Sunday, August 23, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Tedford to Name Starting QB on Wednesday

Jonathan Okanes

Cal wide receiver Jeremy Ross sometimes doesn't have much contact with the outside world, so hunkered down during training camp does he become. But when he does rejoin the outside, he is asked a pretty popular question. "Everywhere I go, they ask me who the quarterback is going to be this year," he said. Those inquiring minds will get their answer soon. The Bears will practice one last time today before beginning to put in their game plan for the season-opener against Maryland on Sept. 5. While the players are enjoying an off day Tuesday, Cal's coaching staff will be getting together to determine its depth chart. Cal coach Jeff Tedford said he will announce his starting quarterback Wednesday, the Bears' first practice in preparation for Maryland. Incumbent Kevin Riley appears to have the job all but locked up. The redshirt junior has taken the majority of first-team snaps during camp, especially as the days have wore on. Redshirt sophomore Brock Mansion has had some nice moments, but he clearly hasn't done enough to take more reps away from Riley.

As recently as Friday, Tedford said he didn't know who the starter was going to be. He estimated Riley has taken about 70 percent of the first-team snaps during camp but cautioned that doesn't mean Mansion isn't a serious contender.  "It's all been pretty even and pretty competitive as far as opportunity is concerned," Tedford said. "We don't look at it like (Mansion) has to take the job from him. It's who actually is doing the things on a consistent basis." Riley started nine games last season, splitting time with Nate Longshore to lead an offense that ranked just 83rd nationally in passing. Riley threw for just 123.6 yards per game and 14 touchdowns but also tossed just six interceptions. Longshore is now departed and Riley is the only quarterback left on the roster who has taken a meaningful snap in a game.

"I think I've played well throughout camp," Riley said. "I did what I wanted to do _ get better every day, which I did." Riley appears to have the confidence of his teammates. Several players have talked about Riley's leadership in camp, and Riley himself appears to have embraced his role as the dean of Cal's quarterbacks.

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