Pac-12: 2012 Pac-12 Media Days

Seen and heard at Pac-12 media day: Part II

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
6:30
PM ET
You can see our Pac-12 media day page here.

Here are some more notes and quotes from Pac-12 media day. And part I is here.

USC coach Lane Kiffin on Matt Barkley's decision not to enter the NFL draft: As we went through the process after the season of Matt figuring this out, and once again figuring this out, and as Matt had questions again today, they were about how did you convince him to stay? And I think Matt would be the first to tell you, I didn't recruit Matt to stay. Sometimes we recruit kids to stay because they're projected as a second- or third-round picks, and they could stay and work on things and get better. Matt was completely ready for the NFL. I assume he would have been a top-5 pick, totally ready to go in and be the face of a franchise and be ready to play in the NFL. His situation was different, and I think it was about him wanting to do something special. What some people have written, he may be able to go down as the most historic Trojan ever if we do big things this year.

[+] EnlargeJeff Tuel
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireCougars QB Jeff Tuel credited the new coaching staff with taking the level of confidence and excitement around the program to a new level.
Washington State QB Jeff Tuel on former coach Paul Wulff and whether there needed to be change after last year: Obviously I think a lot of people felt that way, but Coach Wulff was doing a great job of recruiting, the program was at such a low when I came in as a freshman and he started working hard. I think Coach Leach would tip his hat to that. What this coaching staff has done with this program is, I think, safe to say something that the old coaching staff would never have done. The level of confidence that they bring to this program and the level of excitement that they bring to the university is tremendous.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley on whether he was surprised by defensive end Scott Crichton's productivity in 2011: I wouldn't say I was surprised. You never really -- you see the talent and you know the capability is there. And of course, we had redshirted him. So I watched him on the scout team and knew what was there, but then the fact is he can bring it to the games and produce like that. He is talented and the thing I like about Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn, they both improved their numbers dramatically, speed, strength, in the offseason. So I appreciate that work ethic from two guys that did well as freshmen. And that's been what I've seen as an identity of this group, in general. I think Scott is a good example of that, continuing to grow.

California coach Jeff Tedford on the Golden Bears long Rose Bowl drought: There is no doubt I think if you asked our fans whether they want to be in a National Championship or the Rose Bowl, it's the Rose Bowl, and it's the measuring stick on where you want to be. Every year we set out to do that, and we've been close a couple of times but haven't knocked that door down. Excited about the opportunity this year as the season starts anew to strive to get there again. I know it's been a long, long time and it would feel great if this was the group that was able to do it obviously.

Tedford on the status of injured guard/center Dominic Galas: Dominic pulled his pec muscle off his bone, his shoulder, and he's having surgery this afternoon, I believe. Depending on how that looks when they get in there will depend on the rehab time, but initially they talked about maybe three months for rehab which would put him somewhere I believe in the October range.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian on his offensive line: The questions are obvious. When you think you return four starters, you lose one to a medical hardship in [Colin] Porter and you're down to three and one of them is coming off a knee, you have concerns. I think we have depth and versatility at the position, and we will be able to do things to make that happen. Obviously, that is one of our question marks, who are going to be our five guys? Where do they fit, making sure that our best players are in the toughest positions so we can be successful. You're going to see times at training camp, Drew Schaefer will be at tackle, Taniela [Tupou] at center and [Erik] Kohler at center, and we will do it time and again to get the best five guys to be successful on the field, so we can run the football the best and protect this guy and so that we have the best continuity as we continue to move forward. Like anything, we have question marks. The O-line happens to be one of those.

Stanford coach David Shaw on the departure of tight end Coby Fleener and whether the Cardinal can still use three-tight-end sets: We're going to do everything we can with the guys we have. We have been able to play with three tight ends, we moved Luke Kaumatule from a defensive end and he will be a true freshman at the tight end position for us. We've moved Jemari Roberts to the tight end position. We have a bevy of fullbacks, unlike most in the nation. Ryan Hewitt is the most versatile college football player you can find. So, for us, it's about mixing and matching, and doing the things that help us be consistent and successful on the offensive side, not to mention we will play a lot of those big guys on the offensive line. So some of those guys you will see lineup at tight end positions, as well.

Oregon coach Chip Kelly on De'Anthony Thomas and whether running back Kenjon Barner can carry the ball as much as LaMichael James: I don't know what [position] De'Anthonoy is. I think he's a special talent that you figure out how to use him and get him the football. I believe Kenjon can handle the load. We don't want anybody to be carrying the ball 30 times a game and that happened in LaMichael's career just because maybe Kenjon wasn't available in that game. But usually, we have two guys and we split the carries between those two. So depending on the depth behind those two guys will determine how we will use them. But you will see them both on the field at the same time, and I think what that presents to a defense with some of the other weapons we have, from a skilled position standpoint, is going to make defensive coordinators stay up late at night.

