Football: Wednesday practice update

It was only one game, but quarterback Zach Maynard said he felt much more comfortable during Saturday’s win over Utah than he had the two previous games. The question now whether it will be more of the same moving forward or more like the Oregon and USC games.

“I feel more prepared, more comfortable, just taking my time,” Maynard said. “I think the game slows down with how much you prepare and how much you know about the opponent you are playing against.”

Maynard said Saturday’s performance gave him a boost of confidence after a couple of tough games.

“I feel a lot more confident at this point in the season,” he said. “I was getting my feet wet early in the season. I started off pretty good and then had a little downfall the previous games. But the last game I got more comfortable again.”

Maynard said he spent last week in practice paying extra attention to his footwork.

“I just had to make sure my feet were good,” he said. “I was practicing my feet all week. I over-stride sometimes. It’s about staying calm and poised and delivering a good ball to my receivers.”

Maynard once again talked about how he likes to throw on the run, but also agreed with Jeff Tedford that they have to mix it up so they don’t cut the field in half too often.

“I let Coach know what plays I like and what plays I don’t like,” he said.

After questions lingered last week about the health of three of Cal’s starting linebackers, the team appears to be pretty healthy going into the game at UCLA. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks has his thumb wrapped and appeared to sit out practice. Either way, he should play.

It should be an extra special game for Kendricks, whose younger brother Eric plays linebacker for the Bruins and is the team’s third-leading tackler.



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.

  • rollonubears

    The “cut the field in half” argument is a bunch of bull. First of all, they have to guess which half you’re going to run to. Second of all, it gives you more time to find the receivers on the half you’re going to. Third of all, it gives you the option to scramble. Fourth of all, if you are already having trouble reading the whole field, now you only have to worry about a couple reads. And finally, if you’re more comfortable rolling out, you’re going to be more successful when you do. Let the kid roll out. He can’t handle the pocket.

  • abe

    Rollon…i agree with you, this whole excuse of limiting the field is JT not wanting to take responsibility for our offensive woes. Football is a game of chess, an art of deception. a well executing offense will keep defenses always guessing, and thats what we can do by moving Maynard out one way or the other. I watched most of the Stanford V Washington game last weekend and the one thing that struck me the most, (other than their 7 offensive line, unbalanced formation, out of which they seemed to run the ball at will) was how many time they kept rolling Luck out of the pocket in play action where the fake the run in one direction and roll him out in the opposite direction, time and time again. it was amazing how deceptive their play calling is, everything is designed to force the defense to guess one way or the other, laterally.

  • jim

    Rollon I agree with all of your points except for the first one. I have yet to see Maynard roll to his right side which certainly would be noticed by opposing defenses. All in all I was very pleased with the play calling last saturday and hope to see it continue for the rest of the season. Go bears!

  • wehofx

    Roll, I kinda agree with you.

    On the other hand, look at Vick and Reid – a pretty damn good oc. Once nfl defenses knew that Vick was only effective scrambling to the left and ineffective on the right side, they eliminated the left side and vick has not been effective since last third of last season to today.

    Vick and Reid have been unable to make the adjustment.

    I am still optimistic. I’m betting ucla -5/-6 even though I got lit up against $c and p knight u.

    Go Bears!

  • milo

    Maynard played well against a decent Utah defense. He should do well against UCLA.

    Tedford is right about mixing it up. If Cal ran Maynard rolling left 75% or more, every opposing defense would simply game plan that.

    Maynard and Cal need to get fat and healthy off the middle of the Pac; UCLA, WSU, OSU.

    7-5 would be reasonable if not totally great. At least it’s progress and next season should be better.

  • 93BearInOregon

    Tedford is absolutely right in not wanting to halve the field too often. Rollon, none of your arguments refute that since JT is clearly using Zach on the roll (moreso now than before it seems) so all the benefits you list are part of the game plan. But you can’t limit yourself all the time or you become much easier to defend, at which time all the “JT is a bad game day coach” comments would start flowing. He’s got a varied offensive system and he’s teaching his QB to execute it as fast as he can learn.

    Zach clearly wasn’t great at reading defenses the first few games – big shock. He hadn’t played in a long time and at this level. How is he going to get better at that without reps and practice reading defenses?

    Roll Zach out. Some! But the rollouts themselves will be more effective if he’s also a threat in the pocket. BTW Abe, rolling Luck out in that situation works BECAUSE furd can run at will. The D has to key so strongly on the run that when he rolls out to the other side no one’s there. If they rolled Luck outevery passing play without establishing the run Luck would look remarkably pedestrian as a QB

  • tj

    The field gets cut in half because a QB is typically only able to throw with accuracy and strength when he runs in the direction of his throwing arm, in this case it would be the left side of the field for Maynard since he is a south paw. If they roll him out of the pocket every single play, Cal will only be using the left side of the field, and if Maynard rolls out to the right, then it’s a run. Best way to keep an offense balanced and a defense honest is to stay in the pocket! That being said, it’s awesome to see Tedford incorporate more roll outs for Maynard, it’s one of his strengths.

  • SturdyGoldenBear

    Milo, I agree that we can’t roll left on every pass play. I wouldn’t be surprised if fucla plays a lot of QB spy to defend the read plays as well as scrambles. But what do I know. Still pretty optimistic about this one.

    7-5 would be pretty terrific considering our schedule and the strength of some of the teams in our conference. Our 3 losses are to teams that either were ranked or have been ranked. Not that that means a whole lot, but it does mean that we’re losing to solid teams and beating inferior teams. 7-5 would leave us losing to furd and asu, neither of which would be heartbreakers.

    For me, 6-6 is the bare minimum. Bowl game is a must for this team and staff, despite certain position depletions. 7-5 would be excellent, and may give us the confidence to go into the last two games with some spoilage on our minds. We should win the next three, but 6-6 would be acceptable and still provide enough hope for a solid season next year.

  • Ditto Milo. But I think if we improve we should be able to compete well with asu and possibly sneak out a win there to end 8-4, let’s hope.

    I am debating whether or not to hop in the car on Saturday and head down the 5 to the RB. Hmmmm…?

  • 1brsfan

    I wonder if playing on a Thursday night affected Maynard’s preparation. I’m sure playing two good teams also had an effect but he’s played well on Saturday games or at least well enough to win.

  • rollonubears

    A trip to the rose bowl is always worth the effort, regardless of the outcome.

  • toohandy

    Abe, when you fake a run and roll out the other way, it’s called a bootleg. Guess you never played.

  • rollonubears

    you can also run a reverse. plus, maynard has on several occasions rolled out to the right, and hit his receiver in stride near the sidelines. some of those have been dropped. the only serious issue i’ve seen with accuracy is when he throws to the right from the pocket. i don’t think he needs to roll out on every play, but at least 75% of the time, when they’re not running, would be nice to see, and to both sides of the field. i agree, if you only run to the left, you put the team and the qb at a disadvantage, but he’s not that bad on the run, to either side.