There should be no more questions about who is starting at quarterback for the No. 24 Cal football team. Nate Longshore—who sprained his ankle in the Bears’ win over then-No. 11 Oregon in September—should start this week’s game against No. 12 USC. Longshore’s health had been so much of a concern for coach Jeff Tedford that he has made Longshore’s status for each of the last four games a game-time decision, with Longshore sitting out the loss to Oregon State.
“I would say if he continues to look like he did in pregame, he will continue to start,” Tedford said. “Unless something happens throughout the week—he has a set back or something gets worse—then that would change. If he stays the way he was this last week, then he would be the starter.” Tedford said he does not think that Longshore’s ankle will ever fully recover and that it may be a lingering injury that the junior quarterback will have to play through the rest of the season.
“It’s probably something that’s going to stick with him here,” Tedford said. “It’s very difficult to let something completely heal like that. Maybe in a couple of weeks, when we get a bye, it’ll let him recover a little bit. But I don’t see him recovering that much in the next couple of weeks.”
• Defensive end Rulon Davis will not play against the Trojans this week, Tedford announced Tuesday. Davis—who missed four games earlier in the season with a sprained foot—sat out last week’s win over the Cougars because of a sprained medial collateral ligament that he suffered against Arizona State the week before.
• Cal players should need no extra motivation for their game against USC this week—at least that’s what many of them have said. “If you have to get pumped up for this, we might have to take you to the hospital,” Bears linebacker Worrell Williams said. “We don’t want to do anything extra. If that’s the case, if we’re doing anything extra for ’SC, then there goes your reason for the last three losses.” The game has evolved over the years to what is usually the best matchup in the Pac-10. But this year, with both teams having multiple losses in conference play, the game does not hold the same magnitude that it might have had if both Cal or the Trojans were still ranked in the top 10. But that doesn’t change the feelings the players will have heading into the contest. “We could be the last two teams in the Pac-10 and it would be a rivalry,” said Williams. And for some, the game takes on even more meaning. Freshman cornerback Chris Conte—who grew up an avid UCLA fan—said he didn’t need extra motivation for this week’s game. “I’ve always hated ’SC ,” he said.
• Saturday’s game is also the last home game of the year and the last time that the Bears seniors will play at Memorial Stadium. Adding to that, none of those seniors have defeated the Trojans in their career, save for a few who redshirted in 2003—when Cal defeated then-No. 3 USC 34-31 in triple overtime. “It’s going to be a special game for me,” senior tailback Justin Forsett said. “It’s going to be my last time through the tunnel, my last time wearing the blue and gold here. I’ve never beaten ’SC before. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. It goes by fast.”