As many of you guys know, I tried to have a live twitter feed of last Friday’s practice. I’ll definitely try to attend more to keep you up to date, just follow me here https://twitter.com/calfootballblog.
After three practices, we can already see the changes that Coach Dykes have implemented with the program. Many have observed that the practices are faster, the players are consistently practicing with high energy, and the staff is feeding into that energy as well. Though I’m not too sure how people are saying that we are practicing faster. In terms of the speed of movement, it’s actually not too different from the Tedford years (I would know because I’ve actually attended them). However, there are more reps per minute per player. For example, the quarterbacks who are not in during a play will take shadow reps (imitating snap count, reads, and throws) while one of the quarterbacks is under center. Players do run to each drill instead of gingerly jogging like they did before thanks to coaches constantly yelling at the players to move faster. One thing I have noticed that contribute to the increased number of reps during practice is that the coaches won’t exactly go on long talks with players while on the field. It seems like they have reserved most of the coach talk to the position meetings and the video room.
Technically every position is up for battle since there is a completely new staff. However, I will look into who will be our next quarterback. We all know how important this position is in terms of leadership and how quickly the offense can adapt to what is now called the Bear Raid. So who has been the top three quarterbacks in the first three practices. Here is my observation and ranking.
3. Austin Hinder
In terms of reps, he has a gotten his fair share of plays under center with the first team. His feet moves well, which really helps his escape-ability. Also, even though he is on the move he still has a good touch on the ball. Some issues he has right now is that he needs to gain a little more strength and weight. He also needs to make better decisions overall but that might come once he reps all the plays over and over again with different looks from the defense. I would say at this point, Hinder is a solid backup quarterback.
2. Jared Goff
I am really surprised with this pick. I would have thought Bridgeford would be the one of the top contenders for the starting spot or even the backup. However, Goff has been quite impressive for someone who just came into the program only a few weeks ago after graduating high school. He still needs to learn the speed of the game at the college level and to have a better relationship with his receivers because there have been times where he is literally a split second off with his receivers. Other than that he has good mobility and a pretty good release and touch on the ball. I think most people can see that he has a lot of potential and with the number of team reps Franklin and Dykes has been giving him, the coaches seem to think the same. He’ll most likely take a redshirt this season.
1. Zach Kline
We all knew he was a great recruit and a great high school quarterback. So for most people this doesn’t come as a surprise. Kline has received the most number of team reps throughout the week especially with the first team. I also don’t remember Kline throwing any interceptions even though he has had so man reps. He’s making good decisions but at the same time takes some risky decisions because he trusts his arm. Speaking of his arm, he throws one hell of a bullet. Sometimes his throws are so hard receivers have a hard time getting clean catches on the ball; however, those balls gets past the defenders and to his receivers before the defender can react. I wouldn’t say he has better mobility than Hinder but it’s fairly good (He’s no Nate Longshore, so that’s good). This kid is poised and ready to take on not only the role as quarterback but also the role as one of the leaders of the team. So far Kline has a fair lead on the quarterbacks and he is my pick to be named starting quarterback after the Spring Game.
Still, don’t count out either Kyle Boehm or Allan Bridgeford. There is still plenty of football left this spring. I would highly recommend all of you to attend Saturday’s scrimmage to see for yourself who will win this QB competition.