Cal and Fresno State held a joint news conference Monday at Candlestick Park to promote their neutral site game to open the 2011 football season.
Quarterback Zach Maynard is scheduled to make his first start for Cal in that game, and coach Jeff Tedford wants to give the junior transfer from Buffalo as much time as possible to get comfortable as one of the faces of the team.
Tedford named Maynard the team's starting quarterback Saturday, two weeks after the completion of spring practice and well before the team begins its offseason workout program, let alone training camp. Because Maynard just joined the program in January after grayshirting last season, Tedford believed it was important to give Maynard his role as soon as possible.
"I felt like he deserved it," Tedford said. "I felt like he did a very nice job, and I think it's important for him to be able to assume the reins of a leader. He's new to the program. He's been here for one semester."
Tedford knew Maynard possessed some physical tools from watching his game tape from Buffalo, where he was a starter in 2009 and passed for 2,694 yards with 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also rushed for 300 yards. Maynard's biggest challenge this spring was digesting Cal's playbook.
"I was actually a little bit surprised by how fast he picked some things up," Tedford said. "It wasn't Football 101. It was advanced football from our defense. He still has a ways to go, but I was encouraged how he was able to process the information and take it from the meeting room to the field."
"This may sound odd, but I still see myself as a young head coach," said Tedford, 49. "I think as you go through time, things go through a progression. As you try things, you learn from them. I don't think you learn those things until you actually try them. I have learned over the years what I hopefully think is the right combination."