Pac-12 chat wrap
January, 24, 2013
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
For everyone impersonating Trojan 1981 yesterday in the chat, here's the big reveal ... (drum roll) ... the real Trojan 1981 was actually running yesterday's chat! Mind = blown! You can read all of his brilliant answers here, or just check out the highlights below.
Ben (Scotland): Pretty straight forward question here, who do you believe wins the Pac-12 South and why?
Kevin Gemmell (2:01 PM): Straight forward answer: I don't know. I could make a case for UCLA repeating, USC bouncing back, Arizona or Arizona State winning. All four teams have a lot of things going in their favor and all four have question marks. I will say I'm liking the look of ASU's defensive front. Going to be nasty.
Cam (Los Angeles): Would you agree that UCLA has the best linebacker corp in the P12? Barr, Zumwalt, and Kendricks, plus to be determined.Favorite/Least Favorite GOT character?!
Kevin Gemmell (2:03 PM): Wouldn't say they are the best. Not saying they aren't either. But Stanford's corp looks pretty darn good with Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov coming back -- along with A.J. Tarpley. That's going to be just as formidable -- if not more formidable than any other group in the conference.
Trojan1981 (Next to Burrito Stadium): With the Beavs returning 4 OL starters, do you think they'll be able to play well enough to help Storm Woods have a break out season as well as pass protect a smidgen better?
Kevin Gemmell (2:06 PM): I thought the offensive line was coming along really well -- then Cody Vaz got sacked 10 times. But yes, line continuity is one of the most important keys to success. I think Woods was very close to having a breakout this year so I'd expect him to continue to trend up as the line matures together.
Tony (Richmond, CA): How damaging will the loss of Pep Hamilton be to the Stanford offense?
Kevin Gemmell (2:14 PM): That's a very interesting question. You wonder how much of it two years ago was Andrew Luck -- especially in the red zone where they were so good in 2011 and had a huge drop off in 2012. Luck did, after all, call a lot of his own stuff. If they promote Mike Bloomgren, I don't think there will be too much of a hit because he's the one who really got that run game going. They just need to find some offensive playmakers to help out Kevin Hogan because he's going to be asked to do a lot more. In terms of play-calling, I'd imagine it will still be Shaw with input from Mike Sanford and Bloomgren.
Johnny (San Francisco): Are there any projected recruits in danger of decommitting due to the departure of Chip Kelly and the hiring of Helfrich? What are the chances we maintain the current class and add some additional undecided prospects?
Kevin Gemmell (2:19 PM): There have been a couple of guys "open up" their recruiting to take other visits. That's not totally unusual this time of year though -- especially as 17 and 18-year-olds start to ponder their future. I think the chances are strong you retain the class. Remember, Oregon has developed into a program that recruits itself. They don't need to cast a wide net, so I wouldn't be too worried.
Johnny Bench (New Haven): Why does ASU always recruit JUCO players hard? I know they picked up some solid guys, but it seems every year they are signing 8+ JUCO players!
Kevin Gemmell (2:25 PM): JC players can be a good stop-gap, especially for newer coaches trying to build a program -- which is what Graham is trying to do. I'd expect that number to go down next year, the year after that and so on until the depth is there they want.
Connor Halliday (The Coug): Should I be worried about any of the other quarterbacks on the depth chart? I'm looking at you Austin Apodaca and Tyler Bruggman
Kevin Gemmell (2:35 PM): After this season, every Washington State quarterback should be looking over their shoulder and worried about their place on the depth chart. Certainly, you have the edge going into spring, but that doesn't mean you'll keep it.
Jon (Fairfield, CA): How long until Mora leaves UCLA to go back to the NFL?
Kevin Gemmell (2:39 PM): Not sure. I talked with him a lot about that this year and he seems really sincere when he says he loves being a college coach. He's spent so much time in the NFL that this is a new and exciting gig for him. He seems really energized being around the college athletes. He and I shared a good 10 minutes after the win over USC outside the Rose Bowl around 10 p.m. in the rain and you should have seen the look on his face. I don't think you can fake that.
Unclesnake (Smog lake city): Do you see any unique storylines coming out of the PAC-12 or even the whole league this year? Things to watch for?
Kevin Gemmell (2:42 PM): I think the rise of the young quarterbacks is going to be really fun to watch over the next couple of years: Mariota, Hundley, Hogan, Kelly etc.