In a lengthy, worthwhile read, Rivals looks at the highs and lows of the tumultuous career of Kevin Riley. Both his savior and his downfall, his confidence has played a key role in his development during his years at Cal.
That confidence would end up haunting Riley years later at Cal, as he languished in the backup role behind Longshore. It was a Longshore injury that led to Riley getting the start in that fateful Oregon State game, but once the incumbent returned, Riley was forced back to the bench. Longshore remained the quarterback for the remainder of the season, much to Riley’s chagrin. He felt he was the better quarterback, and made no secret about his feelings. His trademark confidence was beginning to resemble cockiness. His rival noticed.
Faustin Riley recalls standing behind Longshore and backup quarterback Kyle Reed as they chatted during one practice, oblivious to his presence. As Riley walked by them, Longshore snickered to Reed, "Here’s our star quarterback right here."
"I’m sure Nate thought Kevin was a pain in the ass when he first got (to Cal)," Faustin says. "He was immature. He was brash. He was saying in the paper… that he wanted to be the guy."
But, as much as they hurt, Riley accepts the boos. Longshore was booed at Memorial Stadium before, too. It’s all part of playing quarterback, he says. You get an unfair amount of the credit when you win, and too much blame when you lose.
Retired NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer-a former Tedford pupil-is certainly familiar with criticism; he may be the most maligned Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history. But Dilfer played in the NFL until 2008, when he retired at age 37. He believes confidence-or something like it-is the most important thing a quarterback can possess. It’s what kept him going in his career, and it’s what will serve Riley well going forward.
"He could be selfish, and he could be thoughtless, but he’s grown past that," says Faustin. "The world isn’t about Kevin anymore."
After the jump ESPN goes prediction-crazy, Bleacher Report declares Ron Gould the best running backs coach in the land, Matt Summers-Gavin returns to practice, and much more.
- Bleacher Report looks at the running backs Cal has produced under Ron Gould. The number of 1000-yard rushers, NFL draft picks, and ability to replace incredible talents with more incredible talent leads Bleacher Report to declare Ron Gould as the best running backs coach in the country. Next in line, Shane Vereen doesn't feel any pressure to live up to the names of running backs before him. Gould has prepared him enough that Vereen knows a solid performance will come naturally.
- It's season prediction week over at ESPN. Cal is projected to play in the Sun Bowl against North Carolina or the Las Vegas Bowl against TCU. Mark Schlabach might be off his rocker a bit, as he picked Notre Dame in a BCS bowl and matched up Arizona against Western Michigan in the Fight Hunger Bowl (it's supposed to be Pac-10 vs WAC).
- Bodog.com has betting odds for everything under the college football sun. Cal's odds to become the national champion are 100/1 and odds of winning the Pac-10 are 8/1 (good for eight in the conference). The over/under for win total is 7.
- Other than Pac-10 freshman of the year going to Keenan Allen, Cal doesn't earn any of Ted Miller's award predictions. Cal also doesn't earn mention in Ted's 10 fearless predictions.
- Shane Vereen is 8th in Uncle Ted's list of potential Pac-10 Heisman candidates.
- ESPN has some benchmarks a team has to achieve to become the Pac-10 champ: Score at least 30.5 points per game, have a 58+ completion percentage, average 4.08+ yards per carry, maintain a turnover margin at or below 0.15/per game. Here's what the defense has to do: Hold opponents under 23.8 points per game and force opponents to complete 38.74% or lower third-down conversions.
- The Herbies have been handed out: Shane Vereen was 3rd in the "ready to take it to the next level" category and 5th in the "most explosive" category. Inexplicably, Los Angeles International Airport was named 5th-best airport to travel through. Atlanta was the worst (?!!), taking the 1st and 2nd spot in the list. They must really hate Hartsfield-Jackson. Having flown to and from each in the past 3 weeks, I would easily put ATL above LAX. No contest. Herbstreit goes on to lose all remaining credibility by naming Stanford as this year's Pac-10 champion.
- The Bottom Ten has been announced, with USC coming in at no. 5. Washington State earned an honorable mention.
- JO talks about how the morning practices will change his duties this season. As of now Riley and Tedford will be available every week and Media Relations will try to make at least one other player available each week.
- Ted Miller looks ahead to this weekend's Pac-10 games. Not surprisingly, he thinks Cal will cruise to an easy victory over the Aggies.
- Matt Summers-Gavin has returned to practice. He'll play a backup role in this weekend's opener against UC Davis.
- Daily Cal looks at the phenomenal freshman in football, volleyball, and other sports.