NCF Nation: Rob Gronkowski

One characteristic many seek in a leader is the ability to speak candidly about past failures.

Indiana tight end Ted Bolser has this covered pretty well.

[+] EnlargeIndiana Hoosiers tight end Ted Bolser
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesIndiana Hoosiers tight end Ted Bolser is hoping to catch 50 passes in a revamped offense.
"Bolser doesn't hold back when assessing what went wrong in 2011 -- when Indiana finished 1-11 and went winless in the Big Ten and against FBS competition -- and what's going right these days in Bloomington.

"I'd like to say we trimmed the fat off our team last year, got rid of a lot of guys who didn't want to be here," Bolser told ESPN.com. "Everybody here wants to play, and plans on starting, so there's a lot of competition going on. We need competition to win. That's what we didn't have in the past. People just gave up their roles."

Such a passive attitude -- or a disinterested one -- played into the Hoosiers losing so many games.

"It was a huge distraction," Bolser said. "Not only during game day did some people just not care, but weekends, after hours, [when] coaches weren't around. ... We didn't have much leadership last year. Everybody was just kind of wandering in their own heads. The leadership's really changed this year."

Bolser is part of a small but vocal group stepping forward. Indiana enters 2012 with only eight seniors on the roster -- seven fifth-year players and one true senior (defensive tackle Adam Replogle). Given the small number, Bolser and other fourth-year juniors are taking bigger leadership roles, as are younger players.

He mentioned center Will Matte, linebackers Jacarri Alexander and David Cooper and quarterback Tre Roberson as players taking steps as leaders. Although Roberson is a true sophomore, "we’re treating him like he's a senior," Bolser said.

"With the few upperclassmen we have, just about all of us are having our own leadership role," Bolser continued. "For myself, I've noticed a tremendous leap."

Part of that leap is personal accountability, and Bolser is setting the bar high in 2012. He recorded 27 receptions for 407 yards and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2010, making seven starts. But his numbers dipped in all four categories last season -- 14 catches, 165 receiving yards, one touchdown, six starts. To be fair the decline largely can be attributed to a run-based offense led by a freshman quarterback.

Head coach Kevin Wilson wants to emphasize the pass much more this season and brought in a new offensive coordinator, Seth Littrell, who comes from the Mike Leach coaching tree and oversaw an Arizona offense that ranked third nationally in passing a year ago (370.8 ypg).

"This year, we're throwing the ball no matter what," Bolser said. "For myself and the wide receivers, we're expecting big things."

How big?

"I'm expecting better numbers than I had my freshman year by far," he said. "I had around 30 catches my freshman year, and I'm hoping to get around 50 plus this year. I'm hoping to be in the game just about every play, blocking or catching passes. As much as we're going to be throwing it, the ball has to go to somebody, and I'm hoping it goes to me."

Arguably no Indiana could benefit more from Littrell's arrival than Bolser. Littrell, who will directly coach tight ends and fullbacks at IU, worked at Arizona with Rob Gronkowski, who Bolser calls "just about every tight end's idol."

"Especially when I'm watching film, we go over what [Gronkowski] does and previous things he's done, how their relationship blossomed, how they worked with each other and a lot of things like that," Bolser said. "Things are changing, especially lately. You've got to be a block- and pass-oriented tight end. You've got to have both, which he has."

Bolser hopes to be the complete package for Indiana this year -- minus The Gronk Spike.

Said Bolser: "I can't do that."
The NFL draft teaches hard lessons. Two USC players are learning that now: Taylor Mays and Everson Griffen.

Mays would have been a first-round pick last year. I know folks believe his perceived weaknesses would have revealed themselves on film Insider then just as they did this season. But the 2008 USC pass defense was simply extraordinary in large part because of Mays playing an intimidating and impenetrable center field.

So Mays blew it by coming back for his senior season. And he now knows this.

As for you, San Francisco 49ers fans: Didn't you guys do fairly well a few years back with another hard-hitting former USC safety? I got a $5 bill right here that says Mays is going to become an outstanding NFL safety.

Griffen is another story: First-round talent with questions about his attitude and work ethic. (Keep this in mind about Mays: his work ethic couldn't be any better).

Who would have thought that Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim would go before Griffen? Te'o-Nesheim is superior to Griffen in only one way but its a critical one: motor. Griffen's is questionable, Te'o-Nesheim's is not.

The lesson here is that being good isn't enough. The NFL cares about the entire package. And NFL teams don't want players who aren't self-starters, who don't motivate themselves.

Take note incoming five-star recruits.

Here are the Pac-10 picks to this point (11:15 a.m. ET ).

First round
DE Tyson Alualu, California, Jacksonville (10)
RB Jahvid Best, California, Detroit (30)

Second round
DT Brian Price, UCLA, Tampa (35)
S T.J. Ward, Oregon, Cleveland (38)
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona, New England (42)
S Taylor Mays, USC, San Francisco (49)
RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford, Minnesota (51)
OT Charles Brown, USC, New Orleans (64)

Third round
TE Ed Dickson, Oregon, Baltimore (70)
WR Damian Williams, USC, Tennessee (77)
LB Donald Butler, Washington, San Diego (79)
DT Earl Mitchell, Arizona, Houston (81)
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Washington, Philadelphia (86)
OG Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State, Cleveland (92)
CB Kevin Thomas, USC, Indianapolis (94)

Fourth round
DE Everson Griffin, USC, Minnesota (100)
CB Alterraun Verner, UCLA, Tennessee (104)
CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon, Seattle (111)
RB Joe McKnight, USC, New York Jets (112)
The ultimate goal, said Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, is getting three brothers on the same NFL team.

[+] EnlargeRob Gronkowski
Chris Morrison/US PresswireRob Gronkowski had 672 yards and 10 TDs in 2008.
The day's news is that Gronkowski is leaving Arizona a year early to join his brother and Wildcats teammate, senior fullback Chris, in the NFL draft, after which they will join older brother Dan, who's already with the Detroit Lions.

"Three brothers in the NFL at one time? That's unbelievable," Rob Gronkowski said. "That was always my dream."

Gronkowski said that despite sitting out the entire season with a back problem that required surgery, he's healthy now -- doctors cleared him this week, he said -- and he and expects to be selected in the first round.

