Thursday, November 01, 2007

SF Chronicle: Cal: Longshore on bubble as Saturday's starter

Junior quarterback Nate Longshore, who has been battling a sprained right ankle for five weeks, took nearly all of the first-team snaps Thursday. Still, coach Jeff Tedford wasn't ready to name the starter for Saturday night's game against Washington State. "Nate took some reps and looked good," Tedford said. "We'll continue to monitor his ankle very closely and make sure he's ready to go." After taking all of the first-team snaps Tuesday, Longshore was given a much-needed day of rest Wednesday. Longshore sat out the 31-28 loss to Oregon State on Oct. 13 and is 40-of-70 for 493 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions since returning as the starter.

Tardy out: Washington State tailback Dwight Tardy, who ran for a career-best 214 yards in last week's 27-7 upset of UCLA, is out for the season with a torn ACL, coach Bill Doba announced. "It's a little late to do much changing of the game plan," Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. "It kind of depends on what they think of the other backs, or if they're just going to throw the heck out of the ball. We'll see." Backup Kevin McCall has run for 156 yards and no touchdowns on 33 carries. Calm, cool, collected: For three consecutive weeks, the Cal coaches and players have dealt with their losing streak in a calm, analytical fashion. Asked this week if it was time for someone to get angry, Tedford said he didn't see the value. "We can yell and scream all we want, but that's not going to fix anything," he said. "It's about preparation and execution. It's about playing for four quarters and making plays."

Senior words: The media relations staff is compiling comments from the seniors for the final game program. The players are allowed to write thank yous, quotes or reflections of their time in Berkeley. Here's a sneak peak at the different ways the players have dealt with the assignment.

"Don't wait too late," receiver Lavelle Hawkins wrote. "People can interpret that however they want."

"Guitar Hero is the best video game ever," safety Thomas DeCoud wrote before spilling a series of thanks.

Briefly: Receiver Robert Jordan (shoulder) and fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou (knee) practiced Thursday, and if there are no flare ups, Tedford expects both to play. ... Junior receiver DeSean Jackson and senior punter Andrew Larson were named this week as semifinalists for the top national awards given to their respective positions. Jackson, who has 46 catches for 541 yards and five touchdowns, is one of 12 players in the running for the Biletnikoff Award, and Larson, who is averaging 42.1 yards a punt with a net punting mark of 39.3 (No. 5 in the nation), is among the final 10 for the Ray Guy Award.



Anonymous said...

Is the Ray Guy Award a career award? Otherwise, how can Larson win it if he hasn't handled a punt the entire season?

And 5 picks in 2 games? You have to at least rotate Longshore out during the 2nd half the way he has been playing lately.

Anonymous said...

I am at the breaking point. As a long-suffering (Cal '76) fan, and season ticket holder, it is too painful to watch them throw greatness away.. If Longshore is the quarterback, I am not going to any more games. He laughs when he overthrows receivers and shrugs at Tedford when he is intercepted. Notice the difference with the ASU quarterback--he was mad at himself when he made a mistake because he knew it affected the whole team. I am not blaming the whole mess on Longshore but I think we would have had a better chance of winning the last two games if Riley was put in for at least the second half. It is very clear that Longshore is in pain and he is so ineffective. I'd make Riley the starter for the rest of the season (which is lost anyway- I do not care if we go to the Holiday Bowl again!) and give him some experience with USC, Stanford and a possible bowl game. Longshore is just not the guy and Tedford seems to be oblivious. I have lost faith in Tedford which I thought I never would do.I feel so sorry for the seniors and for the rest of the team and for all of us watching in painful disbelief.

Anonymous said...

Hammer had me until the loss of faith.

Agree that a concern about Longshore is that he seems to laugh off adversity. Low key is cool, but only to a point. I think it was Parcells who said that humor stops in the huddle, that a clown can't lead a team. I've tried to take these laughs in stride... keeping players loose might be fine, but better perhaps when we're up by 20. I don't need the Minister of Seriousness to run a college team, but it sure seems like a less cavalier attitude would help.

As for Tedford: He's still a great coach and his many strengths outweigh his weaknesses. The bloom may be off the rose -- he is not, nore has he ever been, God -- but he'sstill a damn fine football coach. Like to think he's learning, too, and that he's not a finished product but getting better.