Closing in on Shot at the No. 2 Spot : College football: Ziv Gottlieb, California’s No. 3 quarterback, is working hard for a chance to play.


After redshirting as a freshman, former Beverly Hills High quarterback Ziv Gottlieb has moved closer to debuting for California, but his position coach said Gottlieb is “a year away” from playing.

“He has made a great amount of progress from the spring to now,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Denny Schuler said. “I thought in the spring he was clearly the No. 3 quarterback, but he has really closed the distance this fall.”

Gottlieb is behind junior starter Dave Barr and sophomore walk-on Kerry McGonigal. California opens its season Saturday against UCLA in a Pacific 10 Conference game at the Rose Bowl. The Bears are seeking their fourth consecutive win over the Bruins after 18 consecutive losses.

“I’m not exactly satisfied (being No. 3), but I will be fighting for the second-string job one of these days and hopefully will fare better this time,” Gottlieb said. “Dave and Kerry had really good springs, but there’s a good chance I’ll have a chance to compete for the No. 2 spot.”


Gottlieb, a member of The Times’ Westside team in 1990 and ’91, passed for 2,825 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior.

Gottlieb, who will be 19 on Sept. 16, is still adjusting to the level of play in college.

“Everything is about 10 times faster,” he said. “There are very few mistakes made by players. Guys are flying around the field. In high school, you can underthrow a ball and a guy is wide open, but now it has to be a perfect throw to be a complete pass.”

Gottlieb is working to bring his game to the college level.


“In high school, I was kind of like a sandlot quarterback,” he said. “I used to run a little too much, and I’ve improved in staying in the pocket, reading the defense a lot better, as opposed to high school, where you didn’t have to read defenses but could just throw the ball.

“I don’t think I was very disciplined (in high school). But now, being here in a school where the offense is very complicated and structured, I think my level of discipline has gotten a lot better.”