Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ranking the Pac-10 quarterbacks
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Who's set at quarterback with a present and/or future star? And who's got reasons for concern.
Oregon: If you watched the final three games of 2008, you know why Jeremiah Masoli is No. 1. Moreover, Chip Kelly is still calling plays, and there's intriguing depth behind Masoli in Nate Costa and Darron Thomas.
Washington: Point out the injury that ended his 2008 season after four games, or his lackluster completion percentage, but know that Jake Locker scares defensive coordinators. And early returns are he and Steve Sarkisian might make beautiful music together. Backup Ronnie Fouch has looked much better during the preseason.
Oregon State: Ideally, the Beavers have two proven, experienced senior quarterbacks, but Lyle Moevao's slow recovery from shoulder surgery shakes that enviable position a bit. Still, Sean Canfield has looked good since the spring and so have the young guys behind him.
California: Kevin Riley has the experience and the ability. Now it's time for him to prove he can be a good quarterback for an entire season. Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney played well enough to push Riley and reassure coach Jeff Tedford that he has alternatives if Riley falters.
USC: In terms of talent, USC ranks higher than fifth. But the Trojans still haven't figured out who the lead dog is between Aaron Corp and true freshman Matt Barkley, and neither has any real game experience.
Stanford: First, this higher-than-expected ranking is about touted redshirt freshman Andrew Luck, who has generated only positive reviews since spring practices. Second, his backup, Tavita Pritchard, has started 19 games, so that's a nice security blanket.
Arizona State: On the one hand, Danny Sullivan is a senior. On the other, he has no quality game experience -- at least any game experience that would inspire confidence. Still, he's done one thing that matters: He left no doubt who the Sun Devils best quarterback is during the preseason.
Arizona: This ranking would have been higher up until Saturday, when expected starter Matt Scott struggled in a scrimmage that was set up to be his coming-out party. That opened the door for Nick Foles, and now the two sophomores are in a dead-heat. Coach Mike Stoops says he likes both guys and may play both, but he'd like it better if one would win the job.
UCLA: The Bruins are going to sink or swim with redshirt freshman Kevin Prince, whom offensive coordinator Norm Chow loves, but has yet to perform with consistency in scrimmages. If Prince struggles, it will be interesting to see if Chow turns to last year's forgotten starter, Kevin Craft, or freshmen Richard Brehaut or Nick Crissman.
Washington State: Both senior Kevin Lopina and sophomore Marshall Lobbestael have experience, but the Cougars passing offense ranked last in the Pac-10 with 146 yards per game in 2008 and quarterbacks threw 21 interceptions and just six touchdown passes.