Tag Archives: Bryce Perkins

Can Bryce Perkins Change Virginia’s Luck?

Pre-season football prognostications are the worst.

I suppose they help pass the time after the national championship game, which like the World Series needs to be played closer to the end of the regular season. However, as guideposts for the season ahead, pulling names from a hat is likely to be more accurate predicting success and failure in the coming season. 

Continue reading Can Bryce Perkins Change Virginia’s Luck?

Brady White can Energize the Arizona State Fan Base

The Arizona State Sun Devils are in the exact opposite position that they found themselves in at this point last season. In 2015 the Devils had an established quarterback ready to go, but with three weeks to go before the 2016 opener against Northern Arizona University they have yet to name their starting quarterback.

New offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has to make a decision quickly, in my honest opinion. The sooner the offense can get used to a voice in the huddle and leader on the field, the better it’ll be for the Sun Devils.

There are three candidates that Lindsey has to choose from. They are sophomore Manny Wilkins, true freshman Brady White, and sophomore Bryce Perkins. However, with Perkins dealing with an injury, Lindsey’s choice is only between Wilkins and White.

With one of his choices being a true freshman, the coaching staff might be willing to have a go at the two-quarterback system if either player doesn’t separate themselves in fall camp. Going with a two-quarterback system is a recipe for disaster.

If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback, because part of football is building consistency within the team. By possibly changing quarterbacks every other series, the consistency is lost for an offense that needs to establish itself as quickly as possible.

True freshman Brady White is the best option for the coaching staff to go with.

White is one of the most highly recruited players to ever don a Sun Devil uniform, and head coach Todd Graham has every reason to be impressed with the albeit young quarterback.

As Graham explained at media day, “He’s confident, mature, and highly intelligent. You don’t have to remind him about what needs to be done with every play.”

For only being 18 years of age, this is high praise coming for Graham. White is also a highly competitive player who’s not going to take a back seat to anybody on the field. When I asked him what could separate him from the other quarterbacks, he was very matter-of-fact.

“I have that next level quarterback mentality. I am confident in my abilities and I want to succeed on this level.” White said.

This is the self-confidence that is needed on this Sun Devil team and it’s something that White learned from watching last year’s starter, Mike Bercovici.

“He (Bercovici) never doubted himself even when things were not going well for him or the team. He had full confidence in what he was doing. I want to be like that.” White said during the ASU media day.

White will commit mistakes like all freshmen quarterbacks tend to do, but if the coaches are committed to letting him learn from those freshman moments, the team and White will benefit in long run.  Arizona State needs a jump start to the program and a way to keep the fan base interested and a young, confident quarterback is exactly the type of player who can energize the fan base.

E-mail Mike at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @pigskinopinion.

Pac-12 Links: Tough Quarterback Decisions

Moving into the month of July, the curiosity factor with fans about their particular team gets a bit ramped up. Fans start looking forward to the start of camp.  Fall camp hasn’t started at all, but in the Pac-12 Conference there are a bunch of teams that still have lingering questions about their personnel. Let’s take a look at a few of those teams.

Arizona

Down in Tucson head coach Rich Rodriguez has to figure out how to keep his mobile quarterback, Anu Solomon, injury free. Much of last season for Solomon was spent on the sideline which left Arizona with an inexperienced threat under center.

Does Rodriguez adjust the playbook and not call plays that will put Solomon in harm’s way? It might be something that he’ll want to consider to keep his quarterback healthy. A healthy Anu Solomon gives the Wildcats a better chance at winning. Another 7-6 year is not going to cut it at Arizona. They want a winner yesterday.

During spring practice, Coach Rodriguez said he wanted back-up quarterback Brandon Dawkins to push Anu Solomon. However, Dawkins could push his way to the starting position. Dawkins is a big-armed, quick quarterback and showed some signs of brilliance against Arizona State in the season finale. He also could have a higher ceiling than Anu Solomon.

It’s going to be interesting in Tucson come fall camp. Don’t sleep on Brandon Dawkins.

Arizona State

This is a critical year for the Sun Devils and head coach Todd Graham. They are coming off a disappointing season in which they were picked to finish fairly high in the rankings and by a certain ESPN commentator to go to the playoff. We all know how that turned out. What do we know?

We know that questions about the quarterback situation are still not resolved. Coach Graham has not named a starter and likely will not until they are well into fall camp. Manny Wilkins and Bryce Perkins still seem the likely front runners to land the starting role, but it’s anybody’s guess. Sun Devil fans are simply hoping for a quick decision once camp gets rolling.

