If ever there was a time for Cal quarterback Brock Mansion to start making some headway on the depth chart, this is it.
The junior fell to third string behind Beau Sweeney near the beginning of last season, even though Mansion has a year of seniority on him. When he didn't make any progress overtaking Sweeney during spring practice or in fall camp, it called into question Mansion's future in the program.
But Mansion gradually has made strides this season in practice, and he was Cal's No. 2 quarterback last week against Arizona State. Now, Mansion's goal is to remain there the rest of the season to position himself for next spring's quarterback competition once starter Kevin Riley is gone.
"I want to establish myself more concretely with the offense and grow more trust with the coaches," Mansion said. "But it's going to be good the rest of the season if I can just maintain what I have here. I'm trying to stay with what I've been doing all season and not get ahead of myself. I got back to where I wanted to be, but I have to keep a level head and keep doing the things I've been doing."
Mansion was an Elite 11 quarterback coming out of high school in Dallas, but his development has taken awhile as he's tried to get comfortable with Cal's offense. Now in his fourth year with the system, Mansion says things finally are slowing down for him and his comfort level is growing.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford has been impressed with Mansion's attitude, even when he was demoted to third string.
"Brock is an unbelievable young man," Tedford said. "He's a team player all the way. He's supportive of whoever is playing. He's really into it on the sidelines. He epitomizes a team guy. He always has a great attitude and he's always working hard."
"I thought I hit his helmet and his head, but the top of his face mask caught my nose," Tedford said. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But all of the sudden (blood) was dripping off the end of my nose. It was just a high-energy moment. I just got caught up."
Cal (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10) at Oregon State (3-3, 2-1), 12:30 p.m. Fox College Sports