Cal Football Fall Camp 2013: Practice Report #6

Matt Soderstrom

In which we recap the quarterback race, now that there have been two complete rotations.

Practice #6 gallery by Matt Soderstrom can be found here.

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Quarterbacks:

So, to recap: on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, all three of Zach Kline, Austin Hinder, and Jared Goff shared time.

On Thursday and Friday, however, things changed a bit - judging from the distribution of quarterback reps those days, there was a shift from even snaps for everyone to a daily focus on just two QBs instead. By cutting one Klindergoff candidate out of rotation at each practice, the staff could then maximize snaps for the other two.

With Austin Hinder (Thursday) and Jared Goff (Friday) having each sat already, it would logically follow that Saturday was Zach Kline's turn to do the same. And that's exactly what happened - Hinder and Goff took most of the action on Saturday, with no one looking particularly better than the other. Each was adept at hitting short routes and moving the chains, with incompletions a rare sight. Neither made any glaring mistakes of any kind; there were no turnovers.

Perhaps a case could be made that Goff played better. Several Hinder completions were made possible by fantastic efforts from his receivers, and not all of them were perfectly placed. Goff also threw three touchdowns in 7-on-7 to Hinder's none - by my count, one came on a fade to Trevor Davis, another came on a pass to Ray Hudson, and the third was a short dump off that Jacob Wark took into the end zone - and added another touchdown to Ray Hudson in day's final 11-on-11 session.

Then again, perhaps not.

Some of Goff's touchdowns resulted from field position, for example - the coaches let him take over closer to the end zone, while Hinder began further away. Each was pretty efficient overall, scoring notwithstanding.

For Hinder, Saturday was a significant step up from his play earlier in the week, while for Goff, it was a continuation of the status quo. The true freshman has been mostly mistake free through six days, and save for Tuesday, has never finished as the "loser" of any practice, so to speak.

"I thought Hinder was better today," Coach Dykes said. "We'll just look at it and see. Based on what I saw today, I thought they all performed pretty well. I think the timing was better, the throws were getting out a little sooner. I thought the accuracy was better, particularly with Hinder. We'll see how it plays out."

With Saturday in the books, though, two full rotations have been completed - and all three heads of the Klindergoff have seen just about equal time overall, although they have not played at equal levels. Goff and Kline have been about even, with Hinder lagging a bit behind when taking the entire week of work into account.

The main difference between Goff and Kline's play, really, is this: Goff has been far more steady, while Kline has stood out primarily by generating big-yardage, eye-popping plays [albeit at the cost of consistency at times]. Neither has managed to look vastly superior to the other, although if pressed for an evaluation and opinion, I would personally say that Goff has been better in these six practices.

Still, there is a good amount of tape on everyone at this point - and even though Coach Dykes indicated that there was much less than he would prefer, changes should be coming within the next couple of days, if not later today.

"We'll sit down tonight and kind of evaluate those things, see if we can't make a decision... whether it's naming a starter, or narrowing it down."

Notes and Observations:

  • A day after spraining his ankle, Bryce Treggs returned to practice and was a full participant. Nick Forbes also returned to practice in a limited capacity, although an enthusiastic one, to be sure - when sent in at middle linebacker for 7-on-7s, Forbes let out a huge, animalistic cry. An exact quote from the junior? "OHAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRAHHHHHHH."
  • Spencer Hagan was limited. "Struggling a little bit, health wise," according to Coach Dykes.
  • Khalfani Muhammad, Kam Jackson and Bryce Treggs took kick returns at the beginning of practice, and each looked extremely effective in that role. The longest return of the day went to Muhammad, when the freshman streaked through an alley for a 40 yard gain, although his returns mostly went straight ahead - Kam Jackson showed the best mobility of the three, bending one middle return up the left sideline for a 30+ yard gain. Coach Dykes mentioned that Brendan Bigelow would also be in the mix to return kicks, but he did not take any contact reps on Saturday, just to keep his workload light.

  • Avery Sebastian should be back by the scrimmage on Monday, according to Sonny Dykes.
  • Chris McCain is continuing to deal with a bruised shoulder, and Trey Cheek reportedly "pulled a hamstring" during practice, with its severity still to be determined. "He's a guy who could be out for a little bit of time," Coach Dykes said.
  • The other two centers may have their snap issues worked out, but Mark Brazinski still does not. Lining up at center for the third string offense, Braz managed a fumbled snap and a high one in the span of three plays.
  • Daniel Lasco put a wicked juke on Cameron Walker at one point, part of a carry that went for 15 yards, drawing a big reaction from the 200 something in attendance. Sorry, freshman.
  • Running back Mitchell Bartolo made his first appearance in camp Saturday, although when asked, Coach Dykes could not quite recall what led to the extra roster spot.
  • During drills, all three freshmen linebackers - Chad Whitener, Johnny Ragin and Edward Tandy - were spotted playing together. Ragin has already caught the eye of coaches and appeared on the second unit, but Whitener could be someone to pay attention to as well. On one of the plays I saw from this unit, Whitener quickly diagnosed a run from Daniel Lasco, stepped in, filled the gap, and put a nice hit on his fellow Texan, all in one fluid motion. They also appeared together in the day's final 11-on-11 session, as well.
  • Another day, another sack for Jacobi Hunter. He added a pass deflection and a tackle for loss later in the day, as well. Hunter "continues to be a guy that impresses."

  • Jake Gerringer and Joey Mahalic got some reps at quarterback as well - they closed up the day with the third string offense. Hooray walk-ons!
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