Pac-12: Bryce Treggs

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Headed into his second season at Cal, there's still a lot coach Sonny Dykes needs to learn about his team. Seemingly left with more questions than answers at the end of Year 1, it was clear the spring would be a fact-finding mission as much as anything.

Except at receiver.

There has been some minor tweaking going on during the first two-thirds of spring practice, but it's clear that the coaching staff is confident in the receivers -- perhaps more than any other group on the team.

[+] EnlargeChris Harper
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsChris Harper had 70 catches for 852 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.
'There's some [Pac-12 teams that] probably return, maybe more productive guys than we did, but we've got a lot of guys who can play," Dykes said. "I think our depth has got to be probably as good as anybody's in terms of guys who have played and guys who are starting to to come into their own."

It starts with the duo of Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs, who combined for 147 catches for 1,603 yards a year ago, but Kenny Lawler also was productive (37 catches, 347 yards, 5 TD) -- especially late in the season -- and several others are fighting for playing time.

Assistant head coach Rob Likens, who is responsible for the outside receivers, doesn't hesitate to call the receivers the team's strongest unit -- and that he tells them that every day.

"They have to put it on their shoulders," Likens said of the group's importance to the team. "Experience breeds confidence, and that’s the thing we were lacking last year.

"Obviously, when you’re running a new offense, that first year they don’t know what to expect in a game, how its all going to work out. So we’ve gone through that process already, so they know coming into the spring how [the rest of the conference] is going to play."

The most notable change has been Treggs' move from outside to inside receiver. The move was done as part of an effort to get him the ball more often and engineer more matchups against safeties and linebackers. Making the same position change is 6-foot-6 Drake Whitehurst, who provides the closest look to what the Bears had from Richard Rodgers a year ago.

On the right side, Stephen Anderson and Darius Powe are battling at the inside spot, but Likens said both struggled with too many drops last fall. With Treggs inside, the left outside receiver spot is a competition between Hawaii transfer Trevor Davis and junior Maurice Harris. They are splitting time with the first team.

With such a talented group of receivers and a promising young quarterback in Jared Goff, Cal certainly has the potential to evolve into a dangerous Pac-12 offense, but other deficiencies need to get cleaned up. Namely the running game.

"And we know that. We stressed that this spring," Likens said. "[Last year,] we got into games and we realized that everybody realized that we couldn’t run the ball, so it is a lot of pressure on some very young skill guys."

Likens said Cal will "rely heavily on" a pair of incoming freshman running backs, Tre Watson and Vic Enwere.

Cal will plays its spring game on April 26, at which point the coaching staff will turn the responsibility over to the players to get better. Most, if not all, are expected to be around for a majority of the summer.

"In this offense, that’s crucial," Likens said. "If you don’t do that, you don’t have a chance."

It's an expectation Lawler said the players have bought into, and only partially because of the 1-11 season.

Lawler doesn't believe the lack of success had anything to do with last offseason's effort -- "We actually worked out really hard," he said -- but admitted he's willing to work harder and give more things up this time around.
You remember the three-headed monster, right? It's about returning production that will scare -- terrify! --opponents. Or not.

On offense, it's elite combinations at quarterback, running back and receiver.

On defense, it's elite combinations of a leading tackler, a leader in sacks and leader in interceptions.

This year, we're breaking things down by division.

We looked at the South Division offensive three-headed monsters on Monday. On Tuesday, we’ll take a look at the North Division offense.

Only Cal and Washington State return their three-headed leaders from last season. The other four teams have all had a change of some kind. And there are some big question marks surrounding a couple of schools -- especially the one in Seattle.

Let’s take a look:

1. Oregon

QB Marcus Mariota, RB Byron Marshall, WR, Bralon Addison

The skinny: Heisman candidate + rising star + explosive playmaker = nasty. Though losing Josh Huff and De’Anthony Thomas, the Oregon offense should be explosive once again. Mariota led the nation in adjusted QBR last season to go with 31 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions. Marshall is a returning 1,000-yard rusher with 14 touchdowns last season, and Addison hauled in nine scores.

