Football: Sunday practice update

The Bears got a head start on Utah today, going with a padded practice after taking Saturday off.

Since Cal played Thursday and Utah played yesterday (and getting a win at Pittsburgh), the Bears have a little extra time to prepare for Saturday’s game at AT&T Park. The question is whether inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks will play against the Utes.

Kendricks had his right arm in a sling and didn’t practice this afternoon. Coach Jeff Tedford, who has returned to saying very little about injuries, didn’t offer any details about Kendricks’ ailment.

An absent Kendricks would obviously be a huge blow to the defense, and the Bears can’t afford to be at any disadvantages these days. True, their defense played well against USC, but Cal needs to be at its absolute best during these next four weeks which will define its seaon.

The Bears finish the season with games at Stanford and Arizona State, games in which they figure to be underdogs. The next four games — vs. Utah, at UCLA, vs. Washington State and vs. Oregon State — will be crucial in determining if the Bears become bowl-eligible.

One thing is for sure, Cal must be much sharper than it was against the Trojans. The Bears didn’t seem to be outclasses athletically against USC but the slew of mistakes made it impossible for them to compete.

“A lot of it is guys being eager to do,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.

Tedford said the mental health of the team is good and his players are eager to play again.

“They understand that there are a lot of good things happening,” Tedford said. “We got to put it together in all three phases. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody learns. Trust one another and play hard. I feel like the team understands that and is eager to get back out and play another game.

“I think they’re eager to bounce back. It’s been a challenging few weeks here. I thought the other night, everyone was really good on the sideline. Even though adversity hit, the guys stayed together and competed hard in the second half.”

Tedford reiterated that he thought Zach Maynard’s interceptions Thursday night were the product of him trying to do too much.

“Really trying to make something happen instead of being patient,” Tedford said of Maynard. “Sometimes we may have to take a sack and punt the ball.”

While Tedford said Maynard’s interceptions were a product of trying too hard, he said Marvin Jones’ decision to fair catch inside his 5-yard line was inexcusable.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for Marv to field the ball inside the 5-yard line like that,” Tedford said. “He said he thought he was on the 16 and he was on the 11. He’s a senior. He understands that was a mistake that can’t happen. Hopefully we learn from that and don’t let that happen again.”

Back to Maynard: It’s becoming more and more clear that he is at his best out of the pocket. He seems to be more comfortable on the run than simply dropping straight back.

Tedford agreed but said the team has to be judicious in when to move the pocket with Maynard.

“I think you have to mix it up,” Tedford said. “You can’t do everything outside the pocket because it limits the field to half a field. Certain defenses allow you to do things like that and others don’t. There are certain things that they dictate. You’re not going to force something.

Other notes today:

  • Backup safety C.J. Moncrease had surgery on his thumb, similar to the procedure cornerback Stefan McClure had during training camp. Moncrease will still be able to play with a cast.
  • Tedford on Brendan Bigelow, who hasn’t taken a snap with the offense since the Presbyterian game: “I think he’s getting better all the time. The guys who are playing are the guys who are ready to play.”
  • Tedford on McClure, who played well against USC: “There’s no question he’s shown he can play. It depends on how things shake down, but he’ll be in the rotation (Marc Anthony has not returned to practice yet).”


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.

  • wehofx

    The JT Kool Aid is still working on me but… I hoped to come out of the UW/$c?/Nike U stretch 1 & 2.
    I think you have to give young qb’s a chance to develop and not be paranoid/looking over their shoulders at every mistake. That said, Maynard gets one more game – based on what he showed in first 3 games – BUT if he crashes and burns again, I’ll be disappointed if JT doesn’t give Bridgford a serious shot. I really do appreciate loyalty but there comes a time…

    I think this is a rebuilding year and we’ll still go to a bowl.

    Go Bears!

    Go Bears!

  • Tedford is the king of Excuses.

    I hope this is his last year. He looks like a stoic statue during games . He is out-coached every game, cant field a D1 caliber QB, and NEVER takes responsibility.

    Im sick of Teddy..he’s a washed up coach..we need change. 2.8 million a year for a 0-3 start and a QB who would have a hard time starting at DLS. Even rivals said “tedford needs to get a clue this week.”

