Cal QB hopes to learn from Goff's mistakes against Utah
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) The leading passer in the FBS has a pretty strong connection with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft.
California's Davis Webb regularly exchanges text messages with Jared Goff, the former Golden Bears quarterback now with the Los Angeles Rams, with the topics covering a wide range. The two have known each other since they were seniors in high school and remain close, even though one is still in college and the other is in the pros.
''I try to give Jared a little space because he's a little busy doing the NFL thing,'' said Webb, who leads the nation in passing yardage (1,387), touchdowns (18) and completions (138). ''It's always fun to talk to the number one overall draft pick and a former Cal great. We probably text once or twice a week to see how each other are doing, how the game plans are going. He's a great friend to have.''
One subject Webb has declined to bring up is Cal's 30-24 loss in Salt Lake City last season when Goff was intercepted a career-high five times and had a fourth-down pass batted down on the Bears' final drive.
While it might not make for good memories for Goff, it is a topic California has discussed many times this week as it prepares to host No. 18 Utah on Saturday.
The Utes (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) are off to another unbeaten start and coming off a dramatic come-from-behind win over USC while the Bears (2-2, 0-1) are trying to recover after a 51-41 loss to Arizona State.
Utah doesn't have the offensive talent that California does and could be without one of its key defenders. Defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei was knocked out of the win over USC with a shoulder injury, and although coach Kyle Whittingham is optimistic, Lotulelei's status for Saturday is uncertain.
Even if Lotulelei is held out, Bears coach Sonny Dykes said his team can't take anything for granted against the Utes defense.
''They do a nice job of keeping you off balance,'' Dykes said. ''They're not real predictable in what they play and when they play it. Their corners play aggressive and they do a nice job of undercutting routes and making plays on the ball. That happened to us a couple times last year.''
Here are a few more things to look for when Cal hosts Utah on Saturday:
CLOSING IN ON 100: Whittingham needs one win to reach 100 for his career. The 12th-year Utah coach is 99-46 and would become the 24th active coach in the FBS to reach the milestone.
HANDS OF HANSEN: Utah cornerbacks Dominique Hatfield and Reginald Porter figure to be busy trying to slow down Cal's high-octane passing game, in particular wide receiver Chad Hansen. Hansen, who leads the nation in catches per game and is second in receiving yards per game, has reached double digits for receptions in each of the Bears' first four games.
NO DEFENSE FOR CAL'S DEFENSE: As good as the Bears have been offensively, their defense has been equally bad. Cal has scored 40 or more points in all four games this season and twice put up at least 50 but allowed 96 points combined in its two losses. ''We can play good defense when we don't give up big plays,'' Dykes said.
BERKELEY BOUND: This will be Utah's first visit to Memorial Stadium since joining the Pac-12. The previous two games between the Utes and Bears were in Salt Lake City. The Bears hosted the Utes in 2011 but the game was played at AT&T Park in San Francisco while Memorial Stadium was being renovated.