Apparently You Shouldn't Bet Against Jared Goff, Despite What Deadspin Says

Brewed in Marin, Jared Goff showed Joe Montana-like qualities in the NFC title game inside a hostile Louisiana Superdome. (image via Getty)

By Connor Buestad |

Back in 2013, Jared Goff arrived on the campus of UC Berkeley as a token skinny blonde kid from Marin Catholic High School, hoping to win the starting quarterback job for the Golden Bears. For various reasons, I had my doubts about how he would fare as a true freshman in the Pac-12. To be honest, I thought Zach Kline, the hyped gunslinger from San Ramon Valley, deserved to beat him out for the job headed into the fall. His high school field didn’t even have lights, I reasoned. How could he take over at the helm of a major college football team that quickly and easily? Shouldn’t Kline, with a year under his belt in college, not to mention a stronger arm, get the first crack at the job?

Ultimately, Sonny Dykes selected Goff to run the show for the Bears, effectively handing him his slick Air Raid Offense playbook and getting out of the way. In year one, despite some flashes of brilliance in the pocket, Goff struggled mightily as Cal sputtered to a 1-11 record, with their lone win coming at home versus Portland State, a team that can’t exactly call itself Division 1.

Despite the adversity, Goff bounced back with big passing seasons as a sophomore and junior, thriving in Dykes’ open air offense. Blessed with a strong receiving corps around him, Goff began to attract the attention of NFL scouts with his ability to put a ball on a dime, while never getting truly rattled, even on the road at the likes of the University of Texas.

Yet for as much success as Goff had on the collegiate level, he never quite solidified himself as a truly big-time quarterback. Alarmingly, over his three years with the Bears, Goff never once beat a top-25 team. Yes, you could argue that his defense was the problem, but Goff also shrunk in big moments himself. Perhaps his biggest test came as a junior on the road at no. 5 Utah, with College Gameday present in Salt Lake City. The 23rd ranked Bears gave themselves a chance to win that night, but ultimately could not overcome Goff throwing FIVE interceptions.

But, true to form, Goff would let his low points roll off his back and by year’s end, the junior was throwing six touchdowns in a bowl game victory over Air Force. NFL scouts were loving every minute of it, apparently.

When draft day hit in Chicago in the spring of 2016, one of the main storylines was how weak of a draft class it was for QB’s. Beside Goff and Carson Wentz, it was slim pickings. The LA Rams and head coach Jeff Fisher needed a franchise QB, so they went with Goff at number one overall, leaving Wentz for the Philadelphia Eagles at #2. Almost immediately, Goff became a rookie bust. Meanwhile, Wentz hit the ground running, leading the Eagles offense and winning games immediately and winning over the Philly faithful.

Deadspin foreshadowed Goff’s rookie campaign beautifully by ripping him a new one for his unabashed, over-the-top marketing efforts on draft night. The first overall pick was bashed for his social media ads on his personal channels with the article titled “Man, Jared Goff Loves Brands,” which basically made fun of him for squeezing every last dollar out of a night he was already making millions on.

By June of 2016, Goff was back in the news with Deadspin’s prestigious site for going back on his word with LA Dodger Yasiel Puig. A life-long Giants fan, Goff has been known to hunt souvenir baseballs in the stands at Pac Bell Park in a cream colored SF jersey. As a teenager, he even went as far as to tweet out his desire for Puig to get drilled in the ribs. That’s why it was a bit lame to see Goff immediately buddy up with Puig in a Dodgers jersey on the field at Chavez Ravine. Naturally, Deadspin gave the rookie hell for it with the headline, “Jared Goff Buddies Up With Yasiel Puig, Betrays the Sanctity of His Takes.” Honestly, it was pretty well deserved when you considered the sanctity of the Giants-Dodgers/NorCal-SoCal rivalry. Poor form indeed.

When the preseason of Goff’s first pro season got underway, he looked, well, really bad. Thus, drawing the headline, “Jared Goff Looks Kinda Butt” by Deadspin. Under the guidance of Fisher, Goff looked lost leading the Rams offense, quickly spurring on whispers of “is Goff a bust?” from guys like Colin Cowherd and the like. Of course, it was way too soon for this type of chatter, but then again, it could very well have been true. He did look pretty butt out there.

