A new month

Well, a new month is upon us, and with it will probably come a Cal victory. The Bears went 0-for-October and watched their season change dramatically in the process. It seems like a long time ago that Cal pulled off the win up in Eugene and ascended to No. 3 in the country (then to No. 2 the following week when the Bears had a bye). That Oregon game came on Sept. 29 and the Bears haven’t won since.

Conventional wisdom says Cal will win tomorrow. The Bears are undeniably better than Washington State. The Cougars don’t have the type of talent as Cal, and they will be without starting running back Dwight Tardy.

Still, for some reason tomorrow’s game doesn’t seem like a slam dunk. Maybe it’s because of the uncertainty at quarterback. Maybe it’s because of the defense’s struggles. Maybe it’s because, no matter how much the players say the motivation is still there, it’s hard to believe it’s as strong when the goal now is the Sun Bowl or Emerald Bowl.

Even though there seems to be a lot of support for Kevin Riley at quarterback, I think Cal needs Nate Longshore to get back on track. Yes, Longshore has been hurting and has thrown a couple of bad interceptions lately, but Riley is no sure thing. Even though he looked good leading Cal back against Oregon State, he’s still played in only one college game. Longshore still has made some plays even with the ankle problem and the Bears need his experience and savvy to stop their losing skid.

It will be interesting to see what the Cougars try to do on offense now that their top two running backs are out. There’s no doubt WSU can throw the ball, and it might do it a lot against the Bears. Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory hypothesized as much on Thursday. The Cougars certainly have the weapons in the passing game. Alex Brink, a four-year starter, is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Pac-10 history and WSU has a strong group of receivers. We will see how Cal’s defense responds.

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.

  • R

    Hopefully we start off strong this month.

    Go Bears!

  • joshiemac

    A new month indeed. Go Bears! Thanks for the updates, JO.

  • d

    Yeah, Nate should start IF healthy. but dont you want to give Riley some snaps, so when needed, he will be ready. WSU game is the perfect chance, considering a home game vs USC, and the rest away games. I see your point about Nate, but it sounds like you dont want Riley to get much snaps. You have to admit Riley is the future and we have no chance of a big bowl game. Riley doesnt have to start, but give him some snaps.

    Itll be a shame today if Nate doesnt perform and we get Boos or a Riley chant

  • BearFan

    Saying the Bears need Longshore’s experience and savvy to stop their losing skid implies they can’t win with Riley. I don’t think so. Riley should play at least some of the snaps to give him a chance, to gain some additional experience for the future, and to give Longshore’s ankle a rest.