Every week Cal Football Blog will look at 5 most intriguing questions before Game Day.
1. What to do at Quarterback?
At this moment, Zach Maynard remains the starting quarterback for Cal against Washington State. However, in the last three of four games, Maynard has looked very shaky and turnover prone. Earlier this week Tedford opened up the quarterback competition between Maynard and Allen Bridgeford, but it looks for now that Maynard will continue to be Cal’s quarterback. After eight games, Maynard does not look like he will become an elite quarterback of the Pac-12. However, if he is to salvage this season he just needs to manage the game and let the game come to him. If he has a poor first half against Washington State, look for Allan Bridgeford to come into the game to take over the reigns.
2. Where’s the defense?
The defense had a really hard time against UCLA’s pistol much like it did against Nevada the past season. The experience lacking defense tended to over-pursue (something that has troubled the defense all season). Also, it seems that a lot of teams have pretty much figured out how to exploit Pendergast’s defense. Cal has not had the same kind of defense that we saw last season at all. Cal’s defense must play with more discipline and confidence while at the same time showing the right amount of aggression. We can blame the offense for some of the defense’s trouble because of the short field that the defense has to work with, but the defense has not had the same number of three and outs that Cal’d defense usually produces.
3. Who is to blame for Cal’s recent downfall?
There is a lot of blame flying around from Zach Maynard to Pendergast to Tedford. The sad thing is that almost all of these people are right. Zach Maynard has turned the ball over way too many times the past few games as he threw pick after pick. Pendergast needs to find a better scheme for the personnel that he has because the defense is not performing to what it is capable of. Tedford is supposed to some kind of quarterback and offensive guru but the worst part of Cal right now is the quarterback and the offense. Tedford has tried changing things around from coaching staff to the players’ daily schedules but nothing has worked. The problem for Tedford may be that he needs to stop changing what is around him and start changing himself. He has lost the swagger and confidence that he had from ’02-’06. He is overly concentrated on minute details of the program, but not figuring out how HE can change. It is easy for the head coach to change the football program but it is much harder for the head coach to change himself. However, that is what Tedford must do.
4. Anything positive to look forward to?
There are a lot of heads down up at strawberry field, but there are still much to look forward to. Cal can still reach a bowl game with home wins against Washington State and Oregon State. Keenan Allen can break the 1,000 receiving yard mark with only a couple more catches. Cal still has the Big Game against Stanford, possibly pulling off one of the greatest upsets in Cal history. With Cal looking a little down, maybe young talents like Vei Moala and Brendan Bigelow will have a chance to play more. 8 games have already passed but the next four against WSU, OSU, Stanford, and ASU will be very exciting to watch, with a lot of things on the line like bowl-eligibility, starting spots, and coaching jobs.
5. What are Cal’s chances against Washington State?
Cal will have a good chance to beat Washington State. After losing to UCLA, Cal will definitely not take Washington State lightly especially at AT&T Park. Washington State has struggled against Pac-12 foes much like Cal. As long as Cal does not turn the ball over as much as it did against UCLA, Cal will have a good chance against the Cougars. However, if Cal continues to play as horribly as it did against UCLA, Cal will have a huge disaster at hand that Cal will be hard to recover from. This is definitely a must-win for Cal, especially if Cal wants to salvage this season and to try to make a bowl game.