Cal's football team wrapped up spring practice Thursday afternoon, eager to return to the field in the fall and begin the unfamiliar process of silencing its critics. For the first time in several years, not much will be expected of the Bears when the 2010 season begins. They have not lived up to immense expectations in two of the past three seasons, and prognosticators likely are leery of thinking much of the Bears again. "Every year my class has been here we've usually been ranked pretty high," fifth-year quarterback Kevin Riley said. "This is the first time it won't be like that. We need to do something to do better. The team has taken it upon themselves to work harder and get better."
In a very competitive spring in which almost no positions were settled, Riley said Cal players worked harder than in any spring since he's been in Berkeley. That includes Riley himself. He put in extra work after almost every practice. Even though Riley has been the Bears' primary starting quarterback in each of the past two seasons, coach Jeff Tedford says Riley's spot is not a sure thing and that he will continue to compete with Beau Sweeney and Brock Mansion in the fall.
"It's different than it has been in the past with people working and willing to get better," Riley said. "In spring football, I've never seen this many people come in after practice and watch film. People have a chip on their shoulder. When people talk, they're not talking about us. They're talking about other teams. We know we can be a good team, and we're just working our hardest to get there."