NCF Nation: Jeremy Perry

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

I don't know about you, but when unranked West Virginia scored 31 unanswered points last night and rolled up 445 yards against a SUPER-VICIOUS SEC DEFENSE, I wondered if our SEC friends got an idea of why playing any BCS team on the road isn't so easy.

For all of the discussion about OSU's offensive line, and how much the insertion of prodigal tackle Tavita Thompson (if he moves right into the starting lineup) will impact continuity in the ASU game, the more pressing issue this week might be starting RG Gregg Peat's sore shoulder, which kept him out of practice. ... the depth chart shows Jeremy Perry as Peat's backup. That is wishful thinking, with Perry not even around because of his health and some personal issues. ... OSU has not made an official announcement, but we wouldn't be surprised if JP is done.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Was out late last night doing research on the USC-Ohio State game at a number of think tanks -- that's why "Pac-10 Morning" became "Pac-10 lunch."

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

I'm going to celebrate these links by throwing a football high into the air.

  • USC coach Pete Carroll and his Trojans say they are not taking Ohio State's struggles against Ohio to heart. Carroll and Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel are not peas in a pod. Conquest Chronicles considers the Beanie Wells factor.
  • Arizona is 2-0... yeah, but ... The Wildcats also are showing offensive balance.
  • Arizona State's fans are thinking about Georgia, not this week's opponent, UNLV. That could be a mistake if the Sun Devils do the same thing. The offense is starting to look like the potent, diverse spread that Dennis Erickson has favored in the past.
  • Reflections on California's decimation of Washington State: 1. Cal is good. 2. WSU is bad. Here's how Jahvid Best becomes a Heisman Trophy candidate: 1. Cal wins. 2. Best piles up numbers.
  • Despite a dislocated shoulder, Oregon RB Jeremiah Johnson is expected to play at Purdue. Will the Boilermakers challenge the Ducks?
  • Not surprising a bit: Oregon State coach Mike Riley finds a way to spin the embarrassment at Penn State forward in a positive way. Season certainly isn't over for the Beavers. Some postgame notes here, including the unlikelihood of OG Jeremy Perry playing against Hawaii and RB Jacquizz Rodgers potentially passing Ryan McCants on the depth chart.
  • UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel found an interesting way to beat traffic so he could watch more prospects. Bruins Nation breaks down the visit to BYU.
  • Head of Pac-10 officials goes wet noodle and backs the officials who made that stupid celebration call against Washington QB Jake Locker. Bob Condotta offers a nice selection of links where people with common sense write about how stupid that call was. Oklahoma took Seattle's NBA team, now it's coming to whip its college football team.
  • Things can't get any worse for Washington State -- perhaps then they'll get better. It may be time for lineup changes. Will a trip to Baylor prevent the first 0-3 start since 1999?
  • Who's a winner. And a loser (here's a guess: Pac-10 officials)?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Only 25? That makes this hard.

Going backwards.

25. A 185-pound cornerback standing between Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski and the endzone. Two words: Oh, no.

24. Strawberry Canyon without Tree Sitters. Honestly guys, what about an actual old-growth forest? Or perhaps a worthy cause for children? Or was this really only about creating a spectacle that accomplished nothing?

23. The Stanford Tree spinning, spinning, spinning -- with no one sitting in it. Best mascot in sport.

22. The USC band playing "Tribute to Troy." Again. And again. And again. Love that song.

21. Washington QB Jake Locker averaging six years per quarterback sneak. He's the nation's best running QB.

20. Driving from Spokane to Pullman surrounded by snow-covered hills. It's a winter wonderland.

19. Arizona coach Mike Stoops requiring an exorcism on the sidelines. He's toned it down through the years, though. I miss the unfiltered emotion, though not the player berating.

18. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel reminding Pac-10 coaches that they don't have to be boring ALL the time. Honestly, should the media hyperventilate every time he's glib?

17. California RB Jahvid Best running in open space. Typically it means TD.

16. Washington center Juan Garcia getting nasty until the, well, final echo of the referee's whistle. It's darn near a miracle his spring foot injury is better.

15. Washington State's Brandon Gibson making double coverage irrelevant. Proving a warrior for the Cougars offense should help Gibson's draft status.

14. Oregon State offensive lineman Jeremy Perry getting healthy and reminding everyone what a road-grading guard can do. Perry, when healthy, is the conference's most physical run blocker.

13. A beautiful, 65 degree day in Seattle, snow-capped mountains on the horizon, with tailgating boats packing Lake Washington by Husky Stadium. One of the best settings in college football.

12. Mill Avenue after an Arizona State victory. Oh, my. Let's just say it makes most folks wish they were still in college.