    Bye Tedford….You’re a REAL QB guru..

  • Ted the QB guru….check this out TEDDY FANS.

    3 East Bay Schools have a better starting QB than Cal

    1. Zach Kline SRV (Cal commit)
    2. Bart Houston DLS (Wisconsin commit)
    3. Jeff Lockie Monte Vista (Oregon commit)

  • Kyle

    No 3 East Bay schools don’t but thanks for playing.

    1.Kline will be Cal’s starter in 2 years (which at this point isn’t saying much)
    2.Houston committing to Wisconsin is like being called tallest midget in a room of midgets. He is NO Russel Wilson and when he arrives at Camp Randall he will be handing the ball of 35 times a game.
    3.No offense to Lockie but I see a transfer to Montana St. in about 2 years. He won’t see the field at Autzen.

    Go Bears!!

  • Kent Wilson

    Does it bother anyone that having a 6-6 season for Cal is considered a “good year”? Tedford improved the cal program when he took over…but he’s also brought the program back to mediocre status…where it has been historically. Given that Tedord is pulling a huge salary (as of 2010 he was the 10th highest paid coach in the country according to USA Today). Cal is not getting acceptable level performance out of Tedford and his staff.

    What kills me is the notion that Cal administration, local media, and some fans tout – that becoming Bowl eligble signifies a “successful” season. That is hogwash to me! To me, “successful season” as it pertains to football is defined by meeting or exceeding expectations. By the same token, a “disappointing season” is defined by performances that are below expectations.

    When using that filter to review Tedford’s tenure at Cal its easy to declare that Tedford teams from 2002 to 2004 either met or exceed expectations…however, teams from 2005 – 2010 have all performed below expectations. I suppose one could argue that 2005 and 2006 seasons almost met expectations….but there is NO argument that the past 4 seasons (2007 – 2010) were disappointing seasons.

    What I find interesting is that this year (2011) a 5-7 or 6-6 season would be considered a “success”…because the expectations have declined so far down for the Cal program.

    I also don’t feel there is any reason to think why this will get better as long as Tedford is the coach. Even if Tedford is able to garner “highly ranked” recruiting classes…he has not shown the ability to coach this developing talent into a cohesive football team.

  • rollonubears

    I have to say, this season has been a lot less heartbreaking. Seems like every year from 2004 through 2007, we went from “oh man, we’re looking awesome” to ” what the heck happened?” Now, I expect us to stink it up. So when we do, it’s much easier to take. If this was a year like 2007, we’d have beaten oregon on the road, and gotten excited, only to have hopes dashed against u$c. Thankfully, JT’s got them bringing the mediocrity every night now. No more flashes of brilliance followed by incredible displays of ineptitude. No more heart pounding games. Just the same old same old, week in and week out.

  • ScottyBear

    Tedford is stuck in his ways and his pro-style offense. He doesn’t have the ability to create an offense to suit his players strengths, and only how to coach his players to shoe horn into his one trick pony offense. Zach should be rolling out and moving. He can’t throw out of a straight drop back, and Tedford knows it. Still, no changes planned. Pathetic. $2.8 million pounds of pathetic.

  • DaredevilFan

    Why does Tedford always get away with talk of his players “learning”? Learning is for off-season and pre-season. Other teams find a way to be game ready during the season, why does he think we get a pass and still get to claim our players are “learning” all season. Maybe by the end of the season he’ll be proud that they’ve finally figured it out. But we’ll have lost too many games learning along the way. He seems like a heck of a human being, but his expectations now are way too low. Time to put up or shut up.

  • BlueNGold

    I am assuming that the quotes that JO attributes to JT were from a press conference. Just once it would be great to read an article containing Tedford quotes in which someone is asking some tough questions in response to them. Perhaps, it the real world, that just never happens. If it does not, that is a real shame. Someone really needs to confront the coach and hit him with some tough questions that cannot be answered with bland sound bite type generalizations and platitudes.

