Maybe it was the Hollywood location, but Pac-12 Media Days were darn right entertaining this year. There was bravado, candidness and coaches playing the tailgate game cornhole. There was also a photo venue where players and coaches let loose with costumes and, uhem, interesting poses.
Here’s some of the best quotes and images …
“I don’t know if you guys have ever had girlfriends, but when you break up with your girlfriend, it’s never easy. It’s always hard, and you do it the best way you know how, and you just try to be up front and honest.”
USC coach Steve Sarkisian explaining how he broke the news to UW players he was leaving.
“I could be like every other coach in America and tell you how excited I am to be here, but that would be lying. Truth is I’d rather still be on vacation or meeting with my coaches.”
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, not excited at all to be at Pac-12 Media Days.
“Guys make mistakes, we all know that, certainly in that age group. We always say that the age group we’re dealing with, for the most part, is the dumbest age group in America.”
UW coach Chris Petersen announcing one-game suspension of quarterback Cyler Miles for role in offseason fight.
“Clearly he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the entire nation. Like the debates and media faces, you might be rooting for your guy, and I don’t care what you think: He’s better than your guy is.”
WSU coach Mike Leach sticking up for QB Connor Halliday.
“Hell no I don’t like [parity in the Pac-12. I wish everyone else was terrible.”
“We’ve got a brand-new facility that’s great, but everybody’s got new stuff. Oregon changes it out like Porta-Potties. Like every four or five years like we need a new this, and they go do it.”
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez being honest.
“I understand that WSU isn’t the big deal here and there’s Marcus Mariota (of Oregon) and all those guys, but at the same time it is a little frustrating. I’m going into my senior year and what else in the world do I have to do to get a little recognition? I broke damn near every school record last year, so that’s my deal, I guess.”
WSU quarterback Connor Halliday, who has a little chip on his shoulder.
“We haven’t beaten Stanford and we haven’t beaten Oregon. We haven’t won the conference. It’s not like we have accomplished all tremendous things.”
UCLA coach Jim Mora trying to keep expectations in check.
“They’re all great quarterbacks until that one game we shut them down.”
Oregon linebacker Derrick Malone on all the attention being on Pac-12 quarterbacks.
“As a kid from Hawaii, to say that I have influence from the Pac-12 Conference is pretty surreal because I grew up on a small island in the middle of the Pacific.”
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota being humble.
Pac-12 Media Days started on Wednesday. In the event’s first display of the media’s expertise, or lack thereof, the annual Pac-12 preseason poll was released.
Oregon is predicted to win the conference, beating UCLA in the title game. Both teams collected 37 of a possible 39 first-place votes in their respective divisions.
Click here for a more extensive breakdown of the poll.
It comes as no surprise Oregon is favored, considering the Ducks have a top Heisman contender at quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Plus, they get Stanford at home and dodge USC and Arizona State altogether. Aside from the anything-goes Civil War in Corvallis, Oregon’s only tough road game is at UCLA.
Stanford’s physical style has given Oregon fits the last two years, but the Cardinal have tough road games at Oregon, UW, UCLA and Arizona State
Stanford is picked second in the Pac-12 North, followed by Washington, Oregon State, Washington State and California.]]>
It all begins tomorrow. Pac-12 Media Day is a two-day extravaganza of characters and cliches to get us ready for the football season, which is still more than a month away.
As promised, here is a game to help survive the blizzard to quotes that sound impressive but actually don’t say much.
Coachspeak bingo includes phrases that coaches almost always say. But in a twist, we’re including some phrases we HOPE each coach of a Northwest Pac-12 team actually says.
New Washington coach Chris Petersen will probably talk about how excited he is to coach his first game for the Huskies. But we hope he drops a line such as “I actually have proved I can beat Oregon.”
Expect the unexpected when WSU coach Mike Leach has the mic. He’s one of the most refreshing coaches in college football. Along with references to pirates and Geronimo, we hope Leach drops a bomb like, oh, we’re not going to run the ball at all this season.
Whether it’s facilities or hype, Oregon is known for going big. Remember when they bought a Times Square billboard for Joey Harrington’s Heisman campaign? We hope Mark Helfrich announces that Marcus Mariota will grace an entire side of the Empire State Building. Hey, Uncle Phil has the money, right?
Oregon State coach Mike Riley’s folksy wisdom makes him perhaps the most respected coach in the Pac-12. As the dean of Pac-12 coaches, we hope he flexes his muscle and takes a stand against the asinine “Chainsaw” dance that debuted last year.
Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson, a Heritage High School grad, is on the watch list for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.
Grayson is one of 39 quarterbacks on the watch list for the award given to the nation’s top collegiate quarterback. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Washington State’s Connor Halliday are also on the list.
Last season, Grayson set Colorado State’s single-season passing record with 3,696 passing yards. He completed 62.1 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He led the Rams to a New Mexico Bowl victory over Washington State.
Last week, Grayson spent four days among 40 of the top college quarterbacks chosen to take part in the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. in the photo below, Grayson is behind Archie Manning and next to Eli Manning (click to enlarge).