2. Stanford

QB Kevin Hogan, RB ?, WR Ty Montgomery

The skinny: The Cardinal get the No. 2 spot here based on experience at quarterback and the fact Montgomery is returning after a second-team all-league year. And whoever the “regular” running back is, be it Kelsey Young (the leading returner in yards), Ricky Seale, Barry Sanders or Remound Wright, he will be running behind a stellar offensive line. Worth noting that Hogan and Montgomery had more rushing yards last year than any of the listed running backs. But Stanford's success running the football leads the Pac-12 blog to give it the benefit of the doubt.

3. Oregon State

QB Sean Mannion, RB Terron Ward, WR Richard Mullaney

The skinny: Though the Beavers lose Brandin Cooks, Mannion has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country after throwing 37 touchdowns last year. Storm Woods had more carries and touchdowns, but Ward had more yards, so they’ll likely work in unison, again. Mullaney had 52 catches last season.

4. Washington State

QB Connor Halliday, RB Marcus Mason, WR Gabe Marks

The skinny: WSU gets the edge in the rankings over Washington (for now) because there are still a lot of question marks around the Huskies. Halliday tossed 34 touchdowns last year and threw for nearly 4,600 yards. Marks has blossomed into a bona fide playmaker and should be in the mix for all-conference honors. The Cougars don’t do much in the way of running the football. But when they did last year, Mason totaled 429 yards on 87 carries.

5. Washington

QB?, RB Jesse Callier, WR, Jaydon Mickens

The skinny: Washington is one of those programs that could end up in one of the top two spots by the end of the season. But for now, there is too much unknown. The status of QB Cyler Miles is still up in the air. Callier has the most returning attempts (one more than Dwayne Washington and five more than Deontae Cooper) and the Huskies expect Kasen Williams back by the fall at receiver. Mickens caught 65 balls and five touchdowns last year and the aforementioned RB trio combined for 10 touchdowns.

6. California

QB Jared Goff, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Bryce Treggs

The skinny: There is a lot of potential in this group. The Bears just need that potential to translate into points on the field. Goff threw for 3,508 yards in his debut season, and Treggs caught 77 of his passes. Though just one for a touchdown (Chris Harper and Kenny Lawler each caught five). Though the departed Brendan Bigelow had more carries, Muhammad outperformed him with more yards and touchdowns.
Spring is about rebirth and renewal, but for members of the California football program, it's going to include more dissecting of an ugly corpse than the Bears would like. The players and coaches are going to be asked about the 2013 season over and over again by reporters and fans. The redundant interview process will start off as painful, become boring and then transform into an annoyance.

Fortunately, the Pac-12 blog was Cal quarterback Jared Goff's first interview in advance of spring practices, which start March 31.

"I'm not too worried about [the questions]," Goff said. "Obviously, I don't want to answer them but I'm going to have to. It's something we did. Cal football did that last year. We're moving on from that, but it's something we did, and we're going to have to use it as motivation. We're going to get a lot better from it."

[+] EnlargeJared Goff
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillJared Goff and Cal are focused on putting last season's struggles behind them.
What Cal "did" last year was stink up the joint. The Bears finished 1-11 and produced their worst defense in program history. It was further deflating that the woeful campaign sapped fan enthusiasm that surrounded the hiring of Sonny Dykes, as well as curtailed the positive momentum produced by the program's shiny renovated stadium and upgraded facilities.

While the defense inspired the most forehead slapping last fall -- and cost coordinator Andy Buh and two other defensive coaches their jobs -- the offense, Dykes' specialty, wasn't exactly collecting accolades either. While Goff piled up passing numbers, ranking third in the Pac-12 with 331.4 yards per game, little else went well.

