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Q&A With Chase Garbers: Cal Career, NFLPA Bowl Experience, Meeting Aaron Rodgers

Chase Garbers throws the ball.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Chase Garbers #7 of the California Golden Bears attempts a pass during the 124th Big Game against the Stanford Cardinal on November 20, 2021 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

For the past four years, Chase Garbers has been leading Cal's offense. Now that his college career is over, he's ready to prove that he has what it takes to make an impact in the NFL.

Over the course of his Cal career, Garbers had 6,580 passing yards, 50 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He also made some plays with his legs, rushing for 1,174 yards and 11 scores in a four-year span.

Unfortunately, Garbers wasn't invited to the NFL Combine. However, he did showcase his skillset at the NFLPA Bowl.

We caught up with Chase Garbers to discuss his Cal career, NFLPA Bowl performance, recent encounter with Aaron Rodgers and more.

The Spun: What was the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl experience like?

Chase Garbers: First and foremost, it was a lot of fun. Just being able to play football for the first time since the beginning of December was nice. Being around NFL personnel and other guys going through the same process was awesome. I had the chance to learn from a bunch of NFL coaches was great. Interviewing with teams and getting to learn the scouting personnel was an exciting process. It was kind of like recruiting all again. Overall, I thought I played pretty well. I had a couple incompletions, a touchdown, and led two scoring drives. I put my team in position to win at the end, and that’s why you play the game.

The Spun: Were there any important lessons you learned from that week that’ll stick with you?

CG: Knowing the whole business side and back end stuff of what happens during the draft process. From a playing standpoint, our quarterbacks coach was Seneca Wallace. He shared his experiences from him playing and told us what to expect during your rookie year. Just little things that help you along the way. That was one of my biggest things going in there. I wanted to take in a lot of information and help it hone my skills. I was fortunate to have Jeff Fisher as my coach because hearing what he had to say about his time in the NFL was insightful.

The Spun: You recently posted a photo with Aaron Rodgers. What was that encounter like?

CG: It was a very awesome experience. We’re both Cal guys. Having that connection alone is awesome. I actually never met Aaron before that point so it was a special moment for me. It was funny because I grew up watching Aaron Rodgers. And now, we could end up being co-workers or peers. I didn’t want to talk too much football with Aaron because he just finished a long season, but he shared a couple of things.

The Spun: Is Aaron Rodgers your favorite quarterback to study on film? And if not, who is?

CG: I love watching Aaron. I think he changed the game of football in terms of how you play the quarterback position. Obviously, he’s a really smart quarterback as well. The unfortunate thing is not everyone is as talented as Aaron. So you have to pick and choose little things from his game when you’re watching. Other quarterbacks I like to watch are Derek Carr, Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford. What they’re able to do from a quarterback standpoint is cool. I continue to expand my list of quarterbacks I watch each year. The great thing about this period right now is that all you’re doing is preparing for the NFL. So I’m doing a lot of film study right now.

The Spun: Do you have a favorite moment from your time at Cal?

CG: The first one that jumps to my mind is 2019 against Stanford. I took the team down to score the game-winning touchdown. It was the first time we beat Stanford in a decade. That was the highlight of my college career. The second-half and fourth-quarter comeback against USC during my redshirt freshman year was great. We were down 14-0 at half. We ended up winning 15-14. That was the first time we beat USC in a decade as well. That was a highlight for me because I grew up watching USC. There are a couple other moments, like beating Washington and Ole Miss. There were a lot of great moments, but the 2019 win over Stanford is first for me.

The Spun: What would you say is your greatest strength as a quarterback right now?

CG: I would say the mental part of the game. I’m fortunate enough to be coached by Bill Musgrave. He played for a few years and had decades of experience as a coach. To come out of college NFL-ready and know all the terminology will set me apart going into my rookie year. People always talk about the learning curve and how some players aren’t ready. I believe that I’ll be ready because there won’t be too much of a gap that I need to bridge. I also like my playmaking ability. People don’t think I’m the most athletic guy, but I can extend plays out of the pocket. That is a valuable asset in today’s game. Being a true dual-threat quarterback is really important. You see it in today’s game with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and those guys. I feel like teams underestimate that part of my game.

The Spun: You were unfortunately snubbed from the NFL Combine list. How do you use that as motivation?

CG: Obviously, it’s frustrating and disappointing. My whole thought process is that I just need an opportunity and I’ll make the shot work. I’m confident in my playing ability and who I am as a person. I’m fortunate to be in this situation in the first place. Would the NFL Combine help me? Probably, but at the end of the day it’s still a result-driven league.

The Spun: What’s your mindset going to be heading into your pro day?

CG: In terms of mindset going into the pro day, I’m just going to be me. I pride myself on being authentic. I know what I can do on the field with the ball in my hand. My throwing has improved significantly. I know I’ll run a fast time and show that I can get away from defenders. When it comes to throwing the ball, I know what is expected out of an NFL quarterback. I just have to go out there on March 16 and do it.

The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Chase Garbers?

CG: You’re getting an authentic guy that doesn’t change no matter the situation. I think you’re getting a true competitor. What I love about the game is the competition that it brings. That’s what I enjoy about the game and life in general. You’re getting a leader who can relate to any type of player. I did that well at Cal. Not only are you getting a result-driven player, you’re getting a leader.

Garbers could really help out his stock with a strong performance at his pro day.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.