Pac-12: Broderick Green
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The eighth of 10 quick updates on offseason Pac-10 goings on.
USC in a sentence
- USC is the reverse of last year with just three starters back on defense and nine starters back on offense, but what remains the same is the expectation that the Trojans will win the Pac-10 for the eighth consecutive season and perhaps contend for a third national title in the Pete Carroll Era.
The big issue
- Some might say it's finding a new quarterback or rebuilding the defense, but the Trojans talent at quarterback and across the board on defense remains super-elite. The biggest concern is the schedule, perhaps the nation's toughest, because it features road games against four top-25 programs and no true patsies.
Quick hit news
- Shareece Wright is not considered a returning starter, but he was the starting cornerback in the first two games of 2008 before he suffered a neck injury. Former defensive coordinator Nick Holt said he was the Trojans best cover corner.
- USC released an unusual video statement about the NCAA investigations into the football and basketball programs, the gist of which was the athletic department was cooperating but otherwise was in limbo awaiting the reports.
- The Trojans will feature a new offensive play-caller (Jeremy Bates) and new defensive coordinator (Rocky Seto) this season. In total, there were four changes in the coaching staff, though Seto was promoted from secondary coach and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, was previously on staff.
- Receiver Vidal Hazelton transferred to Cincinnati, while running back Broderick Green bolted to Arkansas.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Lots of "feelings" behind this week's games, don't you think?
- Arizona and Oregon don't particularly like each other. The Wildcats need to stop the run.
- How often is a 3-6 team a 36 1/2 point favorite over a Pac-10 foe? That's the case with Washington State visiting Arizona State. But the Sun Devils might have to shuffle their offensive line.
- Where is California going bowling?
- Pondering Oregon State's Rose Bowl legitimacy, which means getting by California first.
- UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is looking at the experiences of Bruins basketball coach Ben Howland for inspiration. Notable in this article: UCLA has played 22 freshmen and started eight of them this season.
- Is USC safety Taylor Mays headed to the NFL after his junior season? With Broderick Green transferring, another running back moves up.
- An update on injured Washington quarterback Jake Locker. Neuheisel says he's sorry how things turned out for the Huskies.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Writers start to paint rosy pictures....
- Considering some Rose Bowl scenarios.
- Arizona is going to a bowl game. Question is: Which one?
- Arizona State is hoping for a late run.
- Reviewing Cal's loss at USC -- it wasn't the officials' fault.
- Oregon receiver Drew Davis' season ends after his first career start, which means the mercurial but talented Jaison Williams returns to the starting lineup. Considering the pluses and minuses of Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback.
- It's time to take Oregon State's Rose Bowl chances seriously. That said: Who's the starting quarterback against California?
- Stubborn Stanford may want to pass at least a little bit more, even if running back Toby Gerhart is healthy for the USC visit.
- UCLA is looking for solutions, trying to stay motivated. And looking for some JC linemen. (This is the first story that I can remember that compares a football team to "watching bacteria spores germinate.") Bruins Nation is staying on the bandwagon, though.
- USC and the BCS standings... is there a chance? The crowded backfield is less crowded today with Broderick Green deciding to transfer. USC Blitz dreams of BCS scenarios.
- Washington shows a spark, but the home fans aren't watching.
- Washington State sees progress in 31-point loss to Arizona.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Pete Carroll was his normal chipper self when he approached the post-practice gaggle of reporters.
"You want to begin with 'Beanie-watch' questions?" he quipped.
Well, er, yeah. What's your take on whether Ohio State's All-American tailback will play?
"We just figure the guy's playing," Carroll said. "I can't imagine that he won't. But on the other side of it, they showed three really good running backs last week. They're not short of running backs at all."
The Trojans are using 235-pound tailback Broderick Green and 225-pound Allen Bradford to simulate the 237-pound Wells, who's nursing a bum foot and sat out the Buckeyes' lackluster victory over Ohio on Saturday.
"Those guys run big and tough," Carroll said. "It gives us the feel."
- WR Vidal Hazelton didn't practice. He's still nursing a sprained ankle and could be termed questionable for Saturday's game.
- LB Brian Cushing (wrist) and LB Rey Maualuga (hand) are both wearing protective casts, which might hamper their tackling against the Buckeyes.
- Carroll was asked about the celebration penalty assessed on Washington QB Jake Locker. He went off on the stupidity of the rule for more than two minutes.
