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Wolves quarterback to be featured on ESPN at Florida invitational

Original post made on Oct 27, 2011

Zach Kline will be headed to the Sunshine State over winter break, but not to take in the sun, surf and sand along Florida beaches. Instead, the San Ramon Valley High senior and varsity quarterback will be trudging up and down the Tampa Bay Ray's field in St. Petersburg at the Underarmour All-American Game.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 12:59 PM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Harv
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Mmm...we'll see. The Danville papers have certainly covered him to the extreme, even though his team's SRV record was barely over .500 last year, and he's never won a league title or NCS. Just ask Sam Keller (SRV 2001)and Kyle Wright (MV 2001 and US National High School Player of the Year), both D-1 recruits and outstanding prep QBs in their day, how tough the next level is. There are a lot of high school QB's across the USA coming out this yr who have won things like 3 state titles, and 50 or more consecutive games. Kline's record as a varsity starter is just above average against a league that no one calls outstanding, aside from De La Salle, who annually rule the roost. Against the best team they faced this year (Folsom), they lost. Let's save the hype to see how he works out at Cal, where the competition will kick up a few notches. So-called phenoms come and go every year.


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Posted by Rob
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm

What's he won, lopsided games against the likes of Livermore, Amador, and the weaker EBAL teams? Watching this year's SRV team, they've had to pull out some very close games against slightly better than average opponents, and the quality team from Folsom beat them. I'll give you that he has an arm, but isn't the high school landscape littered with kids that the local press pumps up, only to get overmatched at higher levels? (Kyle Wright comes to mind). Sure, we like to have local noteriety for our athletes, but with no NCS or EBAL titles, does this QB deserve the hype? Last yr,the league stats showed another school's QB was number one. I'm with Harv above, let's hope he does well at Cal, but for now dial down the hype machine until he actually wins something significant for the school.


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Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Oct 28, 2011 at 9:07 am

I wish Roy Helu would get more local press, Roy played T-Birds with my son for years, he went on to Nebraska where he finished as the #4 all time leading rusher in school history in a college program that is one of the best around. He now is getting considerable game time with the Redskins...Go Roy!!


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Posted by Kirk
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:09 am

Obviously, the De La Salle 40-3 pasting last Friday settled any wonder on anyone's part who the class of the EBAL is once and again, far and away. And Bart Houston certainly out-dueled Zach Kline. If you saw the game, Kline spent the better part of it running away from the dominating Spartan D. I'm not a DLS parent, just a football fan, but if I had just come to the game with no previous knowledge of the hype surrounding this player, I would have never have guessed I was seeing an out-of-the-ordinary, special SRV QB, that's for sure. Recent memories of Keller and Southwick conjur up many more highlights and big wins, including NCS titles a few years back. This team and this QB will not win that distinction. I know his 2-year varsity record is just a bit above average, and not good at all against superior teams. Like the comments posted above, I'd agree that while he may pile the stats on against the Livermores of the world, what's he done against quality opponents? His hype is not playing out on the field. How he deserves a spot in the Florida all-star game is beyond me.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

We are talking about a 17 year old kid in high school. How about taking it a little easy on ripping him and his team...How do you think he, or his parents or teammates feel about these type of negative comments? When he is in college and a legal adult, and getting a free college education, than this type of debate is appropriate, but for now I suggest we leave this kid alone and let him and his teammates enjoy high school.


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Posted by Mort
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm

American, I get your point, but let's face it -- high school sports are very big these days, and they are hyped waaaaay more than when I played a couple of decades ago. Heck, ESPN now covers several games a week, and USA TODAY carries national rankings weekly. Go on the web and see all of the recruiting and ranking websites -- this is a big business, to be sure. They read like a rating of beef on the hoof. Thus, the more hype in the press, the higher the expectations. Recruiting top athletes for big-time college programs strips a lot of the naivete from simple school sports, too, not always for the right reasons, either. But when athletes accept the accolades, they also must accept the lumps, too. Kline is going to Cal, where the heat is on to win. It's only just begun so he had better get used to it, like it or not. Maybe our news writers are culpable for building these kids up too fast. But what is the hype based on, if he has never won a title or anything similar yet?