"I got all great reports [from the NFL] -- first round, if I can show them I'm healthy," he said.

Gronkowski said he was medically cleared by Dr. Robert G. Watkins III, who performed back surgery on Gronkowski, as well as Dr. James Andrews, but he admitted he's not sure if he will be able to participate in the NFL combine.

"If I'm not 100 percent, if I don't feel like I'm ready to go, then I might just go and do interviews," he said. "But I'm definitely going to be ready before the draft. I'll be ready for pro day or my own little pro day I'll do. I'm definitely going to show them I'm 100 percent."

He said he has hired Drew Rosenhaus to be his agent.

Gronkowski said he expects two years of game film to impress scouts and GMs. And when he's ready to work out, he expects to show off impressive physical skills that earned him All-Pac-10 honors as a sophomore.

"I'm going to wow the teams," he said.

Wrapping up the Pac-10 regular season

December, 8, 2009
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It was a strange, unpredictable and exciting year for the Pac-10.

All of those terms, however, can't hide the fact that the conference didn't produce a second BCS team for the seventh consecutive year. And didn't deserve one -- five teams finished 8-4 behind 10-2 Oregon.

On the plus said, the Pac-10, which finished 21-9 in nonconference games (.700), earned a widespread reputation among pundits as the nation's deepest conference, and perhaps its best, top-to-bottom. Nine teams received votes at some point this season in the AP poll and seven were ranked at some point. Seven teams won six or more games and earned bowl eligibility.

Gerhart
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesStanford running back Toby Gerhart is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Five teams were ranked in the final BCS standings, more than any other conference.

That's dandy. But did we mention the lack of a second BCS bowl team? That costs the conference $4.5 million each year it happens.

For comparison's sake, the Big Ten has lost six consecutive BCS bowl games, but it's had two BCS bowl teams six of the past seven years. Do the math.

While the conference's nine-game round-robin schedule certainly hurts the effort to get two BCS bowl teams, the conference also deserves its share of the blame for not coming up big in a number of marquee nonconference games.

Oregon State lost to Cincinnati; Oregon lost to Boise State; Arizona lost to Iowa; Washington lost to LSU; Arizona State lost to Georgia; Stanford lost to Wake Forest.

Sure, no other conference played teams ranked No. 3, 6, 10 and 12 in the final BCS standings, but a couple of wins certainly would have helped the cause.

Beyond the national issues, the internal churn within the conference standings was particularly noteworthy. For the first time in seven years, USC didn't at least share the conference championship and earn a berth in a BCS bowl game. Moreover, there was real mystery who would win the conference title until the final week of the season.

While the teams at the top scrambled, the Trojans, the preseason favorites, took a shocking tumble to fifth place.

That is as big a story as anything else.

Offensive MVP -- Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart turned in the best season of any offensive player in the nation. He finished second in the nation with 145 yards per game and first with 26 rushing touchdowns. The first-team All-Academic pick even passed for a TD. All that earned him an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York.

Defensive MVP -- UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price.

Price led the conference with 22.5 tackles for a loss, a number that ranked third in the nation. No one else in the conference had more than 14.5 TFL. He also had seven sacks and forced two fumbles. All that despite frequently fighting through double-teams.

Newcomer of the year -- Oregon's running back LaMichael James.

James, a redshirt freshman, ranked second in the Pac-10 and eighth in the nation with 123 yards rushing per game. His 1,476 yards set a new conference freshman rushing record. He also scored 14 touchdowns and ranked first in the conference with 6.87 yards per carry. James led the country with 20 runs of at least 20 yards.

Coach of the year -- Oregon's Chip Kelly.

It's impressive that Kelly led Oregon to a Pac-10 championship and its first Rose Bowl since the 1994 season in his first season as head coach. But everyone knows it was more than that. The performance at Boise State in the season-opener was abysmal. And LeGarrette Blount's behavior afterwards was even worse. But Kelly kept his locker room together, and the Ducks won 10 of their final 11 games. Not a single person in the country thought that would happen on Sept. 3.

Biggest surprise -- Arizona.

The Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll. The Pac-10 blog, an unabashed Wildcats believer, only picked them fifth. But they are headed to the Holiday Bowl, which makes them first among the three teams that tied for second in the conference. Once embattled coach Mike Stoops led the Wildcats to an 8-4 finish, despite losing their quarterback, top receiver and dominant left tackle from 2008, and then seeing their All-American tight end, Rob Gronkowski, go down to injury in the preseason.

Biggest disappointment -- USC.

USC's dynasty wasn't going to last forever, but the general thought is a rival would seize the title in a tight race, not that the Trojans would go belly-up. An early loss at Washington was surprising, but it fit USC's previous M.O., -- a stumble vs. Pac-10 underdog followed by reassertion of dominance. Then came a 27-point loss at Oregon. And, two weeks later, Stanford gleefully ran up the score in a 55-21 win. Completing the deluge, Arizona handed the Trojans their second loss in the Coliseum, 21-17, in the season-finale. The Trojans, once ranked fourth in the nation, now have a date with Boston College in the Emerald Bowl as the Pac-10's No. 5 team.

Game of the year: Oregon 44, Arizona 41 2 OT

Speaking of Arizona, this double-overtime defeat at home ended up costing the Wildcats the Rose Bowl. But both teams played so well and with such energy in this back-and-forth affair, it was more about Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli willing his team to victory. This might not just have been the best Pac-10 game of the year, it might have been the best period.

Pac-10 Q&A: Arizona coach Mike Stoops

November, 20, 2009
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The path is clear for Arizona to do something it's never done: Play in the Rose Bowl.

[+] EnlargeMike Stoops
Chris Coduto/Icon SMIMike Stoops has built Arizona into a consistently competitive team.
All it needs to do is win its next three games, starting with a visit from No. 11 Oregon on Saturday.

Coach Mike Stoops has built a competitive program. Where the Wildcats once were on the receiving end of routine whippings, they haven't lost by more than 10 points since Oct. 6, 2007.

He led them to their first bowl game -- and bowl victory -- in a decade last year.

Now, what's next? Is it the 2010 Rose Bowl?

