Jump to content

Cal FINALLY names starting qb Tuesday night.

DKW 86

Recommended Posts


Tedford selects Longshore as Cal's starting QB

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cal coach Jeff Tedford finally named sophomore Nate Longshore the starting quarterback Tuesday night, but the decision might have been made quite awhile ago.

It was the dog days of training camp, and the team was staring at two practices on a hot morning. Stepping in before a potential letdown, Tedford challenged the players to maintain their intensity.

As the first practice neared its conclusion, Longshore lowered his head near the goal line and hammered through a defensive lineman on his way to a touchdown. The sound of the crash was magnified by the silence afterward.

The players quietly stared at Longshore. It was as if their leader had emerged.

It has been almost two weeks since that day, and Tedford has been hesitant to name a starter for the Bears' season opener Saturday at Tennessee. In his defense, there have been a lot of factors flip-flopping since then.

"They both run the offense very efficiently," Tedford said of Longshore and Joe Ayoob. "Both of them have tremendous focus on the game plan and both are very smart. Both are throwing the ball well right now and understand what they're doing."

Plus, Longshore either was limited in practice or sat out altogether for almost a week with an inflamed nerve in his back. He returned to practice Monday and looked sharp on his drops and his throws.

"I think everyone wants to be the starter, and I'm one of those guys," said Longshore, who was injured in last year's season opener. "I feel like a good, solid hit would be good for (my back), kind of like a chiropractic adjustment."

Tedford still hasn't ruled out playing Ayoob, a senior who started nine games last year, against Tennessee.

"It's quite possible that both guys will play," Tedford said. "It depends on the flow of the game. We are not going into a game saying, 'You're going to play first quarter, second quarter and third quarter.' "

Last year, Ayoob completed only 49.2 percent of passes and was booed by his home fans. The hits kept coming as he was pushed to No. 4 on the depth chart at the start of spring practice.

"I'm really proud of Joe's perseverance and how he's bounced back," Tedford said. "I have great admiration for him. There's a comfort level that Joe has from being the guy who played in big arenas for (nine) games last year."

That confidence only came after a summer of soul searching. Ayoob and his father actually had discussions about transferring.

"I feel good coming from not being sure things were going to work out to where I am now," Ayoob said. "At this point last year, I didn't know what to expect, and now I have a whole season under my belt of pretty much going through as a bad a time as you can get.

"All I really am concerned about is beating Tennessee. If it takes me not playing to beat Tennessee, I don't care. I just want to win."

That appears to be the company line at Cal.

Said center Alex Mack: "I have complete faith in all of our quarterbacks. I think they're all really good, and they've all been working really hard."

Added tailback Marshawn Lynch: "I'm 100 percent confident in the whole team."

That might come from the Bears' success in plugging players into the lineup during the last four years.

"I get the impression that whichever voice is calling the plays in the huddle, the other players will execute," Tedford said. "They've all played so much here through camp that there's a nice comfort level for all of them."

Throughout training camp, Longshore and Ayoob pretty evenly have split snaps with the first-team offense. The duo and senior Steve Levy, who won the Big Game and the Las Vegas Bowl last year, seemingly pushed one another to outdo the others on a day-to-day basis.

"I think the level of how they've all played has been very good, and that's why it wasn't easy to just jump out and say, 'It's a slam-dunk decision,' " Tedford said. "We've got three guys who have been in game situations, and people have confidence in them. It's not like there's going to be any unknown there."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...