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Posted by Replay
a resident of Blackhawk
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I think Kline of SRV is a good, not great QB. Records speak for themselves. What defines great?-- Wins? Rivalry wins? Wins against defending champions? League titles? NCS champs? State Champs? If so, well, those are not there. Having seen plenty of EBAL football through the years, I've seen many QB's come through the mill. Whether Kline will take SRV to the NCS title or national rankings this year remains to be seen. Whether he leads Cal to greatness in college remains to be seen. What bothers me is how our local press makes heroes of kids amidst claims of greatness, when the body of work is incomplete (and in this case just above average). Let's let the kids play ball and see how it all sorts out, without the over-extended hype. Friday Night Lights should be fun -- unfortunately, they've become recruiting auditions for college scouts.


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Posted by QB Shuffle
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm

If one accepts elite invitations, then one must accept elite expectations, too. It comes with the territory, especially if a prized D-1 QB scholarship to the likes of Berkeley is involved. I think kids like Kline must (at least I hope) know that. If they don't, they will not make it under the wilting hot light of examination of their results in the years to come. Being publicly reviewed for a sub-par performance against De La Salle is one thing --though against Oregon, Stanford, and USC in the coming years it will be quite another. The comments posted so far are good practice (and are thankfully factual, not mean-spirited, IMO) for any players going on to the next level of play. If Kline is truly what the papers claim, than he and others like him in the EBAL will have his shot to make some real news, not just high school hype.


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Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Nov 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

Now I know why we have had so many earthquakes lately, I am agreeing with everything "American" said in his previous post and that doesn't happen very often. In my 10 years of being a "football Dad" I saw a LOT of fathers way too far into the whole scene and they were obviously frustrated jocks living vicariously through their son's sports participation. The De La Salle Dads were NEVER seen without wearing some sort of DLS apparel. I say let these boys play and enjoy the game without all the partisan sniping.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2011 at 11:09 am

Jrm: I am also surprised that we agree on anything,but glad that we agree on this issue. As a long time volunteer little league baseball coach, I have personally watched a few fathers AND mothers go beyond acceptable parent behavior and become overbearing, overinvolved, and take a pure child activity and put so much stress on their kids that they ultimately dropped the sport. I have also seen parents rip children that are not even theirs, for making mistakes on the field, which is ridiculous. Life is stressful enough without us adults adding to the stress and frustration of our children. The SRV quarterback is a kid in high school, that should be allowed to be a kid, and not have to deal with adult armchair quarterbacks on this blog ripping his ability or stats.


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Posted by QB Shuffle
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

Jrm & American -- You're missing the point, and it isn't helped by dragging out that old "frustrated dad jocks" thing, either. The fact of the matter is that this particular player has been named to a national all-star game (and thus the scrutiny begins, have you ever watched the game and listened to the commentary? For the most part, these kids are de facto already in collage by that point anyhow) and heavily covered in the press(more scrutiny), without the benefit of elite nationally-ranked statistics, a state title, NCS, or even a league title on the resume. I remember a quote in the paper that he said his team was going to be the best-ever at SRV, and with 2 losses so far, that won't happen, either. So why all the hype? No one I've read on the blog is ripping his stats, as he is a good QB, but only as they relate to nationally elite players. The body of work doesn't seem to warrant the hype, that's all. Since he has signed on to go to Cal, let's assume he understands the heat will shine brighter than if he had signed on to attend Sac State. I think the case is being made by other bloggers that our press over-hypes these kids into ridiculous levels. Remember, if you actually win something, it's not hype.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

QB Shuffle: My point is this is a 17 year old high school kid, just trying to enjoy his final year in high school with his teammates, friends, and parents, and should not have to deal with adults questioning the "hype" about his ability...Please let a kid be a kid, and not have the added pressure put on him by adults... I also think it is unfair to crucify him for "not evening winning a league title"...DLS, a nationally ranked power, that has athletes from Richmond to Pleasanton attending their school, is in his league, so not winning a league title over DLS means nothing...Ryan Whalen, a star at Stanford who now plays in the NFL with the Bengals, and Zach Ertz, one of the top tightends in the country at Stanford, also never beat DLS while they were at MV, but they excelled at the college level...This kid from SRV will be under the spotlight soon enough at Cal, but for now how about we just let him be the kid he is?


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Posted by QB Shufffle
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm

American --

But Whalen & Ertz weren't selected for the national high school all-star game, or super-hyped by the papers, either. Also, neither one of them brought the spotlight on themselves by proclaiming in a quote to the press that their team was going to be the best ever at that school.
It's better to low-key your approach and let your accomplishments do the talking, especially when you are 17/18. Will Clark said "it ain't braggin if you can back it up." Where's the back-up?
As far as the DLS comment (and I am not a DLS former player or parent), if you want to be considered elite (as in a national all-star game) you have to beat the elite -- and that's on any level of sports. SRV hasn't come close. Everybody gets their shot at high-powered teams like DLS every week. Whether they measure up or not is proven on the field, not by parents talking in the stands. Truth is, they got their shot at them. And if you ask the players, you'll likely find that most players WANT to play DLS, to have a chance at knocking off the best and making a memory for life. If they don't, then they don't belong in competitive athletics. Taking someone's best shot and coming out on top is the thrill of victory, as any athlete knows.


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Posted by Overtime
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Let's not gang up on QB Shuffle here -- I for one also agree that anyone who is close to, or understands, high school sports (especially football) knows just how high-stakes it can be for the colleges who are out looking for top-drawer recruits. They invest thousands of hours and millions of dollars watching film, scouting games, making recruiting trips, all in the name of finding those "blue-chippers' who will help them win at the collegiate level. Yes, it would be nice to, as American put it, "let a kid be a kid", but it's just not that way for the better athletes. They are under pressure early from coaches and parents to attend year-round skills camps, tramp around the country trying "to be seen" by the college scouts, not normal activities for kids 15-18 years old. For them, the pressure-cooker comes early.

Maybe many years ago the innocent idea of Friday night prep games was to "let kids be kids", and for many it's still true -- they will not be moving on in their football careers. But for those like Kline and the others accepting the financial help from colleges (and that is a HUGE amount of cash, nothing kid-like about that), they must accept the fact that they are being held to a higher standard. If I am reading the comments here correctly, the question is whether this particular QB deserves the hype, given his record against better competition and league standings. I think it's a fair question, but let's not jam up the area Starbucks sitting around and fixating on this topic. Everybody knows that there will be another "phenom" or 3 next year to talk about, and the year after that, and so on. I myself am looking forward to the SRV-MV game this year, since both starting QB's are going to Pac-10 schools next fall. Whether they are worth the hype, it's a cross-town rivalry that is always a great ticket.
By the way, remember the GREAT SRV-MV game in 2001 between Keller and Wright? It was an unforgettable classic -- but I'll be darned if I know where either QB is now. That's just the way it is.


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Posted by Marcus
a resident of Danville
on Nov 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

