20

Post-practice: Thursday

Cal coach Jeff Tedford approached reporters after Thursday’s practice and joked he couldn’t talk because he had to get to a meeting.

He knew what question was coming.

After all, the assembled media could see it with their very own eyes. Kevin Riley taking snaps with the first team during the first day of practice using scout teams.

“Kevin is going to start. We might as well cut to the chase,” Tedford said. “Both of them have had a great camp. Kevin is going to take the first snaps and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

It was a surreal moment. So much attention has been focused on the quarterback battle between Riley and Nate Longshore, and to actually hear a resolution just seemed a little unreal.

So now what? Well, Riley will spend the next week practicing with the first team, knowing he will start the season-opener against Michigan State. But Tedford said Longshore will also play against the Spartans. So while we do have some answers, there isn’t total closure on this topic.

Tedford didn’t say how much Longshore would play, or when he would be inserted into the game. But he said it was likely the coaching staff would come up with some designated juncture in which Longshore will play.

“It’s so close that it’s going to be a continual evaluation,” Tedford said.

Riley seemed quietly confident now that he’s been handed the starting job. He recognized Longshore’s accomplishments and that the competition has been close, but also said he’s moving forward and getting ready to assume the burden on Aug. 30.

“It’s an honor to be named starter, especially after what Nate has done at Cal,” Riley said. “We’re in good hands having two great quarterbacks here. I just have to prepare and get ready for this game.”

Longshore declined to comment after practice. This obviously is a tough time for the fifth-year senior. After a record-breaking 2006, he has to wonder what has happened. His hopes of playing in the NFL are on the line, and if he finds himself on the sideline for a good chunk of the season, it certainly will be a blow to his chances.

Before last season, Longshore was rated as the top junior quarterback prospect in the country by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.

About a week after camp, it appeared as though Longshore was clearly winning the competition. But somewhere along the line, Riley found a comfort zone and really came on. He’s been slightly outplaying Longshore for several practices now.

“As camp went on, I was making good reads and I was hitting receivers,” Riley said. “I was completing the ball and getting first downs. Nate was doing a great job, too. He’s a great quarterback. I felt like I had a chance. I was doing my job.”

The quarterback situation wasn’t the only notable development Thursday.

 

–Tedford announced that walk-on freshman David Seawright has won the field goal kicking job over incumbent Jordan Kay. Tedford said Seawright and Kay are still battling for kickoff duties.

 

–Tedford said starting receivers probably won’t be finalized until the day of the opener, but he did imply that Nyan Boateng is no longer in the mix for a starting spot. Boateng started camp strong but has been taking reps with the second team lately.

 

–Center Alex Mack was named to the Rimington Award watch list. Mack was a finalist for the award last year.

 

–Nose guard Mika Kane returned to practice after missing substantial time with a sprained ankle. He participated only in individual drills.

 

That’s a wrap for now. Much more tomorrow, a day off for the Bears.

 

 

 

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.

  • Macdaddytms

    The Seawright decision is probably going to turn out to be more important then the QB choice. Having confidence in your kicking game makes play calling so much easier

  • Jan K Oski

    Hey JO, With the Riley selection, I’m not surprised that Boatang is on the 2nd team. He did afterall say that “Nate was his QB” at the beginning of one of his youtube videos. Perhaps, Tedford is nipping a little attitude in the butt before it gets out of hand. “Tedford is stubborn.” Ha ha ha. I’m really disappointed in Cal grads who actually thought that. Simpletons!

    Go Bears!

  • Steve in Concord

    I’m a little surprised both about Riley starting and Boateng not being a starter. The QB battle sounded almost like a draw so I figured Nate would get the call by virtue of his experience. I believe Riley has he talent to be an excellent QB. I just hope he can be consistently good. Remember Joe Ayoob? He was good one game and awful the next. That said, good luck to Riley. He has a lot of expectations on his shoulders. Nate had the advantage of starting his career at Cal as a virtual unknown entity. Riley has teased us with a couple of very good performances and a lot of Cal fans have been waiting since last year to see him start.

    I was looking forward to seeing Boateng play. He was supposed to be an awesome athlete. Either he really faded or other guys really came on strong.

    Tedford said Seawright would be the field goal kicker. Does that mean Kay will continue to kick extra points? He was a perfect 48-48 last year. Or will Seawright do all the placekicking?

  • Bob

    Which game was Riley awful in? He was pretty awesome vs. Air Force and OSU.

    Are you talking about LA Tech?

