This is the first of daily position-by-position training camp previews leading up to the first day of practice on Aug. 6. We begin with the quarterbacks.
WHAT WE KNOW: That junior Zach Maynard will be the starting quarterback. Coach Jeff Tedford named Maynard the No. 1 signal-caller shortly after the completion of spring practice. While he still has a long way to go and is still largely an unknown at this point, Maynard at the very least demonstrated a brand of quick feet and athleticism that hasn’t been seen behind center at Cal in quite some time. Maynard seemed to get more comfortable and confident as spring practice progressed, and working out all summer with his receivers — especially his brother, Keenan Allen — should only help his development. Maynard appears to have a decent enough arm to make all the throws necessary playing in a BCS conference.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: How Maynard will handle playing against top defenses. During his one season as the starter at Buffalo in 2009, Maynard didn’t see the types of defenses he will week in and week out navigating Cal’s schedule. That being said, Maynard had a terrific game against Big East opponent Pittsburgh, completing 24-for-35 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns. But Maynard still threw 15 interceptions that season with 18 touchdowns. Maynard will have to be on the fast track during all of camp digesting everything Tedford and the offensive staff installs. He needs to be comfortable enough with his own offense so he can successfully deal with what the scout team will show him from opposing offenses once the Bears start preparing for their opponents, beginning with Fresno State.
We also don’t know who Maynard’s backup will be. Tedford expects a close battle between senior Brock Mansion and sophomore Allan Bridgford.
IN SUMMATION: There obviously won’t be much suspense to this position battle, except for the backup role. But it still obviously should be a closely-watched position as a new quarterback attempts to get comfortable with the offense and on the same page with his receivers, not to mention developing his role as a leader.