Pursuant to the above posts, I think it was settled on the field Thursday night in head-to-head competition who the more dominant QB is between MV's Lockie and SRV's Kline. While De La Salle's Bart Houston is no question the championship QB of the league (3 EBAL crowns and a state title on his resume), between the 2 also-ran Danville schools, Lockie and the Mustangs bettered Kline and SRV now 2 years in a row. As an impartial spectator, I saw NOTHING from Kline to warrant a national high school all-star invitation, considering how many other QB's around the country are compiling much more impressive bodies of work. Lockie had over 300 yards passing and moved MV on critical drives for scores. When SRV needed a TD, late, it wasn't there. He had a nice long early TD pass against MV, but the receiver had to come back to the ball in order to catch it. The no-doubt-about-it star of this year's rivalry game for SRV was the running back Weiss with 265 yards.
Sorry, but trying to separate the hype from the play on the field this season, I just didn't see a nationally elite QB for SRV there Thursday night. His team needed to win just to claim undisputed 2nd place, and they came up short of that. How is that nationally elite? I bet that Kline is likely a super nice kid and good student, proud of his school and they of him, but I'm just talking football and results here.
Like QB Shuffle posted earlier -- to the sportswriters -- so who's the next "phenom" you'll hype for the 2012 season?


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Danville
on Nov 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

Now that the regular football season has played out, and the NCS play-offs begin, my message to all the boys from the various schools is congratulations on making the postseason, and take the time to enjoy the moment. You are creating memories that will last you a lifetime, moments you will remember and laugh about at many future class reunions. Some of your teammates will fade from your life, some will remain friends, but for now you are all going through this run together, and it is special. Many years from now, win or lose, the memory of who made all-conference or the individual awards will fade and be largely forgotten, but the grueling practice drills, funny moments, things the coach said, and the memorable plays will be the things that stick. I feel qualified to say this given the years to reflect back on my own high school team -- this is a shining moment for you, and you cannot come back to suit up and re-create it, so enjoy it now and have fun making some lifetime memories.


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Posted by Scott
a resident of Danville
on Nov 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm

To Marcus and several others -
In comparing Houston, Lockie and Kline you all forget that football is a team sport - and they don't play on the same teams. They have different lines, different receivers, different coaches. For example, failure to acknowledge that Bart has, on one hand, superior blocking and time to throw, and on the other hand, a less advanced passing system, in comparing him to the others is just plain ignorant. Jeff's coach is particularly and uniquely talented at designing an offensive system and giving QBs a chance to succeed, but he has a less dominant running game than DLS. Point is - its hard, or impossible, to compare them on the results of one or two games - even "head to head" games. You have to look at the whole season. Did Bart outperform either of Jeff or Zach in their losses to DLS - who knows becuase you can not compare. How would Bart do running for his life the way Jeff and Zach do against DLS - or without the 300 yards a game his RB's gain. And did Jeff outperform Zach in the MV-SRV game? Well again cant compare becuase SRV went with a run based game to take advantage of the blitzing and pass coverage focus of MV. And Zach was still 17-24 for 242 yards and 2 TDs. And that worked well as the RB, Weis, who until then had gained a total of 500 yards got 256 in one game. Why did he get 256 - he is a very good runner for sure, but in part becuase of the defense geared to stop Zach. Does he get no credit for that in your "head to head" analysis? Failure to acknowledge that is plain ignorance of football. Did Jeff do great in that game - yes. They both did well. Jeff and Zach both led early game scoring drives and late game scoring drives. Both were helped by other teamates - Jeff by a halfback pass from Johnson and Zach by Weis' running. The winner of that game will almost alwasys be the team that has the ball last. Jeff led a late game drive for a FG right after Zach led a late game drive for a FG. The point is that Zach has doubled his yards passing and tripled his TDs and cut INTs in half from last year. He has as many yards as Lockie for the 10 game season, more TDs, fewer INTs, a higher QB rating, higher completion percentage and he threw the ball 50 times less - or for Zach, two games worth. He was one of the top 5 QBs in two straigh Elite 11 camps. Has won MVPs at almost every camp (Nike, Elite 11, etc) that he has gone to - and he has been to several. And he has been reviewed, analysed, and critiqued by literally hundreds of football writers, "experts", etc. - and they overwhelmingly say the same things. So I am not arguing to cut Zach a break becuase he is 18, but I am arguing instead to learn a little about football and acknowledge that its a team sport and comparing QBs is not possible unless you look at teh totality of the facts. The fact is that all three kids are highly recruited and highly ranked. And the guys who do these rankings are largely correct. They miss a few, sure, but they hit alot more than they miss. So the question is not whether Zach should have been invited to the UA game (Houston is invited to one of the other all-star games) - they clearly desrve it becuse they perform in one of the toughest leagues for football in the US - but instead why isnt Lockie - he shouldve been too. And who is better - Jeff or Zach? Who cares - they don't.


