Pac-12 Media Day #2 was just as uneventful as the first day, with Ashley Adamson asking questions which mostly left players looking awkward. “What was your favorite part of media day?” Really??
Let’s talk about the schedule put out by Pac-12 Networks, which informed us yesterday that Chris Petersen would be on at 11:45 am. Instead he was first on the docket just before 10:00. They proved to be consistent in misleading fans this morning when Utah coach Kyle Whittingham went on first while scheduled to be last.
Why even have a schedule?
In case you can’t tell, Media Day does absolutely nothing for me. Everyone is “competing really hard,” “buying into the system” & “coming off a great spring” blah blah friggin’ blah.
Still, we cover it. Because (1) some of the coaches (Mike Leach) are entertaining and (2) Sam Darnold is just a tweak of the bangs from a perfect Ted Koppel coif.
Here’s some coach speak:
Oregon Coach Willie Taggart:
Q. What do you know about the Oregon/Washington rivalry?
TAGGART: I know that's a big rivalry. It's tough, and I know they won last year. So we've got to get back to our winning ways.
Q. Coach, what are your thoughts on Darren Carrington staying in the conference with Utah and you playing against him?
TAGGART: I wish Darren nothing but the best, wherever he plays. Except against us.
ASU Coach Todd Graham:
Q. Coach, a lot of people have been talking for years about Arizona State, they've been the sleeping giants, and that's probably one of the reasons you took the job. What is it going to take to change that?
GRAHAM: We've done it. We've been to the championship in '13. We've had success, and success sometimes is hard. The key you're talking about is sustaining it. The whole deal is being able to be consistent.
Q. The speed you have on offense in particular, is that different?
GRAHAM: I think from a personnel standpoint, we're top to bottom skill-wise -- you look at our receivers and our running back corps is as good as we've been speed-wise, talent-wise, quarterback position, receiver position, running back position. I like the veterans up front.
Stanford Coach David Shaw:
Q. How gridlocked has this PAC-12 North been? Especially with Oregon, Washington, yourself and other teams like that?
SHAW: Oh, it's insanity. It's crazy. But it's great. You know there are no bye weeks, there are no off weeks. No one talks about the Washington State program that they put together up there. It's not just the passing game with Coach Leach. They ran the ball well last year.
Q. How is it have Willie Taggart in the PAC-12?
SHAW: It's great. It's great. I called him right before and right after his interview. I've been so excited for him this entire process and so proud of him and so happy for him as a friend to see what he's able to do at Western Kentucky and down in Florida, to have this opportunity for he and his wife, Taneshia. I'm just ecstatic for him. And I'll just root against him for one game a year.
WSU Coach Mike Leach:
Before they could even get a question out:
LEACH: All right. Any questions? There's Peyton Pelluer over there. He's got the samurai hairdo going, middle linebacker, great player. And then Jamal Morrow, running back. And he continues to walk away, very disinterested. And a very versatile running back. Does a tremendous job. Very consistent out there. Two quality players getting their degrees, and basically everything that my parents wish I was.
Q. They want to know is a hotdog a sandwich?
LEACH: I don't like hotdogs. I never liked hotdogs when I was a kid, and I think that some of that started with when I was a real young kid. I'd have bologna sandwich after bologna sandwich. So anything that even remotely resembled bologna, I hated. Everybody says go to the ballgame and eat a hotdog. Not me. No, it's not a sandwich. I'm not into hotdogs, with all due respect to those that are, but they can have mine, so there will be more for them.
Q. Talking about concussions... and Luke Falk has had some pretty heavy hits and his share of concussions. Can you talk a little bit about that? Specifically, is a little bit of a red flag for you with Luke? Do you have to be more careful?
LEACH: He's only had one that I'm aware of. I don't know about a bunch. He's only had one that I'm aware of. I think you always have to. I think everything goes hand in hand. I think the technology of protecting student-athletes, the treating and diagnosing, I think it all goes together. And I think we have to constantly elevate it, the work and attention on it.
USC Coach Clay Helton:
Q. How are you handling the idea of you guys being the favorite not only to win the Pac-12, but to get to the championship?
HELTON: When you come to USC, you welcome those expectations. We've created a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence with what we did last season. And you look and you have guys like Sam Darnold and Cam Smith and Ronald Jones and Deontay Burnett, you have some pieces of the puzzle that are already in place, it makes you very excited for the season coming up.
Q. Going into fall camp, any major concerns right now?
HELTON: Probably the biggest one is the chemistry between Sam and our new receivers. I think they're beyond talented, the kids that we red-shirted, but they haven't been in real live games yet. And to be able to see those bullets fly and see how they react will be really important to us.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham:
Q. Having Darren Carrington in as a transfer, what went into that decision?
WHITTINGHAM: It's always a tough decision when you're talking about a player that you're going to add to your program that potentially has a checkered past. You have to make a decision based on all the information you can gather. Based on the athlete's attitude. You know, is he remorseful? Does he understand that he's done some stupid things and ready to put it behind him and move on? There is so much that goes into it. It's a judgment call.
Q. What do you think about the change in two-a-day practice?
WHITTINGHAM: I don't like it. I think it was fine the way it was. What you've got to do now to make up for those two-a-day practices that you don't get anymore is come in a week earlier, which makes it five full weeks before you play a game. Five full weeks off all camp which is too long in my opinion. Four weeks was too long, but five weeks is bordering on ridiculous.