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October 17, 2011

Tedford talks turnovers



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BERKELEY -- Pride wasn't the only thing that was injured for the California football team on Thursaday in a 30-9 loss to conference rival USC. On Sunday, there were more than a few red jerseys on the Bears' practice field, including senior inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, outside linebacker David Wilkerson, tight end Jacob Wark, defensive back Marc Anthony and defensive back C.J. Moncrease.

"Moncrease had a surgery on his thumb, but besides that, I think that's pretty much it as far as anything serious, but he should be able to play. It's the same thing that Stef [McClure] had earlier in camp, so he had it operated on and he's in a cast and he can play with that," said head coach Jeff Tedford, who would not discuss the injury to Kendricks.

Anthony is still questionable after separating his shoulder against Oregon.

After three straight losses, Tedford said that the team has responded well as the Bears beings to prepare for Utah.

"It's very similar to what I told you after the game, which is that they understand that there's a lot of good things happening," Tedford said. "It's got to get put together in all three phases. That's the critical thing. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody learns. We've got to take all those lessons -- good and bad -- and make good decisions. There's not anyone that's played a perfect game, so we have to trust one another and play hard and I feel like the team understands that, and are eager to get back out and play another game."

Junior quarterback Zach Maynard has had a particularly rough couple of games, as the offense has generated just 24 points and has been shut out in five of eight quarters. Against the Trojans, Maynard was responsible for four of Cal's five turnovers.

"One of the [snaps] hit Zach right in the hands and he dropped it, and then [Michael] Calvin drops the ball instead of letting him give it to him, which we work in practice all the time," Tedford said. "It's just a matter of trusting your technique and doing it. I think a lot of it - I think I said this after the game - the guys were too eager to do something. Mike wants to get the ball fast. Instead of doing like he's supposed to, he grabs the ball and there it goes. There's absolutely no excuse for Marv [Jones] to field the ball inside the five-yard line like that. He told me he thought he was on the 16 and he was on the 11, but there's absolutely no excuse for that. We talk about that all the time. He's a senior, and he understands that that was a mistake that can't happen, so hopefully, he learns from that and won't let it happen again."

Botched snaps, miscommunication, fumbles and execution issues have plagued the Bears over their past three losses, though Tedford did not appear concerned that the mistakes are happening even at the halfway point in the season.

"Besides the dropped snap and Michael grabbing for the ball, we didn't have a lot of balls on the ground or anything like that," Tedford said. "The turnovers, obviously, were a major part of the game, and mainly because of where the turnovers occurred: You have one going in for a touchdown, you have two down deep that get them great field position, and those are, I think, a result of people trying too hard."

Cal has reason to press. For the first time in Tedford's tenure, the Bears have started conference play 0-3.

"They're really trying to make something happen instead of being patient," Tedford said. "Sometimes, we may have to take a sack. We may have to take a sack and punt the ball, and those are the types of things, so sometimes, I think, when you really look at it, these guys are fired up and trying a little bit too hard, instead of just trusting what they're doing."

According to USC cornerback Dion Bailey, the Trojans defense was able to gain several turnovers -- the three interceptions that Maynard threw -- thanks to the junior signal-caller telegraphing his throws, including those to his brother Keenan Allen, who caught 13 of Maynard's 25 completions.

"I was just reading the quarterback's eyes the whole time," Bailey said of his late-first half pick in the end zone.

Maynard also threw a pick in the end zone to linebacker Chris Galippo earlier in the second quarter while backed up on his own 10-yard line.

"The interception, we threw it to the middle linebacker, Zach's getting tripped and instead of just eating it and going down, he didn't have a good look at it and tried to throw it and never saw the 'backer, instead of taking a chance on that," Tedford said. "Then the later one, he read man, it was zone, the guy held the seam and he threw it to the flat. That's one of those you chalk up to experience. But, again defenses are moving fast, and that's what I told Zach. The last two weeks, they're about as fast as things are going to move at this level. Those are really good football teams and great athletes and things like that, so there's a learning curve. You have to take those lessons and, is it the stud that the defense does? Yeah. They put pressure on him on the one where he's getting tripped, and you've got to understand, don't make something bad, worse. That's really kind of what it is. Like I said, it's people trying a bit too hard."

Responding to the criticism that Maynard telegraphed his throws, Tedford said, "He did on that one, for sure," referring to the pick by Galippo.

"But, he also threw a lot of really good balls, too," Tedford continued. "He threw some really good balls, as well. The one that happened in the end zone, the guy had [Michael] Calvin beat on the underneath, and he kind of sank back in there. Zach wanted to put it high, and he had it over the backer -- he had it over Galippo to Marv [Jones] in the back of the end zone -- but the guy that was on Calvin came in and came back out. The guy covering was late getting back out and so I don't think Zach ever saw him. He jumped up, got the ball and Zach wanted to throw it higher. That was kind of a poor throw."

Asked whether Maynard locking into a receiver is a problem in his mind, Tedford answered in the negative, particularly when he looks to Allen before the snap.

"No. It depends on what the play is, and if your pre-snap says go there right now, then you go there right now," Tedford said. "You don't look things off and go somewhere right now. You have to know where you're going with the ball if the ball's coming out quick." Stay tuned for more from Sunday's practice, as well as more on this week's opponents, the Utes, who defeated Pittsburgh on Saturday by the score of 26-14.



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