Video: Utah DT Star Lotulelei

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
3:00
PM ET
video
Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei talks about the Utes and coming back for his senior year instead of turning pro.

Video: USC QB Matt Barkley

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
1:00
PM ET
video
USC quarterback Matt Barkley talks about coming back for his senior season, high expectations and the Heisman Trophy.

Video: USC coach Lane Kiffin

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
12:00
PM ET
video
Ted Miller talks with USC head coach Lane Kiffin at Pac-12 media days.

Video: Stanford's Stepfan Taylor

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
9:00
AM ET
video
Kevin Gemmell talks with Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor about the new-look offensive line and Stanford's quarterback competition.

Video: Wrapping up Pac-12 media day

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
11:54
PM ET
video
Kevin Gemmell and Ted Miller wrap up Pac-12 media day.

For their full notebook, click here.

Video: Oregon's Chip Kelly at media day

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
9:07
PM ET
video
Chip Kelly talks about his weapons on offense, his underrated defense and the well-oiled machine in Eugene.

On stage ... Stanford

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
4:28
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.: Some notes from Stanford head coach David Shaw, running back Stepfan Taylor and linebacker Chase Thomas:
  • Shaw says LB Shayne Skov has been cleared and is done with his rehab. "He's not ready to play a football game yet."
  • Taylor says he doesn't feel the pressure to produce. "We feel like we have to play our best game, every game."
  • Shaw says Taylor is the most underrated running back in the nation. He said we have an "unbelievable" front seven that could be as good as any in college football.
  • Shaw says "we're going to do everything we can do with the players we have" in regards to whether the three-tight-end formations will still exist with the departure of Coby Fleener. They have moved a few players around and still have a lot of fullbacks. He called FB Ryan Hewitt the most versatile college football player you can find. "It's about mixing and matching."
  • Thomas says the front seven is as good as any in the nation.
  • Shaw says he told Brett Nottingham and Josh Nunes there should be no effort to be Andrew Luck, "because they can't." He wants the guy to get them into the best formation and the best play against the defense they are facing.

On stage ... Oregon

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
4:22
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Oregon coach Chip Kelly, running back Kenjon Barner and linebacker Michael Clay.
  • Kelly and Barner showed up in all-black. Clay was in some snazzy white pants.
  • Kelly: "We only had 10 seniors on last year's team." Only 16 seniors this year, by the way.
  • Both Barner and Clay have already graduated.
  • Kelly on De'Anthony Thomas' role increase: "De'Anthony's role will increase and Kenjon's role will increase."
  • Barner on the Ducks uniforms: "Who knows what to expect? It's Oregon."
  • Kelly on how much more Thomas can do: "Hopefully a lot ... the only thing we won't do is let him throw ... you'll see him a little bit more in the kick return game, maybe punt return."
  • Kelly was asked about Penn State sanctions. He said the primary issue was victims and protecting "youth of this country."
  • Barner on pressure: "Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing. I've been in this position a few times in my career."
  • Clay on Ducks defense: "We don't want the big, slow, clunky guys."
  • Kelly wouldn't say whether Thomas was chiefly a running back or receiver: "I don't know what he is. He's a special player."

On stage ... Stanford

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
4:16
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Stanford head coach David Shaw, running back Stepfan Taylor and linebacker Chase Thomas:

  • Shaw says linebacker Shayne Skov has been cleared and is done with his rehab but "he's not ready to play a football game yet."
  • Taylor says he doesn't feel the pressure to produce with Andrew Luck and Tyler Gaffney gone. He said he feels the pressure to produce because he's a senior. "We feel like we have to play our best game, every game."
  • Shaw says Taylor is the most underrated running back in the nation. He said Stanford has an "unbelievable" front seven that could be as good as any in college football.
  • Shaw says "we're going to do everything we can do with the players we have" in regards to whether the three-tight-end formations will still exist with the departure of Coby Fleener. They have moved a few players around and still have a lot of fullbacks. He called fullback Ryan Hewitt the most versatile college football player you can find. "It's about mixing and matching."
  • Thomas says the front seven is as good as any in the nation.
  • Shaw says he told Brett Nottingham and Josh Nunes there should be no effort to be Andrew Luck, "because they can't." He wants the guy to get them into the best formation and the best play against the defense they are facing.

