Cal hopes transfer Davis Webb eases transition from Goff era
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Davis Webb made an immediate impression when he arrived at California this summer with his tireless work ethic.
He was usually the first player in each morning and last to leave. Webb organized frequent throwing sessions with teammates and was more than willing to adjust his schedule to make sure all his receivers got involved.
That kind of leadership helped him quickly win over his teammates and earn the starting quarterback job after joining the Golden Bears as a graduate transfer in May. The task doesn't get any easier as Webb must now master the offense and build a rapport with his teammates as he replaces No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff.
''I feel like I've been here for more than two months,'' Webb said. ''I feel like it's been a couple of years, the way we bonded on and off the field throughout summer workouts. I feel really comfortable with this team.''
Webb's transition is helped by the fact he ran a similar offense at Texas Tech, where he threw for 5,557 yards and 46 touchdowns while making 14 starts and playing 23 games.
Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he wasn't seeking a grad transfer but made the move to add Webb when his former player and current Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury called Webb one of the hardest-working players he had been around. That quickly became evident once he enrolled at Cal when he brought his receivers in for long film-watching sessions and hours of throwing before fall practice even started.
''He's elevating everybody's game to a higher level,'' receiver Raymond Hudson said. ''It's crazy the confidence that he has where he comes in and takes control. He knows what he wants and everybody has bought in.''
Here are some other things to look for from Cal this season:
CATCH THE BALL: The Bears lost their top six receivers from last season, meaning Webb will have to break in a new set of pass catchers. The group definitely doesn't lack talent. Five-star freshman Demetris Robertson is Cal's most heralded recruit in years and early enrollee Melquise Stovall impressed in spring ball. Hudson and Chad Hansen have some experience and will likely start in the spread-out Bear Raid offense.
''We have some unknowns. We have some questions we have to answer,'' Dykes said. ''But at the same time, the guys that we're answering those questions with have the opportunity to be pretty good.''
HOLD THE LINE: Cal returns four starters on the offensive line, which should make the job easier for Webb. Senior guard Chris Borrayo leads a talented group that should help the Bears run the ball with a trio of backs led by Vic Enwere, Tre Watson and Khalfani Muhammad.
KEY GAMES: If the Bears want to return to a bowl game, they better pile up some wins early because the second-half schedule is brutal. Cal faces five teams picked to finish in the top three in their division in the final six games, although four of those games come at home against Oregon, Washington, Stanford and UCLA.
SEASON OPENER: Logistics will be the biggest challenge in the opener when the Bears travel more than 7,000 miles to take on Hawaii in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 26. Cal will leave a week early to try to lessen the effects of the long travel and will have a week off to recover after the return home.
''We like to think that will be like a bowl game but we all know it will be a business trip,'' Hudson said. ''We're going to enjoy Australia as much as possible but we're going for the win.''