Football: Riley’s job not in jeopardy

Cal coach Jeff Tedford said today at the weekly press luncheon that Kevin Riley will remain the team’s starting quarterback for the rest  of the season, barring injury.

“Kevin is our starting quarterback and gives us the best chance to win,” Tedford said. “We’re not going to make a change there unless something unforeseen happens.”

In response to a question about the development of backups Beau Sweeney and  Brock Mansion, Tedford said:

“If they were close to being the best quarterback that we have on this football team then they would see time,” Tedford said. “That’s not the case. Kevin still does some very good things and gives us the best chance to win. Those guys aren’t to his level right now.”

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.

  • GoBears58

    then why did we recruit sweeney and Mansion. this beggars belief. Start Bridgford for goodness sakes

  • Scott

    Pathetic proclamation about the state of our program. So Tedford is thus saying we have no chance to win.

  • Jim

    Kevin DOES do some very good things – but he also does do too frequently do some very bad things, like underthrowning receivers and getting picked, like throwing to opponents defensive linemen and getting picked and pausing for cornerbacks to get aligned for screen passes and getting picked, for siz.

    If Kevin gives us the “best chance to win”, Cal is screwed and not only for this season. There’s no possible excuse for not playing the backup qbs during garbage time when there is no possible chance of winning (and “winning the second half” doesn’t count) if for no other reason than giving the backups experience for if/when Riley is injured.

    Or maybe Tedford remembers fondly how well Longshore played while injured, throwing off his back foot because he couldn’t step into his throws. That was sure fun. Until Tedford finally realized “enough is enough” and put in Levy who went on the beat the furd turds and then win the bowl game.

    Tedford is TOTALLY out of touch with reality – and the fans, and more especially the team, suffer.

  • rollonubears

    meynard next year. and another .500 season.

    go bears.

  • Aubear

    If Riley is the best we have then we have wasted 5 years waiting for him to improve and a cummulative 6-10 years more on the guys behind him.

  • rollonubears

    this really irks me because next year he’ll say it’s because they don’t have experience, and meynard does. i’m tired of this garbage.

  • Jim

    Rollon … another .500 season. Care to speculate which three teams that Cal will beat to get to .500.

    WSU – in Pullman – oughta be
    ASU – maybe

    Oregon, Oregon State, the resurging Dawgs?

  • Juancho

    Tedford is killing Sweeney and Mansion’s confidence in order to not hurt Riley’s feelings? He realizes he ruined Riley to protect Longshore right? Now he’s doing the same to two qbs at the same time?

    Tedford get a clue.

  • noduck

    jim- i was thinking the same thing. there are four sure losses left on cal’s schedule. that could easily hit five.

    i was dead set in renewing season tickets for AT&T up until this week. (my family has had season tickets since the 30s, multiple generations of course)

    now, i don’t know. i can sit through a loss, but i am not going to show up if the team and coaches don’t. if cal isn’t at least competitive in these last six games, i am not going to renew.

  • Juancho

    Good call Noduck. And don’t let anyone attack your loyalty to our school for making that tough decision. You can still be a fan even when you are unhappy with the direction of the program.

  • noduck

    more on point: kevin does give cal the best chance to win, no question. tedford should stop repeating himself. what tedford needs to do is start pointing to the offensive line. that part of the team has been atrocious for the last three to four years. he needs to explain why the oline is getting overpowered in every match-up. until the oline improves, you will not see an improved running or passing game.

  • Juancho

    For me the big thing he’s missing is that he’s not giving the young qbs a chance now at being good next year. All he is seeing is Riley and this Saturday, which is fine if you’re a middle manager. But he’s an executive he has to put his program in a position to succeed long term. He’s never had that problem with the young running backs. He’s done an amazing job year after year of getting guys ready.

    But qbs is the opposite. He sits guys and tells them they’re not good enough (yet) but never actually prepares them with real game time when they’re young and fearless to be ready when it’s their time to shine.

