With the second day of the Pac-12 football media days, we got to hear what the other half of the conference believes in regards to their football program. Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington concluded the media days here in Hollywood, California.
The VP of Pac-12 officiating, David Coleman, started things off today. With the reputation that the Pac-12 has with their football officials this had the possibility of being an interesting question and answer session. Did it turn out that way?
Not at all. Very few questions were asked. The conference will be able to use replay again to help determine targeting on a defenseless player. Players won’t be allowed to trip anymore, but to me that rule could almost be called every play.
David Coleman seemed pleased that 76% of on-field and replay staff earned postseason game assignments. He did acknowledge that while that number was good, it can still go higher. Coleman also stated that they are constantly refining their techniques to be better on the field and in the booth. Of course they are, with the reputation the Pac-12 has, they better be refining their skills as much as possible.
Coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign, the Sun Devils are looking for a turnaround for this upcoming year.
First thing is first, will they have a field to play on come September 3?
“We are looking forward to this remodel of Sun Devil Stadium and what it means for the school and community. What I have been told, we will be good to go for our first game against Northern Arizona.” head coach Todd Graham explained.
One point of emphasis will be getting Tim White, their punt returner, kick returner, and receiver the ball as much as possible. White is a guy who has speed for days.
“That’ll be his job. Get the ball and go.” Coach Graham said when talking about Tim White.
There is uncertainty surrounding the program after the lofty expectations last season and not living up to those expectations.
One thing is certain, the Devils have to get back in the conversation of a division crown.
Well, what can we say here about the Beavers? There are in the midst of a massive rebuild of the program that was lefty empty by Mike Riley.
However, head coach Gary Andersen remains upbeat about the program, but is also realistic at the same time about the current state of the program.
“I want the kids to know that they can compete when they come running out of the tunnel. Not just running their lips or running up and down the field at the beginning of the game, but to feel that they can compete with any team.” Andersen said.
When I asked him about the status of Seth Collins, the former quarterback, who left the program, but returned under some pretty tough conditions.
“Seth is back and doing everything asked of him and he will be used on the outside, slot, and even under quarterback to change up the look of the game.” Coach Andersen explained.
Coach Andersen is looking for new quarterback Darrell Garretson to lead this team. Garretson’s teammates have noticed his command of a huddle.
“He gets everybody in the huddle and takes charge of it. There is no doubt who is control in the huddle.” Victor Bolden, Beaver receiver, mentioned.
Whatever Coach Andersen is doing, he’s going to need time. Be patient Beaver Believers.
The Bruins are heading into the next season with a target on their back. They are one of the teams in the conference coming back with an experienced quarterback.
Sophomore, Josh Rosen, will be coming to put his mark on the storied program at UCLA. Coach Mora is pleased with the progress he’s seen in Rosen.
“He’s certainly stronger. He’s been in the weight room and is showing better footwork.” Coach Mora said.
If Rosen comes back and puts together a season like everyone has envisioned since he arrived on campus, watch out. Most analysts believe he is the best quarterback in the conference and has the ability to put a team on his back to secure a win.
Expectations are high at UCLA, but that is nothing new for them. They embrace the challenge.
The preseason hype with the Huskies is immense. However, you would need to convince Coach Petersen that it matters.
“I know the rankings mean something for the fans, but for us, it doesn’t mean anything. We are concentrating on getting better everyday, not any type of ranking we may have.” Coach Petersen said.
Much of the attention that the program is getting is due to talented quarterback Jake Browning who is coming off a successful freshman season.
When asked about Browning and his progression as a quarterback Coach Petersen came with an interesting response.
“He will get better when the offensive line, tight ends, receivers, running backs get better. Browning understands that. He’s only as good as the people around him.” Petersen said.
The interesting thing will be how the players respond to the heightened attention they are getting this season.
David Shaw’s opening remark was good.
“Hello everybody, I’m David Shaw. Not sure if you know me.” Shaw said.
Stanford was chosen by the writers to win the Pac-12 this upcoming year. With players like Christian McCaffrey on his team, there is good reason to believe that they accomplish that goal.
Coach Shaw was asked about his comments about the type of player they recruit and his saying that going to the south may not be a choice for the Cardinal.
“Let me speak slowly. When we recruit, we have like 20, 22 guys on the board. We don’t recruit 30-35 kids. It’s not about going to the south or the northwest. We have guidelines we need to stick to that other schools don’t.” Shaw said.
He’s right. Unless the player has the grades to attend Stanford, they won’t go after that kid.
Stanford has the players and the talent to win the conference. Now let’s see if they can do that.
Is this the year? Buff fans have been saying this for a couple seasons now. The fans want to see some progress, but when you don’t win, it’s tough on a program.
Coach Mike MacIntyre was upbeat the improvements to the stadium and around the program to help in recruiting.
“We are hopeful that the improvements we are making as a program will lead to more talent coming to CU.” MacIntyre said.
The key to Colorado this season will be the health of returning quarterback Sefo Liufau. He sustained a leg/foot injury last season and killed any momentum the program had. Liufau has been told he will be good to go for the beginning of the season.
Colorado has been playing catch with the rest of the league since Coach MacIntyre arrived.
“We’ve made progress, but everybody was driving 80mph, and we were caught in the slow lane with car problems.” MacIntyre explained.
Colorado is still in catch up mode, let’s see if they can get to that fast lane of the Pac-12 Conference.