carp’s crazy thoughts for MLK Day: Assessing playing time opportunities for the backup QB’s. Part II

Continuing on from Part I, let's look at the backup QB playing time opportunities for the rest of the season + conclusions after the yump.



Cal 49 – Washington St 17


At this time, Cal had two nice road wins, had two losses against apparently great teams, and had a nice win over an eventual 10-loss Maryland team. 


1st Q: 28-7

Halftime: 35-17

3rd Q: 42-17


Unfortunately, Cal’s early burst was not sustained as they outscored Wazzu 14-10 over the 2nd and 3rd Quarters.  The Bears don’t put this game away until 12:20 or so in the 4th Sweeney enters the game with 5:17 left in the 4th Q (49-17 Cal):



California at 5:17



1st and 10 at CAL 18

Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rush for 9 yards to the Cal 27.



2nd and 1 at CAL 27

Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rush for a loss of 5 yards to the Cal 22.



3rd and 6 at CAL 22

Beau Sweeney pass complete to Michael Calvin for 9 yards to the Cal 31 for a 1ST down.



1st and 10 at CAL 31

Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rush for 26 yards to the WshSt 43 for a 1ST down.



1st and 10 at WSU 43

CALIFORNIA penalty 10 yard holding accepted.



1st and 20 at CAL 47

Beau Sweeney pass complete to Will Kapp for 1 yard to the WshSt 36, WASHINGTON ST penalty 16 yard roughing passer accepted for a 1ST down.



1st and 10 at WSU 36

Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rush for 2 yards to the WshSt 34.



2nd and 8 at WSU 34

Beau Sweeney pass complete to Isi Sofele for 2 yards to the WshSt 32.



3rd and 6 at WSU 32

Beau Sweeney pass complete to Isi Sofele for 10 yards to the WshSt 22 for a 1ST down.



1st and 10 at WSU 22

Team rush for a loss of 2 yards to the WshSt 24.




End of 4th Quarter






Sweeney was put in at the correct time, but it’s unfortunate nonetheless as this was another game where either he or Mansion could have received meaningful PT.  Wazzu had 385 yards passing, 20 first downs, and had the ball 5 minutes more than Cal.  Riley threw a pick, Tavecchio missed a field goal attempt, and Anger punted 4 times.  In Sweeney’s PT, it was nice that The Management allowed him to throw.




Ore.  St 31 – Cal 14


The Injury Game where Best got a concussion with ~5 min to go in the half.


1st Q: 7-0

Halftime: 21-7

3rd Q: 24-7


Mansion/Sweeney - DNP 




While the final score suggests this was a blow-out, Cal wasn’t technically out of it until very late when Oregon St when on a 12-play, 81-yard, 7 min drive in the 4th Quarter to put them up 31-7 with 2:08 to play.  Nonetheless, The Management marched out Riley who went 7-8 and took the team to paydirt in 55 seconds against a prevent defense.  Might have this been a good time to see what the #2 could do?  If he had, Riley would have ended this terrible game going just 12-26 for 136 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT.



Washington 42 – Cal 10


1st Q: 7-3 UDub

Halftime: 21-3

3rd Q: 35-10


Mansion/Sweeney - DNP


The game was over with 6:20 to go in the 3rd quarter when Riley tried to run for it on 4th and 5 at the Washington 13, which wasted a 65 yard return by Sofele.  That would have provided 1.5 quarters of football for one of the backups.  Instead, we watched Riley go 3-8, while getting sacked and fumbling twice.  He would finish 14-32 for 215 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, and two lost fumbles.  The offense wasted 9 drives (5 punts, 1 missed FG, 1 turnover on downs, and 2 fumbles).



San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl


Utah 37 – Cal 27


1st Q: 14-7 Cal

Halftime: 24-14 Utah

3rd Q: 27-21 Utah


Mansion/Sweeney – DNP





Tempting to say the game was over after Riley throws a Pick Six with 5:30 to play (37-21 Utah).  Or when he threw another pick just 9 seconds later.  To his credit (and hopefully this is a key building block for next year), he rallies the troops for a TD (even though it took two minutes).  Unfortunately, the 2-point conversion pass was incomplete and that was that with less than 2 min in the game.  This was the correct call by The Management.


Final numbers for the backup QB’s:

Brock Mansion

Beau Sweeney



Summary and Conclusion:


  • The backup QB’s could have played 25% of the minutes in Cal’s first two blowout wins vs. Maryland and E-Wash, ~40% of the minutes in Cal’s blowout losses to Oregon, USC, and UDub.
  • If the UCLA games and Washington St games featured better 3rd and 2nd/3rd Quarter efforts, respectively, than the backups could have played in 25% of the minutes combined.  Since they didn’t, Tedford and I agree on not playing the backups in these games.
  • The backup QB’s could have attempted 8 passes or so in Cal’s last possession in the Oregon St game, which would have nearly doubled Sweeney’s season total.
  • Tedford and I agree that the backups should not have played vs. Utah.

In six games, Mansion and/or Sweeney could have received significantly more playing time and passing attempts without impacting the outcome.  In two games Cal could have put their opponent away sooner than they did, which would have resulted in significantly more minutes for the backups without impacting the outcome.  In the Bowl game, had the Bears not scored an early defensive touchdown, Mansion or Sweeney could have seen playing time in the last couple of series without impacting the outcome.  If Cal had taken care of business, that would have bumped it up to 8 games and if Eddie Young did go out like a baller, it could have 9 games or 69% of the total number of games.


It is this author’s opinion that in-game reps in the situations described herein would have benefited the program without any negative consequences.  What’s your opinion?  What’s your deal?


Fun things to blog about:


What if Sweeney entered the USC game earlier and lead three touchdown drives?  How would he have been received by the tempestuous home crowd?  Would this have generated an instant QB controversy?


Taking this a step further, does Tedford a) sense that such a controversy would have been possible, b) realizes that this would be a major distraction for his program as it was in 2008, and c) avoid it altogether by not giving the backup an opportunity?

Be nice. You can find the original CGB team at

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