The thinking on the QB situation from inside the program. (5 votes)
This morning, someone close to the Cal program discussed the precise thinking of the staff regarding the QB situation with me.
Coach Tedford's thinking on the subject is pretty simple: he is incredibly disappointed with the entire team's performance in Los Angeles. While it would be satisfying to many fans to see ZM benched, he does not believe that scapegoating his starting QB would be particularly productive, as the entire team showed up flat last Saturday.
Coach Tedford is of the mind that ZM can get it done at home. Bowl eligibility is now the only priority for the team, and Maynard has played his best football at home. Coach believes the absence of bowl game practice really hurt the team this season, and he will do whatever it takes to get the team to the 6-win threshold. It is not simply important because of the intrinsic value of additional practice for a young team, but because it is very important to everyone on the team and in the Athletic Department that next season's team shows well when Memorial Stadium re-opens.
Coach Tedford straight up believes that Maynard gives Cal the best chance to reach the 6-win mark. With the way Maynard has played at home against inferior teams, Coach believes that he has progressed enough to to where he can beat two below-average Pac-12 teams at home. Bridgford is a bit more of an unknown at this point, and Coach believes it is riskier to start AB in one of the most important games of the season, when we have ZM, who has played much better at home than on the road. His belief is that Maynard will provide the team two consecutive Utah-type performances against WSU and Oregon State, at which point, with bowl eligibility in Cal's back pocket, the team will have the flexibility to incorporate a new QB into the rotation if necessary. The staff is still thinking that everything will "click" for ZM, and this stretch of two games is not the time to pull him, as they believe the Utah performance shows he is close.
Two important additional points:
If Cal loses the next two games in a similar fashion to the UCLA losses, it is pretty well-understood that ZM will back-up another QB the rest of the season. There will be open competition for the starting job in spring and fall practice next season, but with the loss of the possibility of bowl eligibility, the staff will see what else they have at QB on the roster.
Coach Tedford is a Cal Bear through and through, and he realizes that his results have been unacceptable the last few years. Coach is a very confident man, and believes this team can turn things around and have a solid season this year, with a bowl victory that can propel Cal into being a contender next season.
I hope this appeases the people calling for Coach Tedford's head. He feels these losses as deeply as the biggest Cal fan alive, and it gnaws at him every time the team has one of these horrible performances. Despite what many posters on Cal fan boards think, every single decision Coach makes is driven by his relentless desire to put Cal in the best possible position to win every game it plays. He knows the fans are angry. He is angry. But he has responsibilities to the young men who are under his watch to keep pursuing success on their behalf. He knows many fans will not understand his decisions, but he has the trust of his players to consider first and foremost, and he will not be swayed by the sort of knee-jerk reactions/adjustments that would satisfy the Cal fanbase. At the end of the day, he has forgotten more about football than most Cal fans will ever know, he is the person responsible for the final decisions of the program, and if he is going to fail, he is going to fail doing what he believes is best, rather than flinching in the face of pressure from fans and donors.
EDIT: We left the thread up that quoted this post for a day before moving it off the board. We'll leave it up this time with comments about Tedford's future plans with the program edited out. They run completely contrary to his staff's knowledge, leaving the veracity of that particular comment much in doubt. We'll not be a forum responsible for attributing thoughts from Jeff Tedford that do not accurately represent what he's told anyone on his staff or the media.