Throughout training camp Jonathan Okanes reported daily that the quarterback competition was close. Longshore started strong and Riley came on as of late. But, they were essentially even. Yesterday, Tedford again reiterated how close it remains yet Kevin Riley is the new starting quarterback for the Cal Bears.
Like a lot of Cal fans, I am surprised by the decision. If indeed the competition is close and the players are even, shouldn’t the tie go to the 5th year senior that led the team to a 10 win season in 2006 and 4th, 6th and 7th in passing efficiency, passing touchdowns, and passing yards respectively. Given this, perhaps the competition was not as close as reported.
On the other hand, according to Tedford, Longshore will play against Michigan State. There is no reason not to believe him, Tedford made the same statement before the Armed Forces Bowl and indeed, both Riley and Longshore started. However, while both players will get time this season, I still do not expect a dual quarterback situation. Usually, when that is implemented the prototypical dropback quarterback starts and the more mobile quarterback plays in relief or in the redzone.
Personally, I am disappointed for Nate. I do not know him, but in private I have been a Longshore supporter for quite some time. I realize I’m in the minority, but I still believe Tedford was generally right to stick with Nate. It cannot be easy to deal with dropping from being named the number one junior quarterback in the country to backup within one year. That said, there is some silver lining for Longshore. If Tedford chose Nate, the scrutiny would be at an all-time high and any slip-up would be amplified. Now, if Riley stumbles, the scrutiny of Longshore will be lessened and perhaps the fans will actually appreciate his efficiency, professionalism and the success he has had over his career at Cal.
In other depth chart news, true freshman place kicker David Seawright has won the field goal and extra point duties and will probably perform kickoffs as well. In addition to Seawright the following newcomers will also see playing time: Marvin Jones, Veeran Tucker, Kendrick Payne, Mychal Kendricks, Anthony Miller and Bryant Nnabuife.
Interestingly, Tedford also alluded that Nyan Boateng will not be a starter. Boateng transfered to Cal from Florida with high expectations. Boateng was heavily recruited out of high school and showed playmaking ability throughout spring practice and training camp. Nevertheless, the additions of Jones and Tucker must have affected the depth chart quite a bit. As it stands, Mike Calvin, Layrelle Cunningham, Jeremy Ross and Sean Young will play in addition to the above three receivers. Cal typically runs very few plays that require more than three receivers so it is unlikely that all 6 players will see significant playing time.