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Cal QB transfer portal targets, Kai Millner still talking with Bears, Jack Plummer to Louisville
The biggest 2023 question on everyone's minds in Bear Territory: Who will be our signal-caller?
Cal currently doesn’t have a quarterback for the 2023 season.
That is a bit of a problem.
But there are options still out there, and it’s likely they will end up with at least one player (and hopefully two) with signal-caller experience.
It sounds as if Kai Millner is still talking with the Bears and compete for the starting quarterback position. Millner did enter the transfer portal but does have the option to return.
"I haven’t really made a full decision yet where I’m going to be headed. I’m just weighing my options,” the former Cal backup quarterback said in a phone interview on Thursday his family’s home in Arizona. “Obviously, I’m trying not to drag it out too long. I want to find a place and get there.”
“It’s kind of a weird situation with Jack leaving as well, almost at the same time,” Millner said. “It’s strange how it worked out. We both hit the portal unknowingly at the same time. It’s honestly all up in the air.”
Plummer has found his new home in Louisville, with his old coach Jeff Brohm from Purdue.
It is a bit funny because Brohm did bench Plummer at Purdue and start Aidan O’Connell instead, prompting Plummer’s transfer to Cal. But glad that Plummer found a place where he will likely start in his final year of eligibility.
Even if Millner does return, it would behoove new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital to find another talent out there. Who are some other options in the portal?
Chandler Rogers, Louisiana-Monroe
By all accounts Rogers has become target #1 for the Bears in the portal at quarterback. He fits the type of offense Spavital would like to run in Berkeley, free-flowing, spread it out, and give Cal an offensive boost after years in the doldrums. More from Chris Hummer at 247Sports:
The Warhawks’ starting quarterback for the 2022 season, Rogers finished the year with career-best numbers: 2,403 yards, 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a 67.5 CMP%. Those are excellent stats. They’re even better if you zoom in. Rogers played without a ton of help at ULM. Nearly 10% of his passes were dropped this season, per PFF. So if you look at his adjusted completion percentage of 79.4%, it’d rank seventh nationally among all FBS passers.
Rogers also rushed for 353 yards and five touchdowns. He would provide the Bears with more of the dual-threat ability needed to attack a vulnerable group of Pac-12 defenses.
“You can’t beat the weather,” Rogers said. “You can’t beat the views they have from the Bay. There’s a great tradition there as well with players like Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch. And Marshawn Lynch is very involved with the players, especially from an NIL standpoint. Just the additional resources they have. They have their own chef, 24-hour meals. They have a great coaching staff and players who go to the league every year. There’s a really great opportunity there.”
Austin Aune, North Texas
The 29-year-old quarterback (29!!!) of the Mean Green entered the portal just before Christmas. After pursuing a baseball career, Aune returned to football in his mid-20s and worked himself into the starting spot at North Texas. He has one year of eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer. He is already the oldest quarterback to start in a college football bowl game, and will finish his collegiate career at the age of 30. It’s never too late to follow your dreams!
The obvious connection is Mike Bloesch. Bloesch was the North Texas offensive coordinator under Seth Littrell, and has joined the Cal offensive coaching staff as their offensive line coach.
Aune was very proficient, piling up 33 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his senior campaign last year, and finished 16th in the nation with 3547 passing yards. While there are accuracy concerns, Aune certainly looks like someone who can jolt the sleepy Cal offense into another gear.
Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
Bachmeier entered the portal early after his offensive coordinator was relieved, hoping to save an extra year of eligibility (he now has two seasons left). He struggled a lot this season as Boise lost to Oregon State and UTEP, but in 2021 he was solid, completing 63% of his passes with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The major connection is Tim Plough, who was the aforementioned Boise State offensive coordinator. Plough was hired as the tight ends coach at Cal, so there is a pre-existing connection there that the Bears can leverage.