Thursday, February 10, 2011

CBS Sports: Since Rodgers, QB Cupboard Bare in Berkeley

Dennis Dodd
It wasn't entirely a redemptive, feel-good story this week with Aaron Rodgers. With his success, Green Bay's Super Bowl savior also shined a light on the quarterback situation at his alma mater, California. Since 2005, The Replacements -- the quarterbacks to follow Rodgers in Berkeley -- haven't come close to measuring up. Only once since Rodgers left has a Cal quarterback finished in the top 60 in NCAA pass efficiency. Pac-10 cellar-dweller Washington State has had quarterbacks finish in the top 50 four times in the same period. Something has happened since then. Rodgers was the sixth first-round quarterback overseen by Cal coach Jeff Tedford. The mojo/momentum/magic that started for Tedford in 1992 at Fresno State has, inexplicably, died. Sure, Cal has won but the coach who built his career by building quarterbacks has been forced to do it a different way lately.
If we're going to judge Tedford by his quarterbacks' post-college accomplishments -- and we are -- then it's only fair we zero in on the post-Rodgers group. Among them are a current broadcaster for a high school cable network and a couple of guys with arena league teams, including one with a fever. Rather, a guy with the Fever. That would be Joseph Ayoob (Cal, 2005-06) of the Tri-Cities Fever.
"The last great one [at Cal] was Aaron," said Rick Kimbrel, a West Coast recruiting analyst and a one-time contributor. "Guys that they picked just haven't panned out. I have no idea what's going on with that quarterback situation. When that happens, you're picking the wrong guys." Tedford built a large part of his reputation as offensive coordinator at Fresno and Oregon before going to Cal in 2002. His NFL prodigies include Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller and Rodgers. Two of those -- Dilfer and Rodgers -- have won Super Bowls. Dilfer, Smith, Carr and Harrington all threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Rodgers was the exception in that group -- a difference maker drafted 24th overall by the Packers and bred as the eventual successor to Brett Favre. Tedford was at the top of his game following Rodgers' final college season in 2004. His program was emerging as the primary Pac-10 challenger to Southern California in the mid-2000s. Rodgers had beaten the Trojans in a three-overtime epic in 2003 and fell just short in 2004 despite completing 23 consecutive passes against the Trojans.
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