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Cal football: Trusting in Jared Goff and the Bear Raid

Sonny Dykes trusts in Jared Goff long-term. Can Cal fans do the same?

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Leland Wong: I haven't seen any proof that Dykes's proclamation is true. This is a divisive topic among the Golden Bear faithful with some among our ranks saying Zach Kline's supporters are being too hard on Jared Goff because our team's other woes have put him in an unfair situation, so let me plainly state that I don't think Goff sucks or that he's decidedly not the long-term answer.

However, the Goff-led offense has been unable to put up points recently and unable to get wins, which Dykes et al. have stated is their most important criterion in evaluating a quarterback; we also had a ridiculous string of three-and-outs this weekend up north. Based on that performance, Goff has not proven himself to be the long-term answer in the eyes of this super-experience and incredibly qualified football expert.

We know from the lengthy quarterback competition before the season that there isn't a huge drop-off between the two. We've seen Zach Kline as the catalyst for an offensive spark and an increase in the offensive tempo. Ultimately, Kline puts points on the scoreboard, though the defense may have taken it easy and, eventually, been replaced by the second-stringers.

That being said, Kline hasn't proven himself to be the long-term answer either. I'm not guaranteeing Kline will score TDs or win games; however, just like when your quarterback throws his third pick, you turn to the back-up, not because it's guaranteed he won't throw an interception, but because the current guy isn't effective and you need to find something that will work. With the offense and Goff struggling, why not continue to test the realistic options? Just like we recently reshuffled the offensive line, the running back depth chart, and moved Brendan Bigelow to inside receiver. Why not give Kline a chance?

Ultimately, my biggest issue with Dykes's declaration is the effect this is going to have on players. Dykes has practically spelled out that Kline isn't going to be the starter barring some monumental change. Making such a bold statement in the middle of the season may make Goff complacent with a sense of job security, make Kline lose motivation, or even start up locker-room drama if it seems like Dykes is picking favorites.

It's too early to evaluate if the Bear Raid can work in the Pac-12. Right now, we aren't even running the true Bear Raid; we don't have run-pass balance and our tempo has slowed. The lack of a run game can be attributed to the struggling offensive line or it may be some inherent flaw in the Bear Raid. I'm okay with giving Dykes a little more time to get his offense going, as painful as this season may be.

Norcalnick: I don't know. I have no clue.

This reminds me so much of various quarterback controversies under Tedford. I haven't seen Kline in practice and I haven't seen him make many meaningful throws in games. I, personally, have no choice but to trust that Sonny Dykes and his offensive staff are making the right choice based on what each quarterback has shown in practice over the entire year.

I suspect that Sonny's decision is the right one, given the pedigree he has on offense. I hope he's right.

Ruey Yen: The curious side of me is hoping to see how Zach Kline can handle the QB starter role. With this season being what it is, I really don't see why Kline can't get a legit shot to prove himself in a game as a starter. Nevertheless, I do think sticking with Jared Goff may pay off in the long run, as he continues to improve and get better (probably mostly in the offseason).

As for whether the Bear Raid can succeed in the Pac-12, it should be good enough to win a Pac-12 game but may ultimately be too gimmicky to win the conference. I think most Cal fan would be very content with Cal being a mediocre Pac-12 team next year and make a low end bowl game.

Vlad Belo: I can't say I feel the same way, at least not in the unequivocal sense. I like Goff and I think he has great potential to be the quarterback of a good football team when we have the pieces in place to be a good football team. But I'm not prepared to say that he will forever be the starter. As good as Goff has looked at times, he still shows the growing pains of a true freshman. And I've seen enough of Zach Kline to know that Kline is a talented backup waiting in the wings. You just never know what will happen when a guy as talented and confident as Kline is continuing to work and battle to wrest the starting job away.

As much as I am not prepared to anoint Goff the starting quarterback for the remainder of his career, the postgame threads on this board took me aback a little bit. Goff went 32 of 54 (59%) for 336 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INT, yet you would have thought from some of the comments that he embodied the worst performances of J Torchio, Justin Vedder, Joe Ayoob, Nate Longshore, Zach Maynard, and [insert your favorite oft-criticized Cal quarterback here].

As far as the Bear Raid goes: yes, I still believe it can succeed in the Pac-12. We just don't have the execution, the experience, or the personnel to make it successful this year.