There had been talk of using the two-quarterback system, but that is something that should be steered away from. If you have two quarterbacks playing, you have no quarterback. Roles should be defined with the players, so here’s to hoping that Graham and new OC Chip Lindsey decide on somebody quickly.

Oregon State

What can you say about the program at Oregon State? Not much. Head coach Gary Andersen struggled to a 2-10 record in his first year. When Mike Riley left for Nebraska, he didn’t leave much in the cupboard for Andersen. What does Coach Andersen have to look forward to going into fall camp?

Coach Andersen is going to need at least another year to turn this rebuild around in Corvallis. He still has an extremely young team, but he does have something that he didn’t have in his first year. He has an experienced quarterback. Beaver fans are letting out a collective sigh of relief with that fact.

Darell Garretson is now the guy for the Beavers. He’s not a huge runner, but he is by far the most experienced quarterback on the roster. With that said, Garretson needs to stay healthy for Oregon State to have any chance at improving its win-loss record from 2015.

Garretson will have to get in sync with his two threats on the outside in Victor Bolden and Jordan Villamin to create any kind of offensive efficiency for the Beavers. Bolden is the speed guy being only 5’9, 185lbs, but has good speed to give defenses some fits. Villamin is the size on the outside at 6’5”, 230lbs. Garretson will also have a huge tight end as well in Caleb Smith who is 6’6”, 265lbs. He certainly will be Garretson’s security blanket when things break down on offense.

All in all, it’s going to be another thin year in Corvallis, so Beaver fans, like myself, will have to temper their expectations for 2016.

Stanford

In this political season, Stanford would be considered the presumptive nominee to win the Pac-12 Conference in 2016. Why?

Head coach David Shaw and running back Christian McCaffrey are the solid pillars on the Cardinal team for this upcoming season. With all the good feeling that Coach Shaw has built up over the course of his reign over the Stanford program he does have some concerns for 2016.

As with many other Pac-12 schools he has to find a new field general at the quarterback position. With Kevin Hogan taking his talents to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL the need to find another quarterback is glaring. Who is the heir apparent?

Most people have thought it will be Keller Chryst, with Ryan Burns being the back-up. That is basically the same thought now, but Burns showed that he has gained more confidence in his abilities. The spring game was a bit of an eye-opener for coaches in what they saw out of both of these quarterbacks.

Coach Shaw said both players did some very good things and did some not so good things, but one thing was apparent. Ryan Burns is going to push Keller Chryst for the starting position.

I believe that this race will eventually go to Chryst, but it will come down to the final week of practice. All eyes will be on this position battle and it will certainly be interesting to watch who wins out.

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Pac-12 Links: Less Than 100 Days to Kickoff

Now that Memorial Day weekend is over, college football fans have a countdown initiated until we kickoff the 2016 season. It’s still only June and summer practice has not started, but that won’t stop fans in the Pac-12 from wondering what is going on with their respective teams. Let’s take a look at some of these Pac-12 teams and their summer goals.

Arizona State

The Sun Devils have a ton of goals during this upcoming summer. One of them is figuring out who will be their starting quarterback. For the first time in four seasons they don’t have a starter already named. Mike Bercovici graduated and moved onto the NFL, so now the Devils are trying to decide between Manny Wilkins, Brady White, and Bryce Perkins

All three quarterbacks have the dual-threat quality to their game.  With the scheme that new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will be running, it will be interesting to watch which quarterback will pick it up the quickest to separate himself from the other two players.

The battle between juniors Kalen Ballage and DeMario Richard for the starting running back position will also be fun to watch. Both bring a pounding type of running style to the field, but Ballage is 6’3”, 230 and trying to bring down a beast like that is difficult prospect for any defender. Demario is 5’10, 220, and is just a bowling ball when he has a full head of steam. Do the Sun Devils go with size or do they go with a guy that disappears once the o-line stands up?

I believe they go with Kalen Ballage because of his size and speed.

Utah

My dark horse pick to win the Pac-12 South has to replace its stud running back for 2016. A solid running back is a quarterback’s best friend. What are they doing up in Salt Lake City about their running back position?

The player that is set to replace Booker for the 2016 is Joe Williams. Joe who? That is exactly what many fans may be asking as well. However, he is not a total unknown to the Utah coaching staff.

Williams did get some playing time once Booker went down with a season-ending injury and did reasonably well in Booker’s place.

He ran for 121 yards against UCLA, had an even bigger game against Colorado, gaining 187 yards, and garnered some MVP consideration for the Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl by posting 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Can he do it being “the guy”? That is a great question.