  • northside

    Congratulations to Riley and Seawrightm and the Bears in general! I was honestly surprised that in a close competition the nod wouldn’t go to Longshore, but Riley’s a really exciting QB based upon what I’ve seen. I was at the OSU game and he’s a real playmaker. I agree with the posting that the Seawright decision may be nearly as important. Last year, one of the glaring failures of the team was the inability to consistently kick off deep, and it seemed that special teams too often gave the ball to our defense on a pretty short field. Regarding Boateng, for me, if there’s a shadow of a doubt about attitude at this time, use him sparingly. One of the hallmarks of earlier teams Tedford produced at Cal was being disciplined and not commiting a lot of stupid penalties, and it seems that last year particularly, this was not the case as much. On another note, I’m not a big fan of the nine combination uniform routine, and the helmet looks like something from a southern military school in the early 1960′s, but as long as they win I can get used to it. I read somewhere that typically, football powerhouses don’t seem to tinker with their uniforms as much. Anyway, congratulations to the Bears, to Riley, and I hope to see Longshore as well, as he’s a powerful component of the team, and I think the ad hominem attacks on him showed, for the most part, a lot of immaturity and no perspective about the mechanics of a football play. I saw the UCLA game and he sucked on a couple of plays, but he also took the heat for some lack lustre line work, and some stupidly executed receiver routes.His great crime in that game (or Tedford’s) was trying to play hurt, as he clearly was unable to execute his throws normally as time went on. Water under the bridge, and I think that Longshore will get his look from people in the NFL. Vince Ferragamo wasn’t a starter at Cal, and had a long NFL career, to give one example. On another note, I think we’re somewhat underrated at this point, and in some respects, the beginning of this season reminds me of the year we played Kansas State to begin. You can’t really go wrong against Michigan State. It’s a good program, and if we win people will take note, but if we lose it’s probably a valuable first game to shake out the kinks against a good opponent. Better than the tinkertoy schedules of much of the perenneal top 10 teams,anyway. Roll on you Bears!

  • feveredbear

    Jan K. Oski >>“Tedford is stubborn.” Ha ha ha. I’m really disappointed in Cal grads who actually thought that. Simpletons!<<

    Not that this needs to be said or your name-calling is particularly irksome (considering the source) BUT what OTHER conclusion could one draw from the Ayoob affair and Longshore 2.0? It doesn’t take a Berkeley doctorate to recognize what was obvious…that each of those QB’s was ineffective, that there were viable alternatives (as was eventually proven), and that Tedford failed to act. Conclusion: A)Tedford is dumber than hair, B) Tedford is on drugs or otherwise in a different reality, or C) Tedford is (as you say) “stubborn”. “C” is the most likely choice. Of course, one *could* have taken an entirely different approach and merely repeated to oneself the mantra “Tedford is God, and we didn’t lose, no matter what the scoreboard says”. Denial, as they say, is only a river in Egypt.

    So, do we give Tedford credit for having an apparently open mind this year? Yes (so far). Has he suddenly become the coach that the alums who pay his salary believed him to be? That remains to be seen. If he *has*, he better show it damn quick since you can only continue to pick up a $3 million check using the credentials ‘my last name isn’t Holmoe’ for so long. Not that he has to go to the RB every year (though once would certainly be welcomed). This year, for instance, I think it would be a remarkable coaching job if Cal has a winning season — given what happened last year and what we lost, there aren’t many Pac 10 teams that we should beat.

  • moreNCsarecoming

    northside Says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 6:02 am
    On another note, I’m not a big fan of the nine combination uniform routine, and the helmet looks like something from a southern military school in the early 1960’s, but as long as they win I can get used to it. I read somewhere that typically, football powerhouses don’t seem to tinker with their uniforms as much.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    USC…enough said.

  • joefuss

    Jan, i was thinking the same thing as you. perhaps Nyan’s drop from the ranks of likely starters has something to do with who’s starting at QB. whether or not it was the videos, who can say? but if Nate reciprocates those feelings of admiration, i don’t see it being out of the question that when Nate comes in for a drive or 3 tomorrow, Nyan might trot on out alongside him. here’s to the 08 season.

  • feveredbear

    Amy doesn’t like the new uniforms? Dam, I might have to change my opinion BUT, we hired Tedford for his coaching, not his fashion sense and I don’t really care what the team looks like…Plus, maybe the objective is to have a uniform that is so ugly that it distracts the opponent (I’m certainly tempted to vomit when I see it).

  • Dick

    I am amazed that Cal would burn the blue-shirt year of a true freshman who did not clearly demonstrate he was the better kicker during camp. Kay consistently improved through Spring Ball, Summer and then Fall Camp. He was hitting 30 out of 30 and 30 out of 31 attempts during practice and was clearly getting better distance and hang time on kickoffs. Like all kickers, he had one poor practice day this fall camp. However, he finished very strong and Seawright did not out kick him, although he demontrated improvement and closed the gap with Kay. Kay has a full year of Pac 10 competition under his belt, is a fifth year senior. Why burn a kids blueshirt year and replace the starter when the starter clearly held his own through out the camp competition…this is a strange one.

