Cal Football Spring Practice: Zach Maynard In Command

Spring ball, spring ball. Where so much of what happens is never remembered, unless it's something like "Star running back crashes moped into Subway". Basically, the less you know or hear about in the spring, the healthier your Golden Bear experience will be. Only bad things will occur if you pay close enough attention.

Thankfully, our news is confined to the gridiron. And we start with the vaunted battle for punter, which I believe is being contested between a tight end and several belligerent midgets. The tight end probably has the advantage, and if you need to wonder why, picture a midget trying to punt a football.

(Yes, a tight end is taking punting snaps, yet no one in the media is asking for daily reports. This is why newspapers are dying.)

After the jump, boring stuff, like quarterbacks and video press conferences about or with quarterbacks.

There is a quarterback competition, but only in name. The only way Zach Maynard relinquishes his starting spot is if (1) he gets injured or (2) there really is something to this academics thing. Right now it just seems he missed a week or two of practice and got back to work this week. It's a good sign that Maynard is taking his grades seriously and should work things out.

Football-wise, Tedford's comments inspire confidence.

"It's night and day (with him) from last spring. Last spring he was scratching his head about what was going to happen. It was a new (for him), it was a brand new offense. Now he has great controll of what's going on, he's got great command, great presence, great composure and you can tell he has a year of experience under his belt....He's focused at practice. The confidence comes with the rest of his teammates and paying a lot of attention to them. This time last year, he was worried about himself, doing the right things, saying the snap count right, (and keeping track of) the 25-second clock. Now he's a real field general and he relates well with the rest of the team."

Early Maynard was an uncomfortable thing to watch, like watching a teenager bomb their first piano recital. You know he's trying hard, he's really trying to break through, but every series of discordant notes is really tough to handle.

But with every subsequent performance, he improved, and the team improved. His progressions got better. He used his mobility properly. He didn't force as many throws. He learned to manage mistakes. During the last month of the season his performances had a very efficient quality to them. If that improvement remains linear, then there's a good chance the offense could look very confident next season against any foe.

If Maynard does have issues down the line, it does seem Tedford is also very confident in Allan Bridgford to take his place.

"He's had a couple of first team reps. He's very consistent, very knowledgable with what's going on. He's healthy, he's throwing the ball very accurately, he's very smart, he understands what we're doing, and we're really comfortable with him on the field for us."

If both improve upon last year's efforts, this could be one of the strongest (1)-(2) combinations Cal has had at quarterback in quite some time, possibly since Longshore-Riley in 2007-08. Those were quaint times.

And of course, Tedford gave very interesting remarks on his youngest pupil.

Asked what he's liked from what he's seen from Kline in spring practice, Tedford answered with just one word: "Everything."

"Really impressed with him. Really impressed with him," Tedford said on Tuesday, after Cal's first practice back from spring recess. "He's got a good sense of humor, he's a really good leader. For a young guy to jump in the huddle and have a little presence about him, and things like that, you can tell he carries a lot of confidence."

Basically, Zach is going to be real good, but a lot has yet to be decided and the media seems to be driving the narrative toward Kline, so there will be a disproportionate amount of attention. Still, it's unusual to see Tedford so effusive in his praise of a highly-touted player before he's ever taken a snap. That's Marshawn-type praise right there, which is impressive for a renowned offensive mind. He's someone to keep your eye out on.

For now, Cal has Maynard to lead them. Bridgford, Hinder, Boehm or Kline are all looking up right now. They've all got work to do to catch up toward the incumbent.

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