NCF Nation: Pat Cowan
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
- Tough times for a pair of former Arizona players trying to make it in the NFL.
- Arizona State gets a commitment from a running back.
- Reviewing California's receiving corps, and there is a lot to consider. Former quarterback Nate Longshore is still looking for an NFL home.
- An "O no!" over the Oregon O ... bet this litigious person is a blast at parties.
- Everything you want to know about Oregon State's special quarterback situation is right here. No whining allowed on the Oregon State offensive line.
- Stanford's players are smart.
- Whatever happened to former UCLA quarterback Pat Cowan? Is Jonathan Franklin UCLA's best running back? At least there's competition.
- USC's coaching staff is better than it was last year.
- Hey, check out video of Washington's new uniforms.
- Despite a sub-par APR score, Washington State escaped NCAA penalty.
- There are money issues throughout the Pac-10 due to the economic downturn.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Seems to me that only five Pac-10 schools are presently blessed with stability at quarterback, and one of those five was No. 3 on the depth chart during spring practices.
Pause for a moment and knock on wood for the lucky 50 percent.
Come on Duck fans. Be a good sport about it.
Rudy Carpenter is The Man at Arizona State without question. Same goes for Willie Tuitama at Arizona. Oregon State's Lyle Moevao has improved more than any QB in the conference. Mark Sanchez remains firmly atop the USC offense. And UCLA has little choice other than Kevin Craft.
But injuries and performance issues are riddling the other five teams.
The Bay Area QB "controversies" are fairly mellow right now, with the heat drifting this week from Palo Alto to Berkeley.
Stanford's Tavita Pritchard took another step forward at Washington, and his biggest rival in terms of pure talent, freshman Andrew Luck, is almost assuredly not going to burn his redshirt at this point.
Still, if Pritchard struggles at Notre Dame, things could open up again, even without Luck in the picture.
Coach Jeff Tedford said after the Bears blistered Colorado State 42-7 with minimal help from the passing game that he was unsure who'd start against Arizona State on Saturday.
The Longshore-Riley debate also has renewed among fans, most of whom were strongly pro-Riley because of Longshore's tendency to throw interceptions at inopportune times.
But woeful Washington filled the injury void, with star QB Jake Locker going down with a broken thumb on his right, throwing hand, which he suffered while delivering a successful, but ill-fated block on a reverse. That means the desperate, 0-4 Huskies will turn to redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch at Arizona this weekend.
So, for those keeping track at home:
- Washington has lost its lone star and is now starting a redshirt freshman at QB.
- Oregon, after having reached as far down as No. 5 on it depth chart and being forced to use two true freshmen and a first-year JC transfer, may get its No. 2 QB back this weekend.
- Washington State, facing a potential winless season against FBS competition, has turned to No. 3 QB Marshall Lobbestael, a redshirt freshman, because of serious injuries to Nos. 1 & 2.
- Craft has given UCLA stability at QB, but let's not forget he was the No. 3 guy during spring practices before Pat Cowan and Ben Olson went down.
This can't possibly get any worse. Or can it?
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
|Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images|
|USC linebacker Rey Maualuga has made a name for himself with his big hits on the field.|
See the offensive player running. See USC linebacker Rey Maualuga running toward the offensive player.
Feel the anticipation. Hear the SMACK! Share the crowd's collective gasp.
What fun.All-American honors are great. Awards are nice, too. Maualuga figures to pocket lots of that stuff in 2008.
But what sets Maualuga apart is this: He is an Internet phenomenon.
Few teams divide college football fans like the mighty Trojans. Many fans are downright exhausted and annoyed by USC's dominant run over the past six years.
But Maualuga is a uniter, not a divider. If a person appreciates football distilled to its most basic essence -- knocking the pooh out of another guy -- then it's simply impossible to not like Maualuga.
YouTube is full of highlight-reel hits from Maualuga.
That's why one Internet service named Maualuga this season's "Scariest Defender."
That's why a Maualuga neologism found its way into the online Urban Dictionary: Maualugaed. Defined as: "In football, it is used to describe when a player is absolutely destroyed by a hit. A reference to USC linebacker Rey Maualuga. Pronounced: mao-uh-loo-guhd."
And as used in a sentence: "Dude, did you just see the Michigan QB get completely maualugaed? I'm surprised he can still walk!"
SEC folks notoriously hate USC. But popular SEC blog "Every Day Should Be Saturday," (which sometimes uses adult language) has celebrated Maualuga, even once having Trojans coach Pete Carroll shoot his linebacker out of a cannon at fighter planes piloted by Charlie Weis and Lou Holtz (it sort of makes sense if you read the script that accompanies LSUFreek's graphic).
Maualuga, who likely would have been a first-round NFL draft pick this spring if he didn't opt to return for his senior season, seems mostly bemused by all the acclaim, of which he is only vaguely aware. "People e-mail me all these clips and tell me how funny it is," he said. "It's overwhelming at times. But it's just one little highlight that sort of made news."
He's referring to the infamous sideline blowup he inflicted on UCLA quarterback Pat Cowan, not his crush shot on Illinois quarterback Juice Williams that had ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit gushing, "There's the hardest hitting linebacker in college football."
Even his teammates don't escape. After USC receiver Patrick Turner -- who's no mighty mite at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds -- and Maualuga started to exchange pleasantries during a "Competition Tuesday" practice, Maualuga crawled inside his personal cannon.
"It was just one of those things where words got exchanged and I was like, 'alright.' He came through the middle. And boom," Maualuga explained.
Turner subsequently left practice with a shoulder stinger, but not before uttering a plaintive, "What the [expletive], Rey?" Turner's query promptly found its way to a T-shirt.
What's it all mean for Maualuga? Really, it's about the kids.
"It feels good to have little kids come up to you and say, 'I love that Patrick Cowan hit!' It gives you a little smile," he said.
Isn't that sweet?
Maualuga's career didn't start off sweet. During his freshman season, his father died. Maualuga also got arrested for punching a guy at a party. Life was coming at him fast and he wasn't responding well.
"It's been more than a growing process," he said. "I've learned tremendously from my actions. I was just young back then. I didn't know what I was doing. But I realized that it's not just me who's going to school. It's my family and everybody that I'm representing. So I need to show myself in a respectable way."
That's why he seems just a bit reluctant to embrace his reputation as a brutal hitter. He's aware that some extend his menace on the field to his presence off it.
"Everyone sees me as the big old guy who loves to get into trouble and loves to hit, so I'm just trying to change that image," he said.
Off the field, that is.On the field, the hits figure to keep coming.