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Football: Wednesday practice update

Greetings folks. It’s Joe Stiglich, trying to get settled in as your Cal football beat writer for the time being. It’s my hope to get something posted a little earlier in the day when the Bears practice. Still working out the kinks here. At any rate, here’s a rundown of the day’s happenings, much of which (but not all) will be covered in tomorrow’s print story.

**The quarterback situation remains the dominant news surrounding this team, and Jeff Tedford made it clear Wednesday –once and for all – that incumbent Zach Maynard will be the starter for Saturday’s game against Washington State. Allan Bridgford has gotten more snaps than usual with the first-team offense (and Maynard with the second team), so that tells me that Tedford might have a quick hook should Maynard struggle early against the Cougars. But I can understand the logic of keeping Maynard in there. He’s a junior and still lacking substantial major college experience, so if you have any thought of the lefty also being the No. 1 guy next season, it makes sense to stick with him and see if he improves.
Tedford said Maynard has displayed better decision-making and accuracy in practice this week. The coach added: “No one is perfect. Aaron Rodgers isn’t out here, alright? So if (Maynard) misses a ball here or there, it happens. Aaron Rodgers plays for the Green Bay Packers. He’s the only one I know that’s close to perfect.” If that statement makes you yearn for the days when the Chico native was under center for Cal, you’re forgiven.

That quote was an indication that Tedford is irked by the criticism aimed at Maynard recently. But Tedford also added Maynard must understand it comes with the territory of playing quarterback. No doubt about it, this home stretch of the season is crucial for Maynard. He can work on mechanics (which he’s doing), he can watch film of other quarterbacks (which he’s doing, including Andrew Luck!!!). But developing mental toughness is something that has to come from within, and it’s key if he is to flourish in a Cal uniform.

Maynard said he’s shaken off whatever criticism is coming his way via Twitter and other outlets. “Twitter is twitter, it’s all media stuff,” he said. “Media doesn’t faze me at all. It’s hard to ignore that stuff. (But) you just keep playing ball. You just have to keep pushing through all that adversity.” Several of Maynard’s teammates have come to his defense, which I touch on in tomorrow’s story. Rallying around their quarterback seems to be a theme for the Bears this week.

**Cal receivers expect Washington State to play press coverage on the outside, and Keenan Allen thinks that gives he and his teammates a chance to shake free and have some big-play opportunities. And how would Allen respond in the event that Maynard, his half-brother, was benched in favor of Bridgford? “I play 110 percent no matter what,” Allen said.

**Tedford said Washington State (3-4, 1-4 Pac-12) should no longer be viewed as a conference doormat. He says their personnel has gotten better over the years, particularly on the offensive line and on defense. “I think their defense collectively is much better. They have better cover guys, they’re better up front,” Tedford said.

This story, however, from the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., paints a different picture of the Cougars’ defense.

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich

  • Juancho

    I dont know Joe. Seems strange for you to just start posting without ab inteo post first. We have feelings tou know.

  • Juancho

    Freaking iphone. Strange for you to post without an intro. We have feelings.

  • Rollonubears

    No, they’re not the doormat anymore…thanks to you, coach.

    Welcome to the blog, Joe. Maybe you can ask tedford why he thinks the fans are upset with maynard. I’m not. And I don’t know any other fans that are. Maybe you can also ask him whether he thinks the other qbs would have stayed here if they knew it was going to be this hard to get on the field.

    I look forward to reading your article tomorrow, joe, but Please don’t try to say cj Anderson has Maynard’s back due to a tweet. One tweet earlier, his sentiment was quite the opposite, and now there’s no more account to speak of. You might ask it about that, too..

  • Rollonubears

    You might as jt, not it. iPhone problems here, too! I’d also like an intro. Are you here for the rest of the season? Are you a replacement or being asked to fill in temporarily? Bit of a harsh tone for your first post. Makes me think jo’s departure goes a little deeper than we know.

  • Nick

    Strangely enough my girlfriend whom I drag to every game noticed in the first game against Fresno a situation where Tedford was very upset at a specific Cal player who ignored him completely. I didn’t see it but took note to watch the sidelines at the U$C game. When Jones fair caught the punt inside the 10 I saw Tedford rip down the sidelines to confront Jones only to have him walk right by. If you have ever played any sport this signifies something is terribly wrong with our bears. Coach is coach and you don’t disrespect them in any situation, when you screw up you take the reaming. I sense a very strong disconnect between coaching and players which is highly alarming.

