Over the next few weeks I’ll be breaking down each of Cal’s position groups.
The position of the most contention amongst Cal fans last year was undoubtedly quarterback. Cal returns senior Zach Maynard, the starter, as well as his backup, junior Allan Bridgford. Maynard is still listed as the starter with Bridgford as the backup on the post spring depth chart and their positions are pretty well locked in at this point.
The news out of spring ball is that Maynard is playing at a whole new speed with a great level of confidence. Coach Tedford runs a very complicated system and Maynard had never seen defensive speed like he encountered last year there were obviously some major growing pains. Maynard helped the Bears close strong by completing 68% of his passes and 5 TDs to just 1 INT over the last four conference games. The improvement over the course of the season was abruptly ended when the Texas defensive front had Maynard running in circles and never in a rhythm.
After spring practices were over Tedford had nothing but positive words about Maynard’s progression.
“I thought he did a nice job. We were so far ahead of last year when he was new into the system. We were able to do much more on offense this spring and move along and much more efficient. You could really tell his experience from the season had really paid off with the speed of the game and the management of the game”
The top two spots on the depth chart may be locked up, but there is still a possibility for some shifting below. True freshman and highly touted recruit Zach Kline had a very solid showing in the spring game. He is battling with sophomore Austin Hinder and redshirt freshman Kyle Boehm. Conventional wisdom leads me to believe that the most likely scenario is to redshirt Kline this year so he has four full years of eligibility next year when the starting spot is up for grabs.
As long as Maynard can stay healthy and productive there is no way he loses the job. Depth shouldn’t be an issue as Bridgford is a very capable backup and strives to be ready at any point to step in and play. Tedford has said he feels “really confident and would be really comfortable with him on the field for us.” He has Tedford’s full vote of confidence should he be pressed into duty.
If the Bears can get positive production from Zach Maynard in order to open running lanes for the stable of backs the offense should be greatly improved. Tedford and Maynard both know what he can do so play calling and managing Maynard will be a much easier task this year. I would guess that Maynard probably averages around 20-25 passes per game and if he can complete 65% of those the offense should have no problem putting up the points necessary to win games.