Friday, March 23, 2012
Pac-12 chat wrap
By ESPN.com staff
If you missed my Thursday chat, I apologize for the rash that ensued. Hope it doesn't ruin your weekend.
If you'd like to re-live it in its entirety, go here.
Here are some highlights.
David (Salt Lake City): Ted, with all of the new talent at quarterback, do you sense any indication that any of the incoming recruits have a shot at the starting position?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM): It's always a long shot for a true freshman to start at QB, particularly if he doesn't show up early for spring practices, as, for example, Matt Barkley did. I don't think any true freshmen will start at QB in the Pac-12 this year, and that includes Utah and Cal. I do think you will see at least one (maybe two) redshirt freshmen starting.
Ryan (Spokane): Do you expect the Cougs to start competing more, if not winning some of the in-state recruits (Locker, Kasen Williams) now that the Pirate is on the Palouse?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM): Even during Washington State's best years, it didn't typically beat Washington for the state's top recruits. But there's no reason it can't get, say, get three or four of the top ten if Washington gets five or six (others go out of state). Further, winning helps. If the Cougs start going to bowl games under [new coach Mike] Leach, better recruits will come in. But Leach won in the Big 12 without landing A-list recruits, which is a big reason he seems like a great fit in Pullman.
Warren (Lakewood): I believe Oregon state is going to make some noise this year in the pac12 north and that a sleeping giant has been reawakened in the pac12. [Coach Mike] Riley will rally these young guns and behind [Sean] Mannion and that wr corp they have I expect the Beavs to play in a bowl next year. What are your expectations for the Boys of Corvallis?
Ted Miller (3:15 PM): It's good to hear [I actually typed "here" during the chat, which is, well, really embarrassing] Beaver optimism. You guys have seemed kind of grumpy of late. I think the Beavers are good enough to get back to a bowl game in 2012, but it's also hard to project them too high until they answer questions on both lines.
Scott (Tempe): Ted, Heading to the topic of coaching changes in the desert. With Todd Graham displaying to us all his style of recruiting/coaching/discipline, how do you compare him to Rich Rodriguez? Rich Rod gets all the love, but who is the better coach in your eyes and will have the most impact?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM): Rich Rod has won a BCS bowl game and has a long track record of success. That's why he gets the love. But I do appreciate the notes Graham has been hitting: Demanding, discipline, up-tempo, etc. I think Rodriguez was a home run hire. But I also think better of the Graham hire based on what I've seen (and read) about what he's doing. But judgments on coach hires before they play a game is pretty superficial. It's just me -- and others -- yammering.
Nick Stratton (Dewitt, Michigan): How will Stanford's offense look this year without [Andrew] Luck? Who do you think will be the starter?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM): My only slightly educated guess is [Brett] Nottingham, mostly because I heard good things about him last year when he became the backup. I think Stanford will still be very good on offense, though it probably will take a step back without the best QB of a generation. I think the defense also will be good. So I still see the Cardinal as a top-25 team.
Dan (Eugene): Eddie Pleasant will be tougher for the Ducks to replace than Darron Thomas OR LaMichael James. True or false.
Ted Miller (3:30 PM): I would have said true until John Boyett talked up the guys who might step in to me, such as Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson. And I wonder if the transition at QB will be as easy as many fans think. Will Chip Kelly always hit a home run at QB? And as good as Kenjon [Barner] is, LaMike is one of the all-time best Pac-12 RBs.
David (San Francisco, CA): Ted, what do you expect out of Brett Hundley and the UCLA quarterback position this year?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM): I think Hundley will be given every opportunity to win the job, though I'm not sure it's a slam dunk that Kevin Prince won't. Last spring, Hundley wasn't ready, and that was clear. So he needs to be substantially better this spring. But he's a good prospect -- sharp, dual threat, seems to have leadership ability. And I think the work Noel Mazzone did with Brock Osweiler shows he knows how to teach a spread system to a young QB.
Bob (Seattle): Think the dawgs will be alright at LB this season?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM): I don't know... big question. Some guys coming back, but the position was not played well in 2011. You'd hope some of those youthful mistakes will correct themselves. But I saw too many Huskies LBs get stuck on blocks last year to not see it as a question.
Pirates of the Palouse (Pullman): [Jeff] Tuel or [Connor] Halliday?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM): Tuel... folks seem to forget how good he is when healthy. He's an NFL prospect and he has a lot of experience. Also, after being sacked so many times and showing outstanding toughness and resolve, I think he's earned an opportunity to see the postseason.
darrell (tacoma): Who has the weakest nonconference schedule, who has the toughest?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM): Easiest is Oregon (Ark State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech).Hardest: Oregon State (BYU and Wisconsin with Nicholls State). Hardest game period is Washington at LSU. And USC, with Hawaii, Syracuse and Notre Dame, doesn't have an official patsy.
Daniel (Eugene): What do you think about Arik Armstead also playing basketball for the Ducks? Will dual responsibilities make him a better lineman or just confused, especially with Oregon now contending for March Madness positions?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM): I don't like guys playing hoops and football, though I certainly respect the athleticism it requires. If he asked me my advice, which he won't, I'd say choose a sport. But I'd also then say do what makes you happiest.