Steve Sarkisian - "We couldn't be in a better conference at a better time." Sark says the team will lean a lot less on the QB position. Chris Polk and Jessie Callier are going to have to carry a larger part of the load. "We have a nice blend of veteran leadership"
Was the last quarter of last season a blueprint for the future? "When you are running the football and playing sound defense you give yourself a chance to win in the fourth quarter and that is all you can ask for."
News on injuries? "For the most part we are healthy and look good." Tokolahi (ankle) and Potoa'e (knee) may be limited when practice starts.
Sark answered a question that was submitted by our own JoeinFW:
Last year a coach commented that the Washington offense has more formations than any team he’s ever seen. Has there been any effort to reduce the number of formations used and to simplify the offense for a relatively inexperienced quarterback? If so, what can we expect to see less of this year?
Sark - "The reality is the game is about having fun. We try to keep our guys interested. If we feel like our guys can handle it than we do it. If they can't we take it off the table. I take that statement as a compliment and our players should take it as a compliment."
Jon Embree - On the CU 18 game road losing streak - "I don't think there's anyone on our team who has been part of a road win... good teams win on the road. Obviously, we haven't been a good team or I wouldn't be here." On recruiting - "We have to get where we are recruiting California effectively."
Kyle Whittingham - On playing a Pac 12 schedule - "We need to bring our A-game every week." QB Jordan Wynn will be back by the start of fall camp but he will be limited in some respects. One thing he has noticed since Utah joined the conference - "We've had a big spike in recruiting."
Lane Kiffin - About the appeal - "We're glad it's over. We're disappointed in the decision." Understatement of the day - "We have to improve everywhere on defense." One big goal on offense is to turn all that potential at wide receiver into production this season.
Rick Neuheisel - Asked about being on the hot seat - "I think in this business we are on a hot seat at all times. If we can play consistently well at the QB position we should be better on offense. We need to come out of the gate ready to play." How to get the fans excited again? - Beat Houston and look good while beating Houston. QB Kevin Prince has recovered from knee surgery. Frosh QB Brett Hundley is going to undergo knee surgery on Wednesday, has a torn meniscus, that will keep him out 3-4 weeks.
Dennis Erickson - "When it's fourth and a foot, I'm going with the 6-foot-8 guy." Not sure if RB Deantre Lewis will play this season. He says he was hurt worse than most people thought. Would finishing second to USC bother you? - "I don't care... sometimes you take the things in life you can get."
Mike Stoops - "We hope the experience we have at QB, RB, and WR will balance out the lack of experience on the offensive line." "The strength of the defense will be the back seven." On being picked to finish fourth in the Pac 12 South " We never get picked very high. I don't know maybe they think I am a bad coach."
Paul Wulff - Former Husky assistant Chris Tormey is a welcome addition to the staff. Wulff thinks the changes that have been made in the coaching staff will bring some positive changes. Can his defense stop the run? - "It has been an issue. A lot of things have been. But our defense has more physical strength, more team speed than we have had." Noted also has players "who have played." Said, "I'm pretty confident we'll take a big step on defense."
David Shaw - "I like to teach...I see myself as a teacher." Continuity and loyalty to Coach Shaw is one of the reasons that Andrew Luck returned for another year. This will be Luck's final season at Stanford. "We have some great leadership coming back on defense." Shaw spent five years with Jon Gruden. He played three years for legendary Stanford and 49er coach Bill Walsh. "You work your butt off and take what comes."
Mike Riley - Won't have an answer on WR James Rodgers until they get into camp. He has had two major knee surgeries in the past year. SB Joe Halahuni should be ready to go by the start of the season. WR Jordan Bishop is in the same boat. Replacing Jacquizz Rodgers is a huge challenge.
Chip Kelly - "We have great respect for the NCAA." Kelly went on to say that he could not comment on the current investigation. Kelly says the investigation is not hurting recruiting. "I would love to answer all the questions." Harris is suspended for LSU game but no decision yet on Alonso.
Jeff Tedford - Consistent play at quarterback remains an issue. Iso Sofele is the starter at tailback and it is wide open behind him. Tedford expects a couple of freshmen backs to emerge and contribute immediately. California has a history of that happening...Marshawn Lynch and Shane Vereen all burst on to the scene as true frosh.
Larry Scott - "Our goal is for all the athletic departments of our member institutions to be completely financially self sustaining going forward." No announcement concerning the structure and formation of the Pac 12 Network. "College sports is still fragmented and still does some things in an antiquated basis." Scott expects to see more mergers and consolidations in the future. Olympic sports is a huge part of the equation in the new Pac 12 Network.
Oregon picked to win the Pac 12
The media has chosen the Oregon Ducks as the team to beat in the Pac 12 this season. In a bit of a surprise USC was picked as the team to beat in the wide open South division. Keep in mind that the Trojans are ineligible to participate in the championship game this season. The Huskies are just about where we thought they would be. They are ranked third in their division and sixth overall. I had them third in their division and fifth overall in my power poll last week.
1. Oregon (29) 239
2. Stanford (13) 220
3. Washington 142
4. Oregon State 120
5. California 110
6. Washington State 51
1. USC (24) 230
2. Arizona State (13) 207
3. Utah (4) 170
4. Arizona (1) 140
5. UCLA 89
6. Colorado 46
Bud Withers and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times are in Los Angeles for Pac 12 Media Day festivities. Bud got into town earlier and caught a very interesting seminar on Pac 12 officiating. As we our all well aware of the Pac 10 sunk to the virtual bottom of collegiate officiating over the decade.
New commissioner Larry Scott decided that he would revamp the entire system and heads began to roll after last season. Bud Withers has a summary of what to expect from Pac 12 football officiating going forward.
On to the officiating issues. You'll recall that over the winter, Scott ousted Dave Cutaia, the league's coordinator of officials, and hired Mike Pereira, former vice president of officiating for the NFL, to lay groundwork for a revamped program in the league. That resulted in the June hire of Tony Corrente, a southern Californian with considerable on-field NFL officiating experience, to become the league's coordinator of officials, with Pereira staying on in his consultant's role until February.
Journey to New York II
The Pac 12 coaches will be in New York and Bristol on Wednesday and Thursday hanging out with the good folks over at ESPN. Ted Miller has the schedule of when you will be able to hear all the Pac 12 coaches appear on various television and radio programs. The North division coaches including Steve Sarkisian will be doing their thing on Thursday while the South division kicks everything off on Wednesday.
For the second consecutive season, conference coaches will be at ESPN headquarters doing myriad interviews across all sorts of media platforms. It's a busy day, but it gives you myriad opportunities to see or even interact with your favorite -- or least favorite -- head coach.