Monday, April 28, 2008

Daily Cal: Cal Still Bare Under Center

The Cal football team ended spring ball the same way it started with regards to its quarterback situation-uncertain.   Coach Jeff Tedford said throughout the spring that he was not prepared to make a decision on who would be the starting quarterback come fall and he continued that train of thought after the team's final spring practice Saturday.  "We're going to go through the summer, we're going to go through fall camp and kind of see how it shakes down through fall camp," Tedford said.  Last year's starter, Nate Longshore, missed most of the spring with a pulled pectoral muscle. He was present on practice Saturday, but did not participate in any drills.

This gave backup Kevin Riley time with the first-team offense and allowed redshirt freshman Brock Mansion to take more reps in the spring.  But Tedford said that the injury to Longshore will not weigh on his decision to name a starter.  "Nate was doing a great job this first week. He really showed well," Tedford said. "Kevin did a nice job through spring and Brock got better as the spring went along.  "We're in good shape. We have two very good quarterbacks and a young guy who's got a lot of ability as well, so we're in good hands at the quarterback position."

Bears defensive coordinator Bob Gregory still seemed hesitant to say for sure whether or not the 3-4 defense will be Cal's base scheme next year, although he did allude to it.  "We always have the 3-4," he said. "What did you guys see out there?"  The Bears practiced almost exclusively out of the 3-4 defense this spring-which features three down linemen and four linebackers.

This may be beneficial for Cal-which finished last in the Pac-10 in sacks last year with 22-especially with a veteran linebacker group coming back next year, headlined by Zack Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder.  "With all the one-backs that we see I think it gives us much more flexibility," Gregory said. "I think it's easier to find those kind of guys, those backer guys, than guys that look like Rulon (Davis)."

The memories of the way the Bears ended their 2007 campaign have not been lost on the team. If anything, it has helped Cal this spring.  The Bears were ranked No. 2 in the country in early October, before they lost six of their last seven regular season games-which knocked them out of BCS contention-and dropped the Big Game to Stanford for the first time in six years.  "We use last year as motivation, I think," senior center Alex Mack said. "We had a winning schedule, but we want to do better than that and we came out here knowing that."


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