He won’t be a secret to Pac-12 teams, so he will have step up his preparation once the summer practices start. He is certainly a player to keep in mind once the Pac-12 season starts.

UCLA

Are the UCLA Bruins the favorite to win the Pac-12 South? To many fans, writers, and other media they are. Why?

Josh Rosen.

However, like I said earlier, a solid running game is a quarterback’s best friend. What does UCLA have now that Paul Perkins is gone?

Paul Perkins was a player who rushed for over a 1,000 yards. When Rosen was able to turn around and the hand ball off to Perkins it kept the defense from just pinning their ears back and coming after the quarterback.

The Bruins have three players ready to take Paul Perkins spot. With Soso Jamabo, Nate Starks, and Bolu Olorunfunmi ready to take over, the big question is which player will be number one on the depth chart?

Based off what we saw last season you would think Jamabo is the front runner. He was the second-leading rusher with 404 yards and had a 6.1 yards per rush. Jamabo runs like a sprinter and has a high pad level. He will have to work on keeping his pads low so he doesn’t get pounded so hard during the game.

Nate Starks is just as talented and had five touchdowns to go with a 6.4 yards per rush average. The upside to Starks is that he has had an extra year in Coach Mora’s offense and, based on last season, he looks like a starter.

My thought is that the Bruin coaches will give Jamabo and Starks about the same amount of touches until one of them separates himself from the other.

Final Thoughts

There are so many questions with each and every Pac-12 team going into next season that I believe that the conference will be left out of the football playoff. The team that wins the Pac-12 will have two losses, maybe three. To get into the College Football Playoff you need to be undefeated or have just one loss. It’ll be another fun season in the Pac-12, just not a playoff year.

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Pac-12 Links: Spring Practice and Games Are Done

Spring practice is finally over for most of the Pac-12 and that means the spring games (really scrimmages) are done with as well. These games give fan bases around the country and in the Pac-12 optimism with the future crop of school stars. Personally, I don’t get it with these games. To me it’s a glorified scrimmage and doesn’t really accomplish all that much. However, the spring games are played and here’s what the thoughts are around the Pac-12 Conference.

Arizona State

Down in the desert for the Sun Devils the spring game wasn’t a spring game. It was a practice on the soccer fields at ASU due to the fact that Sun Devil Stadium is under major construction. The quarterback competition is still up in the air. When Coach Graham walked off the field after their final practice and was asked about who the starter would be, his response was typical coach speak.

“It’ll be the guy in the single digit number.” Graham said.

All the quarterbacks, Manny Wilkins, Bryce Perkins, and Brady White wear single digits, so in other words, the battle for the starting quarterback position is still underway.

The other part of this quarterback battle is that this will be the first quarterback starting for ASU that Todd Graham has signed. The previous two, Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici were Dennis Erickson signees. In essence, this is a new chapter for the Sun Devil program at the quarterback position.

According to Todd Graham, the starter will not be announced until the week of the first game against Northern Arizona. In my opinion, let’s hope it gets announced before that, so the offense can start blending together.

Oregon State

In Corvallis, the spring game showed some positive signs in the passing game, especially with new transfer quarterback, Darrell Garretson. Garretson transferred from Utah State and showed what he was capable of when on the first play from scrimmage he threw a perfect 43-yard strike to Jordan Villamin. That raised eyebrows for the fans in attendance and the media who are really wondering what this season will bring for the Beavers. They struggled mightily last season and head coach Gary Andersen needs to show improvement to give the fan base something to latch onto.

The other parts of the passing game that looked good were wide receiver Jordan Villamin and tight end Noah Togiai. Villamin, who has speed and good hands, had four catches for 108 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Togiai had a similar good game with seven catches for 107.

A player that is impressing the coaches, according to people around the program, is freshman Trevon Bradford. Trevon caught a nine-yard touchdown pass during the spring game and showed why the coaches are liking him. Keep an eye on this young man moving forward into the 2016 season.

Darrell Garretson showed why Gary Andersen is high on him. He was 21-32 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Consistency at the quarterback position is something the Beavers are going to need if they are to improve upon their dismal 2015 record.

USC

Welcome back to Trojan Nation Lynn Swann. That was the big news surrounding the program this past week and once again the twittersphere went nuts. Many people, including myself, criticized the move by USC because it was the school once again reaching back into its past to fill an important job with somebody that had no experience doing that job. It’ll be interesting to watch how Swann approaches this new role with USC.

As far as the spring game goes, the Trojans showed its fans there is reason for optimism with this version of the Trojans.

