0

More on Nate

Here’s some more from my conversation with Nate Longshore, for the story that ran Sunday:

–Longshore said he didn’t throw for 2 1/2 months after suffering the pectoral muscle in the spring. He said it’s been an adjustment mechanically coming back.

“Coming back from that is real awkward,” Longshore said. “You lose the proper technique. It’s much more of a mental effort. Coach Tedford and Coach Cignetti have been great about letting me know if my mechanics are this way or that way. It just takes a lot more focus to do it the right way.”

Longshore said it takes him a few more minutes than usual to warm up, but then everything is fine.

 

–On the competition with Kevin Riley: “It’s about me getting better for myself and for what the team needs. The quarterback competition is secondary to the focus of improving the team. If we both go out there and both focus on the quarterback situation, and we both suck, regardless of who wins we’re not helping the team. I think it’s important that we concentrate on helping the team get better and do what we need to do to help the team.”

 

–On criticism last year, after having success in 2006: “Life these days is about instant gratification. What have you done for me lately? I’m not surprised by it at all. It’s just the way people are now. It doesn’t affect what I do day-to-day. I’m still ready to play Michigan State. I’m excited for our team to go out there and show what we’re all about.”

 

–Longshore had an interesting response when asked where the talent level on this year’s team ranks against the other Cal teams he’s played on.

“I don’t want to let any secrets out,” he said. “I know we lost some guys to the NFL last year and I know we’ve had some good running backs. Top to bottom, this is the most talent we’ve had across the board. That’s not taking anything away from any of the guys we’ve had in the past. We have more depth.”

 

–On hwo previous quarterback competitions help him now: “I’ve been in competition every year but last year. In high school, every year. In college, every year. To me, it’s nothing new. I feel like I’ve been in this situation. I know how to focus and work on getting me better for the sake of the team.”

But Longshore also said competition or not competition, he’d still prepare the same. Last year was the only season since he’s been at Cal that he didn’t have to fight for his job.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m trying to improve either way,” he said. “I feel like at the beginning of last season I was just as sharp as I would have been having someone there. The goal every year is just to get better for the sake of the team.”

 

 

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.

  • rollonubears

    it sounds like longshore is still hurt. here we go again. it would be so nice if tedford would pull his head out of his rear, give riley a chance to run the team, and see where it goes. tedford is the reason the team fell apart last year. if he screws up again, he should be gone. he locked in on longshore, and from this post, it looks like he’s going to do it again. he chastised riley for throwing away the 2point conversion pass in situational drills the other day saying riley can’t make that mistake, it’s the last play of the game. uh, tedford, your job (like it was vs. oregon state) is to apprise your qb of his simple responsibilities just before the play. just like in baseball, the coach reminds the veteran “freeze on a line drive.” players need reminders. coaches are there for that. tedford didn’t do his job last year, and at least he admitted to it, but right now, it looks like he’s already building a case for benching riley, and it makes zero sense, with an unpredictable-at-best longshore (when healthy).

  • Midbear

    Nate is a quality guy. Hate to see him take the beatdown from the fans last year. And I agree about the statement on “Instant Gratification”. Seems everybody was willing to throw him under the bus last year while forgeting that he played very solidly in 2006.

    Last year was regrettable and Nate is part of the team so he shares the blame for sure. But its unreal how the fans focused their anger on him while completely ignoring all the other issues such as:

    1. No Pass Rush (Dead last in Pac-10 in sacks)
    2. Porous Run Defense (8th in the Pac-10)
    3. Special Teams (9th in the Pac-10 in Field Goal %)
    4. Penalties (2nd most in yards penalized and 3rd most penalties in conference).
    5. Interceptions (Dead last in interceptions.)

    All of these things contribute to losing but where is the outrage over these things from the fans?

    No worries though, we will be better this year.

    Go Bears!

  • N8Bear

    There’s a lot of noise around this QB thing. I’m not sure we wanted to throw Longshore under the bus, we just wanted him not to force it. I think Tedford said something about that recently. If he was hurt he should have sat out til he was good enough not to hurt the team. It seems there was a lot of hubris on Longshore’s part and a lot of stubborness on Tedford’s part.
    Yes, there were many other factors, but I have yet to hear Longshore step up and say, “You know, I should have sat down when my ankle started bothering me. It might have been better for the team.” He shouldn’t have been in late in games when the ache and fatigue set in. He keeps glossing it over as some “life experience” but I don’t hear him ackowledging his own part in this. Step up and take that like a man.

