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Football: Riley speaks

The obvious biggest development today was interviewing Kevin Riley, who was back at practice on crutches. Riley talked at length about Saturday’s injury, his plans moving forward and his thoughts on replacement Brock Mansion.

Riley also said his injury actually was a lot better than it could have been. Doctors  told him he was “super lucky.” He said after watching the hit, doctors thought for sure he had at least torn his PCL. As it turns out, he sprained ligaments in his knee but had no major structural damage. He also hyper extended it.

But the most damaging part of the injury is a torn calf muscle. Riley said without that, he probably would have only been out about a month. As it is, Riley said it will take him about three months to recover.

Riley isn’t a strong NFL prospect, but he still could get a look. He has a ton of experience, which always helps. And a lot of times at Cal, he wasn’t put in the best  situations. Then again, there certainly times where he simply didn’t play well. But if a team like his arm, footwork, etc., he could at least get an invitation to an NFL camp next fall.

Riley is on pace  to graduate at the end of this semester with a degree in American Studies. He said now he will probably spread it out over two semesters and  graduate in the spring because he will have to put in a lot of time rehabbing.

Here’s a sampling of what Riley said today:

  • On his NFL chances: “I always thought I’d get a chance. Everybody gets a chance. I’ve played enough where I’ll get a look.  I have a lot of film, a lot of footwork in the pocket.”
  • On his immediate reaction after going down Saturday: “I knew something wasn’t right, obviously — the instant pain. You just start thinking about every different thought. Right when it happened, I was thinking this is my last play of football. That’s the first thing that popped into my head. A wave of emotion came over me. I’m done. I kind of knew it. I knew it wasn’t a regular thing.”
  • When he got to the sideline?: “Coming off, I was like, ‘Let me walk. I’m fine. I can go back in the game.’ I put a little bit of pressure on it and I was like, ‘No way.’ I tried to walk again. Obviously, I couldn’t stand up. Any time I put my leg straight it just crumbled.”
  • On what he expects from Brock Mansion: “I think Brock will play well. Going in last week, I think he composed himself pretty well. That’s a tough situation to go into.”
  • On how he can help Mansion: “You have a different demeanor going into a game knowing you’re starting. I’ll be here helping him out. He’s already asked me if he could watch film with me tonight. I’m just here to help the team now.”
  • Reflecting on his career: “I’ve done a good job overall. Obviously, there are things I am not happy about. I wish I had a couple more games to play. It happens. I have to look at the positives. Like the doctor said, I’m super lucky. It could be way worse than it is. It’s only three months.”
  • Unfinished buisness?: “It would have been nice to complete that game, see how it turned out. Playing those last few games, seeing how I could have done and the team could have done. Obviously, I’m going to miss it. There’s nothing I can do now.”
  • On it sinking in: “It’s not an easy time but I don’t regret anything. I’m trying to look at it in a positive light and not get down.”
  • On spending Saturday night in Portland with his family: “I didn’t want to be away from family that night — Just drove home, watched the end of a football game like it was any other night. My family and good freiends were very supportive, which definitely helped because that first night would have been very tough if I was by myself.”
  • On how much he plans on being around the rest of the season: “I’ll try to make most of the meetings and I’ll be at every practice. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do.”
  • On what advice he would give to Mansion: “Don’t think at all. Go out there and play. Brock is a super talented kid. Like most QBs, when you start thinking too much, that’s when you start to question your game.”
  • On Jeff Tedford: “I appreciate everything Coach has done. He’s been hard on me, but as a quarterback, he expected the most of me and I expected t he most out of him and me together. We’ve been through a lot. He’s defended me when people criticize me. A lot of people don’t really know what’s going on besides the people playing it.”
  • On sharing an emotional moment with Tedford when he got to the sideline: “When I came off, I knew I was probably done. That’s why I got pretty emotional. I’m a pretty tough kid. I think he knew when he saw me, he knew that I knew that I was done. I felt it was kind of like a thank you, but at the time I was hoping to get back into the game. But I kind of knew.”

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.