Another week, another round of questions! This time, our friends over at California Golden Blog have agreed to tell us everything they can about the upcoming game in Berkeley. Thanks to LeonPowe, atomsareenough, and Vlad Belo in particular for their great answers!
tBBC: California is leading the nation in passing yards at 470 per game. How do you explain true freshman QB Jared Goff’s taking the country by storm?
LeonPowe-CGB: Obviously the #Bearraid offensive system installed by Tony Franklin and Sonny Dykes is a big reason why. Spread the field, use passes as the running game. Tempo. And having lots of talent at wideout have been big pluses for the passing offense, but Goff is the guy who makes it go. Despite being a true freshman, his high school ran the Tony Franklin system and he familiarity with the terminology and what the QB is supposed to do gave him some advantages over his competition for the QB job in the spring and in the fall (he’s an early enrollee). But mentioning all of that without giving credit to Goff would be selling him very very short. His strengths are his decision making and his accuracy – he’s been baited into a handful of bad throws but he’s a true freshman and playing catch-up with regards to defender speed and size.
atomsareenough-CGB: Well, first and foremost, the credit has to go to Goff. He’s been as advertised; consistent, accurate, careful, and makes quick decisions with the football. Secondly, those traits mesh extremely well with the new offense, which is conceptually pretty simple but relies on being quick and accurate. Third, we have a talented corps of receivers who have mostly done a good job catching the ball. I wouldn’t have predicted he’d be leading the nation in passing yardage, but I think part of the explanation is that teams have been focusing on stopping the running game and putting the pressure on him to throw. Fortunately, he’s been able capitalize on that, has distributed the football well, and we’ve taken what they’ve given us. The way he plays though, it’s not simply a quirk or a coincidence or a product of the scheme. He’s legitimately very good, especially for a true freshman. Even after 2 games, I feel pretty confident in saying he’s the best QB we’ve had in many years.
Vlad Belo-CGB: Jared Goff does not look like a guy who is overwhelmed. He is extremely composed, keeps his poise very well, and throws the ball on time. He seems to have a command for this offense and it shows. Playing in the friendly environs of his home field to make his debut hasn’t hurt either.
tBBC: Sticking with offense, through two games, the Golden Bears are averaging 97 plays per game. Is this extremely fast tempo by design or dictated by the game situations? Can they keep up this pace on Saturday?