Football: Tedford praises Maynard, says Bears aren’t interested in playing up underdog role

A couple items from Jeff Tedford’s news conference Tuesday:

Asked about Zach Maynard’s decision making through two games, Tedford praised his senior quarterback.

“Zach’s done very well. He hasn’t forced the ball,” Tedford said.

Maynard ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency at 154.2. He’s completed 64.2 percent of his passes for an average of 237 yards per game, with three touchdowns and one interception in 53 attempts.

“Last week’s interception was a total fluke,” Tedford said of the first-quarter pick on a screen pass. “You never see that happen on a wide screen. You’re supposed to cut the (defensive) end. It’s a blind throw, really, for the quarterback. The end didn’t get cut. You never expect that. You’re not reading the defensive end on a wide screen.

“For the most part, Zach has done a nice job of not forcing the football. Has made some plays with his legs,” he said, alluding to Maynard’s 30 net yards rushing. “When he’s got outside the pocket, he’s been accurate with his throws. I think his managemenet of the game and protecting the ball has been good.”

He noted that Maynard was stripped of the ball once in the Nevada game while scrambling.

“He’s got to put it away when he starts running,” Tedford said. “As far as throwing the football, he’s managing it pretty well.”

Later, Tedford was asked if his team is embracing the underdog role against Ohio State, which is favored by 17 points. Tedford said exploiting that motivational angle is not part of his preparation this week.

“We’re not going to play to that,” he said. “We’re going there to win a football game. I don’t know what the (outside) perception is. I know the perception inĀ our locker room is we’re going there to win and compete and execute.

“We understand we’re playing a great football and a great tradition in a place that’s a hostile environment. We understand the level of competition, but that’s not something we’re backing down from.”


Jeff Faraudo