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The Bears’ offensive success will live and die with QB Zach Maynard next season.
After a rocky start, Maynard found his rhythm down the stretch putting up some impressive games against Arizona State and Stanford.
However, early in the season, Maynard was rather erratic. At times indecisive in the pocket, he would scramble and try to futilely salvage a broken play.
Maynard has the physical capabilities to wreak havoc on Pac-12 defenses. With a lanky 6'2" frame, a strong arm and impressive agility, the southpaw’s biggest challenge will be analyzing defenses and making the right decisions.
For Maynard, the game will be played between the ears next season, and his ability to keep his poise will be pivotal if Cal is looking to make a statement in the Pac-12.
Once Cal went down early, Maynard often tried to play hero ball, forcing the pass into tight spots and hurting the offense's efficiency.
This proved especially problematic against powerhouse defenses like USC and Oregon, leading to underwhelming completion percentages of 48.8 and 58.1, respectively.
Having success with the option last season, look for Maynard to team up with Sofele in the backfield and keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Maynard’s game matured tremendously from the Bears’ season opener against Fresno State through their regular season finale at Arizona State last season.
He will need to continue this upward trajectory if the Bears have any hope of moving into the Pac-12’s upper echelon.