And are the Wildcats built to last?

We checked in with Stoops on these and other topics.

No more deflected passes and you guys will be fine.

Mike Stoops: (Laughs) We've kind of invented ways to lose games, I guess. Those were unfortunate incidents but we put ourselves in situations where one play can decide a game. We didn't do what we needed to win, that's for sure.

How's your brother Bob holding up with all those injury issues at Oklahoma?

MS: I think he's doing great, when you look at the big picture and see what they've done. They're a couple of plays away from being in the championship again. They've played really well defensively. I think offensively they've struggled with some injuries and continuity. But I think he's energetic and feels really good about his team heading down the stretch.

How's Rob Gronkowski doing?

MS: Rob is improving. He hasn't had any setbacks. The process continues to move forward. He hasn't run on the ground yet. He's run in the hydro-pools. He's got one more check-up, I think next week, before he can [run on the ground]. Hopefully, he'll be cleared to continue to rehab.

What role do you plan to play in his decision on whether to come back next year or enter the NFL draft?

MS: I think you just present the case for staying in school and what the benefits are and also the benefits for coming out. I think you leave that decision to him. You have to factor in a lot of things with that decision. His family will be the most important thing. I think he feels comfortable with our team and where we are at, too, the quarterback situation. I'm sure there will be a lot of things to factor in. His health and how he feels his rehab is going, as well.

You guys have taken a step forward as a program these past two seasons: Are you feeling that when you're on the road recruiting?

MS: I think so. Anytime you can get into bowl games, that's significant to players. Obviously, we've been through those hard times of re-establishing your program. Hopefully, we're through all those growing pains you have to go through when you're rebuilding. We're in a much better place, stability-wise.

I know your focus is on preparation, just like any week, but can you feel any increased energy in Tucson with Oregon coming to town, with the stakes so big and ESPN's "College GameDay" there?

MS: Big games just have that feel about them. It's no different here in Tucson. I think the people are really excited for it. I think it will be an energized crowd. Now whether we can be as loud as [Oregon's] Autzen Stadium, I don't know. We're going to try.

Last year's game with Oregon had two very different halves. What went wrong in the first half and went right in the second half?

MS: I think just our focus and intensity. I think defense is about attitude. It's about playing with a lot of energy. When you play these guys, you better bring it every snap because they put a lot of pressure on you, every single play. Our discipline and our energy and our focus wasn't want it needed to be [in the first half].

How did quarterback Nick Foles react this week to the first adversity of his career?

MS: Nick doesn't change much. That's a great thing about him. Win or lose, no matter the situation, whether he plays good he plays badly, he never really changes his perspective. That's good. He's very even. He just goes out and tries to get better every time he steps on the field and focuses on the moment in that particular day. He really works hard at trying to become a more complete player. That's the thing I probably respect the most about him.

So, do boosters and fans let you know how much it would mean to get the Wildcats to their first Rose Bowl?

MS: I've heard that for six years now [laughs]. I think you know the sense of urgency for that to happen. Winning championship takes a great deal of good fortune and good breaks, but you also have to have a very complete team. We just haven't been fortunate enough up to this point. Now, here we are. Hopefully, we can get a step closer on Saturday.

You undertook a tough rebuilding project and now things are trending up. How close do you feel this program is to becoming a perennial Pac-10 contender?

MS: I think we're close. I think we're a really good team. If you look at our games over the last couple of years, we are within minutes or three or four plays. In virtually every loss, we had a great opportunity to win. I feel like we are very close. We are much more consistent. I think our players, once you get over the hump, they start to feel that confidence that we can play with anybody now that we've done it for an extended period of time. You can't just hope it. You've got to really believe that you can do it. I think our players are there mentally now.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Little game of Pac-10 Jeopardy: This nationally ranked team controls its own conference destiny and it never rains in its home stadium.

Oregon!

 
 Chris Morrison/US PRESSWIRE
 Even with a tough upcoming schedule, coach Mike Stoops believes Arizona's best football is ahead.
No, though we enjoy that jocular pregame announcement at Autzen Stadium as much as anybody. And, please, remember to phrase your answer in the form of a question.

Who is Arizona?

Right!

No, really. Who is Arizona?

The Wildcats, ranked 18th in the BCS standings, are 5-2 overall and, at 3-1 in conference play, are alone in second place in the standings. If not for an odd and controversial deflection at Washington, the Wildcats would be sniffing the top 10.

Yet few folks seem to know much about them.

They rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 and 14th in the nation in total offense (455 yards per game) and third in the conference in total defense (315 ypg). They are balanced on offense -- 12 rushing touchdowns, 12 passing touchdowns -- and they do a good job of stopping the run, ranking 17th in the nation (101.3 ypg).

Yet the buzz around the program -- outside of Tucson, at least -- is only a light hum.

"That's all the time. We're always laying low," said Wildcats senior safety Cam Nelson, who knows personally about being underrated.

"We don't get much credit, which doesn't bother us. We don't need anybody to know us. We like being a no-name team that's going to sneak up and make a big run."

Nelson sounds more resigned than perturbed. As for that big run, don't disregard the notion. The schedule ahead is brutal (perhaps the toughest in the nation) but nothing worth achieving is ever easy to obtain.

Arizona should know. It has been waiting a long time for a Rose Bowl berth. Like, er, forever.

We must pause now and acknowledge what Wildcats coach Mike Stoops has been relentlessly telling his team for the past two weeks (Arizona had a bye last week): Do not overlook Washington State, which comes to town on Saturday.

"Our guys are smart enough to understand ... anybody can beat anybody if you give them the opportunity," Stoops said.

But, outside of the locker room, we are free to consider this slate of four games: at California, Oregon, at Arizona State and at USC.

Is it far-fetched to imagine the Wildcats running that gauntlet unscathed? Absolutely. But not impossible.

Arizona whipped Cal 42-27 last year. It's won two of three from Oregon. It beat the rival Sun Devils 31-10 last year. USC only beat the Wildcats 17-10 in 2008, and these Trojans don't appear as salty as those.

Moreover, the Wildcats have reached this point -- on the cusp of consecutive bowl berths for the first time since 1997-98 -- despite major injury issues.