Colorado State opens its season August 29 with its annual rivalry game against Colorado in Denver.]]>
It all begins this week.
Talk, talk and more talk as the first college football media days get under way. Those words won’t actually get put into action for another 6 weeks.
Of course, the SEC needs to remind everyone else that it’s bigger and more important by stringing its media days over a four-day stretch.
That’s four days of mind-numbing coachspeak and cliches that sound important, but do nothing but state the obvious. You can catch every phrase and quip on ESPNU, if you’re so inclined.
So let’s have some fun. Here’s a simple bingo board of the most common cliches heard at college football media days. Make variations and challenge your friends.
Pac-12 Media Days are July 23-24, so I’ll make bingo boards specific to UW, WSU, UO and OSU next week.
Until then, do whatever you need to survive the next six weeks until real football starts.]]>
It’s been a little on the quiet side for Oregon State’s 2015 recruiting class. So far, just six verbal commitments with none ranked higher than three stars. But that’s alright, as coach Mike Riley has a history of turning unheralded recruits into key players.
Here’s a look at who’s headed to Corvallis, with the caveat that Signing Day isn’t until February and verbal commitments often change their minds.
James Pensyl, QB, Land O’Lakes, Fla., 3 stars.
Tyrin Ferguson, LB, New Orleans, 3 stars.
Hunter Mattox, DE, Catsworth, Calif., 3 stars.
Solomon Matautia, DB, Ewa Beach, Hawaii, NR.
Treshon Broughton, DB, Los Angeles Harbor College (JC)
Kyle Haley, LB, Golden West College (JC)
Previously — Washington, Washington State, Oregon.
The Seattle Times reported this morning that senior defensive end Josh Shirley has left the team.
The Times also reports that sophomore offensive lineman Taylor Hindy has left the program.
Shirley, 6-3, 228 pounds from Fontana, Calif., wants to play his senior season closer to home, a source told the Times.
Shirley made an instant impact as a freshman, logging 8.5 sacks and starting seven games.
Despite playing in all but one game, Shirley saw his production decrease last season as he was mostly used in specialty packages. He logged 13 tackles last season compared to 33 his sophomore year. His 3 sacks last year were down from 6.5 as a sophomore.
Shirley’s departure shouldn’t hurt Washington too much on the defensive line. Every starter is back from a unit that had 41 sacks last year, second-highest in the Pac-12. The Huskies have a bona-fide beast in nose tackle Danny Shelton (6-2, 332), a Sporting News first-team preseason All-American. Some 2015 NFL draft rankings list Shelton as the No. 3 defensive tackle prospect in the nation.
Hindy, from West Hills, Calif., played in two games last season — against Idaho State and Colorado.
It’s been a busy offseason for the University of Oregon.
There’s Heisman hype for Marcus Mariota, injury worries with the loss of Bralon Addison, and the departure of several players for reasons ranging from discipline to the quest for more playing time.
On the recruiting front, the Ducks hope they’ve found their quarterback of the future in Travis Waller. The four-star recruit out of Anaheim, Calif., is the kind of strong-armed mobile quarterback who seems a natural fit in Oregon’s offense.
Schools can’t formally offer scholarships until Aug. 1, but 11 recruits have voiced non-binding “verbal” commitments to Oregon.
Alex Ofodile, WR, Columbia, Mo., 4 stars.
Taj Griffin, RB, Powder Springs, Ga., 4 stars.
Travis Waller, QB, Anaheim, Calif., 4 stars.
Zach Okun, OG, Newbury Park, Calif., 4 stars.
Jake Hanson, OT, Eureka, Calif., 4 stars.
Jake Breeland, WR, Misson Viejo, Calif., 3 stars.
P.J. Locke, DB, Beaumont, Texas, 3 stars.
Shane Lemieux, OT, Yakima (West Valley High School), 3 stars.
Brady Aiello, OT, Lafayette, Calif., 3 stars.
Jihree Stewart, DB, Corona, Calif., 3 stars.
Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Bellevue (Newport), 3 stars.
Previously — Washington, Washington State.
Tomorrow — Oregon State.
Montana junior receiver Ellis Henderson has been named a Sports Network’s preseason FCS second-team All-American.
A graduate of Skyview High School, Henderson led the Grizzlies last season with 43 receptions for 1,008 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns, which ranked third in the FCS. Click on the above video to watch his highlights from last season.
Henderson originally attended the University of Hawaii, but never played before he transferred to Montana. Read more about his story here.]]>
Continuing our summer swing around the Northwest college football teams, here’s a look at which prep seniors-to-be have said they’re taking their talents to the Palouse.
Thomas Toki, DT, Mountain View, Calif., 4 stars.
Austin Joyner, RB, Marysville (Marysville-Pilchuck), 4 stars.
James Williams, RB, Burbank, Calif., 3 stars.
Kameron Powell, S, Upland, Calif., 3 stars.
Tyler Hilinski, QB, Upland, Calif., 3 stars.
Darrien Molton, DB, Temecula, Calif., 3 stars.
Aaron Porter, ILB, Norwalk, Calif., NR
Coming tomorrow, Oregon.