To add to the “bust” whispers, Goff didn’t even suit up in his first game as an LA Ram. Coach Fisher seemed too worried to let him be the second string QB against his hometown 49ers on Opening Night. So instead, the first overall pick in the draft would be asked to watch cautiously from the sideline and take notes form Case Keenum. The headline “The Rams Might Be In A New City, But They Still Suck” was run by Deadspin, outlining the apparent dysfunction of the new-look Rams franchise.

By the time Goff finally got a chance to suit up for Fisher’s archaic offense, the only Deadspin headline Goff could produce was one of a casual mocking. “Jeff Fisher Pleased With Jared Goff’s Ability to Perform Basic Funcitons,” it read. Still pretty depressing all things considered.

2017, however, was an entirely different story for Goff and the LA Rams. Fisher was sent packing and in came 31-year-old Sean McVay to the rescue. The offensive wonderboy didn’t waste any time in his first season as an NFL head coach, winning the NFC West with an 11-5 record. In one short year, Goff went from an NFL cautionary tale, to a Pro Bowl and a playoff appearance. It all happened so fast that the media, especially Deadspin, didn’t know what to make of it. Was this real life? Would McVay’s secret sauce be sniffed out? Could Goff continue to slice up NFL defenses at this alarming rate? Most were still skeptical.

By year two of the McVay era, there was no denying that the Rams were on to something. And by the middle of this season, after turning in one of the most electric games in Monday Night Football history, Deadspin in particular began to wonder, “Was That the Future of Football?” And if you thought about it for a second, it absolutely was. Jared Goff vs. Patrick Mahomes trading touchdowns to the tune of 54-51 in LA. Yes, the future football was upon us.

Yet even as Goff was solidifying himself as young star quarterback in year three of his prosperous NFL career, the naysayers still had reason to believe the skinny blonde kid from Marin would eventually fall back to earth and fulfill “bust” label that seemed to fit him well enough. A few bad games and the narrative could be unearthed once again. And that is exactly what happened. “It Only Took Four Bears to Make Jared Goff Look Like a Chump.”

Yes, technically that would be correct, Deadspin. Then again, the Bears defense isn’t all that chumpish (Khalil Mack, heard of him). But wait, the struggles continued, prompting the concerned Deadspin headline, “Jared Goff Is Really Struggling” to pop up as a headline. The article read as follows:

The Jared Goff who seemed like an obvious MVP candidate three weeks ago is nowhere to be seen. In his last three games, Goff has only one touchdown against seven interceptions; compare that to 26 and six over the first 11 weeks of the season. The Rams were perhaps the best team in the NFL through 11 weeks, winning the game of the season and only dropping a thriller to the Saints, in which Goff played heroically. Since winning that Monday Night Football classic, Los Angeles has gone 1-2, struggling to dispatch the Lions two weeks ago, getting crunched by the Bears last week, and convincingly losing to the Nick Foles-led Eagles this week, their first home loss of the season.

That’s why going into the NFC Championship game in New Orleans, I made the conscious (more importantly sober) decision to bet against Goff. He was getting just three points on the road in front of a literally deafening New Orleans Saints crowd. On the other side of the ball was the ultra-experienced Drew Brees, a 40-year old competitive junkie who basically never loses at home inside the dome. A man with a Super Bowl to his name and over a dozen playoff appearances as a starting QB. The Saints had the savvy Sean Payton leading them, while the Rams countered with 32-year-old McVay, a guy who still hasn’t finished two seasons as a head coach in the NFL. Goff had never one a truly big game in his life. Would he start now? Well… yes.

Say what you will about the “worst call in NFL history,” Goff made plays for his team to put them in position to win the game. With Montana’s #16 displayed proudly across his chest, Goff weathered a treacherous storm in the first quarter when the Rams fell down 13-0 to start the game. He could have easily folded at that point, as most other unproven quarterbacks that young would have been swallowed up by the noise in the dome. All his excuses were built in and ready to go. He could head into the post-game pressor and talk positively about how young the Rams were as a team from top to bottom and how much room they had to grow in the seasons to come. The narrative would have made sense. But somehow, Goff was able to push the noise of the fans and the headlines aside and pull out an improbable, albeit controversial victory in the face of sure defeat.