They lost their best player, tight end Rob Gronkowski, before the season began with a back injury. They've played their last four games without their best pass-rusher, end Brooks Reed. Two of their top three running backs, starter Nic Grigsby and No. 3 Greg Nwoko, likely will miss the Washington State game with shoulder injuries, while No. 2 Keola Antolin is still nursing a sprained ankle. The offensive line has been down one or two starters much of the season.

Said Stoops, "I think our best football is still in front of us. It's going to need to be."

The good news is that Reed appears set to play Saturday, and Nelson believes the return of one of the best ends in the Pac-10 will have a big impact for a unit that has struggled to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks.

"It will help a whole lot," Nelson said. "Brooks' intensity on the field, the way he plays and carries himself, you'll see a big change in the defense. D'Aundre Reed has stepped in and done a good job, but there's no substitution for Brooks on the field. He plays reckless, hard. He's fast every play, trying to cause a turnover. Once we get him back, things will be a whole lot different. There will be more pressure, which will make it easier on the back end for us."

Speaking of back ends: Nelson has no problem talking about the rigorous back end of the schedule and what it's going to take to win-out. That doesn't, however, mean he's overlooking Washington State.

"Regardless of their record, they are still a Pac-10 team," he said. "Every week is a challenge."

But if Arizona is up to that challenge from now until Dec. 5 at USC, it may accomplish something it's never done before.

What is earn a Rose Bowl berth?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


There's almost no chance Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski returns this season after back surgery. The bigger question for the Wildcats is whether he plans to take a redshirt and return next fall.

Gronkowski, a third-year junior, met with reporters Wednesday for the first time since his back became an issue early in the preseason, and he said he's eyeballing entering the NFL draft this spring.
 
 Chris Morrison/US Presswire
 Rob Gronkowski may take his game to the NFL next season.


The only thing that might keep Gronkowski in Tucson is his high expectations.

"It would definitely have to be the first round, else I won't go at all," said Gronkowski, who underwent surgery on a herniated disk and nerve damage in his lower back three weeks ago.

It was mostly a foregone conclusion heading into the season that Gronkowski wouldn't stick around for his senior year, and the odds were fairly good that he'd have been selected in the first round -- or at least early in the second. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Gronkowski owns prototypical size, above-average speed and is a good receiver and blocker. Despite missing the first three games of 2008, he finished with 47 receptions for 672 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns.

He and Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham, who, in a horrible coincidence, suffered a season-ending knee injury, were generally projected as the nation's top two tight ends entering the season.

Back injuries are tricky, though. Gronkowski said he expects to be 100 percent within three months, but even if he blows away NFL personnel folks at the combine or in private workouts, they likely will have questions about whether his back might be an on-going issue, which would hurt his value.

Another season hanging up big numbers with impressive quarterback Nick Foles might alleviate those worries.

Speaking of Foles -- and this likely will break Arizona fans hearts after the red zone problems at Washington -- Gronkowski said he's been a fan for a while.

"Me and him always had a connection going [over the summer]," Gronkowski said. "He was throwing me a lot of fades in seven-on-sevens."

Gronkowski said his back started bothering him before preseason practices began, and an MRI revealed the disk and nerve problems. Coach Mike Stoops maintained a policy of silence on the injury, while Gronkowski opted to see if rehab work -- a long shot -- might be enough to get him back on the field.

He tried to return the week of the Iowa game on Sept. 19, but it became immediately clear he wasn't ready.

"It came back right after practice," he said. "The pain was just shooting down my leg."

He's about three weeks away from beginning rehab work. Mostly, he's been relegated to playing Xbox from the recliner in his apartment.

"My "Halo" skills are up," he said. "No one talks garbage to me anymore."

He described missing the season as "brutal."

"I thought this was going to be my season and the team's season," he said. "I thought we were going to make it to the big house. I wanted to be with the team that made it to the Rose Bowl this year."

Now the question is how badly the NFL wants him.

"I'm going to definitely look into the NFL -- you've always got to look at that option," he said. "If I don't like what I get back, I'm definitely going to come back."

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's throwback uniforms Saturday were a tribute to the 1994 team that earned a Rose Bowl berth. The performance against No. 6 California, however, was a tribute to the 2008 squad that rolled over its final three opponents like an alien invasion.

Oregon's shocking 42-3 romp over the listless Bears reintroduced college football to the flash-and-dash Ducks and, particularly, to quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.
 
 AP Photo/Don Ryan
 Jeremiah Masoli threw three touchdown passes in Oregon's win over California.


That debacle at Boise State? It's hard to reconcile that team was the same one playing inside Autzen Stadium on Saturday, the one that gained 524 yards against what was widely considered an outstanding defense.

Masoli finished the 2008 season as arguably the nation's best pass-run quarterback. Yet just a week ago, there was chatter he should be benched. He completed just 4 of 16 passes in the Ducks' win over Utah and was the Pac-10's lowest-rated passer.

Against the Bears, he completed 21-of-25 for 253 yards and three touchdowns.

"That's the Jeremiah Masoli I know," coach Chip Kelly said. "That's why I didn't bench Jeremiah Masoli. He's 11-3 as a starter. Our confidence in Jeremiah is based on demonstrated ability."

Did Masoli feel like he answered his critics and prove he's the guy?

"You'd have to talk to the people who don't think I'm the guy," he said.

Meanwhile, the Ducks' maligned defense basically pitched a shutout. Cal's only points came after Oregon fumbled the opening kickoff. The three-play drive before a 47-yard field goal netted minus-8 yards.

Cal entered the game averaging 489 yards and 49 points per contest. It managed just 207 yards against the Ducks. A week after becoming a Heisman Trophy frontrunner with five touchdowns at Minnesota, Jahvid Best rushed for just 55 yards on 16 carries. He was mostly a spectator as the score got out of hand.

The Ducks' performance was a masterpiece. At least, that's how defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti described it.

"When you're painting, or you're artistic, and the picture in your mind that you put out there turns out the way it did today," he said, "it's like a Picasso."

The only thing that went wrong for Oregon was a knee injury to cornerback Walter Thurmond on the opening kickoff. But Kelly said "it doesn't sound like it's a season- [ending] deal."

