Poor play from Cal leads to questions

Ed Szczepanski/US PRESSWIRECalifornia Golden Bears quarterback Zach Maynard (15) throws a pass during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.

Cal’s 27-17 loss to Arizona State on Saturday raises a lot of troubling questions for the Golden Bears looking ahead to the rest of the season.

  • Is this season doomed with Cal slipping to 1-4?
  • Is coach Jeff Tedford’s job in jeopardy?
  • Is quarterback Zach Maynard the chief problem in the Cal offense?

Being 0-2 in the Pac-12 Conference virtually eliminates Cal from Pac-12 title consideration less than halfway through the season. At the moment, Cal looks superior to only two of its seven remaining opponents, and those two games — against Washington State and Utah — are both on the road. A bowl game seems like a long shot, and finishing better than 4-8 appears to be a challenge.

The Bears’ 1-4 mark is the worst after five games in Tedford’s 11 seasons as Cal’s coach, and Cal fans have voiced dissatisfaction in recent years. Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour has been unwavering in her support of Tedford, and she did a lot of work several years ago when the Bears were winning to put together a contract that would keep Tedford at Cal.

As for Maynard, he was just 9-of-28 for 126 yards against Arizona State, and seldom will a team win a Pac-12 game when its quarterback completes just 32.1 percent of his passes. However, Maynard rarely had time to pass and was sacked seven times. He has been sacked 20 times the past three games.

“There were some plays we could have hit, but he is also under a lot of duress,” Tedford said. “We have got to give him more time to throw the football. … He didn’t play his best game, obviously.”

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