Chase Garbers thinks he can be the best quarterback in the Pac-12. And honestly, I have to agree with him.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated this weekend, Garbers remarked that he thinks he can be the best quarterback in the conference, despite most of the preseason All-Pac-12 teams almost guaranteed to place USC’s Kedon Slovis or Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels on their lists.
Garbers is every bit as talented as those two, but suffered a midseason injury that really hurt his chances on preseason lists.
But I’m here to say that after that injury, Garbers was already the best quarterback in the conference. His four-game stretch to end the season last year, his final four games of the year post-injury, were among the best stretches of not only Pac-12 quarterbacks, but all quarterbacks nationwide.
Also, if you remove the shortened USC game from his final stretch, it looks even better.
Garbers connected on 59-of-91 attempts (64.8%) for 788 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception. He threw very few errant throws and made crisp decisions down the stretch, capping his season with a remarkable 4-touchdown performance against Illinois in the bowl game.
Despite the injury, he still threw for more yards than he did in all of 2018, on 43 fewer attempts. He averaged 8.2 yards per pass attempt compared to just 5.8 yards per attempt and cut his interceptions by two-thirds. He made smarter decisions post-injury and looked every bit like the true dual-threat that he is, capping the season’s tremendous run with a rushing touchdown in each of the final three games.
Garbers also took much better care of the ball after the injury, not just with his decision-making in the pocket, but also as a runner, fumbling three times before injury but not a single fumble after.
It’s safe to say that Garbers is riding into the 2020 season on the biggest hot streak of all returning Pac-12 quarterbacks, and had he not suffered the midseason injury that caused him to miss action from Weeks 6-11, he’d certainly be in the running for a preseason nod as All-Pac-12 QB. I mean, come on, Cal was a perfect 7-0 when Garbers played for more than half the team’s snaps.
That being said, perhaps he’ll thrive off the non-mention. Perhaps he’ll continue to play with a chip on his shoulder, out to prove that his stretch was no fluke to end the year.
One thing is for certain, if he believes he’s the best quarterback in the Pac-12, then who are we to say anything against that?