    Welcome Joe look forward to reading your post daily.

  • Steve W

    Joe,

    Good first post. I look forward to reading your stories. I am a bit baffled why the Cal players are rallying so hard behind Maynard. Don’t they watch the film? Don’t they want to win games? Screw the friendship fellahs. No one 20 years from now is going to remember if you rallied behind a popular teammate. They will remember your won/loss record.

  • Bobby

    Sad to see JO go, but really enjoyed this piece Joe.

    Wonder if all the Cal bear extremists are out occupying the port of Oakland right now…

  • robert

    Joe, can you ask Tedford his thought process in not replacing Maynard against ucla and ask what it would take for another QB to see the field this season? What does Tedford measure?

  • c98

    I wonder if the personnel changes will bring some moderation changes… namely, banning that one particular troll. We can only hope.

  • stay golden

    Coach
    11th in the Pac-12 and 81st nationally in QB rating. Just saying.

  • milo

    Nice first entry. Give’em hell Joe.

  • TipsyBear

    Wow, can’t remember the last time Tedford showed this much hostility in front of the press. My only hope is that it ignites his competitiveness and he starts to push himself and the team with some true intensity to finish the season strong.

  • Kyle

    An intro?? Really guys?? He’s a beat writter he knows what he’s doing he doesn’t need an intro. My god anything to complain about. Bears beating WASU is all that matters. Go Bears!

  • Jim

    JT on film was defensive, hostile and arrogant. Wish he’d taken off his sun glasses so we could see the glare in his eyes. Of course, he was looking away, making no eye contact but his tight jaw and folded arms told everything. His body language was laughable, especially for a three million dollar man whose competence seems to have receded with his hairline.

    omg … people question him about a quarterback who throws interception after interception, game after game. He used to bench runners who “put the ball down”. Maynard puts it in the hands of defenders and puts the opposition in a position to be successful .. and they have been.

    Ayoob, the hurt Longshore … the list is getting long of JT not recognizing the obvious and NOT putting Cal in a position to be successful, so the losses mount. JT is totally exhibiting that famous definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Good luck, Sandy, paying for the new stadium improvements … but seats will be empty. It won’t be long before 35K attendance is considered good.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Joe

    Who won the windsprints? It is my understanding that is the only part of practise Teddy allows the press to see.

    Welcome aboard.

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    You don’t have the right to “welcome” anyone here, troll – you are not welcome here yourself.

    Go away.

  • covinared

    Its sad state of affairs when the coach does not have enough confidence in his second string QB to play him in the face of what we have seen so far.

  • Jan K Oski

    Glad to have you as my other team’s beat writer, Joe. I’ve always enjoyed your Chin Music entries. I look forward to more of this hardy entries.

    Go BEARS!

  • Steve W

    Contrast a defiant Teddy in the press conference to a decisive Chip Kelly, who yanked his Davey O’Brian nominated quarterback in the first half of last week’s game against WSU after he wasn’t Playing well. Maybe that’s because Kelly had actually developed his second guy, who came in and played with confidence and poise.

    Every thing our coach is doing these days pretty much sickens me, but mostly it’s the product on the field. I can’t remember an upcoming game where I have had less anticipation for. Maybe the 2001 season was worse, but I have pretty much blocked that from memory.

  • Rocko

    It speaks volumns for JT’s QB evlauation at the recruiting level. We have four available QB’s and Maynard is so far ahead of the other three that he is going to start against WSU? To me he has shown no improvement at the QB position. He is throwing the same interceptions he threw in the first two games. It makes you wonder if it is only KA that is keeping him on the field. We had better players on the field than UDUB & UCLA and still lost to both of them. JT can’t play in the game but he sure the hell has control of who is in the game. Maynard is not the answer at QB.

  • rollonubears

    it’s getting to the point where it’s almost as entertaining to watch them collapse. that’s how i remember 2001. when you start laughing, instead of getting angry, you know you’re in trouble.

  • Alaska Bear

    If we need a model for the successful coaching of a quarterback, we need only look locally at the transformation of Alex Smith under Harbaugh’s guidance. I can remember when Smith was laughable. Question is, does Tedford still have the touch?