While Kelley wouldn't disclose his game plan machinations, his players said the offense was simplified over the past week so Masoli and company would play looser.

"We weren't giving too many reads to myself or the receivers or even the linemen," Masoli said. "We just kind of lined up and played football today."

Another key part of the game plan was Ed Dickson, who's now the Pac-10's premier tight with Arizona's Rob Gronkowski done for the season with a back injury. Dickson entered the game with just four receptions for 58 yards and no touchdowns. He hauled in 11 passes for 148 yards and three scores against Cal.

The 19-8 loss at Boise State and all that went with it -- namely LeGarrette Blount's postgame meltdown -- is the Ducks' least favorite topic, but Dickson understood why it might be hard for some to wrap their minds around the vast distance between the team that looked so feckless on the blue turf and the one that just bludgeoned the nation's No. 6 team.

"Miles and miles," Dickson said. "The way we played the first game, we didn't look like a collegiate team. It didn't look like we knew what we were doing."

While Masoli's transformation merits the lead, the entire offense seemed to simultaneously find itself. Gone were the butterfingers receivers and the confused, overmatched offensive line. The play-calling was masterful on both sides of the ball, seeming to anticipate everything Cal wanted to do.

Said linebacker Spencer Paysinger of the Cal offense: "It was like we already knew what you're about to do and you're still doing it."

Oregon had touchdown drives of 80 and 96 yards. A quarter of Cal's offense came on one pass play.

Dickson, however, isn't sure if the wound sustained against Boise State is completely healed. And that's a good thing.

"This softened it up a little bit," he said. "But the only thing that is going to fix that is if we get into the Rose Bowl or a BCS bowl game."

A week ago, such an assertion would seem absurd. As of Saturday evening, it's not ridiculous to now call Oregon the Pac-10's new frontrunner.

USC visits on Oct. 31. Happy Halloween.

video

Pac-10 power rankings

September, 21, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Cal steps to the fore. UCLA and Washington make a big leap. Arizona State could go from No. 9 to the top third if it wins at Georgia on Saturday. Conference games figure to churn things up this weekend.

1. California: Ah, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The Bears, now the Pac-10's only top-10 team, ended a four-game road losing streak with a solid performance against a solid Minnesota team, but a visit to Oregon awaits. The Bears have beaten the Ducks three in a row, including a classic in Autzen Stadium in 2007.

2. USC: The Trojans are looking up in the standings after losing 16-13 at Washington, but we're not prepared to write them off. See, they do this every year -- lose to an unranked Pac-10 foe on the road. Wonder, as in most years, if folks will be calling the Trojans the best team in the nation by season's end? Also curious to see if Trojans are flat -- or furious -- vs. Washington State.

3. UCLA: So the Bruins handled a Tennessee team out for revenge in workmanlike fashion, and Tennessee pushed a homestanding No. 1 Florida squad that was hungry to embarrass the Vols so hard that most folks are calling it a moral victory. Why isn't anyone saying, "Perhaps we should re-evaluate UCLA?" Or, "Why is a 3-0 UCLA squad that has physically dominated two BCS conference foes still not ranked?" (And who voted for 2-1 Nebraska, which has wins over Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State?)

4. Oregon: Chip Kelly took a lot of crud for the debacle at Boise State. Maybe some of it was fair. But what do we say about a team that has yanked itself up by its bootstraps and is finding ways to win, even if those ways and wins aren't exactly beautiful? We say, "Good job." Now all Kelly has to do is beat Cal and all is forgiven among the Ducks faithful.

5. Washington: Want to thank the Huskies fans who didn't trample me -- great photo -- while I was trying to post from the track at Husky Stadium -- a track, by the way, that should be removed when Huskies fans start to pony up cash for a much-needed stadium renovation. You know, so all those marquee recruits who are soon to arrive will have a nice place to play. Oh, and the present Huskies? The 24th ranked Huskies! Stanford is eager to turn your grins upside down this weekend.

6. Oregon State: The Beavers had their chances against Cincinnati. And they may have been jobbed on a no-fumble call. But it's clear they are also working through some issues, particularly on the offensive line. The offense isn't clicking and the defense isn't disruptive. The showdown with Arizona is critical for both team's conference aspirations because they seem to be vying for the same spot of territory in the pecking order.

7. Arizona: The Wildcats offense is going to have to reinvent itself without tight end Rob Gronkowski, and it's unclear how things will go at quarterback because the passing game isn't working. The visit to Oregon State could be telling about the ultimate trajectory this season.

8. Stanford: Defensive end Tom Keiser (three sacks), Chris Owusu (94-yard kick return for a TD) and Toby Gerhart (113 yards rushing) keyed a sloppy (four turnovers) blowout win over San Jose State. Who would have thought that Washington's visit Saturday could feel like such a big game?

9. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are 2-0 and unchallenged. That will change at Georgia. The defense looks up to the test. The question remains the offense.

10. Washington State: The Cougars were dominated statistically by SMU and won in large part because of two long interception returns for touchdowns, but is anyone going to begrudge the Cougs some good fortune? Coming back from a 24-7 third quarter deficit to win 30-27 in overtime shows there's no quit in Pullman.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes has transformed the Arizona offense since coach Mike Stoops hired him away from Texas Tech in 2007.

But the Wildcats began 2009 with questions on offense due to the departure of quarterback Willie Tuitama -- a three-plus year starter -- receiver Mike Thomas and offensive tackle Eben Britton.

Matt Scott won the quarterback competition over fellow sophomore Nick Foles, but it was close and Foles is still in the picture.
 
 Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE
 Arizona hasn't asked quarterback Matt Scott to pass downfield much so far this season.

The Wildcats opened with two efficient victories, but the offense played conservatively, leaning on a running attack that is averaging a stout 306 yards per contest and a stout defense.

But a visit to Iowa will pose a far tougher test on Saturday. It's unlikely the Wildcats can just line up and run right at the Hawkeyes.

Seemed like a good time to check in with Dykes and see where things stand.

Tell me how things are going at quarterback, starting with Matt Scott?

