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Golden Nuggets: "Here's Our Star Quarterback Right Here"

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.