Cal held its usual Tuesday press luncheon and the main themes were how the Bears can get back on track, and how the players are dealing with the adversity of their three-game losing streak.
Here’s an update on a few things going on with the team:
–Defensive end Rulon Davis has what is believed to be a sprained MCL in his right knee. Coach Jeff Tedford said he’s probably out a couple of weeks, “this week for sure.” All Tedford said was it was an MCL. I’m hypothesizing it’s a sprain and not something worse since he only thinks Davis will be out a couple of weeks.
This obviously is a frustrating loss for Cal. Davis had just come back from a four-game absence because of a sprained foot and made an immediate impact in the first half against Arizona State.
–Tedford said he is going to evaluate quarterback Nate Longshore throughout the week. He said Longshore’s right ankle was pretty stiff on Sunday, but I watched him at practice Tuesday and he appeared to be moving OK. You can see that it is not 100 percent, but it actually was better than I thought based on last Saturday. I figured there was a chance Longshore might be limited in practice Tuesday, but he actually practiced in a full capacity and took almost all the snaps with the first team.
I know there has been some debate whether Tedford should sit Longshore down. Based on what Tedford said at the press luncheon and the fact that Longshore was the first-team quarterback at practice, it’s clear that Longshore is still the man. I said it before and I’ll give you my take again: I think it would be foolish for Tedford to bench Longshore, unless it’s clear he’s not healthy enough to play. Kevin Riley has played in one college game, at home, and was effective for a half. Longshore is 15-6 as a starter at Cal (not counting the Sacramento State game in 2005) and is much more comfortable leading the team. Granted, Longshore has thrown a couple of crucial interceptions the past two weeks, but he’s also made some plays to help the Bears get in position to win, especially against UCLA.
Now, if Longshore isn’t healthy enough to competently execute the game plan, then he shouldn’t play. And that’s basically what Tedford has said. On Tuesday, he said “the decision generally is based on whether he can protect himself and run the offense and do the things we need him to do.”
Other comments from Tedford on Tuesday, regarding Longshore:
“Nate brings so much leadership and experience to what’s going on. I watched him very closely. I thought he moved fine in the pocket, but he was taking a lot of hits. They were getting to him and hitting him low and things like that. I think he was hurrying a couple of things there.”
“He was moving fine. Protection is the key, to make sure he can set his feet to throw the ball, to make sure that people aren’t at him all the time. A couple of plays that weren’t his best plays was because of pressure. He can do a better job of stepping up in the pocket as well and utilizing the pocket.”
“He wasn’t any different last week than he was when he was completely healthy. He was moving just fine, working the pocket with his feet just fine.”
–Another injury note: Tedford said wide receiver Robert Jordan was sore after Saturday’s game. He appeared to aggravate his sprained shoulder but played through it and played well. Jordan didn’t practice Tuesday.