Sonny Dykes: He's made good progress so far. It's kind of been weird because we had a lead early in both games and have been pretty content to try to hold onto the ball and run it and try not to put too much on those guys right now. So he's done a good job doing that. We're completing a pretty high percentage of our throws. We haven't gotten the ball down the field a ton yet but we really haven't had to. So he's done a good job of executing what we've done. We've got to continue to improve our downfield passing game. But part of that has been we've had some guys injured and been a little bit slower than I would like to all get on the same page. Not having [tight end Rob] Gronkowski hurts us a bunch as far as getting it down the field. And Chris Gronkowski has been banged up. It's just been kind of slow to all come together.

(Read full post)


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller and Adam Rittenberg


Holy Rose Bowl! It's another Big Ten-Pac-10 weekend, with No. 8 California visiting Minnesota and Arizona headed to Iowa. All four teams are 2-0. Seems like a good time for another blogger debate.

Ted Miller: You again! Adam, we need to stop meeting like this. Or at least the Big Ten should stop meeting like Ohio State did with USC. Perhaps there will be some redemption on Saturday when California visits Minnesota and Arizona takes a gander at Iowa.
Icon SMI/US Presswire
Golden mascots square off in the Twin Cities on Saturday.

Let's start with your game Saturday in fancy pants TCF Bank Stadium. (Nice job, Minnesota.)

I look over Minnesota's particulars and I can't get a good vibe about what Cal should expect, particularly after the Gophers struggled to beat Syracuse and Air Force. Who are these guys ... and whose mascot is more golden?

Adam Rittenberg: Ted! Buddy! Good to be with you again. OK, full disclosure here. I grew up in Berkeley, attended pretty much every Cal home game between 1994 to 1999. Witnessed the one Mariucci season in '96 (still have nightmares about the Pat Barnes fumble at Washington State) and the insufferable Tom Holmoe era. But I was never a huge Oski the Bear fan. Too subdued of a mascot. Looked like a glum professor who hadn't had his sweater ironed in 50 years. And he doesn't wear pants, which is perfect for Berkeley (I grew up there, so I can say that!) So Goldy Gopher gets my vote. He's goldier.

As for Minnesota, they did struggle against the Cuse, but the Air Force win is pretty solid in my book. The defense has been the big plus so far, especially the three linebackers (Nate Triplett, Lee Campbell and Simoni Lawrence). Triplett has gone from special teams all-star to major playmaker. The offense has struggled quite a bit, as Minnesota incorporates a new pro-style system under Jedd Fisch. It's a pretty dramatic departure from what they did the last two seasons, and it has taken a bit of time to click. Quarterback Adam Weber has loads of experience and can be effective when he limits interceptions, and Eric Decker is a freaking stud. Might be the best wide receiver in America that no one talks about. The problem is Minnesota hasn't found many weapons other than Decker. The Gophers need to spark their rushing attack behind Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge and hope a No. 2 wide receiver emerges, possibly speedster Troy Stoudermire.

I saw Cal is flying in Thursday for the game. Will the Bears be ready to play this time around for a 9 a.m. Pacific kickoff, and can anyone slow down Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen? How has Kevin Riley looked so far?
Paul Jasienski-US PRESSWIRE
Cal QB Kevin Riley ranks eighth in the nation in pass efficiency.
TM: Gosh, Cal coach Jeff Tedford HATES being asked about the 9 a.m. PT kickoff, because that was the prime excuse for the Bears' terrible effort last year at Maryland, an excuse, by the way, that Tedford has rejected from the get-go. Still, it's obvious he's doing everything he can to get his team ready for the early start, changing his previous plan and flying in on Thursday.

As for Best and Vereen, they are a great combination for sure. Best is going to make a play or two, mostly because he always does. The question is whether he can be such a bothersome threat that he forces Minnesota to load up the box. If that happens, a much-improved Kevin Riley and a receiving corps that has grown up could make big plays down field. Riley ranks eighth in the nation in pass efficiency and has yet to throw a pick, so he's started off as a completely different quarterback from the guy who was so inconsistent last last season.

The big issue for Cal is playing on the road: They've lost four in a row on the road. Moreover, they've not been challenged by a team so far that can approach them physically. Minnesota will be a far tougher test, and we just don't know whether Riley and the Bears can maintain their cool efficiency away from Berkley.

As for the other game: Iowa seems to have righted itself with the big win over Iowa State. But Arizona has a fast defense. Can quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Brandon Wegher lead an effective attack against the Wildcats?

AR: As I like to say, Stanzi is the Manzi. Actually, Stanzi has been inconsistent throughout his time as the starter, mixing big plays with too many picks. But he has more targets this year with Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Tony Moeki, Trey Stross and Marvin McNutt. The running game has been a bit messy this year because of departures (Shonn Greene) and injuries (Jewel Hampton, Jeff Brinson). Brandon Wegher likely would have redshirted but stepped up big last week. He and another freshman, Adam Robinson, will get most of the carries Saturday. It's rare to see Kirk Ferentz play so many young players, but these guys seem up to the task. The offensive line could be without star left tackle Bryan Bulaga (illness) again, so those two speedy Arizona pass-rushers will have their ears pinned back for sure.

Let's talk about the Wildcats offense. How good is Nic Grigsby and does Arizona have a passing game to complement the nation's second leading rusher?

TM: Grigsby is off to a fast start, but the Iowa defense will offer a far tougher test than Central Michigan and Northern Arizona. Also, Grigsby had some fumbling problems a year ago -- he got benched a couple of times and capable back Keola Antolin took over -- but that has yet to be an issue in 2009. My guess is the Hawkeyes load the box, gang up on Grigsby and will dare Arizona's new quarterback, sophomore Matt Scott, to pass, which is never easy on the road.
Gronkowski

And therein lies a huge issue for this game. Arizona's best player, tight end Rob Gronkowski, is out with a back injury. Gronkowski is a beast. More than a few folks in the Pac-10 believe he's every bit the player that Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham is. Think having a 6-foot-6, 265-pound safety valve would help a young QB? It also doesn't help that No. 1 receiver Delashaun Dean has been slowed by a hamstring injury, though he will play.

So, the Wildcats passing game, with Scott making his first road start, is a huge question.

