REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Having played for Jeff Tedford at Fresno State, Trent Dilfer knows what the California head coach can achieve with a top quarterback executing his offense. But the Super Bowl winner has been as baffled as everyone else at the stunning decline in production at the position recently.
“I don’t want to throw guys under the bus, but it was shocking there for a while,” Dilfer admitted.
After two years as lead instructor at the Elite 11, the quarterback camp that brought together 25 of the nation’s top high school quarterbacks for the past five days, Dilfer has now seen two players capable of reversing the trend first-hand.
“I called him (Tedford) a while back and I said, ‘Well, you got your fastball back,’” he said.
Last year, it was Zach Kline, who enrolled early and is entering his freshman season for the Golden Bears.
Now it is Jared Goff, who secured his place in the top 11 when the final selections were announced Sunday afternoon.
“Jared is going to be a rock star,” Dilfer said, “He’s got more intuitive qualities than I know how to explain. He’s special.”
Exceptionally consistent all week long – Goff always made the coaches’ daily top 11 and was never lower than seventh – the Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic standout actually turned in his worst performance in the final session.
During a two-minute drill where quarterbacks had to drive a 7-on-7 team 60 yards and score a touchdown, Goff tried to do too much and his five-play series ended with three straight incomplete passes. His biggest error was an unnecessary heave for the end zone on fourth down.
“I just didn’t stay disciplined like I had been all week,” Goff said. “Those last two or three throws I just got a little risky, got a little greedy, and it came back to bite me.”
Dilfer said it might have cost Goff a shot at the MVP award, which went to South Florida commit Asiantii Woulard, but never came close to knocking him out of the top tier.
“I was a little nervous just because of the way I performed in that last thing, but I knew deep down I did well enough the whole week to be able to claim my spot in there,” Goff said. “It means everything. It means a lot. Working through everything I’ve been through this week and coming out in the top 11, it’s just fantastic.”
Now he can turn his focus toward his senior season and enrolling at Cal next January. Once Goff does arrive on campus, Dilfer sees big things in store for both him and Kline.
“They’re very different, although I would say both of them have a very high functional football IQ, meaning they see the pictures and can process the information as it happens. It doesn’t slow up their body. It doesn’t slow up anything,” Dilfer said.
“They’ll both digest what Jeff does there very well and Jeff will be able to go back to doing what he does best and that’s calling balanced football.”
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.