Monday, July 16, 2012
Pac-12 media day primer
By Ted Miller
Kevin and I are getting ready for Pac-12 media day next week. So should you. Here's a primer.
(You can see the complete list of attendees here).
Dates: July 24
Location: Universal Studios in Los Angeles
Big names in attendance: Besides four new coaches, USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, California wide receiver Keenan Allen, Washington quarterback Keith Price and Stanford outside linebacker Chase Thomas.
Big names not in attendance: There are plenty of stars who won't be on hand, but it's hard to argue with the players attending.
So what can we expect?
- Teams at the top will tamp down expectations. Teams at the bottom will bemoan a lack of respect and insist they don't give a flip about so-called pundits.
- Every team will claim an outstanding offseason, perhaps even calling workout attendance "the best ever." There's a good chance many will be exaggerating.
- Four new coaches will get their biggest formal introduction to Pac-12 reporters: Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, Arizona State's Todd Graham, UCLA's Jim Mora and Washington State's Mike Leach. They will be impressed by how awesome we are.
- Barkley will be asked about opting not to enter the NFL draft. The Pac-12 blog challenges him to figure out a way to answer the question in a surprising way.
- Oregon coach Chip Kelly will be snarky, no matter how awesome we reporters are.
- Subjects likely to come up: USC wide receiver Robert Woods' ankle, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn's shoulders, Matt Scott running Rich Rodriguez's spread-option, the status of Arizona State defensive end Junior Onyeali, USC's depth questions and Kenjon Barner replacing LaMichael James. How much can Cal quarterback Zach Maynard and Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion improve from Year 1 to Year 2? What's the quarterback pecking order at Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA? Other issues include whether Utah running back John White IV prefers to be known as "Juan Blanco" or "The Wolfman," Tosh Lupoi's departure from Cal to Washington and Leach's affinity for Pirates.
- Graham will be asked about his controversial departure from Pittsburgh for the 10,000th time, and the reporter who does so will win a set of steak knives (there's a reason reporters ask the same question over and over).
- California coach Jeff Tedford and Oregon State coach Mike Riley will be asked if they feel pressure or feel like they are on the hot seat. Both will say no one puts more pressure on them than themselves and that there is always pressure.
- Leach will go off on a lengthy tangent that has nothing to do with anything but likely will be interesting and amusing.
- Stanford coach David Shaw and his players will be asked about life after Andrew Luck.
- The UCLA contingent will be asked about USC.
- "Teeth" Price will smile. A lot.
- Lane Kiffin will say nothing controversial. And some of us will miss the old Kiffin.
- Someone during post-interview small talk will say, "Man, Star Lotulelei... that dude is big."
- The coaches will each be asked 47 times about the four-team college football playoff that will start in 2014.
- Here's a guess that at some point someone asks about Joe Paterno.
- Oregon and USC will be nearly unanimous choices to win the North and South Divisions, respectively, but somebody will vote differently just to be quirky.