Cal Football Spring Game: Quarterback Evaluation Roundtable

DSC_1801 (via ja_williams)

Avinash: Maynard is locked in as the starter. He was 6 for 11, but I think there were at least two drops in there and there were no forced balls, and he averaged about 10 yards per pass attempt with Harris and McGovern as his functional receivers. He had the nicest touchdown drive on the game and also fooled the Cal D on a read option. Maynard has that same connection with his cousin Maurice Harris that he does with Keenan Allen, giving him two guys on the field that he can lock into on either side, which could make him a really dynamic playmaker. I'm really impressed with how far he's come.

Bridgford got a lot of reps (actually the most of any QB). He only completed 47% of his passes, although again he probably had a tougher job with trying to utilize the second string players (Bouza, Bostock, Yarnway, limited Hagan). He threw two balls he'd probably like back--one deep throw that nearly got intercepted, and another throw rolling out across his body into double coverage that got picked by Sebastian. Allan seems to be pressing for that starting job, but he didn't distinguish himself today.

The youngsters were promising, although I'd have liked to see more. Kyle Boehm got the most rub, and the defense SWARMED him. He got sacked once and nearly got blind-sided if the refs hadn't whistled the play dead. I recall one nice throw, but not enough to make any judgment calls.

Zach Kline looks good. Throws a great spiral with accuracy and touch. He had the sweetest throw on the day (and anyone who was there knows what I'm talking about), threw the ball away when there was nothing there, was confident to put the ball in a window. So much potential there. Still think he'd be better off redshirting with Maynard and Bridgford locked in and two quality QBs behind them, unless he takes a gigantic leap.

Austin Hinder wrapped things up for blue. People will talk about that last touchdown (seemed more like busted coverage there), but what really impressed me was his mobility and how he could scramble from pressure and make plays. There's a bit of Maynard in there.

I'd really like to see all these guys with a full receiving corps (Allen, Harris, the frosh, maybe McGovern or Bouza). The defense really threw the house at them because they knew they could handle receivers one-on-one (there was one play I remember where there was no safety. Literally eight guys all ready to rush the QB.). That's really tough for a QB to handle. In conclusion, the pecking order should be the same. Maynard, Bridgford, Boehm/Hinder/Kline in some order.

(HT Grandpa Kodiak for the video)



What did you guys think? Anything stick out to you?

Kodiak: Maynard is clearly the starter. He looked very comfortable running the offense. This was the quarterback we saw during last year's late win streak. He was poised, calm, made good decisions, and was accurate. He also showed off his mobility on zone-read as well as while escaping pressure.

Bridgford started off a bit tight. His first few throws were off-target and his timing was a little off as he waited for guys to come open instead of throwing them open. He quickly settled down and showed off both touch and accuracy. He did force a few, including one that was thrown up for grabs and was picked off by Sebastian. To my inexpert eye, his release and throwing motion looked faster and more compact with less wind-up.

Boehm backed up Maynard. For a guy who came from a run-first offense, he looked very comfortable as a pocket passer. The Blue squad didn't put up any points during his time, however.

Kline backed up Bridgford. It's easy to see why everyone is high on his potential. For a young guy, he showed a lot of poise and threw it away instead of forcing it or taking a sack. He also led what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown drive for the Gold Squad. Showed off both touch, accuracy, and a strong arm. Could make things really interesting next year when we need a new starting QB.

The knock on Hinder previously was arm strength. I didn't see any issues there. As advertised, he was very mobile and threw well on the run. He made things really interesting with a perfectly thrown deep ball for a TD that almost let the Blue Squad send the game into OT.

The good news here is that all of the backup QBs looked a lot more capable than in previous years.

Cugel: My main take away was that unlike the recent past (god I hate saying this) when Riley struggled and there was no real second option, we are stacked with quarterbacks now. Without any doubt, Maynard is number one, but trying to figure out a clear #2 seams a bit murkier to me. I think Tedford will stick with Bridgford as #2 due to experience, but he didn't do himself any favors today. Obviously, the coaches have a lot more data to compare than just this one game, but both Boehm and Hinder looked like capable QB's, and both made some good decisions / good throws. Kline looks to be the real deal, but if he's not starting, he would benefit from a red(Blue!)shirt year.

