Aug. 21, 2008
BERKELEY - California head football coach Jeff Tedford has named sophomore Kevin Riley as the Golden Bears' starting quarterback for their opener against Michigan State on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Memorial Stadium. Tedford made the announcement following Thursday afternoon's preseason practice and said that senior Nate Longshore will also play in the opener.
"Kevin is going to start the first game," Tedford said. "We feel like both of them have had great camps, but Kevin's going to take the first snaps and we'll see how it goes from there. Nate will play in the game; I don't know exactly when, but Kevin will start.
"We feel Kevin has had a good camp; they both have, we're confident with both of them. We feel like Kevin has the ability to make plays; we feel great about Nate's experience and knowledge and his play-making ability as well. We want to see with the roles reversed, how that works. We're looking for the best chance to be successful.
"It's so close, it's going to continual evaluation."
Riley saw action in four games last year as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 563 yards and five touchdowns. In the Armed Forces Bowl last season, Riley played the final three quarters and helped the Golden Bears erase a 21-0 deficit en route to a 42-36 victory. He connected on 16-of-19 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns to earn game MVP honors.
"I'm just getting ready for Michigan State," Riley said. "It's an honor to be named the starter, especially after what Nate's done at Cal. We're in good hands having two good quarterbacks here. I just have to prepare, watch film and get ready for this game.
While both quarterbacks alternated opportunities working with the first-string offense throughout camp, Tedford agreed that Riley became more comfortable as camp went on.
"My first day with the one's was probably my worst practice at camp," Riley said. "After that, I just calmed down and stopped thinking so much and just played football. It's continued through camp and every day I feel like I'm getting better and better."
Longshore ranks fourth all-time at Cal in passing efficiency (133.1), sixth in passing touchdowns (62) and seventh in passing yardage (5,732). He is also second all-time at Cal with 18 victories as a starting quarterback.
Cal is one of just four teams in the Pac-10 with two quarterbacks returning who have started games - UCLA (with three), USC and Oregon State are the others. However, two of UCLA's quarterbacks are injured and one of USC's has been out of action due to injury.
The Bears have Friday off from practice and will officially wrap up camp on Saturday morning. Following Saturday's practice, from 12 noon to 2 p.m., Cal will host its annual Contra Costa Times Fan Appreciation Day. The day will include a chance for fans to interact with players and coaches from the Cal football team.
In addition, Cal will be working to support Project Michelle (ProjectMichelle.com) a group formed to help Michelle Maykin, a Cal graduate and season ticket holder who was diagnosed with leukemia in February of 2007. Members of the Cal football team, its coaching staff and the University athletic department staff will be registering to be potential donors at the marrow drive being held at Saturday's event. The team encourages all fans to register as well on Saturday.
On team reaction:
On the starting receivers are:
On the starting placekicker:
Cal sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley
On when he found out:
Reaction of teammates:
On handling the continuing competition:
On speaking to his parents:
On Tedford's message about the ongoing competition:
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On a moment he thought he won the job:
On if he has talked with Longshore and if there is any awkwardness: