Maynard Named California Starting Quarterback
What does Jeff Tedford's pick of Maynard mean for California in 2011?
By: Steven Lassan | 5/18/11, 12:59 AM EDT
California picks Maynard as its Starting Quarterback
Jeff Tedford has picked his starting quarterback for 2011 and it’s not much of a surprise. Zach Maynard won a five-man battle for the starting job, which included Brock Mansion (who started the final three games of 2010) and sophomore Allan Bridgford. Although the Bears closed spring practices, Maynard was widely expected to finish No. 1 on the depth chart.
Maynard sat out 2010 after transferring from Buffalo, where he started 11 games and threw for 2,694 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2009. Maynard’s success at Buffalo wasn’t limited to the passing game, adding 300 yards and one score on the ground.
The junior’s dual-threat ability will add a different element to the California offense. Head coach Jeff Tedford will be calling the plays in 2011, and no California quarterback since Aaron Rodgers in 2004 has managed more than 100 rushing yards in a season.
Another 5-7 or 6-6 season likely wouldn’t end Tedford’s tenure at California, but it’s clear the pressure is building. The Golden Bears ranked 90th nationally in total offense and 73rd in scoring offense last season. Considering Tedford’s area of specialty is on offense, this is one place California shouldn’t struggle in and finding consistent quarterback play has been an issue in recent seasons.
How effective Maynard can be remains uncertain. Maynard didn’t earn all-conference honors for his 2009 season at Buffalo and struggled with turnovers, tossing 15 interceptions. However, sitting out a season due to the transfer probably helped Maynard learn the offense and the junior should have a good rapport with sophomore receiver (and half brother) Keenan Allen.
There’s no denying California has enough talent to return to a bowl game in 2011, but the offense must show improvement. The departure of Shane Vereen leaves a hole at running back, but Isi Sofele averaged nearly five yards a carry in limited work last year. The offensive line remains a question mark, but Jim Michalczik is a highly-regarded coach and his return should help this unit.
Will Tedford calling the plays and some tweaks to the offensive scheme to fit Maynard’s talent be enough to get California into contention into the Pac-12 North? Probably not. Getting off to a good start will be important, especially with swing games against Fresno State and Colorado to open the season. If the Golden Bears can start 2-0, they should be 3-0 with a win over Presbyterian before facing a brutal three-game stretch against Washington, Oregon and USC.
Fantasy Take: Maynard is worth a look as a late-round selection in 120 formats, but California’s best fantasy options should be running back Isi Sofele and receivers Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. Sofele needs to prove he can hold up to a full season of carries, while Maynard’s development will be critical to the fantasy value of the receivers.
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