California spotlight: Jared Goff

QB | California

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Ben Margot | AP Photo
Jared Goff

California freshman quarterback Jared Goff has stepped right in to college football going 100 mph.

This time a year ago he was in his senior season at Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, Calif., on the way to throwing for 3,692 yards and 40 touchdowns. He already had committed to Cal and its long-time coach, Jeff Tedford.

In the meantime, Cal fired Tedford and reached to Louisiana Tech to bring in Sonny Dykes and his fast-paced offense. Rather than renege, Goff enrolled in January and Dykes gave the starting job in preseason camp.

Two games in, Cal leads the nation in number of offensive plays (194), is ninth in total offense (582.5-yard average) and Goff is No.1 by a wide margin in passing yardage (467.5 average). That Cal is 1-1 as it plays host to Ohio State tonight has more to do with its defense being 116th overall, but it appears Goff has taken quickly to his high-speed ride.

“I think he has a good grasp of the offense,” OSU co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers said.

As rapid-fire as it is, the quarterback’s main task is quickly understanding the call from the sideline, then executing, because the rest of the offense also is taking cues from the sideline.

“This is one of those offenses where you just call plays and you go,” Withers said. “So he’s getting it in and he’s calling it.”

It hasn’t all run smoothly for the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Goff. Northwestern had a couple of touchdown returns off tipped balls, and he threw three interceptions overall that night. But in the win over Portland State a week ago, the offense found a nice rhythm.

The trick for the OSU defense will be trying to disrupt that rhythm. So far, Goff has stood tall.

“He doesn’t seem overwhelmed at all with running what they do,” Withers said.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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