Football: Game coverage

  • Here’s my UCLA-Cal game story. The Bears obviously defended the pistol much better this time.
  • The notebook off the game: Kevin Riley and the passing game couldn’t help put the game away earlier.
  • Columnist Monte Poole says it was clear Jeff Tedford was unhappy with quarterback Kevin Riley and the passing game.

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.

  • They’ll need that passing game to beat the better defensive teams in the conference, because USC, Oregon, OSU, UW, and Stanford are going to stack the line and make Kevin Riley beat you.

  • Calduke

    This team seems to have an adequate defense that can stay in the game. Just visualize what this team could have accomplished this year if it had an adequate QB.
    It’s a deadheat between Riley and Prince.

  • rollonubears

    we can’t take the defense for granted. it’s a lot more than “adequate.” it’s extraordinary. we held az to 10 at their house, and held a team that trounced texas, to just 7 points here at home. best of all, clancy p’s shown an ability to make big adjustments to defend a defense he’s only seen once. this team would be unstoppable with a great qb. as it is, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

  • rollonubears

    i mean an “offense” he’s only seen once. the pistol. my bad.

  • manus

    Seem like QB Riley makes the same excuses after every game. He’s the “Pablo Sandoval” of the Bears. Fact that he has not been replaced “says” a bit about the other QB’s on the roster?

  • NorCalScott

    Hmmm, does anyone else hear some frustration with Tedford’s quotes about Riley? Could a change be coming? Why is he so loyal to Riley?
    As I predicted before the season, the Bears will go as far as Riley & his arm can take this team. His bad throws week after week should be enough, but yesterdays sacks were unexcusable. Riley held the ball too long, tried to scramble, and go sacked.
    I certainly hope that Sweeney & Mansion have developed at their time at Cal. Both were recruited highly, have had ample time to learn the system, etc. But why the “adjective” did Tedford not play either of them yesterday in garbage time? Let the kids get a few snaps.

  • covinared

    I agree. Sweeney or Mansion should have taken over after Jones scored. If a change was coming, we would have seen that.

  • CalHipHopHead

    As frustrating as it is to see Riley continue to regress, there has to be a reason why we continue to see Riley out there. Remember we all wanted Riley to get more playing time when Longshore was playing mediocre football. Now we see why Tedford was so hesitant to play him then. I feel that if the younger guys were ready, JT would have them out there. Remember he had no problem rotating Reggie Robertson and Aaron Rodgers in the ’03 season, so I have to believe the other two are not progressing enough.

  • B

    Riley has Alex Smith disease. He has all the tools, he’s got a great head on his shoulders, understands all the plays, is a great practice QB, but when it comes time to execute under the bright lights, he lacks the poise to execute. Sometimes he forgets that he is a mental midget and he pulls off some great drives, but just when you think he’s over his mental block, he reverts to his default setting. Its impossible to coach players like Riley and Smith because they are not the same players in practice that they are in games.

  • Dan

    In this site’s version of “Where’s Waldo” … Where’s Morens? Wonder why he/she isn’t around? Hmmmm … we better send out a search party.

    Have to admit- one of the great moments of my yesterday was being in the Bear’s Lair when Stanford hit that last second FG to beat the toe-jam$. It was a joyous in there. About the only time you’ll see Bears fans rooting for Jimmy Hubris.

  • Boaltblue

    Kevin Riley had a mediocre game against UCLA. He was 9 for 16, completing 56.25% of his passes for 83 yards, 1 TD pass, O INTS, 1 rushing TD, and 4 sacks. While the UCLA game was probably his worst of the season, he was not as atrocious as many of you assert. No QB plays great ALL of the time.

    His body of work this season places him #37 in the nation out of 110 QBs, with 123 attempts, 74 completions, 60.2% pass completion rate, 931 total yards, 7.6 yards per pass, 62 yards is his longest pass, 9 TDs, 4 INTs, 7 sacks, Passing efficiency rating of 141.4.

    His receivers have dropped at least 6 passes this season, with two of the dropped passes resulting in INTs (Keenan Allen Nevada, Marvin Jones, Arizona). In the Arizona game, Alex Lagemann should have caught the pass to him in the endzone in bounds if Lagemann just jumped up to catch the pass with his hands instead of jumping backward to catch the pass with his body. A receiver should know where he positioned in the end zone. Riley should really have at least 10 TDs against only 2 INTs.

    If Lagemann makes this catch or if Georgio makes either of the two missed FGs against Arizona, we win. We could easily be 4-1, beating a ranked team in Arizona, and undefeated in Pac-10 play.

