Why Tedford Sticks With Longshore

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, November 11th, 2007


I know most of you are disgusted with Nate, who really did not perform well at all tonight. You know things are going pretty badly for you when the most exciting part of the entire game is seeing you hindered on the field and your backup looking ready and willing to enter the huddle.

That being said, many of you are probably getting a hoot out of our coach’s…uhh, “positive spin” on Longshore’s performance:

I thought Nate played well. Obviously, there were a couple of plays that he’d like to have back. He was making pretty decent reads. He got rid of the ball quick; I don’t know that we got sacked. We stayed out of some long yard situations, which you can’t get in against these guys (USC). It’s a tough game to play as a quarterback when you do have to throw the ball a lot in those conditions. Obviously, you’d like to have a couple back, but I thought he threw some nice balls as well.”

Is Tedford correct? Well, yeah, somewhat. But rain causes slippage, not misdirection. Longshore’s throws were all pretty good spirals. As the game wore on though, it was clear he was underthrowing/overthrowing many of his balls. That ankle is not healed, or Nate’s game lacks finishing touch.

So why does Jeff keep on throwing Nate back into the fire? Why is he so firmly loyal when statistics and performance show that it might be best to make a change? Probably the strongest reason is that Longshore is a junior, and by all indications he is lined up to have the starting job next year. Benching him essentially ends his career at Cal, and I don’t think Tedford wants to start showing he bows to the self-entitled madness of the crowd.

But I think the issue runs deeper. If you’ve seen Tedford’s profile, you’ll know his father abandoned him at an early age. If you know Tedford’s role in this program, it’s that he takes to the athletes like his second family. He does not want to betray them like his father betrayed him, especially the leader in the locker room. It’s why he stuck with Ayoob long after his ineffectiveness was cleared, it’s why he sticks with Longshore now. It is a desirable and admirable approach for a head coach to take, especially in an age of rampant NCAA corruption and coaches throwing players under the bus.

Do I agree with this stance? Not necessarily; I’ve always believed in playing to win, and loyalty can often hinder your judgement. But remember that Tedford was once that kid who struggled to make ends meet, and despite all the odds, he prevailed and ended up fulfilling his Personal Legend. He had to fail many times to get to where he is. Perhaps Cal players and their fans will have to do the same, and should take that lesson to all aspects of their lives. And I’m okay with that.

Tedford probably knows Longshore is struggling, but inside he probably knows that it’s best to learn to fail than endlessly succeed. It gives you the mental buildup to deal with future criticism and helps you to pursue your dreams. Look at Ayoob, working with a high school football team and still coming to every Cal football game. I think Longshore’s future is a little more promising, but I’m pretty sure that the vote of confidence his coach gives him will go a long way.

If you win, good; if you lose, good. You grow more confident from the former, you mature from the latter. The failures of this year will serve us well next year, and as long as Tedford is here, the chance for success is on the horizon. Hopefully Longshore will learn these lessons in the final games and go out on a positive note into next year, and help lead Cal to building the legacy we long hoped for. Go Bears.

(Report card coming tomorrow.)

Now, please leave your rational comments as to why Tedford should not stick with Longshore. Rational, fellas.

Topics: Cal Football, God, Sports

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