Did anyone honestly expect this? Nate Longshore is a two-year starter, who has basically earned his starting spot for the past three years. Nate was rated the top ranked junior quarterback by Mel Kiper Jr. only one short year ago. He was also the second quarterback in Cal history to throw for more than 3,000 yards. The dude can play!
Nate was the perfect quarterback for a group of skill players that included Marshawn, Justin Forsett, Desean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins, and Robert Jordan. He got them the ball and let them make the plays. Moreover, he managed their egos with his carefree, fun-loving personality.
Why do I mention all this - because Kevin Riley must have really impressed Tedford to earn the starting nod over Nate and his impressive resume of accomplishments. From what I can glean from practice reports and Kevin's limited playing time thus far, Kevin has playmaking ability that Nate does not. With the departure of the aforementioned skill players, and uncertainty with the new group (in spite of their obvious talent), this may have factored into Tedford's decision.
Tedford's well-earned honeymoon period probably came to an end last year, due to his stubborness to bench Longshore after Kevin's great comeback performance against Oregon State. So it really surprises me is how Tedford seems to have set aside his loyalty to an upperclassmen, which is what most critics faulted him with in last season's epic collapse. See the announcement of true freshman walk-on David Seawright starting at PK over Jordan Kay, also. I think Tedford just re-earned a lot of credibility by naming Riley the starter. To the fan, it shows that he listens to the criticism, considers it seriously, and then makes an effort to better himself as a coach. That's not admitting weakness, that's trying to get better.
Back to Kevin: I have no idea how well he will do if he becomes a full-time starter. But I guarantee this much: games will be more fun to watch with him at the helm instead of Longshore, for better or for worse.
Enjoy the excellent highlight video done by Danzig.
Go Bears, Beat the Spartans!
Kevin Riley - Cal's 2008 Starter from bob gregory on Vimeo.