    The Cal defense lost the Nevada game. Riley was not the cause for the Arizona loss.

    Riley has won 19 of 29 games as a starter. He salvaged another victory at the Armed Forces Bowl. I find it very disturbing that so many of you want to throw Riley under the bus so quickly.

  • House

    I don’t think Riley is a bad QB, and he’s definatly better than Smith, but he can not have games like yesterday. Those types of outings are not acceptable with the weapons he has around him. I think he will learn from this game, hopefully in time for SC next week.

    Riley gives us the best shot to win, simple as that.

  • Juancho

    I don’t agree that just because we haven’t seen the backups, can we assume that they aren’t as good as Riley. Tedford has a history of being loyal to his QB and he’d rather play someone with experience. Truth is nobody will know how good Sweeney or Mansion are until they play in meaningful games.

  • Bobby

    BoaltBlue–Totally agree with you. I also imagine you don’t need to be reminded that many Cal fans focus on one player as a scapegoat for all that’s wrong with the team (even when there’s not a whole lot that’s wrong). Ayoob, then Longshore, DeSean for disrupting the locker room, now Riley. It’s depressing that people flood message boards and poison this program with negativity.

    Aside from Riley having an off game, our offensive line did not pass block very well, our receivers did not get great separation, and our coordinator hesitated to take a risk.

    More importantly, we won the game by halftime and coasted through the 3rd and 4th quarters. Aside from the reverse (which we’ve shown before), Cal had a very vanilla second half. It’s not unreasonable to assume they purposefully turned the dial down to not put too much on film.

  • Old Bear

    Fact: Riley has not improved over the past 4 years.
    Fact: Tedford knows how to coach QBs.
    Fact: Riley gives us the best chance to win.

    So, we either stick with Riley and hope for the best, or give on-the-job tryouts to Sweeney/Mansion.

    I say stick with Riley until we can’t make a bowl.

    Go Bears!

  • Dan


    You make some very strong points, you back them up with strong facts, all facts. Riley is not the only cause of losses. In fact, you did make a strong argument that the two losses were less his fault than other bigger issues in those games. Thanks for making those points and for bringing some balance to the discussion here- I appreciate it.

    My counterpoint to that is that in watching him in most games this year, I think we were all hop, having for more from him this season so far- especially as a 5th year senior. He is now a 3rd year starter, has no one looking over his shoulder, has been given Tedford’s total commitment, and he has tremendous tools.

    Yet when I have watched him this season, and I have seen every play of the 5 games, I feel like we won’t beat the good teams with him as QB.He has been a serious drive killer. Even Tedford seems to be running out of patience, if you read Monte Poole’s column today.

    The good news is that this will all play out. I sure hope he can rise up to the challenge. He is a GREAT kid who has worked hard and has been through a lot. EVERYBODY is pulling for him.

  • joshiemac

    Dan- under no circumstances should a ‘furd victory be celebrated in the Bears Lair. I don’t care if Andrew Luck discovered a cure for cancer, solved global warming, and led his team down for a game winning score against ‘SC all on the same drive–you NEVER, EVER cheer for the cardinal on the Berkeley campus. The thought of that just fills me with disgust.

    Better dead than red. Shame on everyone for being “joyous” in there.


  • 707 Bear


    as a “youngish” alum, i couldn’t disagree more with the anti-Stanford rant.

    what’s to hate (other than Coach H) about Stanford? (Should I hate true student-athletes that stay out of trouble?)

    I’ll save my hatred for U$C and Phil Knight U.

  • Will

    Player intros in today’s game: :Taylor Mays – O’Dea High”

    OH NOES, HE MUST HATE USCCCCCC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111

  • Steve W

    Take a look at what teams have done with the passing game against SC this year – Hawaii, Stanford and Washington all with 300 plus yards through the air. This is clearly the weakest pass defense that USC has fielded since 2001, and the LA Times columnists down here are having a field day talking about it.

    If Riley even has a passable day next Saturday – 200 yards or so to keep that defense honest while the running game continues to churn – I promise I will never post a negative post about him the rest of the season. Just passable, Kevin, and your team wins for the first time in the LA Colisium in 10 years.

  • ondal

    Taylor Mays said ‘Notre Dame High School’

  • B

    boaltblue–Cal lost the Arizona game because Tedford had no faith in his passing game. It should have never come down to that last field goal. Arizona was selling out to stop the run, a play action pass would have won the game, but Tedford could not risk Riley blowing it. If Cal should have won that game by ten and they would have with a QB that would allow Tedford to utilize the whole play book.