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Posted by Marcus
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

Wow, check out the previous post by Scott -- it contains such detailed, one-sided diatribe that it seems to me it could only be written by a family member of Kline's as a "defense" to the other posts suggesting that Kline is over-rated. OK, you fired your bullets. Here goes my response --

I can't believe Scott is discrediting RB Weiss' 265 yards in the SRV-MV game simply because the defense "was geared to stop Zach." Oh brother, check your ego at the train station. Only a dad would write that. What an ego-ridden comment. I was there at the game -- and i didn't leave it saying, "Wow, I saw a real high school elite QB tonight", and I've seen a few in my time. I've seen several SRV games this year -- the STATS, Scott, tell me that SRV pulled out several close 4th quarter games this year against sub-par teams with losing records, hardly a case for nationally elite leadership.

This week, the ESPN football analysts have been arguing about Tim Tebow's lack of beauty in his play for Denver, but they constantly come back to the fact that he is winning, which is the bottom line. They all agree that no matter how you get it done, winning is the final determination. What's Kline won for SRV? While other QB's in the country (and at DLS) are piling up league and state titles (yes, it's a TEAM sport remember), Kline led SRV to a glorious 7-5 record last year, barely above .500, and a 3rd or 4th place finish in EBAL. This year, via head-to-head tie-breaker, they were 3rd again. Is that what you call successful?

In the early season, the SRV Times wrote an article about Kline and he popped off that this year's team will be the best ever at the school. You gotta back those kind of comments up, as he'll learn. Not even close. He did not back that up, I don't care what kind of offense his team ran. Who cares? 3rd place in EBAL? And I'm not willing to agree that the EBAL as you say is one of the "toughest in the country". Sure, DLS tilts the scale because they are annually nationally elite, but the league also has the likes of Livermore, Amador Valley, Granada, and Foothill, who are hardly tough year in and year out. I've lived here for 32 years and have followed the league. There are conferences in Ohio, Penn, FLA, and Texas that would blow the EBAL (excpet DLS) away every year. And even this year, when DLS went out to play the #2 team in the USA in FLA, it got blown away on national TV. It wasn't even close. And I like DLS, but it was a blow-out.

Scott, you say that you "can't compare" the QB's "even in head-to-head" games. Why not? That line of logic sounds every bit the loser's justification of a parent. I'm sure that if SRV would have beaten DLS and MV you wouldn't be saying that. Last I looked, the past 2 years SRV was 1-4 against DLS/MV, and I'm counting the NCS win last year, or it would have been 0-4 in league play. Elite?

Scott, don't dare to insult us and suggest that me and the other writers "learn a little about football" -- I don't know about the others, but I played it through college, thank you. Did you?

Your argument about "the totality of the facts" to me ends with your comment "you have to look at the whole season." OK, let's do -- the fact that when they pull out this year's yearbook 10 years from now, nothing will change about the scores and record (the types of offense the different coaches ran -- really, Scott?), and the fact will remain that during the Kline era the best the team could do was 3rd place. I do not intend that to sound mean, and have nothing personally against Kline or any other student-athlete, but you fired a few barbs at us, and you seem to put a lot of stock in the facts. Check my comments. Those are the facts.


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Posted by QB Shuffle
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Woa, Scott! Throwing all those little-known, detailed stats at us about Kline of SRV in your post means either that you are Kline's dad or family, as Marcus suggested, or you took the stats for SRV this year, and also tracked his performances at the camps you cited while you were at it. You seem to know a lot of back-story about him just to be a casual fan.
If you are a family member, I can understand how you would want to defend Kline, who is a good QB, and probably a good kid at SRV too. But your take on why Weiss got his yards and the comparison to Jeff Lockie don't wash. Stats only go so far -- you gotta win on the field. Romo piles up the stats for Dallas, yet look, he's got them treading water. If this was a high school fantasy league, that would be a different case.

