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Maynard, Bridgford, Kline, and Co: The Cal Quarterbacks In 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 05:  Zach Maynard #15 of the California Golden Bears looks to pass the ball against the Washington State Cougars at AT&T Park on November 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Zach Maynard #15 of the California Golden Bears looks to pass the ball against the Washington State Cougars at AT&T Park on November 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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TwistNHook: Quarterbacks. And Go!

VincentS: Maynard sounds good. Bridgford sounds good. Kline sounds good. Boehm sounds good. Hinder sounds good.

They all sound good. Based on my spring game observations though, it really should be Maynard, Bridgford, Kline. The offense simply looked more crisp with Maynard running things, though that may simply have been due to a couple designed QB options or keepers.

If Bridgford really is as accurate as he's advertised though, I think he may be a better fit for Tedford's classic offense. We'll see in the Southern Utah game.

Avinash: From what I see, Tedford is looking for a multiple-look offense that can line up in different formations and produce similar results from each formation. So you'd see our QB line up under center or shotgun while at the same time the offense also incorporates elements of spread and pro-style. You could have someone who can run a zone-read and an option look, but also stand back and throw from the pocket. That way a defense always has to account for what the QB could do on a play, making it more of an 11-on-11 game than the 10-on-11 game Cal has generally been used to playing.

I'd say Bridgford is probably quite good at the latter, but he's also probably well behind Maynard in the former. And the youngsters are all promising, but they can't operate in that sort of offense quite yet.

How do you feel about this shift in offensive philosophy?

Kodiak: Tedford loves the chess match. It's actually rather exciting to think about what he might be able to do this year with the different personnel groupings. We have a number of players who have versatility as both a blocker/runner or a receiver. For instance, we could go with our power 22 look, Rodgers/Hagan with Stevens/Anderson and pre-snap shift them all into a five out, empty look.

When Tedford's offense is clicking, it's not so much the types of plays being run, it's how we're able to execute them. Our offense was fine under pre-injury Longshore despite his lack of running ability.

So, I'm in favor of the QB who can hit a wide open TE on third down to move the sticks. Right now, it looks like Maynard is the guy who has more poise and comfort running the show. I'd be happy if Bridgford's reported practice improvements translate to live snaps. He still looked like he was forcing the action a bit in the spring.

I don't really care if we're pro-style, spread, or hybrid provided that we can execute well enough to dictate terms to the defense. It seems like we've managed to shoot ourselves in the foot, leg, and face at inopportune times the past several years. It's the unforced errors that have just got to stop.

LeonPowe: If we can get the Maynard who closed out the year (excepting the bowl game) we'll be in good shape. And reports from practice indicate we're leaning that way - although I've been fooled before. But that Maynard was a guy who could manage the game, run a few read options for devastating effect and be very "multiple" in terms of threats to the defense.

Unclesam22: For reason unknown, even to myself, I'm pretty high on Maynard this year. I felt like he did a good job toward the end of last year and I think that another full offseason and fall practice have served to make him even more comfortable. I recall watching games where his feet never stopped moving in the pocket and his accuracy and decision making suffered for it. So I think that an more mature and experience Maynard will show up this season and really do well. But then of course, a lot depends on the receivers catching the balls that are thrown them.

As far as Bridgeford is concerned, I feel really good about him as a backup. I'd love to see him get some game reps where he does more than just hand-off but actually gets a chance to throw the ball, especially to some of the younger receivers, who I think could also use the game action. And I'd love to see Kline blueshirt and take a year to learn, mature, soack up what he can and then come out and compete for the starting job next year.

For the offensive philosophy shift, I am a total pragmatist. Let's do what works, wins games, and keeps the ball from getting turned over. If our offensive line is dominant and the running game is clicking, then by all means run it down their throats, wear them out for the 4th quarter and then play action to KA21 like there is no tomorrow when they put 9 in the box. But if Maynard is running for his life and the holes aren't opening, then by all means run some option to keep the defense honest, move the pocket around and call some bootlegs, and throw quick slants out of the shotgun (catching the snap of course). Keep 'em guessing.

HydroTech: I have no real information to back up my feelings, but I just feel like we're going to be fine with Maynard as QB. I think he'll be more comfortable with the offense and the game. I think we'll see him complete upwards of 60% of his passes (an improvement from last year's 57%). I think we might even see him rush for a decent amount of yardage too. Maybe 100 to 200 yards? That doesn't seem like a lot but considering that in college football sacks are counted as negative rushing yards, hitting 100 to 200 yards would probably mean he'd rush for 200 to 300 yards. One can hope...

Avinash: The big issue with Maynard is what will happen to him when the run gets plugged up. USC has stopped our run game in its tracks the past few years and we haven't been able to make them pay in the air. UCLA did the same thing and Maynard had one of the worst statistical games of the year for a BCS quarterback. Having manufactured long drives killed by back-breaking picks have taken a couple of points off the board in each contest.

With three new offensive linemen up front (particularly at LT), you have to be a little worried about how strong Maynard's pass protection will be, and also how much those guys can actually unleash the run to get comfortable. How comfortable do you feel about Maynard's ability to adapt to difficult circumstances?

Atomsareenough: Anyway, that quibble aside, I thought Maynard grew immensely over the course of the year. He had a tough time against Texas in the Holiday Bowl, but I believe that's more a function of the Longhorn D-line living in our backfield and Maynard constantly having to run for his life to get away from them than Maynard making poor reads and bad throws, though there were a few of those mixed in as well. But as far as adapting to difficult circumstances, well, this time around he's seen it before, so hopefully that helps. His more intimate knowledge of the offense will allow the coaching staff some more flexibility to quickly counter what the defense is showing, perhaps.

I guess I've always been a bit of a Maynard supporter. He seems like a good, hard-working kid and he's definitely a gamer. He's an easy guy to root for, even if he went through a very frustrating stretch in the middle of last year. I still like his tools, and I think he's got a bit of that relief pitcher's attitude, and doesn't let himself get down when he makes a mistake. Maybe he's not quite the "honey badger" we were making him out to be after the first couple of games of 2011, but I think he's a good leader, and now that he's comfortable with the offense, he should perform at least in the upper half of QBs in the Pac-12 this year, statistically. That's my baseline. I'm also hoping for a 60%+ completion rate. I'd like to see him use his legs a bit more this year, seeing as how Tedford appears pretty confident in Bridgford.

Speaking of the backups, It's hard to say much about the other guys, considering we've seen so little of them. Bridgford's most significant playing time was against Oregon in relief of Maynard, who had gone out with a minor injury, and I liked the quality of his throws and his, uh, confidence or intestinal fortitude to try to fit the ball in a tight window and make some plays for us, and maybe he was pressing a bit, but the decision-making was a little questionable. I think with another year under his belt, he'll be a bit more polished. Based on the reports he's played like a #1-A to Maynard's #1 so far in camp, and if that's more than just blowing smoke, it's great news.

Berkelium97: As a counterpunch to Avi's comment, Stanford and Utah also shut down our run game. In those games, however, Maynard thrived as he combined for 535 yards on 67% passing along with 4 TDs (1 rushing).

With another year under his belt, he should continue to improve this season. If practices so far are any indication, he is light years ahead of where he was at this point last year.

VincentS: Go Bears.