Cal football: Does Sonny Dykes stick with Jared Goff or turn to Zach Kline?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

How should Sonny treat the quarterback competition going forward? Open, make a switch, stick with a guy for the rest of the season? Is making changes in-game a solid enough move?

Leland Wong: I wouldn't be a fan of having co-starters or routinely pulling QB 1A for QB 1B in the middle of a game. I imagine that would put a great deal of stress on the young QBs, making them afraid that any mistake in-game will result in time on the bench. With two freshman quarterbacks, I'm not sure how they'd handle that pressure.

Goff has proven to be a great talent, but the offense seems to be regressing. That's not entirely his fault as we've lost starters on the offensive line, seen some receivers get banged-up, and have a non-existent run game; it's also possible opposing defenses have sufficient Bear Raid footage to prepare for. Nonetheless, Goff is still making some mistakes (like his self-inflicted fumbles) and, ultimately, the ball isn't getting into the endzone when he's in control of the offense. Maybe he just had a bad game against Oregon State, but he didn't have that calm-under-fire that I saw in the beginning of the season.

If Kline weren't so talented himself, I wouldn't even think of pulling Goff right now. However, the coaches suggested the two were neck-and-neck for a lengthy competition, so I can't imagine there's a significant difference between the two. Under the lights, Kline has been able to get the ball moving against the Beavers and a crazy-good Ducks defense. The offense seems rejuvenated when Kline's in charge. Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin dials up the tempo when Kline is in, which is where our offense thrives; we saw OSU have a substitution penalty when we started getting speedy. I'm not sure why the offense seems more productive with Kline in command. Maybe Goff is struggling with the college life or the experience of being on a losing team, both of which Kline has dealt with for a year. It's possible he has the intangibles, the competitive edge, and the leadership that shows in games and not in practice. Goff is a heck of a talent with a bright future, but so is Kline. I'd like to see how Kline can perform with a week of practice as the starter. Unfortunately, it'll be on the road against a Washington squad that, while horrible ethically, has a pretty good defensive coaching staff.

atomsareenough: I've been fine with the in-game changes so far, as they've come at appropriate times, in my opinion. Just as Bigelow was benched when he kept fumbling, Goff too is not above being benched if he's going to keep turning the ball over like that. Now that we've seen a little bit of what Kline can do, I think he's earned a shot at the start this coming Saturday in Seattle. I'd be fine with Coach Dykes giving them both reps this week and then naming a starter. Frankly, unless Goff definitively outplays him in practice this week, I'd like to see what Kline can do with the start, and based on that, take it game-by-game the rest of the season. A bowl game is all but out of reach at this point, and I see no reason to name a starter for the rest of the season. Let's let them continue to battle it out and see what they can do. The offense has regressed considerably, so why not see if Kline can make it more effective?


Sam Fielder: Since the Pac-12 keeps scheduling Cal football games that start unbelievably late and end the next morning, I've missed most of Kline's play, but I do like the fact that Sonny has been giving him a chance, especially since Goff has been struggling lately. I don't know what would be best moving forward, since I don't know how each guy will respond. Goff's confidence has to be shaken somewhat, but I don't know if Kline has been outplaying him enough to warrant a change. Just for a what do we have to lose reason, I'd like to see Kline play, but then that takes reps from Goff, so then are we taking away from next year? All that to say, really, whatever Sonny decides I'm on board with, but if it were me, I'd split reps in practice and then give one of them the start depending on the week in practice.


Ruey Yen: I am all for Sonny to open up the QB competition. I still believe in Jared Goff, but I think it would be good to push Goff to perform better by allowing Zach Kline the chance to win the starter job for the rest of the season. I know I was probably the most vocal about this here in the past week, but I should clarify that I am just calling for another open competition, rather than a straight out change at QB. At this junction of the season, both Goff and Kline should have better grasps of the offense. Given how many plays the Bear Raid is trying to have when running smoothly, I would argue that one start given to Kline might give him enough reps to show his talent. So if it is up to me (and it is perhaps a good thing that I have no official pull on this matter), I would reopen the QB competition with the aim to give Kline one extended look in a game. This kind of plan, to me, is a lot better than to have the two guys alternate in consecutive offensive drives in a game.

LeonPowe: I didn't watch the game, I was out running 15 km as training for the upcoming Shanghai and Taipei marathons. It's arguable about which is more painful - running 15km or watching this season. I think, however, with Kline moving the team twice now and scoring touchdowns - something the Goff led offense has been unable to do - he's earned a shot at the starting job. Normally making QB switches makes me wary - but this season is about the next three years. I think both guys should get game time. We're probably not going to win another game, but we should get both guys game experience.

Vlad Belo: I think it should be open. Don't get me wrong: I like Jared Goff and I think he has fantastic upside as a quarterback. But if there is a way to keep players focused, engaged, and competing for the rest of a lackluster season, it is to give guys who are second and third on the depth chart a chance to compete and to shine. Zach Kline didn't exactly light it up against Oregon State on Saturday night, but I saw a guy who was eager to compete and who was trying his best to take advantage of the opportunity handed him. Kline's opportunities may light a competitive fire not only with Kline, but with Goff as well.

Also, I thought as I watched the game that it was a good decision to pull Goff and give Kline some playing time. The game was what it was, obviously. But, also, I was concerned with Jared's protection of the football. His fumbles were Dave Krieg-esque.

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