Cal makes its AT&T Park debut Saturday against Presbyterian riding its fourth straight 2-0 start, but with plenty left to prove.
Cal’s thrilling 36-33 nonconference overtime win against Colorado on Saturday highlighted a number of things the Golden Bears are doing well, but also where the team still needs improvement, coach Jeff Tedford said.
“It came down to a tight game in a hostile environment,” Tedford said. “This last game was a battle all the way through.”
After seeing a 10-point third-quarter lead evaporate, the Bears came back on two occasions to take the lead in the fourth quarter and in overtime, capping off the win on a 5-yard touchdown reception by Keenan Allen.
But the Bears allowed 582 yards of total offense, including a Colorado-record 474 through the air from quarterback Tyler Hansen.
“They caught us in man coverage a couple of times,” Tedford said. “We need to get better pressure on the quarterback.”
Playing a lower-division team such as Presbyterian (1-1) will allow the Bears to continue working on fundamentals and schemes.
The strategies will also include how to take on the field itself.
It will be Cal’s first game at AT&T Park this season — their opener was held at Candlestick Park — and the first time they’ve been at the ballpark since an on-field practice in mid-August.
“There are strategic elements due to the infield,” Tedford said.
Leading up to this game, the Bears have practiced at various dirt fields to get used to the infield at AT&T. Cal’s Memorial Stadium is under construction all season long.
Tedford said his team is still trying to grow and evolve before it starts a daunting stretch of games that begins next week.
Cal will travel to Washington and Oregon, before returning to AT&T Park to play Southern Cal and Utah.
One of the question marks entering the season was the transition of quarterback Zach Maynard. But in two games, it has not been an issue.
Maynard has thrown for six touchdowns and more than 500 yards in his first two games with the Bears.
Maynard has had a solid target in Allen, who after a stellar freshman campaign, also shows no signs of slowing down. The sophomore is 16th in the nation in receiving yards with 209 in two games.
A win Saturday would be Tedford’s 75th as the Bears’ head coach, making him the school’s all-time winningest head coach.
He is currently tied with Andy Smith, who coached the Bears to 74 victories between 1916 and 1925.
NOTE: Tedford was reprimanded by the Pac-12 on Thursday for comments he made about the officiating at Saturday’s game against Colorado, Commissioner Larry Scott announced. “The one on [Trevor] Guyton was a terrible call,” Tedford told the Oakland Tribune. “The guy was never down. They blew the whistle right when he hit him. They blew that one.”