QB Play, Special Teams Not So Special

The question asked all season long is Longshore or Riley. The quarterback position plays a significant part in the Bear's success, but there has been a season's worth of inconsistency. Depending on what game you watched, some unit of the Bears did not perform up to expectations. Against Oregon State, the offense had its problems, but the special teams played a major role in the Beavers success…

There are certain points in a game when a team cannot allow certain things to happen. The Bears opened the game with a 51-yard kickoff return from Jahvid Best. The return by Best eventually led to a beautiful touch pass from Riley to Tucker in the back of the end zone. When you analyze the situation, California was on the road, in a hostile environment, with the crowd against them. The Bears were able to march down the field score and quiet the crowd.

The momentum now belonged to Cal and they should have built on that momentum.

Instead, Cal's special teams allowed James Rodgers to return the ensuing kickoff for 86 yards and a touchdown. That play can quickly deflate the spirit of a team.

Later in the first quarter, the Bears' special teams allowed Sammie Stroughter to return a punt to the two-yard line, which led to a two-yard touchdown run by Jacquizz Rogers. The special teams were responsible for 14 points allowed. The final score was 34-21. In order to win on the road you cannot spot your opponent an extra 14 points.

Even with the mistakes of the special team unit, the Cal offense has to score points.

Under Coach Jeff Tedford, the Bears have always had the ability to put points on the board. For this team to struggle offensively, something has to be wrong with the personnel on offense.

It has been a revolving door at the quarterback position between Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore all season. Tedford has shown that he has not had any patience for mistakes or a lack of production from the quarterback position.

Is it possible that Riley and Longshore cannot deal with the pressure of knowing that they can be pulled from the game after one hiccup? Neither quarterback has shown the ability to separate himself from the other. It is possible that if Longshore or Riley started every game the Bears record would probably be the same. Kevin Riley ended the game 11-of-25 for 117 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Again, there were a number of drops and over thrown passes. The blame cannot be placed on Riley's shoulders only.

Moving forward, the question is how does Cal bounce back from two losses in a row? Next week, the Bears play rival Stanford. The Cardinal needs one more victory to become bowl eligible. Stanford's intensity level will be high and Cal will have to match it or the game could get ugly quick. The Bears have to show the ability to pick themselves up and win the next two games against Stanford and Washington.


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