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Maynardiacs! A Closer Look At The Cal QBs in 2011

TwistNHook: This is always the question that the fans look forward to the most. Who is going to be the QB? We've had uneven QB play the last few years. What can we expect out of new QB Zach Maynard this season? If he suffers an injury, what can expect out of his back ups Allan Bridgford and Brock Mansion?

For the Cal offense to really work smoothly, we need high level QB play. Here's hoping!

LeonPowe: I think its going to be tough for any of us to make a good prediction about Maynard until we've seen him actually throw some balls, get under center or take a hit or two. It's not like any other starter where we have at least last years play (even as a back up) to base a prediction off of. I do think if he can make the easy throws, protect the ball from turnovers and get it to Jones and Allen in space we'll have already won. Anything he can create with his legs (or arm) will be gravy. I think cal fans would now be happy with s game managing QB who didn't lose games - but put the defense in s position to win games.

HydroTech: I'm not really of the opinion that the Cal offense needs high level QB play to be great. Certainly, it helps. But if you have an offense that can run the ball pretty dominantly, and you have a QB who can complete as low as 60% of his passes, I think the offense will be fine. And I think Maynard can do that.

I know Maynard had a low completion rate back in Buffalo, but reading of Tedford's quotes about Maynard this off-season has led me to believe that we can expect to see great things from him. Tedford recently said that the QBs were doing "special" things during these fall camp practices. When have you ever heard him say that?

He also said this of Maynard recently: "He's very accurate throwing the ball. He throws all the balls really well. He can throw the deep ball, he can throw the comebacks on a line, he's got touch for the intermediate stuff, so he's got all the balls." Again, when have you heard Tedford say this stuff? I don't think Tedford has used that classic "he's got all the balls" / "he can make all the throws" line since ... Longshore.

I think that last quote is also significant because it also speaks to Maynard's abilities to put touch on his passes when it's required. I know some Cal fans have spoken about their concerns with Maynard lasering every throw. And of course, the football junkies among us all know that not every throw is supposed to be in on a rope. So clearly, Maynard is showing some improvement and showing that he can take some power off the ball when needed.

And then of course, Maynard can run pretty fast. It's rumored that Cal has installed some special plays just for Maynard. Tedford has openly said that there will be more designed QB runs this year. So I think Cal fans are really in for an exciting year at the QB position. In the entire Tedford era, I don't think Cal has had a QB with that much athletic ability as Maynard. Not even Aaron Rodgers. I'm not sure how fast exactly Maynard is, but if he's anywhere around a 4.6 second 40-yard dash with great quickness, then we should be looking at a very dynamic Cal QB offense.

Personally, I'm very intrigued and excited to see what Maynard can do.

Kodiak: I'd love to see Mansion on the field a lot this year...holding for extra points. I think you could run a really nice fake with him on some type of read-option.

As excited as we all are about Maynard as a dual-threat quarterback, I've also been encouraged by reports that Allen Bridgford is fully recovered from his shoulder surgery. Sadly enough, it's becoming somewhat uncommon for a quarterback to make it through the Pac-12 season unscathed. I think we're going to see what Mr. Bridgford can do sooner rather than later.

Again, I'm pleased with the emphasis on developing our backups. It really felt like the backup QBs were woefully unprepared to compete at a Div I level last year.

No matter who starts or gets the bulk of the snaps, I'm just excited to see a Tedford-coached quarterback again.

TwistNHook: How weird is it to not have Kevin Riley on this team? He always seemed to be part of some controversy. He seemed like an incredibly nice guy with very odd luck. Wherever he went, something crazy followed.

Berkelium97: Poor Kevin Riley. He started to blossom last season (while the O-line withered away) and would have had a respectable set of stats had he finished the season. He would not have been an Aaron Rodgers, but I am sure he would have been a better QB if Tedford were the full-time quarterbacks coach instead of Ludwig. Thankfully, we have a pair of promising, young, Tedford-coached QBs who will see playing time this season: Maynard and Bridgford (assuming Bridge takes the #2 spot, which sounds more and more likely).

We are in a fortunate position where we will be able to see Bridgford, Mansion, and maybe even Hinder get considerable playing time early on in the season against Presbyterian. Bridge and Mansion might each see about a quarter of playing time, assuming we put the game away by halftime.

Bridgford apparently has been putting considerable work into his mechanics after coming back from that shoulder surgery. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in a live game (even if it is against one of the worst teams in all of D-1A football. It will be interesting to see how Maynard performs down the stretch because Bridgford could conceivably win the starting role next season or even this season if Maynard flops (which seems highly unlikely following Tedford's comments).

Bridgford has since shortened his motion and his release has become notable quicker this fall than it was in the spring.

"I think that ever since the first day that I came back throwing, I've felt the same," Bridgford said. "I haven't really lost what I used to throw, but I feel like my mechanics are getting better. There's definitely, way back when, in May of last year, when I first came back, throwing, there was definitely a mental block, like, 'Is this one going to hurt?' It was a pretty traumatic thing I went through, when I hurt my shoulder first, but it feels great now. That's all in the past. I never think about it anymore. Everything about my game has gotten a lot quicker now that I've gone through spring ball and had reps under fire there. I feel like, in camp right now, I've been getting the ball out really quick, and I'm not taking any sacks, no turnovers, nothing like that. Everything's been a lot quicker, including my motion."

OhioBear: I liked Kevin Riley and appreciated his effort for the program. But I am excited that we are turning the page on the Kevin Riley era and moving forward with our next set of quarterbacks.

Aaron Rodgers isn't walking through that door, and I have no expectation that any of the guys we have on our roster is Aaron Rodgers 2.0. That is an unreasonable expectation anyway. I think a reasonable expectation for fans, though, is to see competent quarterback play, perhaps even up to the level of Nate Longshore 2006.
Do I think we will get that type of quarterback play this year? I don't think any of us can answer that until we see Zach Maynard play on September 3, at the earliest. I am anxious to see how he does against Fresno State. I like that he has some FBS starting experience (albeit in the MAC), and I liked the little bit I saw of him when I watched him play for Buffalo in one of those ESPN Tuesday night thingys a couple of years ago. I am hoping upon hope that the accuracy is there. And I am intrigued by what dimension his running ability will add to our offense. Though Tedford introduces spread concepts in 2006 when we had Mike Dunbar as the offensive coordinator, Maynard is probably the first quarterback we have had that has the running ability to make designed quarterback runs a viable weapon.
That said, the dominant pessimistic side in me hopes that Allan Bridgford is ready to step in, too. Maynard is a skinny dude -- okay, maybe we'll call him "wiry." I'm worried about his durability. So when Tedford says (like he did at the March To Victory Luncheon) that Bridgford has looked good, I'm hoping upon hope that really means Bridgford is Reggie Robertson 2.0.