  • moreNCsarecoming

    feveredbear Says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 7:36 am
    Amy doesn’t like the new uniforms?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Never said that. I haven’t seen them and don’t care one way or the other. Great programs with a winning tradition don’t need to change uniforms.

  • Pingback: Running With The Pac: August 22, Freshman Gonna Have An Impact « Running With The Pac-10

  • Jan K Oski

    Dick, It was even in camp according to made and missed kicks, but what about strength of leg? Seawright supposedly has an explosive leg, so was he making field goal kicking look easy, while Kay was just getting the job done? The difference could be decisive in a game. If Seawright is everything that last year’s Scouts.com article said, then Tedford can’t keep that type of talent on the side-line for a year like this one with so many questions. That being said, if he does stumble, we are very fortunate to have a backup like Kay with his experience. Go Bears!

  • Sinbad

    Dick — Your post and the position it argues together with the Riley decision raise some interesting issues. For starters, it’s now clear that “best guys play” irrespective of tenure, staus, experience or loyalty. Whether it be Longshore or Kay, the presumption had been that the senior guy would get all benefits of the doubt. That presumption no longer applies.

    Secondly, it should be clear that despite the best efforts of various reporters, blogs, fansites, etc. (and JO’s is the best I think), there’s a lot more going on than we can know. We know *way* more than we used to be able to know (thanks to Al Gore and the internet he created), but not nearly as much as we think. Re the QB race, an outside observer can see what happens on the practice field, but may not know what is being worked on and emphasized, what play and what coverage was called (and what route was being run), what assignments were blown, etc. Re the kicking game, there was no reporting on who was holding and what adjustments were being suggested/taught. Re all such competitions, we don’t know the mood/views of the locker room and how various players responded to coaching, competing demands and pressure.

    I appreciate that we all are passionate about this and have opinions we want to share, especially because the wait ’til the season starts seems like an eternity. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. I’m very pleased with the “best guys play” message. Beyond that, as the cliche’ goes, in Tedford I trust.

  • James

    Riley is the right choice in this situation, it is time that tedford take a chance, instead of being safe. Cal fans are beginning to have doubts as to whether or not tedford is the offense/QB guru he claims to be. It is time that cal move forward past the holiday and mediocre bowls of the pac-10 and the only way to do that is take chances. Riley has shown that he has a great arm, good pocket presence and much more mobility than longshore. Riley is very similar to Rodgers, and lets admit it Longshore is past his prime he is to slow and towards the end of every season beings to throw off his back foot and under throw recievers. I’m looking forward to the rebuilding year at cal, and showing recruits that we are on the upswing and cal is a becoming a place to win.

  • moreNCsarecoming

    By naming Riley the starter, I think Cal becomes the primary challenger to USC in the conference. Should be a great showdown on November 8th.

  • Steve in Concord

    Bob #4–

    I never said Riley was awful. I said that Joe Ayoob “was good one game and awful the next”.

    I’m not sure about the decision to start a freshman placekicker. Kay did pretty well considering that he was not given the job until just a few minutes before kickoff of the Tennessee game. He was perfect on extra points and on field goals within 30 yards. He was inconsistent beyond that range, perhaps leg strength being a factor although I don’t recall any of his kicks falling short. My concern is that placekicking is as much about responding under pressure as it is about mechanics and leg strength. It’s a lot to ask of a 19 year old who has only performed in front of a crowd of a few hundred to make an important kick in front of 70,000+ and a national tv audience. I recall that Tom Schneider was not very good his first year, but improved steadily over his next two seasons. Experience counts for a lot in this position.

  • Sinbad

    For what it’s worth, Steve, he won’t turn 19 ’til 2009 per the official site….

  • James

    once again it is a year of taking a chance, especially with the place kicker, and steve a collegiate division 1 kicker should make everything within 30 yrds it is expected, seawright has a big leg and obviously has done something in practices and mock games that is superior to kay. Last year it looked like kay was afraid to kick and his leg strength is really bad, and im pretty sure he missed a big field goal in the oregon state game.

  • 24zone

    I’ve been to many of the practices in camp. It was clear that Riley was a bit sharper-more accurate, and most importantly, timely decision making ability. The timing Riley showed reminded some of Aaron Rodgers when he was here. Nate was a bit late on throws.
    Simple reason why Nyan isn’t starting(at least not yet-he is very talented) In a scrimmage, about week ago, it was 3rd Down and One yard to go. Nyan catches a one step hitch, and tries to juke the corner. Tackle for loss. He couldn’t get one yard for a first down. He could have fallen forward to get it.