This is the final of the series on the positions going into spring. I put three blog entries up today (Friday) since I will be off Saturday and Sunday. This will be a look at the quarterbacks. In entries below are special teams and tight ends. It was a lot of fun getting together with all the position coaches and seeing the excitement in their eyes going into spring. Certainly, there are some key questions to answer, but there also is a ton of talent that should propel the Golden Bears into a race for the conference championship. Anyone who believes that Cal can’t compete for a Pac-10 or even a national championship simply hasn’t been paying attention or wants to be buried in the “Sam Old Cal” days. To those people I say, “Go climb a tree.” Opps, that’s probably not politically correct.
As Jeff Tedford noted, the race to be the backup quarterback might be one of the more significant battles during camp. Certainly, Nate Longshore is the starter unless he does something like gain 40 pounds during the summer. His window washing job should keep the weight off.
Of course, everyone who follows college football knows that a team seldom gets through a season without having to use a backup. So either Kyle Reed or Kevin Riley could put their stamp on the 2007 season at some point.
Certainly, everyone hopes that Longshore stays healthy and continues improving into one of the conference’s top QBs. “Nate played well last season,” Tedford said. “He did a good job. His decision making was good. He gained a lot of experience and handled the game planning very well.
“He needs to shed weight and improve his mobility. He was pushing 240 at the end of last season. He is a big person. He has to watch it. Trent Dilfer was the same way. If Trent did squats, he would blow up to 250 pounds. Nate is the same way. I want to keep him in the 225 to 230 range.”
Tedford was asked if Longshore bogged down at the end of last season. “He made his share of mistakes like anyone. But I thought he played well. Everyone made some mistakes in those games (Arizona, USC, Stanford).”
While Longshore should continue to pick up experience reading defenses and making decisions, Tedford will be keeping a close eye on Reed and Riley. “We are going to see how far these young guys have come. Both are very talented physically. They have to learn how to run the offense, manage the clock, handle field position. They just need to get there.
“Kyle is a big, strong, fast guy. He has a nice arm and can throw all the balls. He is competitive and tough.
“Kevin also is fairly mobile, but he is not as fast as Kyle. But he is a kid who really understands what is going on. He throws good balls and he is pretty calm in the pocket. He keeps his eyes downfield. I’m very interested in seeing Kevin in competition.”
Please see below for special teams and tight ends.
By the way, I would like to thank all the readers. We had a very nice response to the series and I enjoyed doing it.