The Longshore-Riley-Mansion Debate
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Wheeler Auditorium for tonight’s momentous Cal quarterback debate. Remember, Coach Tedford is monitoring this very closely as a testament to your strength of character. No personal attacks, let’s keep this civil and on-topic as to why each of you should be starting next season.
Mr. Nate Longshore, my first question goes to you. You have been under fire from a disgruntled fanbase that is not confident in your abilities to lead a team to a conference championship. How do you respond to your detractors and what have you done to ensure that you regain their confidence as a leader?
LONGSHORE: Let me first say hello to everyone, and congratulations to my younger rival for getting this far in this contest. I don’t think either of us thought would get this far, and I’m sure neither thought we’d be fighting one another this deep into August without a resolution. It’s a testament to our desire to win.
Everyone knows what to expect of me. When I’m healthy, I’m unstoppable. When I’m not healthy, I have the experience to know how to handle adversity. I’ve been tortured with injuries, with pain, imprisoned in a toxic locker room that seemed to turn on me because I wouldn’t get healthy. I realize I’m a bit of a maverick, but it’s not like I’m not trying out there. Did receivers also not run routes? Did we forget how weak our defensive front was? So many things went wrong last year yet the fans took most of it out on me.
Here I am again this year though, right in the thick of things. And I’m not about to be counted out. I’m fairly confident that I’m a good quarterback and can run Jeff Tedford’s offense to the best of my abilities.
MODERATOR: Mr. Riley, your rebuttal.
RILEY: Before I begin, let me also start by saying how happy I am to have Nate as a competitor and opponent for this job, who I believe is a decorated quarterback of many momentous campaigns. He has fought in tough battles, and has definitely suffered many scars from those conflicts. For that I’m honored to be a part of this debate and this race for the quarterback position.
But we have to remember that we are working to build a team that is neither black nor white, but gold and blue. It is where no colors matter but the jerseys we put on every day.
LONGSHORE: (flush, interrupts) I didn’t talk about race, Kevin.
RILEY: (continues unabated after the brief interruption) I believe that Cal is ready to embrace that. I’m ready to be the change that we wish to see in the world, to bring Cal football to that next level. We have to change the culture of our team in order to raise it to the next level.
LONGSHORE: Uh, Kevin, culture? You mean instead of listening to the heartland country beats we should be listening to more AC/DC?
RILEY: I didn’t exactly say that Nate…
MODERATOR: I’d like to give Mr. Mansion a chance to speak. Mr. Mansion.
MANSION: Are we really going to let these two quarterbacks duke it out without letting the minority voice be heard? Don’t we see the tyranny in a two-quarterback system? Damn man, where I’m from in Texas, we make sure that the quietest voices are heard day in and day out.
MODERATOR: (pretending to listen to Mansion, then moving on) Mr. Riley, can you elaborate on how exactly you plan to change the culture of Cal football?
RILEY: We have to see that the system in place right now is in need of repair. We are playing games we cannot win right now, against opponents that do not understand why we hate them so much. There is so much pent-up frustration from 50 years of Pac-10 disappointments that we are taking it out on other fanbases, that we are letting ourselves be caught up in the Monday Morning Quarterback style of analysis that has hampered our enthusiasm for the game in the desire to feel like we know it better than everyone else.
LONGSHORE: Sigh. Yes, I’m well too aware of the talking heads of the world. It’s nice to hear I suck so much; I wonder if that’s how you treat your friends everytime they fail at something important to them. Much easier to sit on your couches and type 500 posts about me, isn’t it?
RILEY: This is one point where my competitor and I agree; that we cannot let ourselves be drowned out in the sea of hostile democracy. We have to reach across to one another and realize these are just opinions, and the true battles will be waged on the football field, not on the message boards of the world.
LONGSHORE: Don’t be coy Kevin. If the public had their way you’d be starting and I’d be packing my bags for Peru for two years. (uneasy laughter in the audience) There’s a reason we have responsible people running our competition. It’s a perfect system in place to determine who will be our starter.
MANSION: (interjecting angrily) The system is broken! It needs to be fixed! The Pac-10 allows monopolies like USC to run amok! We cannot stand for this!
MODERATOR: I’m going to have to interrupt you Mr. Mansion. Mr. Longshore, one of the biggest criticisms about your game is your inability to deliver big time in the clutch. People say you don’t have “it.” Do you have a rebuttal?
LONGSHORE: “It”? What is it? I don’t understand why people think I need to do more than just run the offense; I also need to step up and make big plays right with my playmakers. Yet when I’m healthy this team has gone 15-3. In terms of mechanics I’m not much different from Peyton Manning, who stands in the pocket, sidesteps defenders and lasers the ball to the receiver. Manning won a Super Bowl too, and that was with plenty of mediatypes saying he was no good.
People say Brett Favre has “it”. He’s been a quarterback who’s made great plays, with an occasional firebomb performance that warmed everyone’s hearts. He’s also made plenty of crappy ones, some of which cost his team big time. Having “it” is not the only thing you can use to decide who should be snapping under center.
Are you guys going to give yourselves over to passion with a few fiery performances? What has my friend proven other than winning a meaningless bowl game with nothing to lose and showing the potential (repeat: POTENTIAL) to win a game that would’ve put us at #1? He has shown flashes of brilliance, yes, but are you just going to hand over the keys to an unproven commodity who has shown us nothing else?
MANSION: (interrupting before Riley can rebut) What has football position battles shown us about the fairness of the NCAA? A corrupt system that feeds us the worst possible product? Don’t we realize how we’re letting ourselves be controlled by the petty squabbles when we should be focusing on how bigger institutions are making it hard for the final outcome of a season to satisfy college football fans…
MODERATOR (silences Mansion’s mic): We’ll take a break at this point and come right back with more, here from Wheeler Auditorium.
Do you have any questions in this live debate? Leave them in the comments; they will be answered in the next segment, to be aired next week.
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