  • noduck

    long term, it is best to get wins right now. bad performances mean bad recruiting, bad morale, worsening fan base, little or no tv, all these things hurt the program long term.

    the rb and qb positions are different and not as easily rotated on a play by play basis (or even drive by drive). qbs control the flow of the game and are generally more familiar with their receivers. that said, development should be taking place of the backup qbs.

    there have been opportunities in which it would be safe to play a backup. tedford failed to make use of those opportunities and that is very unfortunate. for the immediate future cal must play to win, when it becomes apparent that is out of the question, backups should be played.

  • CalHipHopHead

    If the other qb’s are so far behind Riley, we are screwed for the next several years. To quote a friend of mine several years ago, “It’s hard being a Cal fan”.

  • Gooch

    I think that coach’s statements are correct, but they show either the (a) terrible job of coaching and development of back ups, or (b) the terrible job of recruiting QB’s that can’t be up to snuff. The fact that Cal does not have a good back up QB, whether or not Riley should be replaced, is not acceptable.

  • Calduke

    I don’t know about Mansion, but, Sweeney is a friend of the Tedford family and is attending Cal under a scholarship. I haven’t seen much of Sweeney, but, he appears to be afraid to throw a pass.

    The OL gets intimidated by big name schools.
    The 3-4 defense is good against the run? or the pass?
    Where is its strength?

  • Jim

    Gooch, the qbs recruiting are all coming with glowing praise and high expectations – but the praise disappears as well as the expectations.
    There have been too many now for it to be the fault of the young players.

  • Juancho

    You know what I’d love to see. A historical breakdown of the offensive coordinator and QB coach changes since Boller left. I have a feeling that some of these problems stopped when Tedford gave up the QB duties and gave them to who knows now. Does Kevin Daft coach them now? Or is it Ludwig? Was it Dunbar before him?

  • Juancho

    I meant, some of the QB problems started when Tedford gave up the QB coaching duties.

  • Dan

    Most coaches that want to win would weigh heavy on the HUGE, back breaking mistakes Riley makes.

    Ironically, when a Cal RB fumbles, Tedfrod (sic) buries him unless he’s the starter. So he can’t tolerate those mistakes/turnovers, but he can live with Riley’s mistakes/turnovers?

    I assume the fumblers that Tedfrod (sic)has benched in the past were on the field because they earned their playing time. 1-2 fumbles, find a seat on the bench for a game or two- in JJ Arrington’s case, he sat the rest of the season. Not Riley- he makes HUGE mistakes in every loss.

    Again, not meaning to knock Riley. He’s trying his to do his best, and I appreciate. Knocking Tedfrod (sic). The mind of Tedfrod (sic).

  • bsizzle

    let Sweeney and Mansion play with the 1st team in practice Tedford judges them off playing against 3 stringers and guys who don’t play in actual games ,Riley gets all the important reps

  • oldcalfan

    Noduck, i’m with you on the season ticket renewal. I really hope the AD is paying close attention to what is happening here.

    Not that the fans should determine what happens on the field, but I haven’t felt this out of touch with reality since the 2000 election (“Is this really happening??)

    And will people please stop saying “Riley is the best we have”! How do you know? Do you attend the practices? Do you go by what JO or other writers tell you to think? (which would be amusing considering we’re supposed to be free thinking Berkeley folks). Do you just assume what Tedford decides must be correct? Until we see Sweeney or Mansion (in that order) fail as epicly as Riley, we have NO WAY of telling that Riley is our best option.

    And no, a couple of passes or decisions not to pass vs UC Davis in garbage time does not tell you what Sweeney is capable of.


  • LR

    Oregon is a NC caliber team with a QB who had zero experience prior to this season. He wasn’t even being considered before Masoli decided to screw himself and his team over completely. Obviously, Chip did a helluva lot more with him in spring and fall ball than Tedford’s done with any of his QBs over the last several years.

    I have no idea how or why JT’s turned into such an idiot over the last 4 years, but he has. The man can’t develop a QB worth a damn and has been putting a crap offensive product on the field since 2006. Unbelievable meltdown. And at a discount price of $2,800,000.00/year.