Now onto Atlanta Goff goes for Super Bowl 53, to square off against one of his childhood heroes in Tom Brady, another Bay Area native in his own right. If you want to bet against Goff in the Super Bowl, by all means go ahead. After all, the Vegas odds will be in your favor. Just don’t expect Deadspin to use the word “bust” and “Goff” in the same sentence anytime in the future. They’re way too smart for that.

Jared Goff Shows Out at NFL Combine

Goff looked good. He was the standout,” said Bill Polian, an ESPN analyst who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year for his front-office expertise. Polian didn’t hold back in praising Goff.
“He rose to the occasion,” Polian added. “Everything he does is athletic. The ball came out on time. He throws a nice ball. His feet are really good. His balance is good.

Section925 Podcast Episode 63 - CAL Football's Jared Goff & Griffin Piatt

Piatt, Goff, and Tripper look back at their days playing youth football in the Bay Area and look ahead to the pending PAC-12 season in Berkeley.

CAL's Jared Goff and Griffin Piatt sit down with Tripper inside the Section925 Mobile Podcenter to talk football. Both born and raised in the Bay Area, Goff and Piatt discuss their days growing up playing youth football, their high school careers at Marin Catholic and Campolindo, life at UC Berkeley, and the upcoming PAC-12 season.

Dynamic Duo Headlines CAL’s Receiving Corps

(photo by Norman Mo)

By Connor Buestad |

In just three years behind center for the Golden Bears, CAL quarterback Jared Goff already owns 16 different passing records in the Berkeley history books. And by about midway through the fall of 2015, he figures to tack on a handful more as he continues to bolster his NFL résumé. Surely, much of this passing success can and should be attributed to the wide-open Bear Raid offense that Sonny Dykes brought over with him from Louisiana Tech. It is an offense in which seemingly everything is designed around the concept of allowing the quarterback to get off as many pass attempts as possible.

But, of course, there always needs to be a capable body at the other end of every fastball Goff pumps across the middle, or fade he lobs into the back corner of the end zone. For the last few years Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs have been tasked with the duty of making Goff look good, and they have responded by making him look spectacular.

Both Lawler (a junior) and Treggs (a senior) grew up in the football skill position hotbed that is southern California. Lawler prepped east of L.A. in Pomona, while Treggs learned his craft in the city of Inglewood. Lawler has plenty of height for a receiver and lines up far outside on the line of scrimmage. Treggs, meanwhile, is under six feet and lines up inside in the slot. But most importantly, both have breakaway speed and sticky hands. Two traits that Jared Goff can’t get enough of.

As much as Bear Backers would like to believe Jared Goff has a shot at the Heisman, perhaps a more realistic goal would to simply be crowned the best quarterback of the PAC-12. But even with Marcus Mariota gone to the Tennessee Titans and NFL scouts singing his praises, Goff is still pitted behind USC’s Cody Kessler for conference QB supremacy. The duo of Lawler and Treggs know the feeling all too well.

Despite combining for 15 touchdowns, over 1,200 yards, and over 100 catches last season, Lawler and Treggs still have a lot to prove before they can bypass their PAC-12 peers. The three schools in the conference who are getting the most wide out hype are as follows: JuJu Smith & Adoree’ Jackson of USC, Jordan Payton & Thomas Duarte of UCLA, and Cayleb Jones & Thomas Duarte of Arizona.

But based on last year’s performance, CAL’s yin and yang duo of Lawler and Treggs certainly deserves to be in the conversation of the conference’s best heading into 2015. One handed catches in the corner of the end zone have become the norm for Lawler, who has steadily gotten bigger and stronger over the course of his career in Berkeley and has learned to overpower smaller defenders. His nine touchdowns last year led all CAL receivers and he is already 9th on CAL’s all-time touchdown list after just two seasons.

Treggs figures to be CAL’s emotional leader this year, when you combine his noticeable charisma and three full years of playing experience under his belt. Add on the fact that Bryce’s dad Brian was CAL’s leading receiver for three seasons from 1989-91 and is now enshrined in the Bear’s Hall of Fame. Pretty soon you begin to realize #1 has all the makings of yet another break out season in his last year in a Bears uniform.

CAL’s dynamic duo will have more than enough support around them, so if their stats somehow slip, it could be that Goff is just spreading the wealth.  Stephen Anderson is another tall wide out that is a popular target for Goff, and this year he will be playing more tight end. Even after missing the first two games due to injury, Anderson tallied five touchdown catches despite not being the featured receiver.

