OK, let’s get this out of the way first: Kevin Riley will start at quarterback Saturday.
It’s looking more and more like Cal’s offensive line is going to be a big storyline against Oregon. As expected, coach Jeff Tedford confirmed Donovan Edwards will get his first career start at right tackle because of the injuries to starter Chet Teofilo (ankle) and backup Matt Laird (shoulder).
But the situation is getting worse. It now looks like right guard Noris Malele wont’ be able to go because of a sprained ankle suffered at the beginning of practice Tuesday. Malele was still in a boot Thursday and missed practice again. Tedford stopped short of completely ruling him out, but it doesn’t appear realistic that he will play.
It was also obvious the Bears aren’t counting on Malele because Tedford spoke about his expectations of backup Justin Cheadle.
“He’s a young guy and now it’s his turn to step up,” Tedford said. “Now is his opportunity. We have a lot of confidence in him. We’re sure that he’ll play hard and give his best effort.”
That means the Bears’ starting offensive line will look like this:
LT – Mitchell Schwartz, LG – Mark Boskovich, C – Alex Mack, RG Justin Cheadle, RT Donovan Edwards.
That’s not exactly the offenisve line tehe Bears envisioned when the season started. Only Mack and Schwartz are left from the starters at the beginning of the season, and Schwartz began the year at right tackle.
Edwards played the latter stages of last week’s win over UCLA.
“It’s going to be a deal where he has to get in there and get his feet wet,” Tedford said. “I”m sure he’ll be anxious but we have confidence in him. He’ll get in there and do some good things.”
The assignment for Edwards in his first career start won’t be easy. He’ll face the task of matching up with Oregon defensive ends Nick Reed and Will Tukuafu, who have combined for 14 sacks on the season.
Besides the offensive line, the Bears actually are pretty healthy. Jahvid Best is ready to go at tailback. All 11 starters on defense practiced in full on Thursday.
Giorgio Tavecchio is continuing as the placekicker.