  • Steve in Concord

    Walk-on running back Langston Jackson actually turned down a number of scholarship offers from lower-tier schools (Utah, Portland State, Sac State, San Jose State) to come to Cal. He appears to have the kind of skills that could allow him to contribute. His attributes are listed as strength, toughness and ability to break tackles–a good option as a third down back. His deficit is lack of top-level speed, but we have that covered already. I would guess he would redshirt this year, but if Slocum happened to get injured, this kid looks like a viable replacement. He was getting some practice looks as Vereen and
    Deboskie were dinged up.

  • Jan K Oski

    N8Bear, Why are fans still talking about last year? It is over. Unless you have something new to share, why continue to rehash old discussions? I said last year that he seems to lack the killer instinct, but it’s a new season. Longshore is in his early 20s. When do most athletes come into their prime? Try their late 20s. Give the kid a break! You might be swallowing your words on Nov. 8th or 22nd or Dec 6. Go Bears!

  • Big D

    Adding my 2 cents, I think Tedford hiring Cignetti will help with the QB situation, so I also believe it is in the past. Let’s move forward and let this thing play out. I was frustrated last year too, but I think Tedford satisfied my concerns by hiring an OC and spending more of his time as a head coach (what he was hired to do)rather than an OC/HC. Plus, if Longshore stinks it up again, I don’t believe Cignetti will let it go on. Worst case, at least Longshore is a SR!

  • Midbear

    N8Bear

    Actually, Longshore admitted after the USC game last year that he didn’t play well. He put the responsibility of that game on himself even though there was plenty of blame to go around (defense letting SC run wild with their tailbacks).

    If we follow your logic then shouldn’t some of the DL step up and take responsibility for their lack of pass rush? Should the secondary also openly accept blame for their lack of interceptions? How about Brandon Hampton taking responsibility for all those pass interference penalties in the UCLA game. Again you and your Riley fanboys follow a double standard. You want Nate to come out and openly apologize but you don’t ask the same of his teammates for all the factors I enumerated above. Why the hell should he come out and openly accept blame when none of his teammates have been willing to do the same?

  • Gerson_Bakar

    FX has “Friday Night Lights” on its movie rotation. Could be a nice ‘mirror’ for us to look in, because the behavior of their fans seemed in-line with many of the rants on this forum.

    For all the angst us fans go through, nothing justifies treating players and coaches the way some Cal fans have over the past year. In the end, it really is just a game we spend hours a week on, its it not the central focus of our lives(assuming you are not part of the program).

    Never forget that the stakes are highest for those gifted enough to be on the field.

  • CalAlum97

    I think you guys are unfairly jumping on N8Bear and I think he has a legitmate point. I think he’s saying he expects a starting QB, regardless of who it is, to put the team before himself. I think he’s also saying we expect our starting QB to be honest with his coach. I think N8Bear is questioning (as am I) whether NL was in fact honest with Tedford about his injury and ability to play, when clearly he should have been and always be. It’s also questionable whether he put his own desire to play (even injured) above the good of the team. I think these are valid questions that are still unanswered (and may never be). But I don’t like the idea that our starting QB may have lied to his head coach and put himself first in a selfish manner. And as alums, paying customers, and financial supporters of the Cal football program, I think we have a right to expect honesty and integrity from our Cal players.

  • CalAlum97

    By the way BigD, I think you’re right…regardless of what happened last season, we aren’t likely to see a rerun of the same as Cignetti, Tedford (and maybe even Sandy B) have turned a sharp eye to the kind of issues that cropped up last season.

  • Jan K Oski

    CalAlum, Since Tedford runs a sealed program, we will never know, so why bring up the issue with a poor presentation of facts? As far as I am concerned it is farting in the wind. I don’t have a problem with people discussing these topics, but it is getting old after the twentieth time reading it. Perhaps, I need to stop reading post about Longshore vs. Riley, but some people need to show restraint and think twice, if they read the same exact point one week ago. I’ll even give N8 the benefit of doubt for not knowing his repetition of the same entitlement clause, but it doesn’t do anything for us junkies who read the same over and over again. Go BEARS!