Speaking of road games, seems like all the Big Ten owns home field advantage in all these matchups with the Pac-10 ... no fair. But, seriously, which place will be more difficult for a visitor from the West Coast? I love Minnesota's new digs but I've heard a lot about pink bathrooms and the nutty horde at Kinnick Stadium.

AR: Well, you guys do have this game called the Rose Bowl. If memory serves, it's in Pac-10 country. Like in USC's backyard. That reminds me, Ted, can you find a way to make sure the Trojans don't go to Pasadena this year? The Big Ten would like a break from the Trojans after all these years of punishment. I stayed on the same floor as Pete Carroll last week in Columbus but forgot to ask him myself. Let me know what they say over at Heritage Hall. Thanks, dude.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Ricky Stanzi has passed for 439 yards and five touchdowns so far this season.

TCF Bank Stadium is pretty freaking awesome, and I'm excited to see the finished product in person. But I'd have to go with Kinnick Stadium as a tougher place right now. Iowa always sells it out and the fans are right on top of the field. It's a tremendous atmosphere, one of my favorites in the league. The early start time at Minnesota could be tougher for a Pac-10 team, but Kinnick definitely is less hospitable.

OK, prediction time. Who you got in Minnesota-Cal? Arizona-Iowa?

TM: Rose Bowl in Detroit, which is beautiful in midwinter!

I don't think anyone wants to see USC in the Rose Bowl again -- even USC's fans and players. The Trojans, however, wouldn't mind being in Pasadena again this January, if you catch my drift (nudge, nudge).

As for the predictions: For folks who read the Pac-10 blog, they know I've been advocating Cal as the team that might challenge USC's seven-year run atop the conference. They also know that for weeks I've been ranting about how underrated Arizona is.

So I've got pick a road warrior weekend for the Pac-10.
Let's say: Cal 35-21
And: Arizona 24-21.
Now, for the pick you should take to Vegas ...

AR: Call me a homer, but I've got to go with Cal. Minnesota has really struggled to make plays on offense, and while the Gophers' defense looks much improved, it'll be hard to contain Best and Vereen for 60 minutes and keep Cal off the scoreboard. Minnesota will have its crowd going and should keep things relatively, close, but I have Cal winning by 11, 34-23.

We'll probably see a defensive struggle at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa's defense is always solid under Norm Parker, and the front seven should prevent Grigsby from going nuts. I think Iowa got its mojo back last week and pulls this one out, 21-17 Hawkeyes.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


A good way to make a young quarterback's life easy is to rush for 318 yards per game.

That success on the ground, however, makes it difficult to reach any conclusions about Arizona quarterback Matt Scott. He's made some good plays with his feet -- his 65.5 yards rushing per game ranks ninth in the conference. And bad plays with his arm -- see two picks and just one touchdown.

While his coaches seem generally satisfied, a visit to Iowa should provide a better measure than home games vs. Central Michigan and Northern Arizona. There's no direction attached to the Hawkeyes.
 
 Chris Morrison/US Presswire
 Matt Scott (4) has made plays with his feet, but Arizona needs its QB to improve his passing.


"I don't think we'll be able to rush for 300 yards," Wildcats offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said. "So our passing game is going to get tested this week."

Scott has completed 66 percent of his throws, but has rarely looked downfield. Part of that isn't his fault. His two best receivers, Delashaun Dean and tight end Rob Gronkowski, have battled injuries. Gronkowski, who led the Wildcats with 10 touchdowns last year, will miss the Iowa game because his back is still bothering him.

"I've been really impressed with his poise and his leadership skills," coach Mike Stoops said. "He's managed the team very well. I think he's made good decisions for the most part. He can make a lot of big throws. We just missed on a couple of them. He throws the ball well and he's been very accurate for the most part. I don't see anything I don't like in Matt at this point. Obviously, the competition will get much stiffer as we move through the season."

What Scott hasn't been able to do is cement his status as the starter. Backup Nick Foles is still in the picture. Foles looked sharp completing 6 of 8 passes for 44 yards and a touchdown against Northern Arizona, and he may see spot action at Iowa, particularly if the Wildcats offense stalls against a rugged Hawkeyes defense that welcomes back eight starters from a crew that ranked ninth in the nation last year against the run (94 yards per game).

It's worth noting, however, that Iowa State rushed for 190 yards against the Hawkeyes last weekend, with five interceptions doing in the Cyclones in during a 35-3 defeat.

It's unlikely the Wildcats will be able to go into rowdy Kinnick Stadium, run Nic Grigsby 40 times and win the game. They will need to throw. Scott, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore, believes that won't be a problem. He said his offense has a few more tricks up its sleeve and a lot more plays in the playbook.

"We haven't really opened much stuff up yet," he said. "We've been relying on the run game. We're really close on a lot of passes. We're going to get it done."

This will be Scott's first road start, and Kinnick isn't the most hospitable environment. It will be a challenge to communicate with his team, and the Wildcats offense requires a fair amount of communication due to a variety of checks the quarterback is responsible for at the line of scrimmage.

Scott said he's not worried about crowd noise.

"I'm good at blocking that stuff out," he said. "I don't worry about fans or stuff around me. I just worry about stuff on the field."

Scott also said he's fine if he has to share time with Foles.

"Whatever works for the team, that's alright for me," he said. "As long as we get that W, it doesn't matter to me who goes in or how long they go in."

One of the big stories of the week has been the return of Stoops and his brother Mark, Arizona's defensive coordinator, to their alma mater. Both played defensive back for the Hawkeyes and then-coach Hayden Fry.

Stoops has waved away the sentimental angle for the most part. "I'm not real nostalgic about it," he said.

That's because the Wildcats could make a big leap forward as a program with a win.

While they won eight games last year and won their first bowl game since 1998, Pac-10 media picked the Wildcats eighth in the conference's preseason poll.

Some apparently still have doubts about the trajectory of the program.

Winning at Iowa would earn the Wildcats national attention -- perhaps a national ranking? -- and would build up confidence as they head into the conference schedule.

Said Scott: "If we can pull this out, we can send a message to everybody that we can do a lot more than what we have in the past. I think we have the team to do it."