Another talented receiver that will provide support is herald freshman Carlos Strickland out of Texas. Perhaps CAL’s most prized recruit of the incoming freshman, Strickland’s highlight tape speaks for itself, as he is one of the most electrifying playmakers in the nation. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see an immediate impact made by Strickland vs. Grambling on September 5th.

With only one ball to go around and so many weapons to choose from, some might begin to worry that Lawler and Treggs might not get all the touches they need. But if anyone should be worried it should be radio play-by-play legend Joe Starkey. “TOUCHDOWN BEARS” might begin to sound like a broken record if he isn’t careful. 

(Photo by HArry How)

CAL Football Sets Sights on Bowl Game in 2015

(photo by Christian Petersen)

By Connor Buestad |

The California Golden Bears haven’t tasted the postseason since 2011, back when the shifty, albeit inconsistent Zach Maynard was at the helm in Berkeley. That year CAL made the Holiday Bowl, only to fall to the Longhorns of Texas 21-10.  The Bears have all but fallen apart since then, but fortunately rock bottom was struck a couple years back and the rebuilding process appears be firmly on the up and up. Thankfully, Sonny Dykes and co. were able to shake off a 1-11 freshman campaign and turn in a respectable 5-7 mark this past season with some impressive wins. 

Now Dykes is entering his third year as the Bears’ head man, and for the third straight season, he will have the talented Jared Goff calling the signals for him. The calm, cool and collected Goff, who played his prep pigskin at Marin Catholic High, has already proven he is a record setting passer. The 2015 season figures to be an NFL audition of sorts for Goff, as he is already trending on many a draft big boards and is expected to be a first round pick following his Junior year in Berkeley.

Goff and Dykes seem to be a match made in heaven when you consider how fond Dykes is of throwing the ball in his patented “Bear Raid” offense. For some perspective, Oregon’s Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota only attempted 445 passes in comparison to Goff’s 509 pass attempts last season. Goff also beat Mariota last year in the pass completed category (316) and ranked second in the PAC-12 last year in touchdowns with 35. As of now, Goff already holds 16 school records at California, and technically, he has two years left to go in Strawberry Canyon.    

Of course, Goff will need someone to throw all those passes to in 2015, and thankfully he will be flush with weapons all around him. Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs figure to be Goff’s most popular receiving targets, not to mention Stephen Anderson who is listed as a tight end, but plays like a receiver. The main man out of the backfield will be Daniel Lasco who should have a big year if he can continue to build on 2014’s impressive output.

The real question for the Bears remains on the defensive side of the ball, as always seems to be the case. Veteran defensive coordinator Art Kaufman will be back for his second year in Berkeley, and it will be up to him and his staff to devise a plan to put a respectable defense out on the field to support CAL’s high-powered offensive outfit. It will certainly be a challenge to change the Bears’ offense-first minded culture and it will be doubly hard when you factor in the talent level of PAC-12 offenses, but something must be done. As the old saying goes, CAL will only go as far as their defense will take them. If they can hold offenses like Oregon and USC in check, the Bears could really get rolling.  

This coming year, CAL will again square off with Texas, but this time in a rare road game at a traditional Big-12 power. The September 19th showdown in Austin will be the first game for CAL away from home in the 2015 season and it marks the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a tough road schedule that includes trips to Washington, Utah, UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford.

Prognosticators who are long on the Bears believe there is hope they could accomplish an 8-4 season and head to a quasi-prestigious bowl. So long as the defense finds a way to step up, the idea that CAL can win eight games sounds totally possible.   

Things kick off for the Bears over Labor Day Weekend when they host Grambling State, followed by another home game versus San Diego State.  Then comes Texas, which CAL could absolutely beat, when you consider the Longhorns are far removed from their glory years involving Ricky Williams and Vince Young. If the Bears can go into Austin and steal the bacon from Texas, all eyes will be on Berkeley and the Bear Raid.

Section 925 Podcast Episode 32 - Cal Writer Ryan Gorcey Previews the Bears v. Buckeyes

(Photo by Jamie Sabau)

Leading Cal beat writer Ryan Gorcey ( jumps inside the Section925 Mobile Podcenter with Connor to discuss the upcoming Cal-Ohio State game. Gorcey discusses what kind of team Urban Meyer will bring with him to Berkeley and the struggling Cal defense that will try to stop the Buckeyes. Gorcey also provides some historical context on the type of year freshman QB Jared Goff has been enjoying. RG even lets us in on some Barry Sacks practice stories and his chances of rubbing elbows with Erin Andrews on Saturday.

