Tedford chooses Riley as Bears' QB

Updated: August 24, 2009, 11:12 PM ET
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com

While it seemed a foregone conclusion, California coach Jeff Tedford made it official Monday evening: Kevin Riley will be the Bears' starting quarterback on Sept. 5 against Maryland.

Riley, a 6-foot-2, 221-pound junior who started nine games last year, beat out sophomore Brock Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney.

"They've all played really well, and we feel very fortunate to be in a position to have three quality quarterbacks," Tedford told reporters after practice. "But, Kevin is experienced with game situations and the offense. He's been more accurate and consistent throwing the ball. It's evident by all the things going on at the line of scrimmage that Kevin is comfortable with the amount of offense that goes in every day. He's used to game-planning and does a nice job with that."

Riley wasn't consistent in 2008. He shuffled in and out of the lineup in a season-long competition with Nate Longshore. It was a frustrating experience, Riley said during the offseason, but he worked with Tedford on his mechanics, asserted himself during spring practices and was the clear winner in the competition.

"I'm going to try to make this team the best possible," Riley said. "We have weapons on offense, and we're going to be a tough team to guard. Hopefully, I can just run the offense as best as possible."

Riley has made 10 career starts at Cal. In 2008, he passed for 1,360 yards and 14 touchdowns with six interceptions.

In his first career start against Oregon State in 2007, he filled in for an injured Longshore and completed 20-of-34 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns. He also made an ill-fated attempt to run for the winning touchdown in the game's waning moments, but was tackled short of the goal line as the clock ran out, preventing the Bears from attempting a tying field goal.

If Cal had won, it may have ascended to No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time in 56 years. The loss was the first of six in Cal's next seven games.

Coming off the bench weeks later, Riley led the Bears to a 42-36 victory over Air Force in the 2007 Armed Forced Bowl. He entered the game early in the second quarter with Cal trailing 21-0 and completed 16-of-19 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns to earn MVP honors.

He was 3-1 to start last season, but Tedford benched him in favor of Longshore after the Bears beat Colorado State 42-7.

Riley stared five of the final six games, but didn't play in the Emerald Bowl victory over Miami.

Ted Miller covers the Pac-10 for ESPN.com and can be reached at tedmillerespn@gmail.com.

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