Tedford says he's sticking with slumping QB Riley
Cal coach Jeff Tedford lamented the lack of production in his team's passing game Saturday night but definitively said there will be no quarterback controversy in Berkeley.
"Kevin is our starter," Tedford said.
Kevin Riley completed just 15 of 40 passes for 199 yards during the Bears' 30-3 loss to visiting USC at Memorial Stadium.
Riley's poor performance was part inaccuracy, part dropped passes and part shoddy pass protection.
After ranking sixth in the nation in pass efficiency through the first three games, Riley has completed just 38 percent of his passes during the past two for only 322 yards. He also threw his first interception of the season Saturday night.
"Kevin can play better and we can play better around him," Tedford said.
While Riley's struggles last week at Oregon were almost entirely because of poor pass protection, much of his troubles were self-inflicted against the Trojans. He misfired on throws to several open receivers, and his only interception came on the game's opening drive after leading the offense to the USC 6-yard line.
Riley tried to force a pass into the end zone to wide receiver Marvin Jones, but it was easily picked off by All-American safety Taylor Mays.
"I'm very frustrated," Riley said. "We moved the ball. We have to get it into the end zone. I missed a lot of big opportunities."
A productive passing game is imperative for Cal in order to prevent opponents from keying on stopping star tailback Jahvid Best. USC held Best to just 47 yards on 14 carries.
"I'm fine. I just have to play better," Riley said.
"You can have all the confidence in the world, but you still have to go out and do it."
The Bears had put together a potentially momentum-changing drive, moving the ball from their own 25 to the Trojans' 21. But Cal used its final timeout during the possession, and Tedford wanted to make sure the Bears came away with points. But freshman place-kicker Vince D'Amato was wide left on the try, and Cal went into the locker room trailing 20-0.
"We wanted to put points on the board," Tedford said. "There were 12 seconds left, and I didn't want it to be a situation where somebody caught the ball or we got sacked and we came away without putting points on the board.
"I thought it was a nice drive. We moved the ball down the field nicely. We just missed it."
— JONATHAN OKANES