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Should Kevin Riley Have Started All of 2008?



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After witnessing the last two weeks, Cal fans have pretty good right to be worried about their quarterback again. So let's throw out a discussion question.

I'm not going to talk about the 2007 quarterback situation, since the situation has already been discussed ad verbatim. Briefly though, let's visit last season: Having seen Riley play over the first five weeks, do you guys think that Kevin Riley should've been the de facto starter in 2008?

I'll discuss the pros and cons of having Riley start all of '08 after the jump.

So let's say Riley plays all of last season. Let's say Jeff Tedford benches Nate Longshore and he is only allowed in the game for medical reasons (which would've been after the Oregon concussion and the Emerald Bowl).


State of mind? Everyone's an armchair psychologist when it comes to quarterback, but it's hard not to think about it after the last two weeks. Riley has stated that last year's experience did affect his mental confidence and he tried to be too perfect. He was always looking over his shoulder early during the season, and he was indeed pulled once (Colorado State).

Could that behavior have transitioned into this season? He indeed used the same refrains after the USC game, that he was trying to make the perfect throw instead of the right throw. It seems from the first three games that he's developed quite a bit, but not enough to react well to adversity.

Receiver development has also suffered. The receivers also have had their troubles; their routes have been good at times but lazy at others. It's fair to say our quarterbacks and receivers might not yet be on the same page.

So it isn't out of the question to say our receivers didn't develop as much as we would've liked them to. It takes time to read and react to gain a rhythm with your quarterback, and you could say the shifting between quarterbacks has caused some

Valuable game experience: Riley was brought in for relief efforts against Arizona and USC, two of the toughest opponents Cal faced last season. Imagine if he played all four quarters and got a chance to read and react against tougher road opposition? He only had two true road starts (the Washington State game was more of a scrimmage and he had two relief appearances with mixed results).


We might've lost a game or two we could've won. Longshore played an efficient game in two of his starts (Arizona State, Arizona, USC, Miami), and kept us within reach for two others. Although he wasn't exactly lighting the world up (54% completion rate is pretty bad), it is better than Riley's completion rate and his accuracy struggles.

If the struggles cost us wins, Tedford would again have been criticized for stubbornly sticking to a quarterback, which could've led to even further discontent from Cal fans. Our Coach can't win, can he? When he puts in one quarterback and it doesn't work, he gets criticized.. When he tries to mix and match between two and it kind of works, he gets criticized. Safe to say a six or seven win season would've been looked upon less fondly than eight or nine.

The extra playing time might not have helped Riley at all. Playing an extra three games does not guarantee much. Riley was inconsistent through most of 2008. After one strong performance against Michigan State, he did not play well enough the rest of the season to justify the starting spot. In addition, the offensive line wasn't very good last season and is still mixing and matching this season.

What do you guys think? Sound off.