Pac-12 Football: Cal Spring Football Preview: Cal Searches For Next Starting Quarterback

Thearon W. Henderson

Finding a starting quarterback will be Sunny Dykes' biggest and first order this spring.

Sonny Dykes is wasting no time in getting to business at Cal as the Bears have one of the earliest starting spring practice schedules in the nation. Dykes is definitely going to need the early practices to get an initial look at his team which completely unraveled under Jeff Tedford towards the end of 2012 and lost their last five, including the last two by more than 40 points each.

Though there are clearly a number of issues with the Bears heading into spring practice, none looms larger than their situation at quarterback, or their lack of a stable situation at quarterback. If it seems like Cal has had issues at quarterback since Aaron Rodgers took off nearly 10 years ago, it is because that is pretty much the case and Dykes' first order of business has to be establishing a stable signal caller that isn't a liability.

With the graduation of the often frustrating Zach Maynard, there is no clear cut candidate to assume the position, but junior Allan Bridgford might have the inside track going in simply because he is the only quarterback on the roster who has any game experience. However, Bridgford was anything but impressive in his limited service in 2012, throwing for less than 300 yards with only one touchdown to three interceptions.

The good news for Dykes and Bears fans is that the cupboard is well-stocked with guys who were highly-rated coming out of high school, though none have made an impact yet. Redshirt freshman Zach Kline had a solid performance in last year's spring game and was arguably the top quarterback recruit on the West Coast signed in 2012. Kline is the smallest of the group at 6'2 200 but might have the biggest arm and has been described as having great leadership qualities.

Also in the stable is redshirt sophomore Austin Hinder and big-armed redshirt freshman Kyle Boehm, both guys who signed with a lot of fanfare in recent years but weren't able to crack the two-deeps last year. Hinder is a guy who has a lot of the mental tools, but had to put on weight early in his career to build a Pac-12 body. Boehm appears to be a step back in the race though as Bridgford, Hinder and Kline went 2-3-4 in last season's depth chart.

The final wild card of the group will be incoming freshman Jared Goff who enrolled early to take part in spring ball. Goff was one of the more touted quarterbacks to sign with a Pac-12 school this year, but certainly wasn't a 5-star guy. However, the fact that he will be the only guy actually signed by Dykes could always play a factor. With that said, it is highly unlikely that Goff, who should technically still be in high school, will compete for the starting position.

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