On stage ... Washington

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
4:02
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, quarterback Keith Price and cornerback Desmond Trufant.
  • Sarkisian notes that this is the first time he's brought two players to media day whom he recruited.
  • Sarkisian is projected to start four seniors.
  • Sarkisian: "We think we're on the brink of something special at the University of Washington."
  • Sarkisian: "Embracing opportunity to play at CenturyLink Stadium."
  • Sarkisian: "I think we'd be remiss to put all our eggs in one basket" for early season schedule, which includes LSU, Oregon, Stanford and USC.
  • Sarkisian on USC: "The defense is underrated."
  • Price on playing against Robert Griffin III: "Before the game, coach Sark said we were going to break records ... you show up or go home ... the offense showed up to play."
  • Sarkisian on former Cal assistant Tosh Lupoi recruiting for the Bears one day and then recruiting for the Huskies the next when hired at UW: "It's the business ... it was not the intent in making that hire to steal another school's recruits."
  • Sarkisian on offensive line: "I think we have enough depth at the position that we have some versatility there ... obviously that is one of our question marks."
  • Sarkisian on injured defensive end Hau'oli Jamora, who's coming back from a knee injury: "Jamora looks great."
  • Sarkisian said the defense will be a hybrid 3-4 and 4-3, with the defense being flexible based on the game.
  • Sarkisian: "We're progressing incrementally ... the challenge for us now is to put it all together."
  • Sarkisian said incoming freshman safety Shaq Thompson could see some action on offense, too.
  • Sarkisian on how much Huskies can improve on defense: "I think it can be dramatic ... I don't think this will be a long and drawn out process. This thing can get turned around and turned around quickly."

On the stage ... California

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
3:48
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- A summary of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, wide receiver Keenan Allen and defensive back Josh Hill.
  • Tedford on getting back to playing on campus: “It’s great to move home to Memorial Stadium … I know the players are fired up and the fans are fired up.” He says that the first two rows of the field are down and they should be on the field Aug. 15. “I think our players did a very nice job of trying to block out the distractions [of not playing at home].” He said the home environment at Memorial Stadium will be very special.
  • Tedford said he feels good about having a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000-yard rusher coming back. He said there is a lot of experience on the defensive line, but losing Mychal Kendricks is a big hole to fill.
  • Tedford says he has a lot of confidence in quarterback Zach Maynard. “I think the early struggles were really just about game management and that comes with experience and knowledge of what we’re doing ... we expect big things out of him this year.”
  • Allen says there are guys who can step up and replace Marvin Jones.
  • Tedford says it’s going to be an exciting year with the four new coaches. “Year in and year out you learn to have a book on some of these teams. With four new coaches, it’s an opportunity to match up with some of these new offenses.”
  • Tedford says offensive lineman Dominic Galas pulled his pectoral muscle and is having surgery Tuesday afternoon. How it looks in surgery will depend on rehab time but he’s estimating about three months.
  • Allen says he plans to be 100 percent heading into camp. “If I had to play a game today, I’m not sure I could last all four quarters.”
  • Tedford says if you ask the fans if they’d rather be in the national championship game or the Rose Bowl, they’d pick the Rose Bowl. “It’s the measuring stick on where you want to be."
  • Tedford said spending time with the New England Patriots was great and he spent time looking at their tight end package. "I think that's going to be critical for our success this year." He says that being multiple in their formations will take a lot of the pressure off of Allen.

On stage ... Washington State

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
3:38
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Washington State head coach Mike Leach, quarterback Jeff Tuel and DE Travis Long:
  • Leach on the eight-game versus nine-game conference schedule: "I don’t think the dust has settled. Scene has been so volatile. I think everyone having the same number would be ideal. The more congruent you can make it the better, especially if at the end you are declaring a champion."
  • Tuel on his health: “I’m 100 percent healthy.”
  • Leach on quarterbacks: “I want our quarterback to be accurate and make good decisions. The single most important thing a quarterback does is make his players better. He pulls the trigger and distributes the football. The better he does that the better the offense will be.”
  • Leach says the culture at Pullman and Lubbock both have a unique identity. Pullman is clearly a college town … One thing similar to Lubbock is once people get to Pullman, they love it. There is an electricity that exists there. The key is getting recruits there.
  • Leach on the hype: “I think you just do the best you can … worry about what you can control. We worry about our ability to improve and how hard we work and our ability to focus.”
  • Leach said receiver Marquess Wilson is explosive, has long arms and has lot of range. He’ll get to the overthrown balls and likes going in traffic. Reminds Leach of a pinball machine because he works his way through the obstacles. He’s steadily improving.
  • Long on the transition to Leach: Transition was easy. They explained the philosophies and the players latched on.
  • Tuel says that it's been an easy transition to Leach. He made it known you are here to play football and you are free to leave. He made an example of a few guys and showed he’s not playing around.
  • Tuel on the offense: “It was surprisingly easy to get a grasp. Learning the playbook wasn’t the hard part … exciting and I know the history the quarterbacks of the past have had in this system.”
  • Leach on which coach would be a good hunting and fishing partner: After going through a list, Leach finally picked Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
  • Long on a better defense: He said they want to bring more pressure and force more turnovers “that’s something that will really help our defense.”
  • Tuel says his confidence level is up and that he can learn from all kinds of situations. He says he’s a smarter player and that he’s more prepared this year than in previous years.
  • Leach says he doesn’t care what other conferences think about the Pac-12. He said the conference will get good exposure from the new network, but there is “no level where I care” about what other conferences think about the Pac-12.
  • Leach says at Texas Tech he had one of the highest graduation rates of any public institutions and takes a lot of pride in that. He says that academics are something you can compete in and that the team can also take pride in. When a class believes in that, then graduation rates go up.