What to watch in the Pac-10

September, 17, 2009
9/17/09
8:39
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


"Measuring Stick Saturday" is two days away. With two nonconference games on the road at Big Ten sites and two home games against ranked teams, the Pac-10 can make a statement that could reverberate in December when it's time to see which conference gets two BCS bowl teams. Or it could flop.

This week, what to watch is like Jeopardy. It's posed as a question.
  1. Can California win on the road? The Bears are riding a four-game road losing streak. Their lone road victory last year came at Washington State, which doesn't count. The last time they faced an early a.m. PDT start, such as they face Saturday at Minnesota, they sleepwalked through the first three quarters at Maryland. If Cal wants to take the next step and move up from a Top-25 program to a top-10 program, it must learn to consistently win on the road.
  2. Is Arizona a Top-25 team? A victory at Iowa and a 3-0 start would clearly demonstrate to the Pac-10 and the country that last year's eight-win season was just a start and that Arizona is a program on the rise. It also would make it hard to leave the Wildcats out of the nation's Top 25. Moreover, doing it with a sophomore quarterback, Matt Scott, making his first road start and without their best player, tight end Rob Gronkowski, would be even more impressive.
  3. Can Oregon State's rebuilt defense thwart Cincinnati's challenge? The Bearcats arrive in Corvallis with an offense that averages 571 yards and 59 points per game. The Beavers counter with just three returning starters on defense. Yikes. Of course, the Beavers only had three returning starters on defense last year and that unit pitched a shutout in the Sun Bowl. The big question here is can Oregon State's pass rush, muted in the first two games, get to Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike?
  4. Does Steve Sarkisian have secret knowledge that can trip the Trojans? Sarkisian has said all week that he won't over-analyze what he knows about USC's coaching staff and players based on his tenure as a Trojans assistant coach. It may not matter because talent wins most of the time and the Trojans have way better talent. But if Washington is going to keep this one close and even, perhaps, pull the upset, let there be no doubt that part of that will be Sark and defensive coordinator Nick Holt exploiting some area where they believe the Trojans are vulnerable.
  5. Is Washington State's season on the brink? The answer is yes. It's not just that SMU, which went 1-11 last year, is the Cougars' best chance for a win this year. It's that the program is presently in a fragile state. Paul Wulff inherited a huge rebuilding job, but fans feel like they are owed more than they are presently getting out of the program. If the Cougs get drubbed at home by the Mustangs' run-and-shoot, it will take a heck of a coaching job for Wulff to hold this together.
  6. Will Jeremiah Masoli and the Oregon offense break through? The Oregon offense improved substantially from Week 1 to Week 2, but it certainly wasn't vintage Ducks spread-option under Chip Kelly, and it certainly didn't approach the magic Masoli produced over the final three games last year. Utah probably can identify. While the Utes are 2-0, they haven't exactly been a finely tuned machine. They needed a big fourth quarter to beat San Jose State, and the defense gave up 221 yards rushing to Utah State.
  7. Will Stanford remember Toby Gerhart is a dominating RB? Gerhart only got six carries in the second half at Wake Forest, and that shouldn't sit well with the coaching staff. Enter San Jose State, which ranks 119th in the country in run defense. It's good that redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Luck gives the Cardinal a boost in the passing game, but Gerhart is the guy who sets the tone and grinds down foes. Give him the rock.
  8. Can UCLA maintain its focus and win with a backup quarterback? The Bruins are coming off a big win at Tennessee, but they followed up a big win over Tennessee last year with a 59-0 loss at BYU. What's more, the Bruins face Kansas State without quarterback Kevin Prince, who broke his jaw in the waning moments against the Vols. His likely replacement is true freshman Richard Brehaut. While true freshman QBs suddenly seem all the rage, most coaches get nervous seeing one breaking the huddle. Moreover, four players were suspended this week, including a cornerback who was only starting because the starter is hurt. In other words, the Bruins have a lot going on.
  9. Will Arizona State take Louisiana-Monroe lightly and get embarrassed? Louisiana-Monroe infamously beat Alabama in 2007 and inspired Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban to compare the loss to Pearl Harbor. The Sun Devils should win this one comfortably, but only if they show up focused, intense and ready to play. If they need any reminders of what can happen when you don't do that against an underwhelming nonconference foe, they only need to look back a year ago at what happened when UNLV visited.
  10. If the Pac-10 rolls this week, will pundits notice? Know that if the Pac-10 flops this weekend in these marquee nonconference games, the gadflies will cackle and swarm. But in the event of a string of victories, it will be interesting to see how the polls react. If Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona all win, do they jump into the AP poll? And what about UCLA? Will such success lay the groundwork for a second BCS berth for an 11-1 or even 10-2 team? Don't expect a rolling thunder of a weekend and a sweep of these contests, but none of these tilts is out of reach. Which also means, of course, that all of them are losable.

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Gronkowski

Arizona's first-team All-Pac-10 tight end Rob Gronkowski will be out indefinitely with a strained back, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Gronkowski, the centerpiece of the Arizona offense, could be out a week or longer, coach Mike Stoops told reporters.

He has left the team, which is practicing at Fort Huachuca in northern Arizona, and returned to Tucson.

Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 672 yards with 10 touchdowns in 2008. Backup tight end A.J. Simmons, a junior, has caught just three passes for 14 yards and a touchdown in his career.

Preseason All-Pac-10 team

August, 14, 2009
8/14/09
10:05
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

It's never easy to put a preseason all-conference list together. Should you project forward or look back? How do you choose between three A-list cornerbacks or leave off a couple of deserving defensive ends?

Perhaps this list will be much different by mid-December.

QB Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon
RB Jahvid Best, California
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
WR Damian Williams, USC
WR James Rodgers, Oregon State
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona
C Kristofer O'Dowd, USC
OG Jeff Byers, USC
OG Colin Baxter, Arizona
OT Charles Brown, USC
OT Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State

K Kai Forbath, UCLA

DE Will Tukuafu, Oregon
DT Brian Price, UCLA
DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State
DE Dexter Davis, Arizona State
LB Keaton Kristick, Oregon State
LB Reggie Carter, UCLA
LB Mike Nixon, Arizona State
CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon
CB Syd'Quan Thompson, California
FS Taylor Mays, USC
SS Cam Nelson, Arizona

P Bryan Anger, California

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