Football: Overheard at Candelstick

Here’s a sampling of what was said today at the press conference  at Candlestick Park to promote the 2011 season-opener between Cal and Fresno State:


On needing to see Zach Maynard’s skill set in person rather than on tape:

“You could see certain things on tape but you really need to see it for yourself. I was very impressed with his ability to throw all the balls on the field. He can throw it deep. He has great touch underneath. He has enough zip to throw the deep, intermediate passes. And he has an escape dimension. I felt like through spring he just continued to improve and I think he’s just going to continue to improve with his knowledge of the offense.”

On how Maynard changes the offense: 

“Whether be it the escape dimension of scrambling and making things happen or predetermined plays that are designed for a quarterback to run, I think he brings a little more speed an athleticism that we’ve had there in past years. You can kind of see that college football is moving in that direction. You have to have a guy, when things break down, that can manufacture some yardage.”


On designing plays that cater to the personnel:

“There will be designed runs for the quarterback. We’ve understood what the plays are, but you have to build your offense around the personnel.”


On Beau Sweeney’s decision to leave Cal:

“I want the best for Beau. I love Beau. I have a great deal of respect for him and his family. Obviously, I go way back with his family. But you only have one opportunity to do this. And if you’re not at the top of the depth chart, the clock is running. I don’t want him to have any regrets. If he can figure out a better place to go to start, then I’m all for it. That’s why I advised him to do it. I’ll help him with anything. I love him. He’s a great kid. He will always be a Bear in my mind to a certain extent, and I’ll always be there to help him when he needs it.”


On whether Maynard progressed faster through spring than he expected:

“I was actually a little bit surprised by how fast he picked some things up. I really felt like he did some nice things that I don’t think he was accustomed to. Not only that, he was doing it against a very multiple defense. It wasn’t Football 101. It was advanced football from our defense. I thought he did a pretty nice job handling all of that. He still has a ways to go, but I was encouraged how he was able to process the information and take it from the meeting room to the field.”


On Maynard’s style of play:

“Zach is pretty smart. He’s pretty good at running and getting down, not taking a lot of hits. Once you get your quarterback in that position, you better be sure he’s not taking a lot of hits. I think he’s fitting in well with everyone else on the field. I think he has leadership qualities.”


On the challenge of being a leader and a newcomer as well:

“When you’re a new guy, it’s really hard to let those leadership qualities come out. There’s always that fear of being the new guy and coming in and trying to lead. I thought that was really important so the team understands that he is in that role, that he does need to assume that and they need to follow that.”


On how the presence of brother Keenan Allen helped Maynard win the job:

“I think it was a big part of his comfort level. When you’re a new guy coming in, it always helps to have not only your brother but your brothers’ friends and everyone else around him. Keenan had already kind of laid that foundation. I think it was good for him. That being said, Zach is still the older brother. Zach is still the leader for those two.”


On how much Allen has helped Maynard’s on-field performance:

“In the beginning of spring ball when he really didn’t know all his reads really well, he’d throw it to Keenan even though he really wasn’t even in the route progression. We started kidding each other. There’s the passing tree and the family tree. Most of the time those family tree things were pretty successful.”


On how Maynard has helped Allen, who has said he’s been homesick:

“I think instead of Keenan providing the foundation for Zach, it’s been the other way around — Zach providing the comfort zone for Keenan.”


On referring to Allen and  Maynard as “half-brothers” even though they grew up in the same home and act like brothers:

“They are brothers. They act like brothers. They have a brotherly relationship with love and admiration and respect for each other. Those guys are about as close as brothers can be.”


On the status of incoming freshman running back Brendan Bigelow, who is recovering from mutliple major knee injuries: 

“Anxiously awaiting. As soon as he finishes high school, we’re going to have him here. He’ll be here in mid-June. We’re going to get him evaluated quickly and see if he’s ready to go. He has done quite a bit. I think he feels good.”


On Bigelow’s personality:

“I just worry because he has so much energy. He has to be so careful. I think he understands. I try to explain to him that this is his career and he has to take this seriously. He has the capability of doing this for a living. The summer he was here at camp, there was a box and guys were jumping up on it. I said, ‘Whoa, what are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m going to jump over that.’ I said, ‘No, you’re not.’ He’s so young and has so much energy.”



On Zach Maynard as a leader:

“I know a lot of guys have confidence in him just watching him develop through the spring. He has this kind of quiet confidence. Now we have all summer to work with him, but guys are rallying around him already.”


On what has made players gravitate toward him:

“He’s not a flashy kind of guy, but the way he plays, he’s a go-getter. He has the ability to do a lot of things. He’s a true competitor. It’s nice to see that in a quarterback.”


On how Cal’s multiple defense has helped Maynard prepare:

“I don’t know who else has defenses like us, but we give him a lot of looks, a lot of disguises. I think it’s good for him.”


On whether Cal’s defense will be better than last year’s, when it led the Pac-10 in total defense:

“I think we’re going to be even better. We have some experienced guys, a good number of guys who have played in Coach Pendergast’s system. Coming off the No. 1 defense in the conference last year, we’re trying to be even better. We’re trying to be No. 1 in the nation. That’s been our focus.”

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.

  • Pasadena Dave

    Haven’t heard Tedford speak this frankly and honestly in a long time. His comments on Maynard, Allen and Bigelow are refreshing.

  • Ozone

    Great outtakes, JO. Very good stuff!

  • Will L

    The box jumping incident with Bigelow was just hilarious. Way to go JT. If Maynard is the real deal, it makes me feel better about the season. Pendergast will have the D squared away. Will we be able to move the ball? If so, we could be good.