"The game shouldn't be decided on that kind of situation," he said.
- Ohio State receiver Ray Small told ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg that there is a "class" difference between the two schools. After Monday's practice, USC QB Mark Sanchez didn't have much to say in response. "It didn't really cross our minds," he said. "I didn't think too much about it. Too bad. Oh well."
- The Orange County Register's Michael Lev broke down the Buckeyes game with Ohio over the weekend. Part I. Part II.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
These links are trying to establish a running game.
- Arizona wants to keep the number of people on the sideline manageable, which means some guys don't suit up. QB Willie Tuitama is searching for the perfect game. Toledo has some good receivers who should challenge the Wildcats CBs.
- Arizona State is leaning on its freshman class, with nine in the playing rotation (out of a class of 20). Injured TB Keegan Herring (hamstring) and WR Michael Jones (Achilles) are improved, with Herring being the more questionable for the Stanford game.
- California notes from Thursday's practice, with an injury update calling WR Michael Calvin and P Bryan Anger healthy and OT Mike Tepper not. Calvin should help the WRs, who mostly struggled against Michigan State. Another step forward for building the California training facility.
- Oregon faces a team with no hope, and it only cost $235,000 to lure the Utah State Aggies to their demise. CB Walter Thurmond III will wear the No. 29 jersey in tribute to former Ducks DB Todd Doxey, who drowned this summer. A look at potential QB combinations for both teams.
- Rachel Bachman takes a look at Penn State legend -- and presently divisive figure -- Joe Paterno. With two starting Penn State D-linemen suspended, the Beavers O-line has a chance to shine.
- Stanford's already struggling secondary is down a top reserve for its visit to Arizona State.
- UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't thrilled with the effort in practice. And that's not good because there are injury holes to fill, including at running back. The freshmen are helping on defense. WR Nelson Rosario sprained his knee at practice Thursday.
- USC's WRs have always been talented, but now they seem to be performing. True freshman OL Tyron Smith and redshirt freshman RB Broderick Green are trying to get into the mix. Speaking of Green, I wish I saw this hit on Rey Maualuga. Trojans are thinking about Buckeyes.
- Washington -- and beleaguered coach Tyrone Willingham -- are looking for a turning point that doesn't turn sour. How much will the Huskies gain from week one to week two? Willingham talks about how the Huskies might attack BYU. Remembering 1984, when BYU won a "national championship" and a clearly superior Washington team didn't.
- Washington State will play California without its best D-lineman, A'i Ahmu, for a half. Ahmu is suspended after missing a court date over minor in possession charges. Injuries are preventing OL continuity.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
|Matt Brown/Icon SMI|
|USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian would "love someday to be a head football coach."|
USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is a hot head-coaching prospect and runs a unit that -- if recruiting rankings are to be believed -- is as talented annually as any in the nation.
Of course, when an offense is perceived as owning elite talent, the margin for error is small and fans are quick to criticize when things aren't perfect. More than a few believe the Trojans 32.6 points and 434.9 yards per game in 2007 qualified as underachieving, regardless of the critical injuries at many key positions.
So with just four starters back on offense, what's in store in 2008? Is quarterback Mark Sanchez the man? What's up with the logjams at tailback and receiver? And is an offensive line with just one returning starter in trouble?
Sark stopped by for a chat.
What did Mark Sanchez do in the spring to jump ahead in the quarterback race?
Steve Sarkisian: The first thing that jumps out is he has a great comfort level with the offense. He does a nice job handling the offense as far as making the proper checks, the audibles, getting the ball into guys' hands quickly. But on top of that I think we felt and saw his energetic leadership. We saw a charismatic guy who loved to come out and work and practice every day and I think it was contagious for the entire football team. Those are some of the qualities you like to see in a leader, a guy who makes those around him better.
Is there a chance that someone else will start at quarterback in the opener at Virginia?
SS: Up until now [Sanchez] won the job. But we're going to give those other guys their opportunities in fall camp to go out and compete and prove they're worthy of playing time. But up until this point, Mark is the guy for us.
It seems like the competition remains wide-open at tailback, with a bunch of guys who could end up starting or at least get a lot of carries: How does the pecking order stack up there?
SS: If we were going to play today you'd see three guys: You'd see Joe McKnight. You'd see Stafon Johnson. You'd see C.J. Gable. For sure those three. But I think you're also going to get a little dose of Allen Bradford as well. Now that doesn't mean Allen Bradford couldn't be the lead dog by the end of camp. And that doesn't mean Marc Tyler or Broderick Green couldn't get in the mix. But coming out of spring football, those three guys really established themselves. And Allen Bradford made a lot of noise.