You mention Kline's success at camps -- why? It sounds very defensive to me. I have nothing against this kid, but like I posted earlier, he didn't fill his hyped shoes this season, IMO. That doesn't make him a bad kid, so don't take it personally. I know about these camps -- they work on timing, accuracy, and artistry -- but not against 11 real live opposing players trying to stop them on defense and win a real game. Wowing the folks with stopwatches and people running the camp drills is one thing, winning on the field with the team you have around you, quite another.

I thought the SRV team this year had a lot of individual talent going in, especially watching them come up from freshman year. But whether it was coaching or QB leadership, a full moon, or the Ides of March, they didn't win the EBAL or beat the better teams in the league either this year or last. That's where the rubber meets the road, to me. I believe that against De La Salle, Monte Vista, Granada, and Cal (the best teams SRV faced in EBAL these past 2 seasons), they were a combined 3-6 or 3-7, including NCS. Sounds under-achieving to me.

Again, I wish Kline the best at his next venture, but please don't argue a convoluted case that he played at anywhere near an elite level this year.


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Posted by QB Overhype
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

DLS is not a QB high school, placing Bart Houston in the same breath as Zach Kline is pure nonsense. Bart certainly does not have what it takes to become a starting college QB. He was never developed at DLS. DLS does not develop QB's. Can you say "hand-the-ball-off" kid?


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Posted by endzone flyer
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

To overhype --

Let's talk EBAL QB's since that seems to be the thread going here----keeping it friendly:

To your shot at Houston of DLS -- Well, Wisconsin must have seen SOMETHING they can build on if they offered him a ride back there. Beilema is nobody's fool. I realize they are more of a power running team traditionally, but this year's qb (Russell Wilson) has changed all that. They also probably like the pedigree of him playing under the best high school football coach of all-time in coach Lad,and also some glimmer in terms of ability, discipline, and commitment (I am not a DLS alumni or parent, either, I just follow my football closely). Wisconsin plays in the tough Big 10, and we'll see how he translates. Besides, he is a winner -- state and league titles on his resume. Colleges can build on that trait.

With MV's Lockie, I don't see him physically in the same league as the Oregon qb this season or last, as they both were in the Heisman mix (running ability, for one), and he's never won a title, but again, they are a big-time program nowadays, playing in BCS bowls, so who are we to argue--like Wisconsin, they must see something to build on at Oregon for him.

With SRV's Kline, like Lockie he hasn't won a thing, but he has a sharp arm. Why they aren't a better team with that individual talent on their roster is beyond me. Some of that has undoubtedly got to be on the qb, as it comes with the position, whether high school, college, or pro's. Seeing him play, it's hard for me to picture him getting away from USC D-lines and Oregon's monsters, though.

He may run into an issue at Cal anyway with Tedford hanging on by a thread these days, and we all know that when a new guy comes in, he and his new staff usually want their own guy. The Cal qb scene is (and has been) a mess ever since Rogers left, so when they recruit 4 or 5 qbs from high school each year, they must feel they will have a "last man standing" competition, which has not worked yet for them. Cal is stuck in the mud, so we'll see how Kline fits in the mix there. They are so desperate for a qb messiah in Berkeley, but with a likely coaching change looming, ya never know. If i were Kline, I'd have a plan B school. Just ask SRV alumni qb Sam Keller (Michigan to Ariz. St. to Nebraska during college).

It will be interesting to see how these 3 guys cap off their prep careers in the coming NCS battles. They are always fun to watch. One guy who we don't hear much about because he's in Folsom is their qb, who beat SRV in the opening game and won their NCS section last year. He's pretty darn good and might be the best of the group.


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