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