The suspense is over after a long week of two-way quarterback speculation between true freshman Jared Goff, who has been the start for Coach Dykes since the beginning of the season, and redshirt freshman Zach Kline, who has played well in limited snaps. Dykes announced earlier today that Goff would start the game at Husky Stadium.
Though Cal’s losing started right from the beginning, Goff and the offense were surprisingly potent in the first few weeks. Goff threw for at least 450 yards in the first two games of the year before delivering an equally potent 371 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick statline in the loss to Ohio State. In all three contests Goff attempted at least 50 passes, but for a true freshman to be putting up such massive numbers was encouraging for Cal fans, even within Cal’s pass-heavy “Bear Raid” offense.
Goff’s struggles began, as one might expect, against Oregon. He completed three of seven passes for only 11 yards in that game before being benched in favor of Kline. His replacement looked far more competant in finishing out the rest of that 55-16 blowout, but his final statline of 18 for 37 for 165 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception wasn’t anything to get too excited about.
Goff bounced back a bit against WSU. His team lost 44-22, but he did his best to keep it competitive by tossing two touchdowns and 504 yards to one pick. Now, after two games without a touchdown (but with two interceptions), more than 220 yards (215 and 220 yards despite 43 and 31 attempts), or a victory, the two quarterbacks were listed as costarters on Tuesday’s depth chart and fans have spent each day debating the merits of either sticking with the original starter or making a change in the hopes of jump-starting a flagging offense.
As to how this could influence Saturday’s game for the Huskies: it probably makes the Bears a bit more dangerous in a high-volume passing sense. Kline would be running the same offense, but Goff has shown multiple times that he is capable of racking up yards through big-time plays through the air. That means the Washington secondary will need to avoid the broken coverages that have plagued the team over the past few weeks. Cal may be a bad team, but if Chris Harper or Bryce Treggs get behind a confused Husky defense on a couple of occasions, this game could be very serious for Coach Sarkisian very fast.
Perhaps Cal fans have seen enough of Goff and wanted a change, but if he can use this challenging week of competition to regain some of his former confidence, Goff can be Cal’s most dangerous player.