Football: Saturday night report

After what coach Jeff Tedford called a “really good week of practice,” the offense fell flat on its face during Saturday’s scrimmage at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. A couple hundred fans showed up for a breezy afternoon practice, one in which the offense couldn’t hold on to the ball or keep track of the snap count.

The Bears had between 5 and 10 false starts off the top of my head, and probably about four or five bad snaps from center. Quarterback Zach Maynard, who got the most first team reps, threw two interceptions and also made a inaccurate pitch back to running back Isi Sofele that went for a substantial loss.

Tailback Mike Manuel also lost a fumble, one that was returned 39 yards for a touchdown by defensive back Tyre Ellison.

Quarterback Allan Bridgford had the most success of any of Cal’s quarterbacks for the second straight Saturday, but he still has been void of many first team reps. He also had one bad moment when he tried to throw in to traffic on the run and it was almost picked off by safety Avery Walls.

Practice can be sloppy sometimes  in the spring, but after two weeks of practice, Tedford expected more efficiency from his offense, especially after a strong week.

“We really had a good week of practice but today was not very good at all,” Tedford said. “Offensively, today didn’t look anything like what it has been looking like.”

Tedford has been singing the praises of Maynard lately, but he struggled Saturday. He tried to force a pass on the run that was easily picked off  by cornerback Marc Anthony, then had a pass squirted into the air afte rhe was sacked by defensive end Ernest Owusu and it was intercepted by linebacker Dan Camporeale.

Maynard did have a couple of good moments. On one of the bad shotgun snaps, he retrieved the ball and ended up scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run. He also found half-brother Keenan Allen on a nice timing patter for a short touchdown throw.

“Zach is still kind of learning,” Tedford said. “He practiced really, really well last week. Now we have to get it to the Saturday practices.”

Bridgford connected with wide receiver Kaelin Clay for a long pass play. The ball was slightly underthrown but still deep enough to get it past the defensive back and in a place where Clay could go up and get it. After throwing two TD passes to Michael Calvin in last Saturday’s scrimmage, Bridgford found him again for a 15-yard scoring strike on a play where Calving got wide open in the corner  of the end zone.

Bridgford’s best pass of the afternoon came on a deep ball to Clay, who ran hard to get under it only to have deflect off his fingertips. There was a holding call on the play anyway.

Brock Mansion didn’t do  anything notable on the positive or negative  side.

Other highlights:

  • Manuel had a couple of nice runs but also lost the  fumble after getting hit hard by defensive end Gabe King.
  • Although Maynard struggled  throwing the ball, he demonstrated the quick feet that has Tedford intrigued. Maynard is by far Cal’s most athletic quarterback.
  • Outside linebacker Cecil ‘Whiteside had three sacks, one time simply running right around left tackle Bill Tyndall.
  • The sloppiness wasn’t limited to the offense. The punt team had two punts blocked. After the second, Tedford said “Let’s try it again and see if we can protect a punt.”
  • Punter Bryan Anger and offensive guard Brian Schwenke missed practice because of school field trips. Matt Summers-Gavin took first reps at left guard. Jed Barnett handled the punting.
  • Backup tailback Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson had a couple short touchdown runs.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Goldenflash

    If the season started today, I say start Bridgford. He really got in a groove yesterday and seems most comfortable with the offense. That being said, our offense has ways to go. The defense just dominated the offense yesterday.

  • Bobby

    Sounds like Bridgford had a good day of practice yesterday, while Maynard didn’t play as well as he had been during the week. Although it’s encouraging that Bridg has done well, I still think that Maynard has more upside going forward–if he can get comfortable in the system, hopefully he’ll be more comfortable w/ decision-making.

    Anyone else think we’re going to see a Robertson/ Rodgers tandem to start the year off? (note: not saying that either will be as good as A-Rod)

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Wow where are all of the Cal state posters. JO finally writes an honest report and the posters scatter. Cowards.

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    Maybe Cal fans have lives that make them too busy to monitor the Cal site constantly. Most of them probably can’t even imagine a life so empty & sad that they’d spend time trolling some OTHER team’s site.

  • milo

    Personally I spend all my extra time on OJ Watch…the OJ in prison and the OJ in the NBA who was suspended for 10 games for ‘roid use. Yup $C the school of murders and cheaters.

  • LR

    Not clear on Tedford’s arcane reasons for keeping AB with the second team (maybe it’s to keep his confidence up), but everything points to him being the starter in spite of what’s being said about Maynard.

    He apparently has a head for the position and has been in the program longer than ZM. No offense intended, but there’s a reason ZM ended up at Buffalo. OTOH, AB was a hi D1 prospect from the word go. There’s no reason he SHOULDN’T be your top choice. The only real negative is his mobility and, at least according to some, his throwing motion.

    This is a garden-variety spring practice report. Probably 75% of the teams in D1 are exactly where Cal is right now with regard to defensive vs. offensive progress and development. Nothing to see here; moving on.

  • LR


    Would hate to see tag team quarterbacking unless AB’s mobility is that bad. That might force Tedford to play some situational football, but only if Maynard’s judgment/grasp of the playbook can rival AB’s. Eluding the initial pressure only matters if you don’t make critical mistakes throwing on the run.

  • milo

    I think JT is having Bridgford take 2nd team reps because of his rehab and throwing motion change, i.e., he’s not a full speed yet and adjustments are being made. It’s a long way until a starter is picked. I’d say it won’t happen until a few weeks into Fall.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    Bridgford was a TOP D1 propspect coming out of the OC in SoCal. He was the #2 rated QB his HS senior year only behind that kid who is starting at U$C, Barfly. And I agree with Milo’s #8 comment, he’s with the 2nd team due to his shoulder issues.

  • Bobby

    Nor-Cal Scott and LR, recruiting rankings go out the door as soon as a player comes into a program. Not saying they’re totally unimportant, but many good players leave high school unheralded. I hope either Maynard or Bridge gets the job because of his on-field performance.

    LR, as for your comment that Bridge deserves the position because he’s been in the program longer than Maynard, I actually think that the way things stand now that goes against Bridge’s chances. Maynard has plenty more to learn that Bridge (presumably) already knows, and yet there is no clear #1 yet.

    Just want to reiterate that hopefully the best player is our QB at the stick Labor Day weekend, and we shouldn’t simply anoint Bridge (or Maynard) right now.

  • Big D

    What time and date is the open practice at San Ramon Valley High?

  • BlueNGold

    Calling people ‘cowards’ because they choose to spend their lives doing something more meaningful and significant with their time than providing a target for a misguided troll who has nothing going on in its life beyond making a pain in the a$$ of itself to fans of a rival football program is not only stupid, it demonstrates how pathetically desperate for attention and responses that troll really is.

  • Big D, it’s Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • CrumpeckerSherm

    What’s up with our VCHS recruit Marshall not even showing for the scrimmage?

  • Bear IV

    Thanks JO. April 30 is what was originally published, but in a recent article it stated that it will be next week, which confused me and looks like at least one other reader.

  • nickle

    Nice responses I think but LR, don’t knock maynard for going to buffalo and give AB the benefit of doubt for coming in as a high prospect. With that logic we should have never, ever given some dude named Aaron Rodgers a chance. Look at what a bust he turned out to be.

  • GldnBear71

    I remain very skeptical

  • rollonubears

    give the defense some credit. they may well end up being tops in the conference. i’m disappointed that the offense isn’t humming, but if the stellar d is the reason, that just bodes well for the regular season.

  • ScottyBear

    Have Bridgford and Maynard been taught how to take a knee yet? Still waiting for Tedford to explain that one. JO?