  • Midbear

    CalAlum97

    This is football, not table tennis. Virtually EVERYBODY is always hurt regardless of whether they are listed as being hurt or not. It is just a matter of degree. People don’t play only when the injury is really bad. Justin Forsett played most of every game last year even though he was injured. Take a close look at him in some of the games last year and you’ll see that he was actually limping to the sidelines in some of those games.

    Like it or not, it is the culture of football. Nate is more likely to loss the respect of his teammates if he sits down too readily then for him to try to play through an injury. He is the quarterback and leader of his team and needs to show toughness and leadership and not act like a wussy. It is the coach’s responsibility to decide whether the player can play or not.

    And honestly, if you objectively look at all the games where he played while hurt, limping or not, he threw his passes with decent velocity and had nice touchdown passes in USC and UCLA games against tough defenses. Some of his passes that were intercepted were because he delivered the ball to the right spot but his receivers were not where they were supposed to be (hello! final interception in UCLA game). This same exact receiver who now plays for Philadelphia had to have no less then three coaches all the way up to Andy Reid pull him aside during minicamp to talk to him about his route running. Here’s quote from a NFC scout when asked why his team didn’t draft him:

    “He was off our board,” a scout for an NFC team told the Daily News after the draft. “We just didn’t want to deal with the body of work – the body makeup, the attitude. He’s got Ocho Cinco [Chad Johnson]- Terrell Owens traits. He’s a mouthy little guy. HE’S NOT A GOOD ROUTE-RUNNER. And he’s not good away from the ball.”

    Get the picture? I’m not trying to slam Tha1 because he was an electrifying player and was good for Cal football but there was clearly more then enough blame to go around.

    So explain to me again why he should publicly apologize?

  • Steve in Concord

    The poll has gotten 466 votes so far so some people are still interested in this subject. Of course it means NOTHING.

  • abe

    if there is one person i would hold responsible for last year’s meltdown its Tedford. As much as i admire the man for building a formidable program last year he showed that he lacks a little bit of experience at coaching at the highest level. First: down 3 points, less than 30seconds left in the game, a true freshman qb playing his first football game in college, the #1 ranking on the line Tedford failed to do his job and that was made absolutely sure what Kevin was supposed to do. Second: he insisted on playing with an injured qb (physically and mentally) instead of giving the healthy backup a second chance. I feel bad for Nate b/c all Tedford did was put him out there for the ungrateful fans to eat me alive instead of benching him and allowing him to recuperate for his and the team’s sake. I really hope that Nate doesn’t allow the cruelty of the crapy cal football fans which do not even know how to give strong support during home games like real football fans get to him and stop trying too hard and enjoy the game.

  • CalAlum97

    MidBear, I don’t know where you got “Nate should publicly apologize” from my post? Also, nowhere in my post did I lay sole-blame on NL for our abissmal season. I agree that receivers were screwing up their routes and the defense gave away points like they were going out of style. And, quite honestly, having played football for DVC (not great, I know, but it’s something), I don’t need to be reminded how football ‘works’ or that injuries are a part of playing throughout the season.

    However, this is not an issue of ‘playing through the pain’ or who is a ‘wussy.’ You’re right that players play hurt…to a point! If you’re hurt but can perform close to your normal potential and help the team, you stay in. If you can no longer play to a suitable level and are harming the team, you sit out! Period. To do otherwise is selfish and putting your ego first.

    And I completely disagree that NL was still throwing decently after his injury. His mechanics were off, his deep throws were off, he was throwing without planting properly, etc. You could see it! He was hurt too badly to play-to-par but I think (and this is part speculation), he didn’t seem to want to step-down for the good of the team.

    Also, as a player it is your responsiblity to be honest about your injury with your coach. Sure, Tedford shares some blame in this area too, but I’m sure he was basing his decision to keep NL in the game on NL’s word. He trusts his players and his players should not take advantage of that trust. Like I said, team-before-individuals and player integrity…that much should be expected of all players.

    Like I said, I agree that NL was not soley responsible for our downfall and I honestly never boo’d the guy or participated in any of that name-calling/chiding that fans were doing…I completely disagree with that as these are just college kids. My point is only that his honesty and integrity was questionable, IMHO, and that cannot be tolerated if it’s hurting the team.