Listen here:

Jared Goff Comes out Gunning in his Collegiate Debut

Goff's first college TD pass was a 52 yard deep post to Chris Harper (Photo by Jose Fajardo)

By Connor Buestad |

As the clock approached midnight on the last night of August, Jared Goff sat exhausted in the Cal Football media room following what had to be the fastest 4 hours of his life. He had just thrown the ball an eye-popping 63 times, good for 445 passing yards in route to a whirlwind loss to Northwestern in his first college game. You couldn’t blame him if he wasn’t exactly colorful in the postgame presser.

“I didn’t even know I threw it that many times,” Goff explained postgame, very matter-of-factly. “It’s more than I threw in high school, but it didn’t feel like that much more. I was just throwing the ball when I was supposed to, handing off when I was supposed to, you know, it just happened to work out like that.”

On this night, according to head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin at least, Goff was ‘supposed’ to throw the ball a whole helluva lot. Set up in the shotgun for the entirety of the game, Goff orchestrated an offense that operated at a breakneck speed. The 99 plays the Bears ran from scrimmage was the third highest total in Cal history. Not bad for a 18-year-old’s first night of college football, playing against an elite Big-10 team.

Believe it or not, never before has a true freshman started the season as the Bears starting quarterback. Nor has any Cal frosh ever thrown for that many yards in a single game.  In fact, only one other quarterback in the history of Cal,  Pat Barnes in 1996, has thrown for that many yards in a game before and he needed four overtimes to do so.

“I’m really excited for the future of our offense,” said Goff following his stellar first impression in blue and gold. “You saw in the third quarter how much rhythm we can get and how much our offense can get rolling. I’m super excited about it.”

It is becoming abundantly clear that Jared Goff is much more Ken Dorsey or Joe Montana than current Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Not one to dominate a conversation or bring attention to himself, Goff has already established himself as a cool customer who is content with simply making the right play on each and every down. And beside just one interception that was his fault, Goff did just that. He took the snap and preceded to quickly make the right play, over and over again. Just as Dorsey did in Miami’s heyday during the early 2000’s, Goff utilized his playmakers all night long, spraying the ball around the field to Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs and Brendan Bigelow for smooth, consistent yardage gains.

It is safe to say Sonny Dykes’ signiture Air Raid offense showed up in Berkeley as advertised, much to the delight of the big crowd on hand on a picturesque night at Memorial Stadium. Sonny's young offense seemingly made it their goal to run as many plays as they could in the allotted 60 minute timeframe. It eventually got the the point that the experienced, Big-10 tested defense of Northwestern decided to resort to the type of gamesmanship usually reserved for defenses playing against the vaunted Oregon Ducks. If nothing else, it was a compliment to the Bears new offense that the Wildcats of Northwestern would resort to “allegedly” faking injuries on the field to slow down the Goff/Harper/Treggs “Bear Raid” onslaught.

It wasn’t more than three weeks ago that redshirt freshman Zach Kline, complete with a year of seasoning and a dominate high school career under his belt, was assumed to be the starter on opening night. That never came to fruition, however, as Sonny instead decided to hand the reins over to the cool headed Goff, a son of a Major League baseball player and Cal alum.

Goff’s high school coach at Marin Catholic, Mazi Moayed, has no problem going on record and comparing Goff to Joe Montana and Tom Brady and pegging his understudy as a future NFL’er. After Saturday night, that sort of praise seems to make logical sense, albeit it was just one game.

Yes, Goff technically threw three interceptions on Saturday, and no he didn’t get the W. But what he did do is restore hope in Berkeley that great quarterbacking can and will take place on the Memorial Stadium turf. Now if only he can find a way to steal a victory over Ohio State or Oregon, then the Dorsey comparisons can really begin to pass as the truth.

Bryce Treggs was all over the field catching balls on Saturday night (Photo by Jose Fajardo)

"A New Era Up In The Canyon" - Previewing 2013 CAL Football

(Kristopher Skinner/BayArea News Group)

By Devin "Reno" Wright (@TheRealReno)

So here we are. Back to square one again. It has all come full circle.

