Bridgford still a factor at quarterback

Quarterback Allan Bridgford shows off newfound confidence in his shoulder as he leads the Cal offense Saturday, as Zach Maynard misses practice because of academics.

BERKELEY, Calif. – Most of the conversation regarding California's quarterbacks entering the 2012 season tended to focus on incumbent Zach Maynard and early enrollee Zach Kline.

Saturday served as a reminder there are other names to consider, notably redshirt junior Allan Bridgford.

With Maynard absent from Witter Rugby Field to attend to academics, Bridgford directed the first-team offense and looked like a more than viable option, showing excellent command of the system and improved mobility.

Cal head coach Jeff Tedford praised Bridgford but said it would take a change in circumstances for Maynard to lose his job.

"It's always an open competition, but Maynard was the starter last year and something would have to happen," Tedford said. "But it's always competitive. Whoever plays the best is the starter."

At this time last spring, Bridgford was still recovering from shoulder surgery and didn't have full faith in his throws. While he eventually settled in as the backup to Maynard last season, he never seriously challenged even as the transfer from Buffalo struggled early in the campaign.

Bridgford attempted 32 passes while appearing in four games, throwing for 184 yards.

Wide receiver Ross Bostock, who calls Bridgford "one of my best friends," believes the former Mission Viejo (Calif.) standout is ready to show what he is capable of.

"He definitely has his confidence back and he knows he can throw the ball. It's good to see," Bostock said.

"He had that setback with his shoulder and he's worked real hard to get where he is at now. I think he is ready to come out here and perform."

Bridgford wasn't the only quarterback to impress, as redshirt freshman Kyle Boehm had several highlight passes, including one down the seam to tight end Jacob Wark for a big gain, and also scrambled to extend plays or pick up extra yardage on a handful of occasions.

"Again he's got a long way to go as well, but that is what spring is for," Tedford said. "He is getting a little more comfortable. Today he was more comfortable than he was last practice and you hope that that comfort level continues to grow."

As for Kline, the freshman found out how much tighter throwing lanes would be in college football as he was intercepted by safety Josh Hill during the team period, the redshirt senior jumping in front of a sideline throw.

Still, he threw an impressive deep ball to Bostock during 7-on-7, the pass traveling 30 yards in the air and hitting the redshirt senior right in the hands.

Said Bostock: "Zach is going to be a great quarterback here. He throws a really nice ball and I'm excited to see what he can do."

Tedford said he would like to pare down the competition between Kline, Boehm and redshirt sophomore Austin Hinder to serve as the third quarterback at some point but did not have a timetable.

"I don't know when that is going to happen," Tedford said. "They are all going to get a chance in the spring to see what they can do."

Study Time
Tedford downplayed the importance of Maynard's absence, noting that players often have study groups or team projects that take precedence over practice, especially in the spring.

"We miss guys all the time for that type of thing, but he had to get that done today," Tedford said.

Sofele Stars
Running back Isi Sofele broke several long runs during team period and also had an impressive one-handed catch on a screen pass.

"Early in the year last year through camp and things like that, he'd see that hole and want to get there and stumble through it. Now when he hits it, he is bringing his feet with him," Tedford said.

Quick Hits
-Redshirt senior tailback Mike Manuel worked at wide receiver, helping to supplement limited numbers there. Redshirt freshman defensive back Joel Willis also caught passes early in practice during individual drills before moving back to the other side of the ball.

-With Eric Stevens (knee) out for spring, wearing a red no-contact jersey and rehabbing off to the side, the Bears used running backs at fullback. Only Sofele did not participate in the experiment.


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