Friday, December 5, 2008

Interesting Quotes by Longshore and Tedford

It's been no secret that Longshore, once a jolly and gregarious interview, has been the invisible man this year in terms of media interviews. Well, he apparently decided to give an interview before his last home game (he declined at press day earlier in the week). And it was quite final interview, both revealing and sad, punctuating what has been a tougher 5 years for a guy in his early 20s than most adults experience in their entire lives:

  • lost his father his freshman year
  • won the starting job and then got injured in his first game as a starter
  • won the job again next year
  • got smoked in Knoxville in his first game back
  • went on to have one of the finest seasons ever by a Cal QB, throwing for over 3000 yards, capped off by MVP of the Holiday Bowl
  • won the job again next year
  • was projected as the #1 junior QB pro prospect in the country
  • got within a breath of being #1 in the country
  • broke his ankle
  • went on to play through the worst season of the Tedford era on a broken ankle that no one knew about
  • was blamed by the fans and media for the collapse and booed at games
  • listened to calls for the backup (whose only start during the regular season produced one of the great gaffes of all time)
  • got married
  • lost his starting job going into his senior season
  • watched Riley put up paltry numbers this season that were a fraction of the numbers Longshore put up in his first year as a starter
  • lost what was clearly a close relationship with coach Tedford

While most of us look back on college fondly, and some say they are the best years of your life, Nate Longshore probably won't ever say that about his college career. The crazy thing is, until that hit on his ankle in Eugene last year, he probably would have. Tough break for a tough kid. I sincerely hope he makes an NFL roster and gets paid.

After you read the article, check out the great videos below by Danzig of Longshore's career, as a reminder of what a fine QB he was at times. To think that behind Longshore in 2006, we were the length of DeSean Jackson's toe away from beating Arizona and winning the Pac 10 outright, and now he's looking at token snaps for old times' sake in his last game as a senior. Article here.

Part I

Part II

Part III


Anonymous said...

F the quacks for ruining Cal's season by breaking Longshore's ankle because Nate was absolutely killing them last year. The quacks are nothing but a bunch of cheap shotting wannabe gangsters with a little speed.

Tedford is to blame for staying with Longshore even though he knew Nate had a broken ankle. That was a bitch move and not something I expect Tedford to repeat.

The team quit because of Tedford's decision and inability to pay attention to the team's inner struggles.

SD said...

It's hard to deny that Nate playing on a broken ankle caused him to regress as a QB, and thus was a bad decision for Nate as a player.

The question is whether the alternative, i.e. playing Riley, would have been better for the team and the program. Though we will never know what might have happened, I cannot disagree with Tedford's call given the information at the time (though it did not work out very well), for two reasons:

(1) Cal was still very much in contention after the Oregon State loss. There was a lot on the line, and I'd want my experienced guy in there then. Pete Carroll admitted he made a mistake playing Sanchez last year vs. Oregon when Booty was injured (but probably could have played).

(2) Riley clearly was not ready and did not know the offense. Tedford admitted as much to me at the coaches' tour event last summer. When you're still in contention, you don't monkey with the offense midseason to sinplify for a QB who is not ready yet.

And as much as Nate was not himself, I'll say it 100 times, the way he played in most of those losses was not, in itself, reason to bench him. No he was not perfect, but the defense pissed most of those games away.

Bear with Fangs said...

Still incredible to see what good pocket presence/awareness Nate had when he was healthy.

SD said...

BWF -- I feel the same. I'll always wonder what might have happened.

ZYCalBear said...

First of all, I wanted to say I've enjoyed reading your blog. I accessed it via your previous postings on the Bear Insider (where I've been a subscriber for several years). Your comments are insightful and show some outside of the box thinking.

In looking at Nate's highlights I couldn't help but be struck by how confident he looked on a lot of those throws. His footwork and release were sharp. He'd look off receivers and check down quickly and easily. His throws showed a variety of touch and velocity.

It's interesting to see where Riley is these days. Versus OSU in '07, Air Force and MSU in the opener, he was 'winging it' with confidence. Now he looks unsure of himself. He seems to throw to his pre snap first read and when that's not there, he looks flustered and his footwork and delivery fall apart. That's lead to his mounting frustration and he seems to be pressing and thinking too much. I'll be very curious as to how the next year unfolds. Will he be better without the Nate saga around him? Were his receivers to blame? Are the receivers not good enough? Will they get better? We (and Cal QBs for that matter) were spoiled by how good Rob Jordan and DeSean Jackson were (and to a lesser extent Lavelle Hawkins). I'd be curious as to your take.

Lastly, what is the name of the song that accompanies Nate's first 2 highlight videos? Thanks.

SD said...

ZY - appreciate the thoughts - sorry to delay in responding. On the soundtrack, I can't tell you because I didn't put the highlights together. I'll see if I can find out from Danzig.

I couldn't agree more about Nate's confidence in 2006. The guy looked almost like the total package for a while there.

As for Riley, I think you hit on it. After he looks off his first option, things seem to fall apart. Tedford told me at the coaches' tour event that they didn't even put play-packaging into the game plans for OSU and AFA last year. In other words, no audibles or play selection at the LOS. Just call the play and run it.

I think you are right, Jordan and Jackson made Riley look pretty good. For those reasons, I doubt we'll see that type of play from him again, except perhaps in the 2-minute offense.

I just don't ever see Riley being a coach on the field type QB. My prediction is Riley will look next year like he did vs. MSU this year. He will take care of the ball, hit the deep ball very well, and make some good plays on broken third down plays. He will also never be able to stand in the pocket and pick apart a zone defense, or audible to back breaking plays.

I think the combo of him being loose in relief, throwing to great receivers, and using a simple play book made him look great for two games in 2007. I think what we saw in 2008 is probably what we'll get next year.

But I've been wrong before, and I'd be happy if I were again.

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