Sept. 3, 2011
When Cal fans gather for the 2011 season opener against Fresno State in the "TicketCity Battle by the Bay" this Saturday at Candlestick Park at 4 p.m., they will see something they have not seen from a Golden Bear quarterback in recent years.
The multi-dimensional Zach Maynard, a junior transfer from Buffalo who threw 18 touchdowns in 2009 before sitting out the 2010 campaign, brings a new option to the Cal offense, a quarterback who is quick on his feet and can take off running as an effective weapon.
It's something that has first-year quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo chomping at the bit to get this season underway.
"Zach's ability to move around, and the other quarterbacks aren't immobile by any stretch of the imagination, but obviously the ability he brings with his feet adds a different element that will make it that much harder on defenses," Arroyo said.
Maynard, who has been recognized by a number of publications as a "Player to Watch" in 2011, is one of the Cal players this season that is from North Carolina. Another one of those natives of North Carolina, Keenan Allen, is also Maynard's half brother. Not only will Maynard have Allen to throw to, but on the other side of the field, he has senior wide receiver Marvin Jones. A possible third option in the passing attack, freshman Maurice Harris, is also from North Carolina.
With so many options to throw to, and the possibility of him taking off on his own, Maynard has the same anticipation as Arroyo to get the season started.
"I don't really feel pressure at all," Maynard said. "We've been practicing for a long time, and we are so anxious to play a game that we are going to be ready."
As far as the move from the East Coast goes, Maynard is happy to be playing on the West Coast, especially since he has some familiar faces with him, as well. He doesn't mind the upgrade in weather either in California.
"It's freezing cold in Buffalo," Maynard said. "A lot of people here are cool and they accept you. No judgmental factor really. There is a big difference between the Northeast and the West Coast."
As much as they are relying on Maynard, head coach Jeff Tedford and Arroyo have no fear in playing the rest of the quarterbacks on the depth chart should the situation arise. Second-string quarterback Allan Bridgford did not see any action in 2010, but impressed his coaches during fall camp.
Bridgford was named the nation's No. 15 incoming freshman quarterback by Phil Steele heading into the 2009 season. The credentials are there for the Mission Viejo native to succeed if need be.
"Allan did a great job building from spring into fall camp," Arroyo said. "He did a lot of real good things and is very cognitive. He's learning fast, learning a lot and growing each day."
Bridgford has taken advantage of playing behind Maynard to make sure he stays game ready in the event he has to suddenly get into the game.
"You can never really have the mindset that you are the backup," Bridgford said. "Technically, I am one play away from being the starter. I feel like no matter what, you should prepare like you are going to be the starter. You prepare better as a starter."
The third string quarterback is the one with the most experience in the Pac-12. When Kevin Riley's senior season ended abruptly with a knee injury at Oregon State last year, Brock Mansion took over under center for the remainder of the campaign.
The senior from Dallas, Texas, was the starter for the final four contests, throwing for 646 yards and two touchdowns.
Bridgford said having a quarterback in the group who has witnessed Pac-12 competition first hand is definitely an advantage.
"Brock's always helpful," Bridgford said. "All the quarterbacks are helpful. We just kind of feed off each other and learn new things from each other."
Single-game tickets for the season-opening TicketCity Battle by the Bay at San Francisco's Candlestick Park against Fresno State today are on sale now. The neutral-site season opener for both teams is not part of the Bears' season-ticket package.
Tickets are also on sale for Cal's five home games this season at San Francisco's AT&T Park. Cal will host Pac-12 opponents USC (Thu., Oct. 13), Utah (Sat., Oct. 22), Washington State (Sat., Nov. 5) and Oregon State (Sat., Nov. 12) at the venue after playing Presbyterian in its home opener on Sat., Sept. 17 (2:30 p.m.)
Cal football tickets can be purchased online at CalBears.com or by calling the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS.
After playing the last 88 seasons and every home game at Memorial Stadium since the facility opened for the 1923 Big Game, Cal will host its home games outside of Berkeley for the first time in 2011 while Memorial Stadium undergoes an extensive renovation and retrofit. For updates on the progress of the renovation and retrofit of Memorial Stadium as well as the Memorial Stadium webcam, visit stadium.berkeley.edu.
2011 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Day, Date - Opponent (Time, TV)