By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
AP Breaking News
Monday, August 29, 2005
(08-29) 20:28 PDT Berkeley, Calif. (AP) --
Nate Longshore was chosen as California's starting quarterback Monday night, beating out Joe Ayoob for the chance to lead the 19th-ranked Golden Bears in their season opener against Sacramento State.
Longshore, a redshirt freshman, made full use of his extra year of experience in coach Jeff Tedford's exacting system. Though Ayoob transferred to Cal amid much fanfare after two prolific years at City College of San Francisco, Longshore earned the start in Saturday's game against the Division I-AA Hornets with his consistency and work ethic.
"It's always been a dream for me to play in the Pac-10, and I'm happy that it's happened," Longshore said after practice at Memorial Stadium. "Now we can move on. I'm just ready to play someone new besides our own defense. ... I really don't see (starting) as a big deal. It's more about going out there as a team, and I need to hold up my end of the bargain."
Tedford has praised the 6-foot-5 freshman's superior understanding of Cal's system since spring workouts, but the competition theoretically was open until last weekend. Though Ayoob closed the gap in recent weeks during training camp, Tedford is more confident in Longshore.
"He's shown a very good grasp of the offense, which is understandable," said Tedford, who has produced six first-round draft picks in his last 12 years tutoring quarterbacks. "Not only that, he's shown a high level of consistency. I feel like he'll do a great job putting us in a position to be successful."
Because neither of Tedford's latest quarterbacks has yet thrown a pass in Division I, Cal's offense should be more run-oriented than last season's squad, which set several school superlatives while going 10-2 and reaching its highest ranking in a half-century.
Tailback Marshawn Lynch, who averaged 8.8 yards per carry as a freshman last season, will be the centerpiece behind a veteran offensive line. If things are going well for the Bears, Longshore mostly will be handing off.
Ayoob probably could have won the job with more consistency in his throws during practices, but the junior acknowledges a few hiccups in adjusting to the Pac-10 game and Tedford's demands. Ayoob is a superb athlete known for his running in junior college, while Longshore is a more classic pocket passer.
"There's a little frustration, because I was supposed to come in and be the starter," said Ayoob, who will hold for placekicks. "But I know it's a team game. It's not just about me starting or Nate starting. I guess right now, Nate is the best quarterback for the team."
Though the starting job no longer is up for grabs, the competition might not be closed. Both quarterbacks probably will get to play against overmatched Sacramento State — and two years ago, junior-college transfer Aaron Rodgers didn't take the starting job away from veteran Reggie Robertson until midway through Rodgers' first season at Cal.
Rodgers went on to one of the most proficient seasons in Cal history last fall, and was drafted by Green Bay in the first round.