TwistNHook: It was definitely good to see all the QBs out there. The only one that really stood out to me was Kline. That was mostly, because I, along with the rest of you, had no idea what he had in him and were excited to see. Maynard looked good. Bridg looked good at times, not so good at others (that interception was BAAAAD). Kline had strong, fairly accurate throws. His throw on the TD was really, really good.

I agree that a redshirt is the way to go. I am not sure how much he can offer to the team in 2012, but it would be unfortunate if we potentially lost his blue and gold arm for 2016. Then again, who knows what 2016 will even look like QB-wise?


atomsareenough: One thing I saw that I liked was that all of the QBs appeared pretty confident. Both Maynard and Bridgford seemed to have a good idea of what they were doing. Maynard didn't do anything spectacular, but he did a good job playing within himself, and that first TD drive was very competently executed all around. While Bridgford did force a couple unnecessary throws, one of them was caught out of bounds on pretty much the same play that had just scored a TD (which had gotten called back because of holding I think) and I thought the other one, which got intercepted was way at the end of the half, and it ended up being the equivalent of a thrown punt halfway down the field. I was pretty fairly impressed with his throwing motion though, and I felt like he was throwing a good ball for the most part, but he was just trying to do a bit too much. He also seemed to be looking for Bostock a lot, but to be fair, there weren't a lot of options on the gold team.

Boehm had some good throws too, and I liked how he was stepping up in the pocket, but he didn't seem to have that peripheral awareness, and he ended up getting "sacked" a couple of times because he couldn't feel the pocket collapsing around him or a defender closing in on him from behind. Hopefully that will come with time. Hinder missed a few throws, made a few nice throws, and had a couple of nice scampers away from pressure. That last TD for the blue team to make the game exciting wasn't a perfect throw, but it wasn't very well-defended.

Zach Kline was definitely impressive for a true freshman early-enrollee. The tools are there. The confidence is there. He definitely has the potential to be special with some more reps under his belt. I'm not quite ready to pencil him in as the starter next year just yet. I definitely think he has the capability to earn it, though. That pass for the 2-point conversion was a rope. He was poised enough to know when he should throw it away. Should we redshirt him? I don't know. If he's as good as we think he will be, would he stay around anyway to be a 5th year redshirt senior? If not, then I don't think it makes any difference.

Anyway, I agree with Hydro that the ones who moved the needle most were Maynard and Kline. But I was pleasantly surprised with the all-around competence of everyone for the most part. There wasn't any of them that straight-up looked like he didn't belong on the field. Considering the past few years, it's nice to be able to say that.

HydroTech: Admittedly, I didn't have the greatest view to judge the QBs throughout the entire game, but from what I could see it definitely looks like Maynard was the CLEAR #1 QB. He didn't have any really bad throws. He moved the offense.

Bridgford, on the other hand, was more hit and miss. Granted he was working with some very young WRs, but he forced two REALLY BAD balls, one of which was intercepted. I know lots of guys who play QB are trying to make things happen, but those kinds of throws aren't going to help a person win the starting QB job.

As for the other QBs, they all didn't really do much else to distinguish themselves. Hinder had that great touchdown pass at the end. Kline had an absolutely fantastic touchdown pass too. And, unfortunately, all that I remember about Boehm was that had this been a real game with full on tackling, he might have been in the hospital from all the sacks he would have received.

But going back to Kline, who I am sure most of our readers want to hear about, yes, the kid looked good. He gets a fantastic tight spiral on his ball. His balls have RPMs. He has great accuracy. The ball snaps out of his hand with ease -- with more ease than the rest of the QBs. In my opinion, I think he already might be the best pure arm and passer out there. As for Kline's play during the game... he had that great TD pass which can't be ignored. On that play he did a great job staying in the pocket, stepping up a bit, recognizing an open receiver, and passing the ball. And on another play, when he couldn't find anybody open and was flushed from the pocket, he threw the ball away instead of forcing it.

In my opinion, of all the QBs who helped their stock the most on Saturday, it was probably both Maynard and Kline. As I see it, Maynard is the clear starting QB. Bridgford is probably the clear #2 QB. And the rest of the QBs are vying for that 3rd spot.
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