Cal QB Davis Webb preparing for combine: ‘I’m gonna separate myself’

Cal QB Davis Webb preparing for combine: ‘I’m gonna separate myself’

Davis Webb's college career began at Texas Tech, where he set Big 12 records and was named Holiday Bowl MVP as a true freshman. It ended at Cal after he was replaced in Texas following injuries. Through the ups and downs, Webb's confidence never wavered. 

“Ask the coaches at Texas Tech and now at Cal and they’ll all tell you the same things,” Webb said to in an exclusive phone interview. “I’m the hardest worker in the facility, I’m a great teammate.

"And I can spin the rock better than anybody in the country.” 

Webb had big shoes to fill at Cal, replacing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff. He performed admirably, finishing 419 passing yards and six touchdowns shy of Goff's 2016 marks ... in one less game.

With his college career in the rearview mirror, Webb is putting all his focus on the next step in his career -- the NFL Draft in April. He's training daily at Proactive Sports Performance in Thousand Oaks with 11-year NFL quarterback and longtime coach Jim Zorn. 

A recent "light" day began at 8:00 a.m. with a two-hour throwing session under Zorn's watchful eye. Two more hours of mobility, running and motions were followed by another hour of passing with Zorn. Then Webb moved on to his mental game with three hours in the classroom. The day ended with a big dinner back at home and a little extra homework for desert. 

“It’s a full day and it’s a lot of fun,” Webb said of his current routine.

The next chance for Webb to showcase his skills before the draft comes Feb. 28 in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, an opportunity he looks to take full advantage of.

“I’ve got a couple goals in mind,” Webb said, “but I’m gonna keep those personal because those are my goals. I’m excited to shock some people at the combine because I’m pretty athletic.”

Some players opt to sit out specific combine events, but as someone who feels he has plenty to prove, don’t expect that from Webb.

“Oh yeah, I’m doing it all,” he said proudly. “I’m a very competitive person and I feel like I’ve got a lot to show and prove, and I have no problem doing that.” 

After excelling in an open shotgun offense at both Texas Tech and Cal, Webb’s main goal heading into the draft is to show he's more than just a system quarterback.

“The thing I want to prove to people the most is just my football capability of being able to learn a brand new offense and I did that at the Senior Bowl,” Webb said. “I learned a West Coast offense with the Cleveland Browns and got better every day and that translated over to a great game in the Senior Bowl. 

“I think I proved that first hurdle and I’m just gonna keep continuing to do that and prove that I’m not a system guy and I have the capability to learn any offense, and if you give me the information, I’m gonna lock it down.”

Indeed, Webb put on a show in the Senior Bowl. After entering the game in the second quarter for the South, Webb completed 5 of 7 passes on a 95-yard drive that culminated in a perfectly placed 39-yard touchdown, a flick-of-the-wrist fade pass to Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds. Webb was named the game's Most Outstanding Player after throwing for 165 yards on 11-of-16 passing. He led scoring drives all three times he hit the field in the South’s 16-15 win. 

“I think the biggest thing was just how detailed every play is,” Webb said of his experience running an NFL-style offense. “You spend 10 minutes on a play. It’s very detailed from the receiver splits to the quarterback’s drops, to the mechanics of the whole play, to why we’re callin’ it, why the protection is that way, to situations and down and distance.”

For Webb, a Texas Tech graduate who earned just under a 4.0 GPA in his three months as a Cal grad student, the NFL game plays to his advantage. 

“It’s a detailed game and that’s something that kind of plays in my favor,” Webb said. “I’m a cerebral guy, I’m a thinker and that’s why I think I’m gonna separate myself from these quarterbacks in the draft class and continue to get better because I’m the one putting the work in and I plan on having a good career.”

Webb is considered to be a top five quarterback in the 2017 draft class, along with Clemson's Deshaun Watson, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahome II, who replaced Webb when he went down with injuries at Texas Tech.

The 22-year-old has been in contact with all 32 NFL teams including the 49ers and Raiders. San Francisco is one of a number of teams in need of a franchise quarterback along with the Browns, Jets, Bears, Bills, Cardinals, Texans, and Jaguars.

"Football is not a hobby of mine, it’s an addiction," Webb said. "I want to be around this game for the rest of my life, whether that’s playing or coaching one day and I just love this game."

Webb was the backup quarterback on his seventh grade B-team. The next year, he was dropped a level and served as the C-team backup. The experience made him a huge fan of Tom Brady, who went from an overlooked sixth-round pick to the greatest champion in Super Bowl history. Just like Brady, Webb strives to prove his doubters wrong.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a chip on my shoulder, it’s just a feeling that maybe someone doesn’t want you, maybe someone thinks another quarterback is better,” said Webb. “I want to be the best quarterback I can be, the best quarterback for that team, because that’s all I can control. 

“I plan on being the best version of myself as a friend, a brother, a son, and a quarterback. I plan on working on that each and every day and getting better each and every day.”

Webb has 70 days left until the Browns are on the clock in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our feature on Cal quarterback Davis Webb...

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault


WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

BERKELEY — Former California women’s basketball player and current WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit against Cal claiming she was sexually assaulted by a longtime member of the athletic department.

The school acknowledged the lawsuit Wednesday night and said the staff member, Mohamed Muqtar, had recently been placed on paid leave. The assistant director of student services, Muqtar has been working for the university for just more than 25 years, the school said. An e-mail to Muqtar’s Cal email account was not immediately returned.

Cal said in a statement “the University is aware of the complaint, but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations.”

Clarendon, who plays for the Atlanta Dream and was at Cal from 2009-13, posted on Twitter her thoughts about the lawsuit.

She said in three separate tweets:

— “Regarding the news today: I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry. It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”

— “My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. #TimesUp.”

— “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”

Cal explained in its statement that this case goes beyond the athletic department for investigation.

The statement reads: “Our department policy states that once anyone in Cal Athletics is made aware of any instance or allegation of a violation of University policy involving a coach, staff member or student-athlete, those matters are referred to the appropriate departments on campus responsible for investigating them. Athletics does not have its own specific conduct process nor does it investigate allegations or cases on its own, but follows the University’s policy and works in concert with campus professionals who are responsible for those areas. All university staff are also required to complete sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training, and those programs have increased in recent years. Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center and other campus resources.

“Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women’s basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today.”

Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


ATLANTA -- To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

"He just stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said. "He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him." The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead of it but first Alabama will celebrate another national title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played in a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

"I could not believe it," he said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbably victory of his unmatched career.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation , Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from the pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing the poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

"After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play," Tagovailoa said. "I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open." Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense: Najee Harris at running back, Henry Ruggs III at receiver, Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

"I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama," Tagovailoa said. "Thank God he found me and we're here right now."

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star for the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

"I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against," Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Saban's top lieutenant, Kirby Smart, to coach the Bulldogs and bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban - eight as his defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa - quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its own division.

With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama and now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble - second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.