You guys have so many talented running backs, but has there been much discussion among the coaches about maybe picking one horse, one guy who gets 25 carries a game?
SS: Not really. We've always had -- go back to when it was Justin Fargas and Sultan McCullough -- we've always had sort of a two-horse-type backfield with a third guy who was kind of a variety-type guy who can do a lot of different things. So we've always been that way. Sure, preferably you'd like it to be two solid guys where you know what you're getting. But right now we're looking at three or four guys. But I think that kind of stuff kind of settles itself out. Injuries come into play and guys step up. But it's good to know we've got that luxury at that position because it is a tough position to sustain and stay healthy at. As you saw last year. The moment Stafon Johnson established himself as the back, he got hurt and then Chauncey Washington played and Joe McKnight stepped up when we lost C.J. Gable after the third game. So, obvious, it's a luxury to have three guys there -- or four or five.
Same thing at receiver: What's the pecking order there?
|AP Photo/John Froschauer|
|Wide receiver Patrick Turner had 48 catches for 569 yards last year, including 3 scores.|
SS: Coming out of spring football you really saw Vidal Hazelton really rise to the challenge. He was a -catch guy as a sophomore and really was playing injured. He got healthy during spring football and looked fantastic. Patrick Turner, I think, is poised for a big-time senior season, and Damian Williams, a transfer from Arkansas, really impressed people. The two young guys, David Ausberry and Ronald Johnson, really stepped up in spring and got better. Then there are some dark horses in there: Travon Patterson, and a true freshman by the name of Brice Butler is coming into the mix. I think it is a really good position group for us because we've got a lot of depth there. But, again, we're looking for two or three guys to really step up and take over that spot and be the go-to guys for us.
The receivers as a group took some criticism last year. Was that fair? Were you disappointed in some of the production?
SS: Well, I think as a group offensively we were disappointed in ourselves as a whole. That position group was young and inexperienced and had some drops early in the season. And to compound that they were replacing maybe the greatest tandem of receivers in college football history in Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett. I think that made that discrepancy even bigger. There was a lot of pressure on them last year, but I really like how they ended the year. They grew up. I like the way Vidal ended the year. It was unfortunate that Patrick Turner couldn't play in th
e bowl game. But he got better during the year. And I think David Ausberry got better and Ronald Johnson got better and it carried over to spring practice. They'll be ready for fall camp.
The offensive line needs four new starters. Is this a reload or rebuild?
SS: Last year we were hit with an injury bug up front all last year; it seemed like every week we had a different starting five. That forced a lot of our young kids to have to play last year, whether that was Charles Brown or Zach Heberer or Kristofer O'Dowd, the true freshman. So those guys got a lot more experience than I think people realize. It sounds like we're an inexperienced group because we're replacing four starters. But in reality these guys have played a lot of football and we're excited about them. This is an ornery group. They're competitive and athletic and tough and nasty. I think realistically we're a good eight deep with guys who can play. The challenge for us is to just get cohesive as we go through fall camp.
Of the guys we maybe haven't heard much about, who's going to break out this year?
SS: I don't know how to answer that. We've got a lot of kids who are very talented who have kind of just waited for their opportunity. The guy who jumps out at me is [tight end] Anthony McCoy, the guy who's played behind Fred Davis the last couple of years. I'm anxious to see [fullback] Stanley Havili as a sophomore. Damian Williams the transfer from Arkansas. And I'm anxious to see our quarterback play. I expect him to play really well and I think he expects to play really well. I wouldn't be surprised if he went out and had a great year.
Your name seems to come up a lot during coaching searches the past couple of years. What are your thoughts on your future as far as becoming a head coach? Do you have a timeline? Are you anxious about it?
SS: There's no question I'd love someday to be a head football coach. But I'm extremely fortunate. I am at a tremendous place at a tremendous time. Pete Carroll has been very good to me. We're winning. We've got great kids. We get to live in Los Angeles. I love it. I'm in no rush to get out of here. Every day is learning, watching how Pete handles our football team. I have fun going to work every day. So, yeah, I want to be a head football coach. But I'm not in any rush.
3:30 PM ET 13 Arizona State 11 Arizona 3:30 PM ET Stanford 8 UCLA