By Jonathan Okanes
Sunday, March 30th, 2008 at 10:34 pm in off-season stuff.
One of the things that was really striking as I worked on the story that ran today to preview the spring competition at quarterback is the difference in personalities between Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley. As you could probably tell by the tone of each guy’s comments, Riley views it more as a competition against Longshore while Longshore seems to perceive it more as a competition within himself. Riley acknowledges the competition with Longshore, that he knows he is in a battle with him to get playing time. Longshore, on the other hand, says he’s basically challenged himself to do a better job, and that if he does that, everything will take care of itself.
Here are some leftover comments from each player that didn’t make it into the story:
–On how this spring is different than last, when he was the hands-down starter: “It’s the same offseason. I’m just trying to get better and work on the things I need to work on. To me, it’s about improving and doing the best job I can.”
–On what it was like in the aftermath of the Armed Forces Bowl, when he spent most of the game on the sidelines while Riley put on a show: “I was happy for the seniors, to have the nice finish to their careers, for everything they had done for the program. I was definitely happy to get the win.”
–On what he’s worked on during the offseason: “Technique and fundamentals, getting back to the basics. It’s definitely one of those things when you get caught up in the season and you’re trying to concentrate so much on winning this week, you lose track of the little details.”
–On dealing with a brand new crop of receivers: “We have some good receivers. We had some great receivers last year. I expect these guys to be great, also. In some aspects, I expect them to be even better than last year’s guys. They don’t have the speed and the flair of the guys last year but there are some things they do better than those other guys do.”
On how much he reflected on last season: “For a month right after, but since then I’ve been just moving on. What improvements can you make? You try to put it behind you and forget about it. You can use the results as motivation, but you can’t look back and dwell on it. It’s just going to repeat itself. There are things you can take from it, but at the same time you have to move on.”
–On what it was like for him immediately after the Armed Forces Bowl: “At first when I went home, it was kind of different. There were people I had never talked to before that never paid that much attention to me that kind of went out of their way to talk to me.”
–On how he felt going into the bowl game: “I felt confident. I knew the offense. We had a good game plan and we executed it.”
–On how his start in the Oregon State game may have helped him in Armed Forces Bowl: “In the Oregon State game, I just got continuously more comfortable as the game went on. I had been in a pretty key game before. I went through quite a bit in one game. I just started getting into a rhythm.”
–On his personality as a quarterback: “I am a confident guy. I think that’s sort of what makes me the person I am, as quarterback. I feel like when I go in, everyone can trust me because I am going to make plays.”
–On how competing for the backup job last year could help him compete for the starting job this year: “It’s a little different, but it’s kind of the same. Every day, you have to do the best you can. Every day is a competition out there. It’s only going to make everybody better. You’re going to work that much harder and study the playbook that much more.”
–More on the competition: “I’m just glad to be in a situation where I can compete. I’m excited. It’s why you play college football and sports in general. If you don’t like competition, you should not be playing. It’s a great situation for all of us. I’m just excited to go out there and compete.”
Reflecting on the final play against Oregon State: “That was a terrible play, no question. I just got stuck in the moment. I threw the ball away like five times the previous two drives. I wanted to score a touchdown. I looked at all three receivers and nobody was open. I just kept on continuing, and I just forgot what I was doing. I just messed up.
“People would come up to me and say, ‘why the hell did you do that?’ That’s a good question. But I got a lot of calls from people saying they were proud of me, and that kind of picked me up a little bit. I was disappointed in myself and felt like I lost the game. But the team was all behind me.”