Pac-10 QBs: Do we know more after spring practices?

April, 29, 2009
4/29/09
6:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Quarterbacks always take center stage. Either there's a competition or controversy or there's a returning starter everyone is excited about. Or worried about.

So what do we know about the status of Pac-10 quarterbacks as spring practices end, with Oregon and Oregon State playing their spring games on Saturday?

Fact is, only a few things have changed, meaning in most cases what most thought would happen did.

But there clearly is some remaining intrigue for the fall.

The certainties

  • Jake Locker, Washington: Locker had a great spring, but even if he didn't he was an iron-clad lock to be the Huskies quarterback in 2009, if healthy.
  • Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon: Masoli has been inconsistent at times this spring, but he may have played better than any quarterback in the country over the season's final three games.

The clear frontrunners (in descending order of certainty)

  • Danny Sullivan, Arizona State: This one showed a real uptick. Sullivan was a slight favorite going into spring because the long-time backup was by far the most experienced. But he outplayed his rivals by a wide margin and now it would be a real upset if he's not the opening-day starter.
  • Kevin Prince, UCLA: Prince was crowned the frontrunner going into spring and he played well for the first half of the session, building a commanding lead over true freshman Richard Brehaut and former starter Kevin Craft. But Prince wavered late and failed to close the deal. Still, it's hard to find anyone around the program who doesn't believe Prince will eventually win the job.
  • Andrew Luck, Stanford: While Tavita Pritchard has started 19 games, it's clear that Luck is the future of the program. And Luck was so good during spring practices, he's making that future start in the present.
  • Aaron Corp, USC: To some, it might seem a slight upset that Corp beat out Mitch Mustain, who ended up third behind true freshman No. 2 Matt Barkley. But Corp's steady play and athletic ability was duly noted in practices last year, while Mustain often hurt himself by forcing passes into places they would not fit. As for Barkley, he was brilliant at times this spring -- a true talent -- but the odds are against a true freshman being handed the keys to the Trojans offense.
  • Kevin Riley, California: While coach Jeff Tedford slapped two big "Ors" on the depth chart between Riley and Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney, this remains Riley's job to lose. Of course, those "Ors" mean he can lose it, so he best not waste his off-season.

The on-going competitions (in descending order of uncertainty)

  • Oregon State: This one could get complicated because it seems like a complete toss-up between two seniors with successful starting experience: Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao. Last year, Canfield lost the job when Moevao asserted himself while Canfield recovered from a shoulder injury. This year, the situation has been the exact opposite, with Canfield looking like the star he was projected to be when he arrived as a hot-shot recruit. Coaches often talk about having two starting quarterbacks. That cliché is actually true for the Beavers.
  • Arizona: The rumbling is that Matt Scott had a slight lead coming out of spring over Michigan State transfer Nick Foles. But it's hard to tell if that rumbling is based on reality or just due to how much kibitzers love mobile quarterbacks. Said coach Mike Stoops, "We probably won't name a starter until seven to 10 days before our first game against Central Michigan. And it's possible both could play in that game."
  • Washington State: The general feeling around Washington State is that sophomore Marshall Lobbestael will win this job when he gets healthy. And senior Kevin Lopina's numbers were awful last year -- 11 interceptions, no touchdowns. But Lopina was healthy this spring and he threw the ball better than in the fall. There's some uncertainty here, particularly if Lobbestael's knee is still an issue come August.

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

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