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Cal Football Quarterback Roundtable: Brock Mansion, Jeff Tedford, And The Future

We talked about the past with Kevin Riley. We look at the present and the future today.

HydroTech mentioned in his Washington postgame thoughts that he believed Tedford's quarterback woes have been attributed to injuries (Riley getting hurt in 2010, Longshore getting hurt in 2007 & 2005) and possibly relinquishing QB development to Ludwig. Do you believe there is a systemic problem or that these issues are more to blame for our troubles?

Kodiak: You can't downplay the impact of injuries. However, I seem to recall that we had a backup QB who was sufficiently prepared to win the game in triple OT against USC when Rodgers went down. Reggie Robertson had fewer snaps as a starter and fewer years learning Tedford's offense than Mansion. It's a systemic issue. Either we are missing on our player evaluations (Reed, Kyle), (Ayoob, Joe), (Mansion, Brock), or we are simply not doing a good job developing our younger QB's. To be fair, many programs struggle with a boom/bust cycle of QB play. OSU had Canfield for several years, and have been up/down with Katz. Oregon and Arizona are examples where they had experienced backups ready to step in. (Costa and Scott, respectively) Honestly, Stoops got lucky with Foles. He had chosen Scott for the starting job and was on his way to getting fired before Foles came out of nowhere last year. USC, for all their talent, is an example that sometimes you miss on a player evaluation. Mitch Mustain was a Parade AA, one of the top national QB prospects, has had starting experience...and has flopped. Is the 'sc offense too complex?

I suspect that we could do a better job of development, but also need to get a little lucky with our recruits. I would argue that Tedford did a good job selecting Longshore, did a good job developing him, and was unlucky to have his career derailed by injuries. I think that Riley was a decent selection, but did not pan out as expected - Perhaps he was overrated out of HS...However, he also didn't work hard enough at his game (as he admitted). Mansion/Sweeney appear to be recruiting evaluation whiffs. From the prospective group of Hinder/Bridgford/Maynard/Boehm, it seems unlikely that we could whiff on all of them...unless there's something very wrong with our criteria. Now it remains to be seen if we can develop the talent that we have.

After the jump, more on the Tedford-quarterback dynamic, plus thoughts on Brock Mansion, and terribly uninformed predictions on what 2011 will look like on Cal quarterback depth chart.

solarise: QB tends to be a one-deep position in the Pac-10 unless you are USC or Oregon. I blame the gap between Riley and Mansion on Ludwig since he's the QB coach and he did not prepare Mansion properly to take over when Riley got hurt. When Robertson underperformed we had Rodgers. When Longshore got hurt we had Riley. When Riley got knocked out we got ... nobody.

LeonPowe: Well, they were all sort of freak plays - but the conspiracy minded among us might notice that the QB injuries have coincided with the degradation of our offensive line. Coincidence you say . . .

I think there is a systemic problem - even early on in Tedford's career, Reggie Robertson was prepared as a back-up to come in. Riley was (somewhat) prepared as Nasty Nate's back-up (2007 OSU) but Mansion and Sweeney, not so much. How to fix? Yeah, I only have an ill-informed and armchair quarterback opinion. Maybe Tedford should be playing NCAA 11 with his QBs from week to week.

Berkelium97: Injuries have hampered us, but the backups this year have looked lost out there. At least Levy and Riley '07 were competent QBs. Things have not been the same since Ludwig took over QB coaching. It's certainly not entirely his fault, but QB coaching is extremely suspect at this point.

norcalnick: I would say that Cal's troubles at QB are partly injuries, and partly just a few QB recruits that weren't all that. When you only recruit on QB a year you can't miss on many and expect good production.

Ohio Bear: Hydro might be right to some extent, but it's more than that. Something is not right. I tend to wonder if it's Coach Tedford stepping back from the hands-on coaching duties following the 2007 season. How much does he work one-on-one with the quarterbacks anymore? I also wonder if we have just whiffed on our quarterback recruiting, perhaps being wrong in our talent evaluation.

Brock Mansion: Worse quarterback of the Tedford era, or mediocre quarterback saddled with a terrible team?

norcalnick: I'm not going to argue that Brock performed up to snuff, but it's extraordinarily unfair to saddle him with any titles after 4.5 games, especially since two of those games came against teams currently ranked in the top 5 in the nation. If Brock never throws another pass his legacy will be that of a backup quarterback thrust into a roll he wasn't ready for.

solarise: After watching some USC-Notre Dame footage on Mitch Mustain, I'm on the side of Mansion is not the worst but just a mediocre to bad QB who can't execute the Cal offense. Mustain was decent against Notre Dame but his receivers didn't do him any favors. Mansion seemed overwhelmed and mistake-prone in comparison.

LeonPowe: I suppose the question becomes is he terrible because he can't make the throws (because he's a better QB specimen than say Levy - who got it done despite a weak arm and on savvy, rather than talent) or whether the results on the field speak for who is better or worse. In terms of results to date, I think it's a heat between him and Boo-ya, but as a talent/physical spectrum I gotta feel he's at least above Levy. So the question is why so bad?

Kodiak: A little harsh considering how poorly his Oline has played at times. Brock didn't go 0-10 in his debut, after all. Ayoob at least had the benefit of NFL talent to throw to, in his backfield, and on his line. Ayoob also had an infinitely superior QB coach working with him. I'd have to say below-average throwing QB whose true strengths (running the ball) were never properly utilized and the lack of either talent or execution by his offensive teammates made things appear much, much worse.

Berkelium97: Brock Mansion is a bad quarterback, but he's not helped out much by his team. He's had to suffer through countless dropped balls and a porous O-line. If we switched him with Ayoob so that Ayoob plays with the 2010 team and Mansion plays with the '05 team, I'm not sure who would be worse. At this point, though, I'd have to put Mansion below Ayoob. Ayoob at least had that nice comeback against the Cougs in '05.

Ohio Bear: I'm not going to write of Brock Mansion as the worst anything based on four career starts. But it does seem evident that he was less "starter ready" than every quarterback of the Tedford era (including Ayoob, IMO). Some of that has to be on him, but the lack of talent around him (compared with other Tedford teams) sure doesn't help.

Make your unbelievably uninformed prediction for what the quarterback depth chart will be in 2011.

solarise: If I have to make a somewhat educated assessment, I'd go with 1) Allan Bridgford, 2) Austin Hinder, 3) Zach Maynard, 4) Brock Mansion, 5) Beau Sweeney, and 6) Kyle Boehm (blueshirt). Hinder may be more mobile but I think Bridgford might be more accurate and comfortable w/ Tedford's offense.

Kodiak: 1) Hinder, 2) Bridgford, 3) Maynard (assuming his first look at the playbook is Spring 2011)

Berkelium97: 1) Bridgford, 2) Hinder, 3) Mansion, 4) Sweeney, 5) Maynard, 6) Boehm (he's not going to play due to redshirt)

Ohio Bear: I'm nothing if not unbelievably uninfomed! Here goes wild speculation: Mansion, Maynard, Sweeney, Bridgford, Hinder, Boehm.

norcalnick: I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it'll be Bridgford in 2011! I don't have any real evidence for that claim - I guess my line of thinking is that based on limited game experience and practice reports, Mansion and Sweeney just aren't going to be it. After those two Bridgford has the most time in the program, so why not? Maybe it'll be like a Reggie Robertson/Aaron Rodgers situation in 2011 in which a more experienced QB holds down the fort during the first few games before ceding time to a more talented, less experienced backup (Maynard, perhaps?)

LeonPowe: I wonder what Dave Barr is doing now.