The quarterback position garndered the most attention because Cody Kessler is gone and they need someone to step up and lead the Trojan attack for next few seasons. It appears that the competition has come down to two guys, Max Browne and Sam Darnold. After the conclusion of the spring game it was still not apparent to  Clay Helton who he was going to name the starter.

One thing that is of note is that new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast wants to have an aggressive five-man front, but for the spring game that idea was put on ice due to injuries to the defensive line. A five-man front? It appears that Pendergast wants to bring a ton of pressure on the opposing offensive lines and with the talent that the Trojans have that will be something to watch for next season.

These spring games give coaches a chance to see what they have and how their players’ winter work has paid off. Other than that, it’s only April and to say that a team is going to do this or that is really tough to do. Injuries, unforeseen suspensions, or anything else could creep up and bite a team at any given moment. So at the end of the day, these spring games are what they are. A gloried scrimmage.

 

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Pac-12 Links: The Conference of Quarterback Battles

Once again it’s time to see what is happening in the Conference of Champions with its football teams. There are plenty of things happening with these Pac-12 teams with spring ball, quarterback issues, and not having satellite camps, which to me is just ridiculous. Who cares where these kids practice or where these recruits get to be seen. Anyway, let’s get into the Pac-12.

In Tucson, head coach Rich Rodriguez has to answer to questions about his ability to get his team back to winning the South division. He can get a little irritated when questioned about it, but he says it’ll turn around in 2016.

“We got more questions now than in our first year.” Said Rodriguez heading into spring practices.

He absolutely does. He has a returning quarterback in Anu Solomon, but is Solomon going to be healthy enough to endure the season?

At Arizona State, Todd Graham is looking for a new quarterback after Mike Bercovici graduated. He has to decide between three guys, but in reality to me it’s down to two. I believe the job is between Manny Wilkins and Bryce Perkins. What do I know though? Based on what I have seen at practice, those are the two that I would be looking at to lead the team in 2016. Coach Graham and new OC Chip Lindsey have a big decision because the Sun Devils can not have another season like last year or an up and down year from the quarterback position again.

What’s happening for California right now? Quarterback/safety Luke Rubenzer asked to be permanently placed at safety after seeing he was falling behind in the race to replace Jared Goff at quarterback. It was matter of seeing the writing on the wall for Rubenzer who came to Berkeley from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. According to head coach Sonny Dykes, Rubenzer is whatever he can to help the team in the long run, but it’s also a good move for Rubenzer because projected starting safety Damariay Drew will be undergoing knee surgery in about two weeks.

Colorado wants to break through in 2016 and has more talent than it’s had in recent years, but is it enough to spring ahead of teams like ASU, Arizona, or even Utah? I know they are trying to build something in Colorado, but can it be done in the Pac-12 South? With coach MacIntyre now having a full recruiting cycle in his fourth year, fans want some results and that includes just not being competitive. Everything in football starts up front and the inexperience on the O-line is something to be addressed by the staff. Time to work that out in spring ball.

Oregon is just happy to have all their quarterbacks on campus at this point. In the long run that will only benefit the high flying Duck offense. People may think there will be questions at the quarterback position, but they are not bringing in Dakota Prukop, a graduate transfer, to sit on the bench. What it calls into question for me is their ability to develop young quarterbacks. At some point they will have to develop some young quarterback, so there is a bit more stability over a longer period of time for the Duck offense.

Meanwhile down on The Farm at Stanford, things are getting a little testy with head coach David Shaw or I should say that people are getting a little testy with Shaw’s comments about the recent ban on satellite camps and his veiled reference to SEC academics or lack of academics. To me, coach Shaw is spot on with what he is saying. He’s not hiding that the facts back him up. Stanford graduates 90 percent of its football players, while the SEC doesn’t even come close to that. Vanderbilt graduates 70 percent of its players and that leads the SEC. While these SEC fans get all bent out of shape about this, Shaw just sits behind the data. Don’t back down coach Shaw, you are right.

At USC, there is an intense quarterback situation brewing and it may not be over for the Trojans. The competition has boiled down to two guys. Max Browne, who was thought by many to slide into the spot left by Cody Kessler, has been pushed by redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. As a result of this competition, head coach Clay Helton has yet to name a starter which leads many to believe that this quarterback job may be open through fall camp. This is an important decision for Helton because this may set the table for the next few years for the program and the sooner a starter is named, the sooner the offense can get in rhythm for the Alabama game at the beginning of next season.

E-mail Mike at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @pigskinopinion.

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