In 2001 the Cal Bears turned in one of the worst seasons in, well, since the forward pass was introduced to football. A year later, they hired offensive guru Jeff Tedford away from Oregon, and all of a sudden, the Bears were contenders. We were winning games, churning out All-Americans and NFL studs, going to bowl games, beating SC, UCLA, and Oregon. It was a glorious time in Berkeley.

In 2004 we were robbed of a Rose Bowl by a self entitled program and a sketchy voting system (not to get political but that seems to be the norm for Texas, cough..George Bush..cough Rick Perry). Then we were on the cusp of a No. 1 ranking, only to see it all dramatically fall apart in 2007. Soon thereafter, a downward spiral ensued, and no one seemed to be able to stop the mounting losses. Years of mediocrity accumulated, eventually leading Sandy Barbour to come down with the axe on the "Ted Head Era".

Enter 2013. A new coach, running a new offense and defense, a new stadium, and #CAF new uniforms. Cal fans can't help but feel a little bit better about the future of the program, but maybe that is because we have NO IDEA what that future holds. What we do know is, 2013 will be a very interesting year for Cal football. Come with me as I break down the 2013 Bears before they embark on one of the toughest schedules a Pac-12 team has ever encountered.


Before we break things down by position group, let us think about a few of the names on this side of the ball. Zach Kline, Austin Hinder, Jared Goff, Brendan Bigelow, Daniel Lasco, Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs, Maurice Harris, Kenny Lawler, Richard Rodgers, Jordan Rigsbee, Chris Adcock. There is A LOT of potential here to form a great offense in Sonny Dykes' new #BearRaid system.


The name of the game here is potential. After the transfer of Allan Bridgeford, the QB competition has been whittled down to 3 contenders, none of whom have taken a single snap at the NCAA level. But, as mentioned before, this group is all about what might be. Kline, Hinder, and Goff were all very highly recruited signal callers out of high school (Kline from San Ramon Valley, Goff from Marin Catholic). All three bring different skills to the table as well. Kline is the big armed QB that gets the ball out quick and deep when needed. Hinder probably has the lesser of the three arms, but has the ability to make plays out of the pocket with his feet. Goff is a true Frosh that is rumored to be very comfortable with the system, as he played in a similar spread type system during his high school days in Kentfield.

Coach Sonny has stated that he likes all three of the QB's he has, and knows all these guys can run his system, but he would like to get this competition figured out as soon as possible early on in August. I think I speak for all the fans when I say that we do as well.

My pick is Kline, by the way. Mostly because I want to see him play and live up to the hype that media outlets like The Section have eagerly bestowed upon him.

Running Back:

Bigelow, Bigelow, Bigelow. PLEASE GIVE THE KID THE BALL!!

I wish someone could get an answer from Tedford as to why Brendan Bigelow only touched the ball 86 times last season (45 were kickoff returns). Did Tedford miss this game? Bigs only carried the ball 38 times after this game, and only 4 times in the NEXT GAME. This kid has the talent to be the best RB in the Pac, but he needs to touch the ball to prove it. Louisiana Tech Running Back Kenneth Dixon carried the ball 200 times last year in Sonny's #BearRaid offense. If Bigs can stay healthy, this kid is has the potential to go HAM on Pac -12 defenses week in and week out.

After Bigs, it looks like Daniel Lasco will get the lion's share of the backup carries. Lasco is more of a "between-the-guards" back who enjoys lowering his pads, looking for contact, and driving the pile. Behind Lasco will be a mix of Darren Ervin and Jeffrey Coprich. It should be noted that at La Tech, the top two backs had over 140 carries, so expect to see a good amount of rotating in the back field.

Sonny, Treggs, and Mo Harris go over the Bear Raid offense inside Memorial Stadium (Kristopher Skinner/BayArea News Group)

Wide Receiver:

Bryce "Trigga" Treggs likes to call the Cal wide receiving corps, "The Heem Team." This is where I think the most talent lies on this Bears young squad. Treggs and Chris Harper are beasts. The two came onto the scene as freshman last season and made some incredible plays. Now, with a wide open offense to work in, these two are due for breakout seasons that should get them some national pub.