11. USC LB Rey Maualuga getting a running start and then... WHAMMO! Hardest hitter in college football.

10. The Oregon cheerleaders.

9. Oregon State's Sammie Stroughter catches the punt... gone. We missed him last year. He's going to remind us why.

8. The Stanford band offending someone. They might not be the best musicians in the world, but they are the best entertainers -- at least if you're not a stick in the mud.

7. Arizona State kicker Thomas Weber with a 55-yard field goal to win a game with two seconds left. Here's a bet he makes it.

6. USC RB Joe McKnight making an entire stadium go, "No he didn't!" Figure that will happen at least once a game.

5. Autzen Stadium going berserk. Without peer in the conference in terms of noise and outright hostility.

4. Washington fans saying "Welcome back!" to Rick Neuheisel on Nov. 15. Husky Stadium figures to be without peer this day in terms of noise and outright hostility.

3. Sunset over the San Gabriel Mountains at the Rose Bowl. Makes me want to write a poem. At least for a moment.

2. USC playing for the national championship in Miami. Go Trojans! Humble another foe!

1. A Pac-10 team other than USC playing for the national championship in Miami. See, we told you there were other good teams in the Pac-10!

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

A three-headed Beaver might sound more comical than frightening, but the biggest head might not be something a defender would want to laugh at.

That's because Oregon State running back Ryan McCants, at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, doesn't figure to amuse many defenses this year.

Folks were whispering about the now-redshirt freshman almost immediately after he arrived last fall, and the media guide isn't shy about sharing those high hopes: "...could be the next great Beaver back," it says.

That list includes, of course, Yvenson Bernard, Ken Simonton and Steven Jackson; and McCants' bruising ways most suggest Jackson.

Yet McCants, who's dropped 10 pounds since the spring, doesn't want you to just see his imposing size.

"I probably have a little more quickness than people might think for a guy my size," he said.

But Stanford will need to prepare for more than McCants when the Beavers come calling Thursday night. OSU has a deep backfield, with true freshman Jacquizz Rodgers and junior-college transfer Jeremy Francis also presenting distinct skill sets.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Two weeks from today and we'll all be reading about Oregon State's visit to Stanford -- Thursday night football, baby!

  • Arizona's camping at army base Fort Huachuca is providing time for reflection. Perhaps the Wildcats have found a new preseason tradition? Devin Veal might provide some depth at WR.
  • Speaking of going away to camp, Arizona State makes a one-day trip to Camp Tontozona for a scrimmage on Saturday. An extended stay at Tontozona was made unnecessary when the school built an $8.4 million in-door practice facility. Topping the notebook is WR Chris McGaha's pesky toe injury. Nice column here from Scott Bordow on an ASU freshman quarterback by the name of Elway.
  • Scrimmage at California, and it appears that Kevin Riley outplayed Nate Longshore in this one... the plot thickens. Here's a more detailed report. Notice all the newcomers -- freshmen and JC transfers -- who get mentioned? Funny thing: This was supposed to be Jeff Tedford's worst recruiting class. But he told me that this class has more guys who are ready to contribute than any previous group. Go figure.
  • Oregon WR Terence Scott burned his redshirt year in 2007 for two receptions, but he's not bitter. The JC transfer could help the Ducks in '08. And preseason camp isn't all about sweat, X's and O's and injuries. There's fun, too.
  • Scrimmage! Oregon State goes live and frosh RB Jacquizz Rodgers was the star of the day. In fact, The Oregonian's Paul Buker comes to this conclusion about the Beavers offense: "If we can believe what we've seen in Fall camp, there will be no comparison between this year's offense and the unit in 2007 that moved the ball in fits and starts, dinks and dunks and a fly sweep here and there." But Rodgers won't likely be the No. 1 guy. That's Ryan McCants. Important sidenote: OG Jeremy Perry didn't participate in the scrimmage, choosing to rest his sore knee.
  • Want to know a dark-horse guy to come out of nowhere and put up big numbers? My pick is Stanford's Toby Gerhart, a powerful guy running behind an offensive line that appears to be coming together.
  • If UCLA is going to exceed middling expectations, a good place to perk things up would be special teams. Competition at LB? Hale, yes! And the interior defensive line is a given with Brigham Harwell and Brian Price, but things aren't too shabby at DE, either. It looks like Michael Norris has won the CB job opposite Alterraun Verner.
  • Scott Wolf's USC notes include something on a Longhorn Spy (kidding!) and an explanation for why DE Everson Griffen was so steamed the other day.  The story behind a kicker and his Mohawk. And are things deeper at TB than expected?
  • Folks are in the money at USC, according to this post from the LA Times' USC blog, and we're not just talking about the revelations this week that Pete Carroll took home $4.4 million in 2006-07. Check out how much offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian pockets: $704,380.
  • Washington may start a 26-year-old millionaire in its secondary. It's hard not to root for UW kicker Ryan Perkins. And big -- HUGE -- recruiting news for Washington and Tyrone Willingham. Molly Yanity chats with OT Ben Ossai, who's got the talent to become an All-Pac-10 player.
  • Washington State isn't kicking it yet, but Wade Penner might be the guy who does so. A look at the Coug running backs and a practice recap. Vince Grippi also gives his take on the starting 22 here. The WSU Football Blog return.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Happy Pac-10 Media Day...

  • Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell will represent UCLA today, and LA Daily News writer Brian Dohn shares a story he wrote in 2004 about the winding, difficult road that, eventually, got Harwell to the podium. My guess is even USC Fans will find it hard not to root for Harwell.
  • Dohn, who reportedly doesn't need sleep, also tagged along with Bruins QB Ben Olson as he tries to overcome injuries and doubts to become the QB he was touted to be coming out of high school.
  • The Arizona Daily Star's Ryan Finley takes out his crystal ball and sees... some interesting and amusing stuff out of the Pac-10 this season, including: "Oregon will unveil another uniform combination -- and this one will be high-tech. The Ducks will wear uniforms and helmets made of 'green-screen' material, allowing Nike to broadcast commercials directly onto the athletes during games."
  • Jonathan Okanes releases his Pac-10 poll. Guess who's No. 1?
  • Bob Condotta asked the readers of his Seattle Times blog to send him their Pac-10 votes and the response was, apparently, overwhelming. And get this: USC was No. 1 in the reader poll, too.
  • Does Oregon State have issues at running back? Building the Dam says no. Listening to some Beavers observers recite sonnets about Ryan McCants last night, I've got a hunch the Beavs are going to be fine. Here's a bet, however, that McCants and company are eyeballing guard Jeremy Perry's still bothersome leg. There's not a lot of margin for error along the OSU offensive line.
  • What's up with Oregon's linebackers? The Ducks have questions up the middle of their defense.
  • But who cares about LBs? Oregon continues to find ways to make $$$$.
  • Washington got its first commitment. The Huskies are the last Pac-10 team to get a commitment.
  • Bleacher Report fingers Sept. 20 as the critical date of the college football season, with a number of red-letter games in the Pac-10.
  • Finally, the Tree Sitters aren't going quietly.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

There's two things you can say about offensive lines: 1) Every good team has a good one; 2) People tend to notice offensive lines more when they are bad.

There aren't any "Oh my gosh, those guys are terrifying" crews this season. Only UCLA and, to a lesser extent, Arizona State, have significant issues up front.

A couple of the lines also need qualifiers: If Washington center Juan Garcia wasn't going to start the season on the injured list, the Huskies would rank No. 2. And Oregon State would rank higher if guard Jeremy Perry's health wasn't an issue, not to mention that tackle Tavita Thompson isn't expected back from suspension until Nov. 1.

USC only welcomes back one official "starter," but three of the new faces topping the depth chart started at least two games last season. Plus, with four incoming prep All-Americans at the position, and highly respected line coach Pat Ruel calling the shots, it's hard to believe the Trojans line will be a milquetoast.

 
 Tom Hauck/Getty Images
 Alex Mack earned All-American honors a year ago.

So here are the hogs... (returning starters)

  1. Oregon (3): Center Max Unger and tackle Fenuki Tupou were All-Pac-10 for the best conference's best rushing team in 2007. The two new starters are experienced seniors.
  2. California (3): All-American center Alex Mack leads three returning starters from a group that surrendered only 11 sacks last season.
  3. Washington (3): Even without center Juan Garcia for a few games, Mike Denbrock's well-coached unit led the conference's second-best rushing attack and was above average in pass protection.
  4. USC (1): The Trojans, with only guard Jeff Byers back, get the benefit of the doubt that the 2007 backups would start for most teams.
  5. Washington State (4): Four starters back from a unit that only gave up 22 sacks.
  6. Arizona (4): Among the four returning starters is tackle Eben Britton, who will play on Sundays. Run blocking shaky.
  7. Oregon State (3): With mauling guard Jeremy Perry, this is a top-flight unit, but without Perry it's easy to remember 36 sacks in 2007.
  8. Stanford (3): Alex Fletcher, who has converted from guard to center, is outstanding, but the unit still ranked ninth in rushing and gave up 48 sacks (ninth also).
  9. Arizona State (2): The Sun Devils' season may hang on how much the line improves. Just two starters are back from a unit that gave up a stunning 55 sacks in 2007.
  10. UCLA (2): Injuries, attrition and lack of talent are the problems. Just two starters and little depth return from group that gave up 36 sacks and was mediocre at run blocking.

SPONSORED HEADLINES