Football: Following up on Sweeney

Obviously, nobody is real surprised by Beau Sweeney’s decision to leave Berkeley. Like any competitor, he wants to play. And with four quarterbacks apparently ahead of him in the pecking order right now, the chances of him seeing the field with Cal at any point during his final two years are very remote.

What is a bit stunning is how fall and hard Sweeney fell so fast. Last year at this time, he was the clear No. 2 quarterback behind Kevin Riley after spending most of the 2009 season as the backup. And he was the backup for the first half of last season when things changed. In what Jeff Tedford called a combination of Sweeney struggling in practice and Brock Mansion improving in practice, Mansion over took Sweeney on the depth chart and then ended up starting the final four games of last season after Riley suffered a season-ending injury.

With Riley now gone, the quarterback position was completely up for grabs with no obvious front runner. Even Mansion, the only one with any experience (albeit not much), didn’t seem to have an edge because he didn’t exactly seize the opportunity when he had one last season.

This was a golden opportunity for Sweeney to correct or improve upon what caused him to get  demoted last season and compete legitimately for the starting role. Instead, Sweeney appeared to regress even more. In Cal’s first open scrimmage  of the spring, Sweeney was consistently off the mark, missing open receivers time after time.

With Tedford feeling a sense of urgency to narrow the quarterback competition because of all the signal-callers in spring camp, Sweeney made his decision a lot easier. Tedford had already basically ruled out redshirt freshman Austin Hinder and walk-on Ryan Wertenberger, so really there were four quarterbacks for three spots (Tedford decided that three was the working number for dishing out reps). Based on all the factors — not just that first open scrimmage but the arc of Sweeney’s development and how he had been practicing otherwise — it was clear he would be the odd man out.

Immediately after Tedford decided on Zach Maynard,  Brock Mansion and Allan Bridgford as the finalists, I was asked a lot of I thought Sweeney would transfer. Obviously, many players in this situation would. But I did hesitate to say he definitely would because I know how much Sweeney liked it at Cal. Just based on the few times I’ve interviewed him over the years, I felt like he really felt comfortable at Cal, that it was the best place  for him.

But Sweeney wants to play. He’s worked hard during his college career, and even though it hasn’t worked out at Cal, he obviously wants to get a payoff for that hard work at some point. But I’m sure this was not an easy decision for him.

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.

  • Larry

    Legacy. Figures.

  • Bobby

    Umm Larry care to extrapolate on that comment? I think I know what you’re implying and the best response is: don’t pile on the kid. He just made a really tough decision, and to imply that he didn’t deserve a shot in the first place is (a) wrong, based on his spot on the depth chart for a year and a half, and (b) a little callous.

  • Juancho

    Hopefully everything works out for this kid. Can’t imagine how tough it would be to leave Cal. Even though you want to play QB, you know you’re leaving an elite education.

  • Larry


    Who are you, his father? He’s a big boy. I’m sure he came on this blog, seen my comment and cried his eyes out, please. I never said he didn’t deserve a shot, you did. I typed two simple words, if you interpeted all of that from two words, that’s your deal not mine.

  • Bob49

    Perhaps JO could comment no whether Kyle Boehm will get a shot at trying to make the top three QB’s in the fall, or will just automatically redshirt. He definitely is part of the long-term mix of potential Cal QB’s, so JO’s readers would love to hear his opinion on that. Maybe he should ask Tedford about it and report back.

  • ScottyBear


    Getting a meaningful quote from Tedford doesn’t happen. It’s either “Kyle is a great competitor who has a chance to contribute” or “Kyle has a chance to be great player for us in the future”. His live chat a few weeks ago was like drinking kool aid without sugar added. Bland and hard to swallow.

  • DMac

    Larry, I back Bobby on this. You put something cryptic on public display and and it got an honest interpretation. You were upbraided but it was legitimately done. Next time clarify what you mean so no one misses the point.

  • 66Bear

    Dear ScottyBear.
    I don’t think that listening to Coach Tedford is like drinking kool aid without sugar. He’s been unashamedly saying nothing in interviews ever since he came to Cal, and to me, it’s become a somewhat charming tradition after almost a decade of watching it. Coach obviously determined long ago that there is no benefit from candid or casual comments to the press or public, but there is a potential for a lot of mischief by the idiots in both camps. Although I confess that I enjoy Coach Montgomery’s comments a lot more than Coach Tedford’s, Montgomery has an unusual gift for it and somehow manages to avoid adding any grist to the mill even when speaking off the cuff. Coach Tedford is a great football coach notwithstanding being a circumspect interviewee. Go Bears! Dominate the PAC-12!

  • Sydney Carton

    Someone once said we are all promoted to our level of incompetence. Tedford was lucky to find everyone over-looked Rogers and was available. [In fact, Tedford admits he wasn’t looking for him in the first place, but was looking at films of another player he was interested in when he saw Rogers throwing.] Tedford just won the lottery. To prove competence, Tedford has to show more than he is lucky, and to prove his reputation as a developer of QBs he needs to attract, retain, develop, and consistently produce high quality QBs. Has he? It doesn’t look like it.

  • Bob, I’d be shocked. No matter how talented Boehm is, he won’t be close to being in position to take reps right away. Maybe if Cal was extremely desperate, but it’s hard to imagine Boehm overtaking any of the current top three guys, or Austin Hinder for that matter.

  • Tedford is a phoney.Maynard was the guy when he got Allen.Kline is next so the rest should pack it up.Boehm will never play,neither will Hinder.Bridgeford is history.