Friday, April 15, 2005

Ex-fullback happy he's returned to quarterback

• Levy appears to be behind Ayoob and Longshore on the depth chart
Cal football notebook
BERKELEY -- Cal junior quarterback Steve Levy, who changed to fullback after his redshirt freshman season only to switch back this spring, might be a long shot to earn significant time on the field, but at least he is happy.
"I was unhappy at fullback," said Levy, who came to Cal from Cornwall, N.Y., after starting in high school as a quarterback and linebacker. "I missed playing quarterback and I missed the leadership. I missed the pressure situations.
"As a fullback, I really wasn't taking the time to learn the offense, so after we came back following the Holiday Bowl, I asked Coach (Jeff) Tedford if I could switch back."
Even though he might have a better chance of getting playing time as a fullback, Levy said he is happy with his decision. "I struggle with not playing (in games), but I need to be ready when I get my shot."
Tedford said he is pleased that Levy wanted to take another shot at quarterback. "He is doing a better job now," Tedford said. "He has matured. And we need him at that position."
Although Levy appears to be behind junior college transfer Joe Ayoob and redshirt freshman Nate Longshore, he has proven to Tedford that he could run the offense. "With his competitiveness, he could come in and run the whole show," Tedford said.
QB battles
Longshore has looked smoother running Cal's offense during the spring than Ayoob, but Tedford said the real competition doesn't begin until the first day of summer camp. Both quarterbacks have a lot of learning to do in the spring.
"Nate has done a good job throwing the football," Tedford said. "And Joe has flashes of showing that he has a lot of ability, but he never has had so much put on him. When he plays unconscious, you can see his ability. But that's totally natural. In no way, shape or form am I disappointed with him."
Tedford said neither is considered a No. 1 or No. 2 and added that both get the same number of snaps. In fall camp, Tedford will point one toward the starter's job. "That's when it begins," Tedford said. "And then it never ends."
Tough guy
Tedford said he couldn't believe that senior fullback Chris Manderino still was standing after he took a nasty hit from redshirt freshman linebacker Worrell Williams during last Saturday's scrimmage.
The hit broke Manderino's jaw, splitting it down the middle and separating his bottom row of teeth in the process. With blood dripping down his face, Manderino got up and walked back to the huddle.
"I asked him if he was ready to go," Tedford said. "All I saw was the blood so I thought he just had a cut. He said, 'Yeah, I am coach. But (the trainers) won't let me."
The trainers knew what was happening. Manderino had to have his jaw wired shut, and it will stay that way for the next six weeks. "Talk about a tough guy," Tedford said in amazement. "That was a train wreck. But he was ready to go."
Extra points
Freshman cornerback Virdell Larkins, who was expected to join the team last season out of Oakland Tech High School but needed to sit out the year to finish qualifying academically, is slowly picking up the system. "He still is very young, only 17," Tedford said. "He has a lot of potential and has made a couple of nice hits during the spring. But he still is just a freshman." ... Cal's next spring camp scrimmage is Saturday at 10 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

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