going to be a very exciting player to watch."
Spavital had been told by his receivers about Webb's arm strength during their work over the summer, but, he told them, "I'll see it when we get out there the first day of practice." Webb didn't disappoint.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1690808-summer-of-webb From the first throws on the first day, it was apparent that Webb, had been a Power 5 starting quarterback. From the way he carried himself, to his poise in the pocket, to his effortless arm action, to his command of the offense, everything said that Webb was the starter.
"Davis does have a tremendous arm, and I think he's going to be pretty good," Spavital said after that first practice.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List in June, is on the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and is the top senior quarterback, according to ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. Webb was previously on the Maxwell Award Watch List during his 2014 sophomore season with the Red Raiders, but he injured his left shoulder on Sept. 25 against Oklahoma State, and then suffered a season-ending injury to his ankle the next week against TCU. That season, Webb threw for 2,539 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In his career in Lubbock, Webb completed 459-of-747 passes (61.4%) for 5,557 yards with 46 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for a 138.4 passer efficiency rating in 23 games played and 14 starts over the last three seasons. He ranks eighth among the the Red Raiders' all-time leaders in passing touchdowns, tenth in passing yards and touchdowns responsible for (49), and 11th in passing completions, passing attempts and total offense (5,567).
As a true freshman, Webb played in 10 games with six starts, beating then-No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl and throwing for 2,718 yards on 226-of-361 passing, with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a 139.1 passer rating. He set seven Big 12 freshman records and four school freshman records, and was named an honorable mention Freshman All-American. Webb threw for over 400 yards on four occasions that first year, and over 300 yards six times to set freshman school marks in both categories, including a Big 12 and school freshman record 462 yards at West Virginia.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1685873-countdown-to-kicko...Those numbers earned him spots on the Maxwell list, as well as the watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award.
Over the last three days, Webb has showed off quick, precise footwork, excellent ball placement and a lot of arm talent. He leads his receivers, and the ball just pops out of his hand. He can make throws at all levels, and is particularly impressive on the deep balls. That’s certainly going to be a weapon for the Bears this season, as we’ve seen that Demetris Robertson, Chad Hansen and Melquise Stovall can take the top off of opposing defenses.
"Ever since I got here, I made it apparent to the receivers that I wanted to throw as much as I possibly could," Webb said. "I've never been part of a receiving group that works as hard as this group does."
The receivers and Webb have both been grinding during the offseason. Inside receiver Ray Hudson said, on one occasion, he went into his favorite film room only to find Webb, watching three-year old NFL film.
“It was probably, if it was three years ago, it was probably from the Patriots film, that great season that Tom Brady orchestrated with that offense, and really, I watch a lot of NFL guys to really try to find out what they’re evolving in, whether it’s work-wise or new pass concepts," Webb said. "I look at defenses, trying to see what defensive coordinators are throwing out there. It’s a copycat league. That’s all the NFL is, that’s all college football is – they copycat each other, when it comes to plays and concepts. Not many people nowadays reinvent a new concept or a play. They usually steal it from everybody else.
“I was just trying to gather as much information as I could, so I could come in to fall camp and try to find a synthesis, a similarity between our offenses and just go with it. Ray was up there just about every day, along with other receivers. They were just watching routes and how they stem, how they re-stack cornerbacks.”
“Davis Webb is the hardest working individual I've ever had the privilege of coaching," Kingsbury said in a December 2015 news release when Webb announced his intent to transfer. "He's a fierce competitor and an extremely talented quarterback. Wherever Davis lands, he will immediately change the outlook of that program."
Dykes said that it was Kingsbury who established a culture of tireless work during his time at Texas Tech, and it's bled down through 16 years to Webb.
"Kliff was the hardest working college football player that I’d ever been around," Dykes said. "He was in the office when the coaches got to work, and he was in the office when we went home at night. He loved the game, he had a passion for being great, and what he did, is he set the standard."
Webb has certainly followed in those footsteps. A typical summer day saw him get to the facility at 6:30 or 7 a.m., watching a couple Cal games from 2015, and then head down to the weight room to stretch and get his body ready for lifting, using tips from former teammates who have matriculated to the NFL. After lifting and conditioning, he grabs lunch, then returns to the facility and watches his film from Texas Tech, "and try to critique myself," he said.
As he watches film, he brings receivers in to watch with him, and then, it was out to the practice field to throw.
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"Kliff set the standard for those guys, and they learned what it was like to prepare, to put yourself in the best position that you could as a quarterback," Dykes said. "Davis was part of that culture. He was part of that work ethic and that culture, about coming in and working ... We’re hoping that Davis will do the same thing for our program. He’ll come in here, our quarterbacks will see his dedication and his work ethic, and they saw that from Jared, last year, as well. They’re going to have an opportunity to see two kids who work incredible hard that have a laser-like focus, and see what it takes to really be a big-time quarterback at this level, and certainly in our offense. I think he’ll provide a great mentoring opportunity for those guys, with that work ethic and dedication. It’s something that I haven’t seen.”
The decision today isn’t a comment on how good the other quarterbacks can be. The arrival of Webb allows Cal to do is let the other quarterbacks develop. Chase Forrest has been exceedingly accurate, freshman Ross Bowers has some promising and very promising arm talent. Max Gilliam has improved by leaps and bounds since the spring. Gilliam and Victor Viramontes have been impressive, given their age, and show that they each have potential, but Cal needs an offense that can move the ball right now, and Webb is the best option to accomplish that goal.
"We have a great group of quarterbacks here and it is an honor to get the opportunity to start," Webb said. "College football and particularly the quarterback position is a performance-based deal. My job now is to prepare my best each day and do my job on gameday. I need to do everything I can so my teammates can enjoy success. We are all going to push each other every day to improve as individuals and as a team. That is what a championship culture looks like and that is what coach Dykes is developing here."