Longshore to Remain Starting Quarterback Against GophersContact Brian Bainum at [email protected]
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
• Due to injury, a year passed between Cal quarterback Nate Longshore's first and second starts at the college level.
Longshore will only have to wait a week for his third.
Bears coach Jeff Tedford said Longshore will be the man under center Saturday when the No. 22 Cal football team plays Minnesota at 4 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
After the Bears' 35-18 loss to Tennessee four days ago in Knoxville, Tenn., Tedford did not say whether he would go with Longshore or senior Joe Ayoob.
Against the Vols, Ayoob replaced Longshore in the third quarter and led Cal to 18 unanswered points. However, some of his work took place against second-string defenders.
Longshore completed 11-of-20 passes for 85 yards, while Ayoob connected on 9-of-22 for 187 yards and a touchdown.
"Nate did some good things," Tedford said. "It was a very tough place to open. I thought he handled the whole situation very well."
This week in practice, Ayoob will remain the No. 2 option and Steve Levy, who returns to the team after a one-game suspension, will be the third starter.
"You can't afford to practice three guys," Tedford said. "(Nate and Joe) are going to take the reps this week.
• If one had to predict the Bears' star of Saturday's game, it is unlikely anyone would have elected punter Andrew Larson.
In a game where Cal struggled in almost every facet, however, Larson's play in his college debut stood out.
The junior transfer averaged 41.6 yards per punt and showed solid placement. Tennessee only managed 13 total return yards on the day.
"He punted the ball great for the first time out," Tedford said. "There was a lot of hang time. He did a very nice job."
Larson said he was a tad nervous to play his first game in the hostile environment of Neyland Stadium.
"When you have 106,000 or whatever they have in that stadium, there are going to be some jitters," Larson said. "It was just a matter of getting the first one out of the way."
• Nobody on the Bears, it seems, takes losses harder than Tedford.
The coach said Tuesday at the team's media luncheon he has had a knot in his stomach since the squad's opening loss. He also has had trouble sleeping, evidently.
"Let's put it this way: There was a trash truck outside at four in the morning if you want to know," Tedford said.
Junior tailback Marshawn Lynch, on the other hand, said he has been sleeping fine since Saturday.
"The players are a lot more resilient in that way than I am, thank god," Tedford said.
• Tedford responded Tuesday to reports that the Vols were able to intercept and decipher Cal's defensive signals last Saturday.
After the game, Tennessee wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor told www.ESPN.com that Vols coaches knew what defensive sets the Bears would be running based on the signals and then pass the information on to the players.
Tedford said he doubted any signal stealing affected the game.
"I guess it's possible (they stole signals)," Tedford said. "We have different guys giving signals, so they would have to know which guy was giving the signals at that one time."
Tedford didn't say whether the defense would begin wearing wristbands with plays instead of flashing signals.
The coach said when he first came to Cal from Oregon, it did not prove to be a disadvantage for the Bears even though Cal had carried over many of the Ducks' signals.
"Even if you see what is coming, it is hard to relay that to the players and get all 11 guys on the same page," Tedford said.
• Tedford said the starting lineup will remain the same for Saturday's game against the Gophers with one exception at right guard, where Brian De La Puente, Bryan Deemer and Noris Malele will continue competing for the spot.
Deemer started against the Vols.
• New offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar called between 80 and 90 percent of the plays against Tennessee, Tedford said.
"I thought Mike did a good job of mixing things up," Tedford said. "He called a good game, but any time you don't have success, as a coach, you have to look in the mirror at what you did and find out if we are doing the right thing."
In past seasons with the Bears, Tedford called all of the offensive plays.
• Cal tight end Craig Stevens, who left the game after suffering a concussion on the first play, did not practice Tuesday, but will likely be able to play this weekend, Tedford said.
In other injury news, Tedford said Phillip Mbakogu is still battling a bad left knee and will be out "several more weeks or longer."
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