More Riley redux

One thing coach Jeff Tedford was asked was if Kevin Riley should have thrown the ball away Saturday even after he crossed the line of scrimmage. Riley said after the game he feared there would be a clock run-off, but that wouldn’t have been the case. Tedford said there would have been a five-yard penalty but the clock would have stopped until it was placed back in play.

Another thing that may have got lost is the mobility that Riley exhibited on a few plays that allowed him to avoid a sack or buy some time to find a receiver. The highlight, of course, was his reality-defying pass completion to tight end Craig Stevens in the third quarter. With OSU defensive end Dorian Smith dragging him to the turf, Riley threw sideways into double coverage but still somehow completed it to Stevens for a 23-yard gain.

“I knew he had some mobility,” Tedford said. “The one to Craig, you’re not sure anybody has that ability. He had the guy hanging all over him, he’s falling down sideways and throws the ball. You don’t want to live on those type of plays. It worked out that time.”

Cornerback Brandon Hampton had a funny response when I asked him what effect losing the starting quarterback right before kickoff might have on the team’s psyche. He said he didn’t even know Riley was starting until the Bears took the field for the first play from scrimmage.

Hampton and Worrell Williams, the two defensive players I talked to Sunday night, both gushed about Riley’s performance.

“He’s here for a reason,” Hampton said. “I know in practice he shows signs of being good. He played pretty well. I was proud of him for his first game. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Whether you’re a veteran or it’s your first start, you’re going to make bad choices. (The final play) wasn’t necessarily a bad choice. It just wasn’t the right choice.”

Williams: “Kevin Riley did an awesome job. I can’t say enough about what he did. I think if he ever gets in another game, he’ll look like a much better Kevin Riley. And he looked awesome in that game. I got a whole bunch of calls from people saying that they loved him. They loved his reads, his gutsiness, and his mobility.
“We turned the ball over or something and I looked him in the face and said, ‘you’re not doing anything wrong. Just keep doing what you’re doing. We believe in you. The defense is going to rally behind you.’ I thought he went out there and did an awesome job.”

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Amazing how fans can instantly lose their sense of perspective, and yet the kids who are actually in the arena understand that in sports, you win some and you lose some. But for the most part, you live to play another week. The kid did a great job under high pressure. Go Bears!

  • Bryan

    Just wanted to say that you do a great job with the blog. Always interesting and informative.

  • AZ Bear

    Great stuff with the posts from Williams and Hampton. I am proud to be a Cal fan. Thanks for doing the blog, Jonathan — we appreciate it.

  • LaughingBear

    Jon –
    I really want to thank you for the quotes that you get from the Various players that are normally not covered.

    The way the team speaks about themselves, teammates, opponents confirms the class that I always hoped our Golden Bears would exhibit.

    As my only conduit to the Bear locker room, whenever you have a chance, let the players know that for every critic, there are hundreds that are proud of them EVERY GAME.

  • CalAlum97

    here, here, LB! Please do let them know that J.O. and also to Riley: 99.9% of us think you did an outstanding job last week and look forward to the day you take over the starting role! You did an awesome job and have nothing to be ashamed of or apologetic about!

  • TrumanHugh

    I know I’ve already said this, but I’ve been hearing it from many, many other Cal fans, so it’s a sentiment worth repeating.

    Last year, after the Arizona loss, it felt absolutely awful. We never should have let the Wildcats stay in the game, let alone actually win it. Penalties and called-back touchdowns, eesh!! I had never before experienced such a horrible feeling after a loss. It was just the most dreadful feeling.

    This year, of course, I had hoped to go undefeated, but also realized there would probably be a loss somewhere along the way. In that case, I hoped it would come from a higher-ranked (or just plain ranked) team on the road. Obviously, neither criterion was met, but it’s okay.

    Like most of the Cal fans I’ve spoken with, we’re all disappointed at the loss, but we all know that the big picture is still very much in focus. It was fun to be so close to national championship consideration, and I loved the fact that we were *this* close to being the number one team (although, I’m still convinced that Ohio State would have jumped us in the polls)…this week.

    There is still a lot of football to be played. We have seen that our backup QB is pretty terrific, that he is (and will be even more of) a threat to opposing defenses. Just remember that march down the field at the end of the game, Cal fans…we are in good hands (he’ll grow out of his brain freeze stage, if he hasn’t already!).

    All Cal has lost is its high ranking and, probably a national title berth. Respect for Cal has always been dubious, nationally, so there isn’t must lost at this point. The talking heads who have supported Cal (Herbstreit, Feldman, Corso, Davis, Amsinger, even Holtz, etc.) will continue to give Cal its due in the national media.

    Those idiots (May, Davie, Mandel, Alberts, among others) who have been waiting for Cal to fall will feast this week and continue to doubt and second-guess.

    The players seem to realize that the loss happened and its time to move on. They are all, no doubt, disappointed. However, who better than the players know that the Rose Bowl is still very much in their control?! They know what needs to happen from here on out and they know how to achieve it.

    I feel okay this week. I’m not reading as much of the sports stuff as I usually do, and I am definately staying off any non-Cal message boards (people can be so mean, so hurtful). But I still wear my Cal hat proudly wherever I go, whenever I can.

    And I know that Cal realizes what it has to do and will

  • bar20

    Kevin Riley showed me more in one game than Joe Ayoob showed me in ten. I know I won’t have to sweat anymore if he has to replace Longshore.Just remember to throw the ball out of bounds if that situation comes up again.