BERKELEY -- New coach Sonny Dykes held an informal hourlong visit with reporters this week to discuss the start of spring football and delivered blockbuster news about the vacant quarterback position:
"I'd love to have a starter after Monday," he said, in jest. "That would be ideal. One of the guys is so good, you go, 'Wow.'
"I don't anticipate that happening ... (but) the sooner the better."
The Bears begin four weeks of spring practice Monday, and among the coaching staff's laundry list of things to do is finding a quarterback to operate the "Bear Raid" spread offense.
There are five scholarship candidates:
Dykes said they all begin spring ball with a clean slate.
"We haven't been able to make any judgments just because it's a new system," he said. "It really doesn't do us a lot of good to go back and look at a lot of stuff."
There is no set timetable, but Dykes said he hopes to narrow the choices to two or three as quickly as possible
So, what will Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin look for in their quarterback?
"Timing, accuracy, leadership, ability to inspire confidence from others," Dykes said.
Learning the assignment and executing it are two different things.
"They'll know what to do quickly, because it's pretty simple," he said. "The issue will be, can they do it? There's a lot of skills involved. Kind of getting all the moving pieces together. There is a certain skill level and refinement that it takes to get operating where you want to get operating.
"We're kind of an execution-based offense, not really a trick offense, not really a scheme offense. When you're pretty simplistic, you've got to really be able to execute at a high level. That'll be our challenge this spring, not really to learn what to do -- I hope we learn what to do very quickly -- but to develop the skill level to do it."
Consistency is the key.
"That's what makes our offense work," Dykes said. "The 3-yard completion, if the ball is thrown in the right spot at the right time, it results in a big play. If it's not thrown in the right spot at the right time -- the ball's thrown late or slightly behind him -- then you get a lot of 3-yard completions."
Shortly after March 23, when the Bears end workouts with a spring game, Dykes realizes he may no longer have five quarterbacks on his roster.
"A lot of that depends on who the starter is," he said. "Say Jared Goff wins the job, I would expect a lot of guys to leave. I would hope they wouldn't, but that's typically the way the quarterback position works.
"A lot of it has to do with how those guys fit and how much they like it. I hope they all stay. I don't know how realistic that is."