The Bears started to implement the game plan for Oregon today. They will have five practices total to get ready for the Ducks — tomorrow, followed by Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday will be the walkthrough at Autzen Stadium, and then it will be time for a prime time showdown on ESPN where the entire nation will be watching.
Quarterback Zach Maynard is getting used to the attention. At Buffalo, he never played in a stadium that held more than 40,000 fans. Next Thursday, he will experience one of the great atmospheres in all of college football — 55,000 enthusiastic fans in a configuration where the patrons are right on top of the field.
“It’s the loudest place we’re going to play this year, probably,” Maynard said. “It’s big time. Everybody is going to be watching us. It’s going to be crazy.”
Maynard has been getting experience playing in loud venues. Colorado had a crowd of 49,532 while Husky Stadium last week drew 60,437.
“Washington was pretty loud, but I feel like Colorado was louder than Washington,” Maynard said. “It got pretty loud in Colorado. I’m sure it’s going to be even louder in Oregon. They’re right on top of you.”
Maynard said he watched the tape of his final pass at Washington twice. He said he “was sick to my stomach” all night Saturday but got over it the next day. He said watching it on tape gave him the same feeling that it did at the time — it felt good coming out of his hand but obviously put too much on the ball.
“It felt good to me. It just kept sailing,” he said.
Coach Jeff Tedford said after the Washington game that freshman Brendan Bigelow didn’t play on offense because “this was a day we needed some things that he isn’t able to do yet.” I asked Tedford today to elaborate on that and he said it comes down to schematics, that there are still things about the offense he is learning.
“You bring him along,” Tedford said. “He’s a freshman who hasn’t played football for two years. You bring him along slowly. There’s complication to the offense from time to time. He continues to learn every week and improve. He got hit while returning kicks so he’s proven he can hang on to the football. That’s what you always worry about with young guys. Each week he’s getting better and better and learning more and more.”
Cal has a couple of injuries deep on its depth chart at running back. Dasarte Yarnway is on crutches after getting his knee scoped. The redshirt sophomore simply has struggled to stay healthy since being at Cal. Redshirt freshman Trajuan Briggs also has a knee problem and is wearing a brace. “(Yarnway) and Trajuan have really been hurt since they got here,” Tedford said. “Those guys have never really been able to get into the swing.”