Tag Archives: Jordan Villamin

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.


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.


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: 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.


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.


Image: CreativeCommons