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Bowers Wins Starting Quarterback Job

August 28, 2017
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What has been obvious for more than a week became official on Monday when Cal released its first depth chart: Ross Bowers is the starting quarterback.

Bowers, the 6-2, 200-pound sophomore won the four-way competition over junior Chase Forrest, freshman Chase Garbers and transfer Brandon McIlwain. Bowers had been taking most of the snaps with the first unit since the Aug. 19 scrimmage, so he clearly had become the front-runner.

"All the guys did a really nice job," head coach Justin Wilcox said after Monday's lengthy practice. "Ross just earned the right. It wasn't just one day or one practice. It was the body of work."

Bowers, who is from Bothell, Wash., actually moved ahead of Forrest a year ago, albeit slightly. Forrest had been the backup to Jared Goff in 2015 and played in three games, attempting 18 passes, completing ten for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Last year Davis Webb took every snap at quarterback until the final game when Bowers was selected to mop up the win over UCLA. He did not attempt a pass.

But Wilcox and his staff saw enough this fall to convince them Bowers was the guy. 

"He can throw the football," Wilcox said. "He's an athletic guy. He can make some things happen when it's not perfect. He kind of has that mentality about him, find a way. He can throw from different arm angles. He can get out of trouble and make some plays with his feet. We'll see some of that. He's got to continue to get better in other areas."

The decision was made a few days ago, and the quarterbacks were informed by their position coach Marques Tuiasosopo during a meeting.

"I've always believed in myself and tried to put myself in this position," Bowers said. "You are dreaming about stuff like this, and trying to prepare myself as best I can. One mission is complete then it's on to the next one."

Wilcox did say that nothing in the depth chart is "set in stone", and that obviously includes the QB position. Someone who has never attempted a pass in a college game cannot

take his status for granted. The other QBs are still around and want his job. 

"It is something where you never want to get complacent, especially when you haven't really done anything yet," Bowers said. "It's nice, having those guys as talented as they are playing at such a high level. They're pushing me to be as good as I can. It definitely is a good thing, not just for me but for the room in general. It raises everyone's level, having two or three other guys who can really play."

McIlwain, whose eligibity for this season is still unresolved, is not listed on the depth chart. But Wilcox implied that doesn't necessarily mean he can't become eligible. "He's not eligible, right now," the coach said, repeating the line he has uttered for months.

There some other interesting items on the depth chart. On offense, junior Kyle Wells, who took most of the first team snaps after Raymond Hudson was injured, is the No. 1 tight end. His backup is freshman Gavin Reinwald, and that is something of a surprise. 

"Gavin has done a nice job," Wilcox said. "He's still got to develop physically, but he's tough, he can run and he catches the ball well."

Freshmen Elijah Hicks and Camryn Bynum were listed as even atop one cornerback spot. Senior Marloshawn Franklin was on top of the other corner ahead of Josh Drayden and senior Darius Allensworth, who was a starter a year ago.  

Wilcox said the freshmen had made quite an impression in moving ahead of some veterans and turning the depth chart upside down from the spring. "There are some returners that have played a lot at corner," he said. "To make it that competitive is really a tribute to them (Bynum and Hicks). It is not about what anybody else didn't do, it's about what they have done."

Dylan Klumph and Steven Coutts were listed as even at punter. Wilcox said that competition is ongoing, and gave no indication when he would make a decision.

This season captains will be appointed for each game. For the opener Saturday at North Carolina it will be placekicker Matt Anderson, defensive lineman James Looney and wide receiver Kanawai Noa. In college football sometimes players in different units share the same number. In this case, all three captains wear No. 9.

Anderson will also do kickoffs as well as field goals and PATs.  

To View post practice videos from head coach Justin Wilcox, quarterback Ross Bowers, defensive end James Looney, running back Tre Watson and kicker Matt Anderson, use the embedded viewers below: 

 

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