  • rollonubears

    Alaska, i think your comment makes a lot of sense in that our next successor should be a former successful NFL QB. Can Dilfer coach? He certainly runs a nice elite 11 program.

  • rollonubears

    a nice article on AR in SI today, although there aren’t any quotes from AR himself. they refer to JT as a “passing game guru” now.

  • joey

    The 49ers pass offense and Alex Smith’s QB rating are near the bottom. Alex Smith hasn’t transformed, the rest of the team has.

  • Matt

    wait what happened to JO?

  • Daniel

    Welcome Joe and good luck. You got sent into a minefield here.

    The disturbing thing is not Maynard’s lack of accuracy, it is the lack of other options. Even when Aaron Rodgers played poorly, Reggie Robertson could sling it (he was the last Cal QB to beat SC). Steve Levy took no flack from anybody and loved winning, unfortunately he also took no flack from nightclub bouncers and got buried on the depth chart along with the season. I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Longshore’s recovery, Riley, Mansion, Maynard, and Bridgford/Klein/Boehm/whoever and coach should understand that we don’t need another Aaron, just a Reggie Robertson/Steve Levy kinda workman that gets a passer rating 5th out of the PAC-12 and in the top 50 nationally.
    Then let the defense have a chance to do its job. Let Anger pin them deep. Hand the ball off. Look like a normal football team. That’s all I ask.

  • rollonubears

    Agreed. Daniel.

    And with three 4-star quarterbacks on the bench, that shouldn’t be too hard to muster.

  • Marc

    @#5 Nick. I have also noticed that the players have tuned out Tedford. I remember exactly what you are talking about. Maynard is #82 in the country in qb rating…..I have gone from getting so mad watching CAL play, to expecting the mistakes and ineptness. I love CAL, but I honestly expect them to lose Saturday, and that my friends SUCKS!

  • Kent Wilson

    The next few weeks will be telling…to see where Cal falls in the conference. Cal is playing the bottom 3rd of the conference in Utah, UCLA, WSU and OSU in consecutive week. So far we are 1-1 against the weak links of the conference.

    I get the feeling that WSU is getting better with each week and certainly has improved during the past 2 years…I fear that this week’s game will show us that WSU has surpassed Cal….just in the same way we saw that UW passed Cal last year.

    Meanwhile the Cal program has been declining over the past few years…this year appears to be no different. I just don’t know where the bottom is…but clearly this team is in the bottom half of the Pac-12 … I also, see no reason to think next year will be any different. (I said the same thing last year and this point in the season).

  • Bill D

    “Misses a ball here and there” !!! How about throws four pics and over/under throws numerous other times. Sheesh, I love this program and I’ll be there on Saturday but this is getting really tough to take.

  • calbearister99

    “Tedford said Washington State (3-4, 1-4 Pac-12) should no longer be viewed as a conference doormat.”

    That’s correct. Cal should now be viewed as a conference doormat in the Pac-12 North.

    I’m a bit irked by Tedford’s comments about Maynard. I don’t blame Maynard for the quality of his play. I have no doubt he’s out there doing his best. The problem is that his best just isn’t very good at the moment, and it is a COACH’s job to manage that.

    I would cut Tedford some slack if it was the first time we’d seen this (see, e.g., 2005 after Rodgers left). But for Tedford to say “Not everyone can be Rodgers” ignores the problem. EVERY quarterback he’s named as a starter since Rodgers left has been a failure. Longshore started out promising but regressed. Riley had one good game, then regressed. Ayoob wasn’t good from the outset. Mansion was never good.

    So no coach, not every QB is going to be Aaron Rodgers. But among your choices, you seem to be batting .200, going 0 for your last 4. The problem with this team is not the players. It’s the lack of a head coach, OC, DC or special teams coach who can improve the team or manage a game. Just my $0.02.

  • rollonubears

    Who wants to be on a team where the only chance you have to play is if the head coach’s favorite goes down with an injury? I certainly don’t.

  • Fire Tedford Now

    http://www.coacheshotseat.com/

    Tedford’s now #4 in the nation, and not in a good way, either. In fact, this is the week he surpassed Neuheisel on the hotseat. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised but the death watch for Mr. Tedford’s Cal career is definitely on.

    Couldn’t happen soon enough. It apparently is gonna cost $5-6 million to get rid of him (from the blog on that site). Money well spent, in my opinion