  • Calduke

    Aaron Rodgers made Tedford a millionaire.
    As soon as Tedford got his $2.8 everything started downhill.

    How many super-pros change teams, get a huge salary based on 1-2 years success, and then perform at a leisure pace because they get guaranteed pay no matter how they perform.

    Tedford always wanted to live in the Bay Area. He got the job, got the big pay – He attained his goals.

  • Old Bear

    On the QB challenge at Cal.

    Mike Bellotti once said there’s a limited number of pro style QBs available for schools to recruit.

    He went on to stay it’s far easier to find athletes to run the spread option and other offenses that don’t rely on the QB to make “all the throws.”

    Is our “balanced” pro-style offense too reliant on finding that ideal QB? Should we (like most of college football) to an offense that uses faster, less strong armed QBs to run our offense?

  • Calduke

    Tedford said Riley was his best chance to win;
    He didn’t say Riley was a winner.

  • Dan

    LR- that salary takes on a new dimension when you actually see all those zeros in writing…Oy. Thanks, I think …

    Old Bear- you make a very good point. And yes, it’s not only about the Pro-style QBs being somewhat rare, it’s finding a really good one that will still need a lot of development before they’re ready. The risk is high. Matt Barkley is doing it as a true sophomore, but he was considered the top QB prospect period in year coming out of HS. Andrew Luck is also one the best QBs in college in years. Many of the talking heads in TV just salivate in praising him. That level of quality is rare.

    Many of these spread QBs come in and find success early. Look at the Oregon QB Darron Thomas … and whe he got hurt, the backup Nate Costa came in and the offense didn’t miss a beat- he looked great. So they have 2 QBs that can play well and lead a NC caliber team to big wins. That tell you something about the spread- and good coaching.

    Running a Pro-style offense is problematic. I really think you need somewhat dominant talent all over the field, including a well coached stud O-Line. SC can do it with their top flight talent and depth, Harbaugh is doing it at Stanford, but we’ll see how successful he’ll end up being and how long that success lasts. Alabama gets away with it too, but even Saban is smart enough to be creative- he is running the Pistol some this year.

    Most of the top offenses that are hard to stop and wide open are out of some version of the spread these days it seems. Don’t look for Tedford to look that way … unless he is desperate, and by then it will be too late.

  • Bob49

    A few points.

    Juancho — I would also like to see the list of offensive coordinators. I think that only one or two lasted more than two years, and that three years in a row Cal had a different OC. These constant changes can’t be very good to build a consistent offense on.

    I think that Tedord made a mistake regarding his statement regarding his quarterbacks. He should have said Riley is his best quarterback and gives the team the best chance to win. Period. Going farther and stating that the other two quarterbacks are not at the same level as Riley does not add anything to the original statement (which effectively says, though not directly, that the other QB’s are not as good as Riley, but is a direct put down to the other two QB’s. I can’t see how that is good for their morale or team morale. The other subs may start thinking when Tedford is going to say, flat out, that they aren’t as good as a starter, thereby embarrassing the ____ out of them.

  • RandUmBear

    JO, Do you know why there is no mention of Steve Marshall’s performance as a coach? It seems that the offensive line can’t give Riley the time he needs. When Coach M left a few years ago, I was worried that things might go south. Everyone’s getting mad at Riley and Tedford. How come Marshall’s not getting blame? When special teams went south everyone wanted Alamar’s head. But no one is talking about Marshall. What gives?

  • CalBearFan

    hey guys. being a bit too critical of tedford. good qbs dont grow on trees. we’ve got a good one coming in with kyle boehm, be patient.

  • Dan

    Kyle Boehm is no better a prospect than just about every other QB Tedford has brought to Cal. The problem isn’t their talents coming in. It’s what happens when they get here.

    All these prospects Tedford brings in have all the physical tools. It’s Tedford and what the program has become that is the problem. It’s the OLine, the receivers who aren’t open half the time and when they are they drop too many balls, the unintelligent, predictable, conservative play calling, the outdated, over-complicated, easy to defense and dominate offense, and then Tedford screwing up the psyche of these kids.

