Post-Spring Review: Quarterbacks
With spring in the books, we're taking a look at every position group from the spring and where they stand going into the 2021 season.
Trace: The quarterback position lost a couple names in Spencer Brasch and Jaden Casey to the transfer portal, but the spring was always meant to give Chase Garbers more time to adjust to Cal's new offense and figure out who could back him up. Those goals seem to be somewhat accomplished, with plenty of workouts before fall camp to come.
Nam: It is always hard to evaluate spring ball, and particularly this one, when the team lost so much development time last fall due to COVID. But, as we head into fall, we know at least a little more than we did before, which makes it an ideal time to recap where the players at this position group stand:
Chase Garbers –
Nam: In short, encouraging. Though he only played about 11 snaps in front of public eyes, he showed some glimpses during the Spring Game of things he was rarely comfortable doing last fall: scrambling decisively, throwing deep, processing more quickly, stepping up as necessary. The sample size is still far too small to determine if he’s on course for the jump the program truly needs, but it appears promising that Garbers will at least be able to elevate his level of play above what he showed in 2020, his first year in Musgrave’s system.
Trace: We only really got to see Garbers in the spring game, where he played extremely well, versus the other parts of fall camp where his numbers didn't look as rosy. From the parts everyone got to see, Garbers looked closer to his 2019 peak than the struggles of 2020. There's still plenty of time for him to improve prior to the season, something Cal needs in order to 'Finish the Job.'
Zach Johnson –
Nam: We all saw the numbers heading into the final scrimmage, but Johnson was inconsistent in front of actual eyes. It’s hard to blame him too much for that – practice is practice, and he’s obviously done enough to progress and earn the staff’s trust to the point that two guys transferred out this spring, including one who was above him on the depth chart previously. The presumed #2 guy at this point.
Trace: Johnson's ascension was something hinted at last year, as the true freshman made the travel roster, but the confidence his teammates have in him is always a good thing to hear. He's someone who has taken to learning the playbook and has picked it up better than his high school film would have had most assume. Despite some uneven play during the spring game, he had a few throws during the session, with one to Ben Skinner in particular, that showed why he's the backup going into 2021.
Robbie Rowell –
Nam: Easy guy to root for, who appears well beloved by his teammates, based on how excited they were for the end of practice, when he went live for contact. Rowell was very good during the scrimmage, showing off some good athleticism, and was hurt on a couple of drops that marred an otherwise. Trace believes he is on track to earn a scholarship, which would make some sense. I think the team definitely could use him for a situational role this year.
Trace: I do believe Rowell is on the path to earning a scholarship, everyone I've talked to is pretty 'ride or die' for the former Acalanes standout. Rowell's willingness to go full-contact at the end of scrimmages has endeared him to the coaches and the defense alike, and he's a solid passer to boot. He's still the number 3 guy on the depth chart, but there will be a role for him in some shape or form.