  • rollonubears

    apparently the folks paying his salary are fine with the results. that was one of my biggest complaints about our alumni base as a student. how could they let things go so bad, and for so long? the reality is, save a few diehards, i don’t think the alumni care all that much.

    actually, most cal alumni have never even seen a football game, which is a sad state of affairs in itself, but i’m a little shocked that people are willing to spend 2.8mm a year for what they’ve been getting. that’s a LOT of cash.

    i donate in terms of barely being able to buy tickets. but if i had a lot more cash, and could donate, i’d be very very upset right now. i wish we’d get more than 1/4 of the student body into football. nearly everyone i meet with a cal hat or tee shirt on either didn’t go to cal, or did, but has no idea how the football team is doing. the same can’t be said about any other school with a major hoops or football program. imagine bumping into a guy wearing an alabama sweatshirt and having him say he’s never seen a football game?

    sorry, i’m venting about two things at once here. time to step away from the keyboard.

  • Cre8tivguy

    C’mon Roll, stay with us here. From what I understand, the alumni that have some pull, by that I mean donate a lot of cash, understand that this is a rebuilding year. Tedford has earned a lot of good will for now and even a year in the new stadium/sahpc. Plus his contract buy out is a bi*ch right now. However, they will not let the program hit rock bottom again (1-10) before getting rid of Tedford.

  • Easy Ed

    Boy you guys sound like the spoiled U$C fans. Say what you will about Tedford but that performance center and stadium do not go up if he didn’t become head coach!

  • Juancho

    Rebuilding year? BS walter. Returnng starting wrs, te, a lot of the line. Kicker and punter. One returning starting cb. One returning starting safety. Two returnung starting d linemen. One returning starting lb.

    Just bc maynard didnt start last year doesnt make this a rebuilding year. Tired of the excuses.

  • bear4life

    Tedfords problems are created by Tedford himself. One he is quote “A quarterback guru” aka pro-style offense but yet here we are watching Maynard that is a running quarterback changing the teams sytle if that’s what you call it,regress. Maynard cant even look off a receiver he stairs at one reciever the whole time,hell he cant even pump fake. If you didn’t see the USC game Maynard was sceared shitlist. If Tedford would put in Bridgford who I have watched during spring and fall practice and can throw the ball with more velocity and he is very accurate . We need change Tedford we are tried of the same mistakes . This is D1 football not mid-major football. Oh ya change your center while you are at it , every game he snaps the ball over the head or on the ground . ( EVERY GAME )

  • Jake

    I think Bridgford should get a try. I’ve seen people criticize his throwing motion, but you don’t have to have a textbook throwing motion to perform well. Philip Rivers has a weird throwing motion, but he’s a top QB. Give the kid a shot.

  • Eric

    Easy Ed – which coach gets “credit” for Haas Pavilion? Bozeman or Braun? How about Furd’s retrofit?

    Such a silly argument, especially when next year half the exceedingly expensive seats are empty, and even the students are staying away.

  • StanfUrdstinks

    It’s unfair to say that Tedford has not changed his offensive style to accommodate Zach and Isi. We are pretty much running a real spread offense, for the first time that I can recall under Tedford. This is a huge change for Teddy.

    That said, in the first half against U$C, I saw the play calling revert to the same old “dink & dunk” west-coast style passing game that we have run in recent years. Let’s face it, Maynard is TERRIBLE at the short passing game, but is great with the medium to long ball. It’s almost the exact OPPOSITE problem that we had with Riley and Longshore (who NEVER seemed to connect on anything beyond 15 yards). We have GREAT receivers and a QB who can stretch the field. It’s time for Tedford to fully embrace a vertical game.

    I also don’t buy into the whole this is a rebuilding year BS. What happens next year when Marvin is gone and if Keenan bails early? The vertical threat will be gone and the offense will be worse than it is now.

    The thing that really bothers me about the last few Tedford team is the problems with execution and penalties. Are they too eager? Or are they undisciplined? I can’t put my finger on it exactly. Irregardless, this is a COACHING problem. Sure, the players are ultimately responsible for executing on the field, but it is the job of the coaches to kick their butts when they fail to execute properly. Tedford should have them out on the field at 4AM doing 50 40s for each penalty and failed execution. He needs to lay the hammer down on them….