Part three of the ten part series analyzing the Pacific Ten quarterbacks takes us from Eugene, OR yesterday, down the I-5 to Berkeley, CA.
The bay area is buzzing right now in anticipation for the 2009 season. Jeff Tedford has quietly gone about his business, as rivals Stanford have been making almost daily news on the recruiting trail all across the country.
Tedford did not have to go far to find his talent. Bay Area product and preseason Heisman Trophy Candidate, Jahvid Best has Golden Bears fans talking about dethroning USC as conference champion.
Best is the big name that draws attention to the Golden Bears, but his name is not all the talk.
His on field performances have delighted even the past tree dwellers in Berkeley. The Bears running back is the leading returning rusher in the Pac-10 with 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But Jahvid Best will not be able to dethrone USC all by himself, his side kick and California signal caller, Kevin Riley will have to handle the offensive prowess through the air.
Riley, the Portland, OR, product, has compiled a 7-2 record as a starter while splitting time with former Cal QB Nate Longshore. The Golden Bear QB stepped on to the stage in memorable fashion in 2007 against Oregon State.
The game was so memorable that Riley wanted to leave with the football as time ticked down. However, since then Riley has put up solid numbers in relief, comeback roles, and as a starter for Tedford.
Although Riley has proven to be a reliable and safe choice at quarterback for Tedford, the starting job was never retained for a whole season.
In 2008, Riley compiled 1,360 yards and 14 touchdowns, while throwing six interceptions. The numbers are there for Riley, just ask Maryland. The Junior passed for 3 touchdowns and 423 yards in the Bears near comeback at College Park, MD last fall.
Spring practice left Jeff Tedford still mulling his options as he has left the quarterback competition open. Sophomore Brock Mansion provided formidable competition for Kevin Riley during the spring as the two split time.
Both Riley and Mansion will have deep threats at the wide receiver position with Verran Tucker and Jeremy Ross returning out wide. Senior Nyan Boateng and the Sophomore Marvin Jones have impressed coaches enough to be slotted as starters entering fall camp.
The passing game has always been coach Tedford’s forte, and the Bears will put up impressive numbers again, but defensive coordinators will be losing sleep trying to shut down the combination of Jahvid Best and back up Shane Vereen.
Kevin Riley and Tedford will sleep easy at night knowing that their “Best” option in crucial situations will be to give the ball to Jahvid Best.
In the end, I feel Jeff Tedford will give the starting nod to Kevin Riley, the more experienced and proven quarterback of the two.
However, if the storm rolls in off of the bay, Tedford might use a quick hook and turn to Mansion.