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.