By Jonathan Okanes
Saturday, August 25th, 2007 at 7:43 am in Training camp.
I’m heading out to practice in a bit but I wanted to follow up on Thursday’s practice, in which Jeff Tedford announced afterward that Kevin Riley is the backup quarterback.
Tedford stressed this in no way means that Riley is the heir apparent to Nate Longshore, that he and Kyle Reed were extremely close in the competition and that he simply had to pick someone right now. The thing that surprises me is that if that’s the case, that he didn’t go with the older guy in Reed.
Neither quarterback has looked particularly great in camp, but each has held his own. Tedford has said that physically the two are about equal, and that the decision would be based on other things such as team management, understanding of the offense, etc. I get the feeling they are close in that regard as well, but that Riley might have a slight edge. That’s what could have put Riley over the top.
As for Reed’s future at Cal: Kyle declined to comment Thursday and I will try to talk to him when he agrees to. I know there are some people who think he might transfer. But he may be more inclined to stay if he truly believes that Riley isn’t necessarily the heir apparent to Longshore now.
It makes sense. Longshore is only a junior and a lot can happen over the next two years. Reed could outplay Riley next spring, next fall, the following spring or the following fall. Of course, Riley could continue to stay ahead of him on the depth chart as well. But Reed may still see plenty of opportunity to move up.
And then there’s this: By the time Longshore leaves, Brock Mansion will be a redshirt sophomore. Mansion has looked very good in camp as a true freshman and will only get better with time. You figure he will be a legitimate candidate to start by the time the position is open once again. It could make for some heated competition.
Of course, we’re still talking about the backup quarterback right now, and unless Longshore is injured, the decision won’t have much of an impact, especially because Tedford says the competition essentially is ongoing.
Cal fans should be happy to know that Longshore has looked very sharp in camp. I think he’s going to have a huge season.
Cal practices this morning, and the it will be Contra Costa Times Fan Appreciation Day afterward. The Bears are off Sunday and then practice Monday through Thursday in preparation for Tennessee. For those of you who have been counting down the days, you can finally say the season is only a week away!