Football: Riley at peace

There was a certain measure of calm about quarterback Kevin Riley this spring. Riley worked as hard as he ever has during the spring, but at the same time seems to be at peace with football as much as he ever has.

In the past, there has been a certain brashness to Riley’s personality. Not in an abfasive way, just a confidence or slight cockiness that he could get the job done.

A little older now and a little more mature, Riley has seemed to turn that confidence into contentment — not that he is satisfied with himself as a player but perhaps he is at peace with the fact that he is doing everything he can to be the best player he possibly can, and that the experience he now has — whether it be the good moments or bad moments — makes him more prepared for his final season.

“It’s experience,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “He’s been at the high and he’s been at the low and I think he’s figured out where the middle ground is — not to get too high and not to get too low. Put it in perspective, take it in stride and know that he’s not going to please everybody. He’s going to do his best to be the best player he can be, be a strong quarterback and a leader of this team. From there, you can’t ride the roller coaster being in that position. I think he’s figured that out.”

From all accounts, Riley had a good spring. During the Saturdays practice was open to the media and the brief stretches  we were allowed to watch during the week, Riley seemed to make good decisions and was efficient running Cal’s offense.

Riley regularly put in extra work after practice during the spring.

“I just think I’ve grown up a lot and understand what’s important and what you need to do to get better and become a better football player,” Riley said. “These past few months I took a hard, long look at myself and the games we lost and how we lost them. I want to do everything I can not to let that happen again.”

Tedford said the quarterback spot is “still competititve” but acknowledged that Riley is still taking the first reps. Even though Riley has started 23 games at Cal while Beau Sweeney and Brock Mansion have combined to take zefo meaningful snaps, Riley still approaches it as a legitimate quarterback battle.

“Obviously, it’s open if Coach says it is,” Riley said. “I approach it just like I have in the past. I know with my experience that I have an edge over the other two guys.”

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.

  • robert

    Go get ’em Kev!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ToparchiBear

    I really like Kevin’s work ethic. He worked hard, very hard. He deserved to be a starter. What Cal really need is a few WRs step up to help him.

    Go Bears!

  • abe

    Before we even start talking about WRs lets hope he will get some decent blocking from the OLine, yet another anemic position on the field. It is very difficult to get into any kind of rhythm as a QB when you are constantly rushed to throw the ball away with no time to go through reads and progressions. Some people point out some wide open throws Riley missed here and there to make the point that he sucks as a QB. To me those easy missed throws are evidence of the lack of rhythm under which Riley is forced to play week in and week out. Riley is a great kid, always plays hard, (look at some the blocks he makes during games) and I hope that he gets the adequate protection this season and he will surprise a lot of people.

  • Juancho

    I hope the team does great this year. I don’t agree with the statement that Riley has been at the highs and the lows. I certainly remember the lows. But our program hasn’t had any real highs since Rodgers left early.

    I hope the team puts Riley into a position where he can succeed. I also hope that Riley has that little bit extra this year so that even when he doesn’t have the perfect pass protection and wide open receivers, he can make something happen.

  • MikeD

    @Abe: +eleventy nine about line play. You could put Joe Montana in there and he would struggle with last years level of line play. O-line needs to make major major strides this year, else it’ll be another year of consistent three and outs.

  • BlueNGold

    Riley deserves a decent O line so he can show what he is capable of. I hope this is the year he gets it.

  • DRRover

    Agree with all comments about O-line. JO, what do you know about the line that anchors the “O?”

  • noduck

    I too am curious about what JO thinks. Last year, he seemed to think it was healthy and strong going into the season.