Kevin Riley slowly hobbled off the Cal practice field Saturday afternoon, trying to stretch out his back and showing an obvious limp. "I'll be fine," Riley said. "I'm just a quarterback, so I get beat up every day." Literally and figuratively. Riley, who has been part of the Bears' merry-go-round at quarterback this season, will have to compete for the starting gig again next season, this time with Brock Mansion, who's currently a redshirt freshman. "It's nothing new," Riley said. "Absolutely, it's tough, but this is a frustrating sport. It's just something you cope with. "You try to get it out of your head, compete, play your best and be there for your teammates."
Riley, a sophomore, is 7-2 as a starter and is still competing with senior Nate Longshore to start in the Emerald Bowl against Miami. Riley has completed 50.7 percent of his passes for 1,360 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions for an efficiency rating of 117.85. He says that his play has been sporadic. "It seems like a couple of things haven't gone the right way," Riley said. "One time, I'll throw a bad ball when someone is wide open, and the next time, there's a drop. It's just the way it has worked, and I know I've got to overcome that and make more plays." That's where Mansion could enter the picture. The 6-foot-5, 229-pounder is 3-for-6 in mop-up duty and has been inaccurate at times in practice. At least once a week, though, he does something with his legs or his arm that wows observers. "He has a bright future and will compete for that position," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "He's big, athletic and has a nice arm. He's smart and a good leader. He has a lot of really fine qualities and has made a lot of progress in understanding of the offense."
The Dallas native said he hasn't minded the wait, because he came to Cal with the understanding that he'd be sitting behind Longshore. Of course, Mansion is looking forward to his opportunity. "Having the chance to compete will bring out the best in both of us and is the best situation for this team," Mansion said. "The more we're competing and fighting, the more skills we're establishing."
Briefly: Reserve running back Tracy Slocum has been suspended for the Emerald Bowl for a violation of team rules, Tedford said. ... Cal got a verbal commitment from Charles Siddoway, one of the nation's top-20 offensive tackles and the No. 1 recruit from the state of Oregon.