  • Dan


    Sorry you have so much “disgust”, as you stated, for a group of mostly young, fairly inebriated Cal students/alums/fans who were feeling pretty good for the first time in a month based on the day’s victory, that happen to hate $C more than Stanford. Are you telling me you would root for $C to beat Stanford? I think you are pretty out of touch with today’s sentiments.

  • Will

    I wanted $C to win on Saturday, but I think why some Bears wanted Stanfurd to pull through is the obnoxious nature of the $C fanbase. Watching a bunch of classless dolts squirm around can be quite a treat.

  • Boaltblue

    Question for everyone: Would Cal be better off with USC winning all of its remaining games, except, of course, next week against our beloved Cal?

    Even a USC win against Stanford would have helped Cal’s ranking in the Pac-10. Given that USC is bowl ineligible, it does not matter how many games USC wins. And any loss to our fellow Pac-10 schools help our standing in the conference. Am I missing something?

  • Boaltblue

    Per Wikipedia: Taylor Mays attended O’Dea High School, a Catholic boy’s high school located in Seattle. That is the school that Mays announced in his introduction during the NBC televised game between the 49ers and the Eagles.

    The shame of that Underachieving Sports Cheating school continues . . . .

  • rollonubears

    i can’t believe some of the stuff i’m reading here. u$c is not our rival school. their loss last weekend makes this weekend’s game even less significant. it’s a must win for us, to keep our hopes alive, and now it’s pretty much expected that we’ll win. i don’t like that one bit. i’m all for stanfurd having a great record when they come to our house for a beat-down in november, but you won’t catch me cheering for them, in a cal bar. that makes no sense at all.

  • Calduke

    Easy on the Taylor Mays- O’Dea thing

    DeSean Jackson uses Long Beach Poly – not California

  • Dan


    You’re certainly entitled to their opinion. But in the Bear’s Lair on Saturday night, you would have been in the minority by about 300 to 6.

    Also, I disagree 100% that $C is not our rival. To me, they are a hated rival, the biggest rival, as we can never beat them. Their fan base is the most obnoxious, the most insufferable, the most arrogant and bandwagon-based. Nothing is better than seeing them lose within the Pac 10.

    And this Saturday’s game isn’t less significant because $C lost. With two Cal loses this early in the season, EVERY game is significant. I’m not sure I catch your logic. Also, it is not expected that we will win, as you stated. I don’t understand that logic either. $C is favored this Saturday, we never beat $C, we walk onto the field vs. them and play like head cases most of the time- clearly we are intimidated by them, especially there. They have our number, in the same we way we have UCLA’s and ASU’s number.

  • jabes

    SC is not our rival. It is a pleasure to watch SC and Notre Dame lose because their fans are so insufferable. I will simply assume that the Cal fans at the Lair were cheering for SC having a crushing loss, for the Jersey afflicted LA crowd having to trod home muttering to themselves, and ignoring the laundry on the backs of the players who administered the loss.

    The biggest problem with the SC losses the last two weeks is that, regardless who is favored, it sets up the scenario that if Cal wins the narrative will not be about Cal success. Typical Cal at this point would be to beat SC without the glamour of a passing game, be overshadowed by a more interesting story, get some tentative national attention going into the Oregon game, then get blown out by Oregon.

    And yes, this is all because Tedford did not have enough confidence in Riley to go for the kill against Arizona.

  • rollonubears

    i hope so. i’m starting to think that there are cal fans who’d rather see stanfurd in the rose bowl than u$c. maybe that’s the case. maybe times are changing. but i’ll take my hatred of the tree with me to the grave.

  • Will

    Calduke – that’s the whole point.

    A certain poster on these boards used to use the Long Beach Poly thing as an example of why Cal stinks. I guess using that logic, $C stinks too!

  • Steve W

    Maybe you need to be a Cal alum to have this built in hatred of Stanford. I’ve been a huge fan of Cal football for the past 25 years, and I despise Stanford when Cal plays them. But my hatred for USC runs DEEP. I was cheering my butt off when Stanford scored in the last minute to win the game Saturday.

    USC, with their contemptable and arrogant fan base, is public enemy number one. Every year, they snatch the best talent on the West Coast and just assume its their birthright to have it. There’s nothing more miserable to sit in the Coliseum, as I have in 06 and 08, and watch SC dominate the Bears. A win Saturday will just about make my season. But I’m watching on tv this time. I just can’t handle that place.

  • BlueNGold

    If having an insufferable fan base is what motivates your feelings about a team, you should have no trouble being a furd hater. They have some fans who are miserably arrogant and condescending.