Harris (who is somehow still a sophomore), Lawler, Darrius Powe, Richard Rodgers (in the #BearRaid, there are no Tight Ends), Bryce McGovern, Maximo Espitia and Jackson Bouza can all make plays. All these pass catchers bring different elements to the table in terms or stretching the field, and settling in the zone. If they can pick up the system, and get in a rhythm with their new QB, this group has a chance to be the most well rounded in the conference.


This is a group of Big Uglies that has A LOT to work on. Now, few of us were big fans of the erratic Zach Maynard, but the kid was often running for his life in an attempt to make plays. The Bears will start this season with only two returning starters up front. Now, that usually is viewed as a bad thing, but with how poor the line played last season (allowing almost 4 sacks a game), getting some new blood in there shouldn't be a bad thing.

Cal's line will be anchored by the insanely talented and massive LT Freddie Tagaloa. He will likely be joined by Jordan Rigsbee, Chris Adcock, Alejandro Croswaithe, and Matt Cochran. While this group will probably be young no matter who starts, the key will be finding a starting center that can make the right line calls and that will keep the Quarterback clean versus uber-athletic teams like Ohio State and Oregon. Adjusting to a new blocking scheme will also be of great importance for this group. While they will be young, it bodes well for the future the more games the young guys get under their belts.


If there was one group that the Tedford staff always recruited well, it was Defensive Line. Of course that was thanks in large part to the Cal version of Benedict Arnold: Tosh Lupoi. There was a lot of hype from guys like Deandre Coleman and Viliami Moala, but we are still waiting on them to have their break out seasons. The scheme change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 will put guys like Todd Barr and Chris McCain on the end of the line, where their speed should help in the pass rush, but their size could be an issue in the run defense.

Mustafa Jalil, Dan Camporale, Puke Lopa, and Gabe King can provide depth up front. But the big question is how will these guys adapt to a new scheme lead by new Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh, and D-Line coaches Barry Sacks (perfect last name right?) and Garrett Chachere (note: Like the WR's, who have separate slot receiver and outside receiver coaches, the D-Line has both interior and ends coaches).


A quick note: Last season, Nick Forbes lead the team in tackles. The next two guys on the list were Defensive Backs. That isn't a good thing, especially in a 3-4 defense that is designed to have the linebackers make most of the tackles.

The switch to the 4-3 alignment will be an adjustment for the Bears linebackers as well. This is a very young group, that has not played a lot, but certainly has some potential. They were very young, and were very inconsistent last season. Other than Nick Forbes, it remains to be seen who will step up in Fall Camp and be named starters.  Penn State transfer Khari Fortt, and youngsters like Michael Barton, Hardy Nickerson Jr, and Jason Gibson will get a chance to crack the starting line up. Meanwhile, Jalen Jefferson, and Brennan Scarlett will need to impress in their new roles in the 4-3 if they want to see extensive playing time on the field this year.

Defensive Backs:

Here is what we do know. Avery Sebastian likes two things, tweeting, and hitting. This is a guy who can really take the next step by improving with his pass defense and creating some turnovers from his safety spot. After that, it's kind of a guessing game for the Bears defensive backfield.

Kameron Jackson saw time in all 12 games last year, and showed some flashes with three interceptions. Stefan McClure did not play at all last year, but might be considered the frontrunner for the other starting job. Michael Lowe should hold down the other starting safety job with Sebastian.

After that core group, it is really up in the air regarding depth with this group. Expect a lot of the younger guys to see time this season.


As a fan, my thinking is simple, There is talent on this team.

If the offense can get acclimated to the new system we should be able to score in bunches. This leaves the onus on our defense to get stops, against some of the best offenses in the country no less.

Why can't we go 7-5 and make a bowl game? We did it with Tedford in his first year (minus the bowl game due to a bowl ban). Unfortunately, only 9 starters are coming back, and the Bears are facing a schedule that features home games against Northwestern, Ohio St, USC, Oregon St, and road games at Oregon (which comes right after Ohio St), Washington, UCLA, and Stanfurd. It really doesn't get much tougher for a young team that is breaking in a new QB, and learning a new system on both sides of the ball. I'm hoping for 7-5 or 6-6, but I'm afraid we are looking at something like 5-7. Let's hope the young kids develop (especially at QB and DB), and lay the foundation for what I think will be a successful future in Strawberry Canyon.


Zach Kline, pictured here in 2011 on the turf, expects to be named QB1 by Aug. 31st.