So, we all know about the big news by now...but how did Jared Goff handle his first day as Bear Raid Commander? That's below, if you continue.
[Not. Intended. To. Be. Complete.]
The quarterback rotation for reps actually didn't look too different on Friday, even though Goff was named the starter earlier that morning; Zach Kline appeared in 7-on-7, and took a drive at the end of practice, too.
Goff was, well, Jared Goff. [Expect some variation of that statement to be written every day until next Saturday.] He completed a very high percentage of his throws, checked down when he needed to, and really didn't look any different as the starter.
Still, his efficiency on Friday was quietly outstanding - while working from inside the 15 yard line for 7-on-7, he threw four consecutive touchdown passes, and though he did not particularly impress with any individual throw, the impressive part was hidden in how easy he made it all look. A deep pass to Chris Harper, a perfectly lofted fade to Kenny Lawler (expect that to be written a lot too), a short pass left to Bryce Treggs that he took outside and turned into a third score, and then another pass to Chris Harper. Those four plays ended Goff's turn in 7-on-7, but captured his performance pretty well: efficient and methodical.
The newly minted Bear Raid Commander also added two more highlights in 11-on-11, both of which came under heavy pressure.
- Play numero uno: with the defense showing blitz, Goff quickly recognized he needed to get the ball out quickly, and hit Chris Harper on a comeback for a five yard gain. It was a routine play - the kind of play that sustains drives and is almost basic to successful quarterbacking, but a play too often lacking in recent years. So far, Goff has shown more than capable of such basics, and as a result, is almost assuredly going to be better than his North Carolina predecessor for that reason.
- Play numero dos: Again facing down pressure, Goff coolly stepped up in the pocket and threw a lob to Darren Ervin, who had made his way into the end zone, giving his receiver a chance to make a play on it. And make a play on it he did - Ervin dove forward to snag the ball, and got a touchdown out of it.
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Zach Kline, though resigned to backup duties, did some good things of his own in his limited reps. Hurt by several drops on the day, the redshirt freshman was a perfect 4 of 4 in the day's final 11-on-11 period, with a well-thrown screen pass that James Grissom took for a gain of 30, and an on-the-money throw to Richard Rodgers, which was completed on the run. [Rodgers then proceeded to rumble downfield for 20 yards.]
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Notes and Observations
- Avery Sebastian was back at practice on Friday, but did not dress.
- Nick Forbes (back spasms) was once again not a participant during practice. Neither was fellow linebacker Khairi Fortt (knee bruise). Defensive end Todd Barr was dressed and did return, though.
- There has been some movement on the second team offensive line, now that Matt Cochran and Steven Moore have left that unit. Today's version: Brian Farley, Chris Borrayo, Mark Brazinski, Alejandro Crosthwaite, and Christian Okafor.
- Richard Rodgers began the day with the 1st string in place of Maximo Espitia, and has been seeing more and more time there as fall camp continues.
- Kameron Jackson recorded an interception in WR/DB drills, as did Stefan McClure. McClure also had several passes defensed, with the most impressive one coming in the opening 11-on-11 segment. Racing up the sideline in coverage of Chris Harper, McClure leaped up with one hand outstretched and managed to swat away Jared Goff's pass - a great display of recovery speed and athleticism.
- Defensive end Puka Lopa saw some time with the 1s as well, and seemed to make his presence felt with a pair of sacks in OL/DL drills.
- Brendan Bigelow once again saw very little work, with Darren Ervin, Jeffrey Coprich, Khalfani Muhammad and Daniel Lasco taking the majority of carries.
- Thanks to fellow CGB writer Vincent S, we were able to time at least a good portion of practice. When the team was actually attempting to push the tempo, play times averaged between a low of 10 seconds, to a high of around 17 seconds.
- No fights! Again!
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- Please keep in mind that I am not an offensive line expert before reading this next section. I think that there could be some problems in pass protection this year, particularly on the right side. I've spent a portion of the last two practices specifically watching offensive line/defensive line drills, and plan to focus even more closely on that area next week now that the quarterback situation has been settled. On Friday, a "twist" drill was being practiced, where the offensive line would face off against two defensive linemen trading places against each other, and neither of the offensive lines had very much success picking them up - I think I might have marked down a single "win" for the OL during the entirety of this period.
- One possible explanation for their struggles here might be due to all the rotating parts; since a consistent unit of first team linemen have yet to practice together consistently, they might still be lacking the coordination, communication and chemistry that seems crucial to defeating twists. A lot of these same linemen do better in 1-on-1 drills, only to be utterly destroyed when being forced to work together.
- One other related explanation is something I've heard more experienced fans and coaches say, which is that the offensive line is always the last unit to gel...and if that is true, then the door is always open for a vast improvement two weeks from now.
- On the flip side, like I wrote about Thursday's practice - this unit seems to be doing pretty well in the run game, and won the majority of battles there, at least in drills. Daniel Lasco had one absolutely disgusting run during these drills - staring down Michael Barton, who had just come down from the second level to fill an open gap, Lasco juked left into the next available hole, then hit the accelerator for a 10 yard touchdown.
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