    Some adds on Boehm –

    Part of what makes him very good at the HS level is his running ability. That will go completely un-utilized at Cal, thereby lessening how good he will be able to be here given his tools. When was the last time Cal had a QB that ran enough times in a game to make a difference? Never. Joe Ayoob was a very good runner, did you see him run much? Occasionally, but rarely was it planned. With Ayoob’s struggles, building his running abilities into the gameplan would have been an effective way to get more out of him in so many ways. But not Tedford, he was determined to turn him into a drop, pro-style pocket passer. And we saw how well that turned out. So Boehm will have his running gifts neutered when he arrives, lessening his potential.

    Also, I saw Boehm play against San Ramon Valley this year, a very good HS program, but just a middle of the pack EBAL (great HS league) team this season. Boehm didn’t do much, and his team lost to a unremarkable HS team. It was a game that, if he was so great, he would have found a way to carry his team to victory. If he can’t look like a superstar in just about every HS game, and can be rendered inconsistent and mostly ineffective by a just OK HS team, excuse me if I don’t jump on his bandwagon and predict he will be the guy to single-handedly change Cal’s and Tedford’s fortunes- or even believe that he’ll be an even good, consistent QB here, including once who can be a difference maker, a la Barkley, Luck, Foles, Locker, etc.

  • BlueNGold

    Riley is not able to get the job done. JT says he gives Cal the best chance to win, which means he will be starting for the rest of the season and the outcome should be obvious. But it also means none of the other QB’s are getting meaningful playing time and will likely not be ready to step up next season. It is appealing to think about Maynard being a savior next year, but he is neither playing nor practicing now, so how does anyone have confidence he will be any more ready than Sweeney, Mansion, Boehm or the others? All in all, there does not seem to be much reason for optimism around Cal football for the foreseeable future.

  • rollonubears

    Meynard was a very average qb at Buffalo, and that’s a very average program. He’ll be older, and stronger, and smarter, so who knows? And he’ll have his step-bro to throw to, who’s been irresponsibly underutilized, so I’m intrigued by it as well but I’m not really holding out much hope here.

    It will be interesting if we have a true open competition for 4 or 5 guys next year. That would be pretty sweet, but he’d better decide early who’s in the lead, because you can’t have 5 guys taking first team reps in the fall. One of them should be a clear leader. Could they really ALL be no better than KR? Man, this is a sad state these bears are in.

  • CalBearEnthu

    Wonderful Dan,
    But I saw Boehm too, and he’s got a ton of talent, Riley cannot escape pressure and has nowhere near the legs of Boehm. As you may or may not recall, Aaron Rodgers did not dominate the high school ranks and he was a fast QB, IT DID help him out a lot while he was at Cal. You’ll just have to wait and find out.

  • Calduke

    The Bears OL is grossly overmatched against the upper
    half of the PAC-10. It’s too bad we can’t judge Riley if he had an adequate OL.

  • Calduke

    One advantage from Zack Maynard is that he may concentrate more on Keenan.

  • Juancho

    Wait a minute. So how many quarterbacks will be on scholarship next year? 6? Maynard, Beau “Jackson” Sweeney, Mansion, Bridgeford, Hinder, and Boehm?

    What the hell?

  • Juancho


    Maybe we could use a scholarship or two for Oline or linebackers. This is insane.

  • Dre Time

    I’m a big Cal fan and I hate to say this, but the season is pretty much not really worth watching anymore. I refuse to watch anymore Riley. I know what he can or can’t do and unfortunately there are more things that he can’t do.

    My prediction: Cal finishes the season with 5 wins and 7 losses and misses out on a bowl. We beat ASU, lose to OSU, beat Wazzu, lose big to Oregon, lose to Stanford, lose to UW.

    I’m still trying to figure out how Tedford, over the past 6 years, is turning all his QBs into head cases. Looks like we have two more head cases coming up in “I have no confidence in…(fill in with either Brock or Beau)”.