Well, if you were hoping to find out who is starting at quarterback tonight, as expected, you’ll have to wait. Coach Jeff Tedford once again said it will be a gametime decision. Here’s what happened tonight: Nate Longshore spent most of practice taking the first team snaps, then sat out the final half-hour of practice or so and Kevin Riley played with the first team. Afterward, said he would monitor Longshore’s condition closely between now and the game.
Longshore didn’t take any reps Wednesday. Tedford said it was because Longshore needed a day of rest. Based on what I saw Thursday, it seemed fairly clear that Longshore is the starter. But based on Tedford’s comments, I’m not so sure. He could have just come out and said Longshore had done enough in practice to demonstrate he was ready to go, and that’s why he sat out the final stretch of practice. But saying simply that he is going to continue to monitor Longshore’s condition until Saturday makes me think there might be a better chance of Riley playing than you might expect. If nothing else, it will make for a little suspense Saturday evening.
For the record, Longshore seemed to be moving pretty well. The fact that he was able to practice fully on Tuesday after aggravating his ankle sprain Saturday made me think that he was in pretty good condition.
Other updates: wide receiver Robert Jordan practiced for the first time this week and Tedford said he will play as long as he doesn’t suffer any ill effects on his shoulder. Fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou, who missed Saturday’s game because of a recurring knee injury, practiced without limitation Thursday. Tedford said Ta’ufo’ou was “available” to play.
Tedford said he thought the spirit and morale of the team was pretty good heading into the game. He said the team was a little down Sunday, which is understandable, but said the attitude has picked up as the week has progressed.
Some big news out of Pullman, and it’s bad news for Washington State. Tailback Dwight Hardy, who piled up 214 yards rushing in the Cougars’ win over UCLA last week, is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Hardy apparently suffered the injury during his 51-yard touchdown run during the game’s final minute.
Kevin McCall is expected to start in Hardy’s place. Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said it’s too late in the week to really make any drastic changes in the game plan with Hardy out, but he called McCall “a good football player.”