On stage ... Oregon State

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
3:27
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from Oregon State coach Mike Riley, WR Markus Wheaton and CB Jordan Poyer.
  • Riley: "We've had a couple of disappointing years. We're looking for that cycle of life to change to good things for Oregon State." Says he has a good vibe about this team.
  • Riley: Pac-12 is "as competitive, top to bottom, as I've seen it."
  • Wheaton on last year's struggles: "Obviously that 3-9 record hurts us. We look back on that a lot. It fuels us greatly."
  • Riley on running backs, one guy or by committee: "Whatever works out, I'd like 1,800 yards mixed in there. We've historically been a team... that had one back. Coming out of spring ball, we had a number of backs who played well... Whichever way it works, we have to run the ball better... it keys everything we do."
  • Riley on JC O-line transfer Stan Hasiak: "Hopefully he is finishing the final stages of what he needs to do in school."
  • Riley: "I really think our secondary will be a strength."
  • Riley on DE Scott Crichton's production in 2011: "I wouldn't say I was surprised. You see the talent and know the capability there... The thing I like about Crichton and DE Dylan Wynn is they both improved their [weight room] numbers substantially."
  • Riley cites WR Obum Gwacham as a guy who had a good spring and offseason.
  • Riley on Mannion... needs better running game, fewer sacks, more efficiency.
  • Riley on Oregon's emergence as a national power: "Obviously they are doing a great job. Like USC did... Oregon has raised the bar."

On stage ... UCLA

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
2:34
PM ET
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Some notes from UCLA coach Jim Mora, running back Johnathan Franklin and safety Tevin McDonald:
  • Mora on coaching the sons of players he coached in the NFL: "Coached Tevin’s dad in San Francisco and (Tevin) was always running around the locker room. I’ve enjoyed the transition from the NFL to UCLA. It’s been a lot of fun. Our responsibility goes beyond football games. Our job is to help develop them into the men their parents envisioned them becoming."
  • Franklin on restoring pride: "It’s definitely been tough. I feel we’re taking the right steps into putting UCLA back on the map. We’re working as hard as we can to get better. If we do that, everything will fall into place."
  • McDonald on restoring pride: "We need to be accountable to ourselves and our teammates. That’s something that may have been lacking the last couple of years."
  • Mora: "We want to be a football team that plays with great discipline and great toughness."
  • Mora on his NFL background: "I think you walk in with a little bit of credibility because you spent so much time in the NFL. But you have to earn your credibility every day. We have 98 years of NFL playing and coaching experience. Coached 16 Hall of Famers. Yet we’re grounded in college football. When Lou Spanos asks Tevin to execute an assignment, he can show film of Troy Polamalu doing it and hold up two Super Bowl rings."
  • Mora on the quarterback situation: "We were looking for someone to jump out of the pack. But that didn’t happen because the whole pack elevated. Wait two weeks into summer camp then we’ll make a decision and move forward. Whoever we go with, it will be the right decision. We’re going to put a heck of a team around whoever the quarterback is."
  • McDonals on his father (Tim McDonald’s) involvement: "I would say he’s pretty involved. He was my high school coach and Pop Warner coach."
  • Mora: "Tim was the smartest football player I ever coached and his son is a lot like him."
  • McDonald on his brother, USC safety T.J.: "We don’t really compare stats. I got my first start in the fourth week. He’s a hell of a player, one of the best safeties in college."
  • Mora on Ellis McCarthy: "I haven’t seen him play at this level yet. We have to assess the best way to use him. He might be a starter, he might be a role player. He might be on goal line or third down. Too early to be definitive on his role."

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