Programming note: Watch Cal take on Washington State live from AT&T Park, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. only on Comcast SportsNet California.
What ever will the Cal Bears donow? Let me take you back to thoseinglorious years when Nate Longshore was the designated flinger for your sturdyGolden Bears. Accurate but not mobilewas the hew and cry from the old Blues.So, along comes Kevin Riley a little bit more mobile, but not asaccurate. Now comes the dilemma inBerkeley. Rileys gone and there are twocandidates for the job: Allan Bridgford accurate not mobile, and Zach Maynard mobile not accurate. This was a no-brainer for the coachingstaff: Give me mobile. Well, it turns out that mobileis a good thing but being mobile and unable to hit a moving target is not sucha good thing. Thus the dilemma.
I admit that for me this is adifficult yarn to weave. I like JeffTedford both personally and professionally and I have found Zach Maynard to bea bright, personable, and very athletic quarterback. The problem lies in the fact that sometimesthe right decision reaps the wrong results.Jeff Tedford made the decisionthat Zach Maynard was going to be his quarterback back in the spring. And he did it for all the right reasons. The day of the straight drop back passer isfast becoming only a memory. A cannonarm is not enough. A quarterback has tohave that great intangible escapability.Right choice, but perhaps the wrong guy.Maynard had some success at the University of Buffalobefore transferring to Calto join his brother Keenan Allen arguably the Bears best player. The cold reality is that what might work justswell in the MAC doesnt work so well in the Pac 12, and quite simply put,Maynard is overmatched at this level. Itall worked OK against Fresno St., Colorado, Utah and Presbyterian, but againstUSC, Washington, Oregon, and even UCLA, its just not good enough.Unfortunately this year Tedfordwas put in a position where he had to count on his quarterback to win gamesinstead of just manage them.Historically the Bears have been able to run the ball (witness thenumber of Cal running backs currently in the NFL), but with the early departureof Shane Vereen to the draft, suddenly the cupboard was left bereft of thecaliber of back the Bears had grown accustomed to. So defenses simply took the run away anddared Cal to beat them with the quarterback.Now weve come to that Its nottoo late portion of the season where the coach has to make a decision. One hes had to make before: Mobile but not accurate vs. accurate but notmobile. And just to compound the coachsdecision hes got the delicate balance of the team to deal with. Maynard is a good guy and well liked. And, his brother is the teams lynchpin. If you sit him, do you lose the team? If you dont sit him, do you lose more games?I dont know if Allan Bridgfordis the answer. Hes never faced livebullets as a Division I player. Jeff Tedfordhas faced this issue before when he replaced his starting quarterback inmid-game with a player whod not thrown a pass at a four-year college. The Bears lost that game at Kansas State, but thedecision was a good one.The quarterback was AaronRodgers. I cant help but wonder if thatthought isnt dancing in the head of the coach as he prepares for a game thatcould throw this season one way or another?