The Bears ranked last in the Pac-12 and 97th in the nation with just 23 points per game. While the total yardage numbers looked solid -- 453.6 yards per game -- they were deceiving. The Bears ranked last in the Pac-12 and 98th in the nation in yards per play (5.2 ypp). The Bears were last in the conference third-down conversion percentage and last in redzone offense.

Goff himself ranked 11th in the conference in passing efficiency and last in the conference in's Total Quarterback Rating.

Of course, completing 60 percent of your passes for 3,508 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions doesn't look as bad when you recall Goff was a true freshman playing behind a makeshift offensive line that offered up five different starting lineups over the course of the season.

Goff called the lost 2013 campaign "extremely disappointing." While it seemed that Cal, at least competitive early in the season, lost its confidence and motivation as the season went on, Goff said his confidence never flagged, and he approached every game believing the Bears were just a few plays from breaking through.

"I wouldn't say worn down," he said. "Obviously, we were tired of losing. We wanted to start winning. But as the season went on we never got over the hump, never broke through and made that play that could change the outcome of the game."

Let's also not forget the Bears suffered through epidemic injuries on both sides of the ball, the impact being compounded by many of those sidelined guys being the team's best players.

Citing injuries can be called an excuse. But, well, come on. Cal had 13 projected starters miss multiple games or suffer season-ending injuries, most falling into the latter category. The starting lineup for the season-finale against Stanford featured nine freshmen, seven sophomores and just two seniors.

Yes, it's an excuse, but it's a pretty good one.

"I tend to forget about that because you don't like to make that an excuse but that's a good point," Goff said." We had the worst luck. I hate to make that excuse but that just happens some times where the wrong guys get injured."

From a cynical perspective -- who us? -- Cal is almost certain to be better in 2014 because it can't be much worse. But from a not unreasonable optimistic perspective, Cal is almost certain to be better because it's got potential, despite several unexpected offseason defections to early-entry in the NFL draft or transfer.

For one, Goff is a second-year starter. He knows the speed of the game and has a year of seasoning with Dykes' scheme. Further, he has a strong and deep crew of receivers coming back. His top two receivers, Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper, a potentially A-list tandem, return after combining for 147 receptions last fall, and two other returning wideouts caught more than 25 passes in 2013. If Goff gets time to throw, the passing numbers will be there, and they should be attained with more efficiency.

"We're so deep across the board [at receiver]," Goff said. "Everyone is going to be contributing this year. It's ridiculous how deep we are at receiver. I feel we have three good players at every position."

Goff said he's put on "five or 10 pounds" onto his 6-foot-4 frame, though he also said he's tipping the scale at just 200 pounds, five below his listed weight in 2013. He said he feels stronger mentally and physically, both as a player and a leader. What transpired last fall feels like a distant memory.

"It feels like it was so long ago when we were playing," he said. "I watch film of myself, and that feels like years ago."

He said the offseason message from Dykes has been simple: Work hard. Get better. Improve. We have the players who can win.

Finding offseason motivation hasn't been difficult. Just recalling what happened last season is enough. And if anyone has pushed it out of his mind, interviews in advance of and during spring practices will provide regular reminders.

Goff sees a bright side.

"In the long run," he said, "when we do what we want to do, it's going to feel that much better, knowing where we came from."

Lunch links: Pro day reports

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired."

Season review: California

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
We continue our team-by-team review of the Pac-12 with California.

Offense: The first thing that jumps out, by the very nature of Sonny Dykes’ offense, is the passing yards. The Bears, behind true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, were third in the conference with 331.4 passing yards per game and 3,977 total yards in the air. So they were able to move the ball. What stands out next, however, is the scoring offense, which was last in the Pac-12 at 23 points per game. So despite moving the ball, the Bears weren’t able to generate points. And that’s the name of the game. When you look at the pass efficiency numbers, Cal was last in the league. On the year, the Bears scored just 32 touchdowns. They were last in third-down conversions (33.6 percent), last in turnover margin (-15) and last in red zone offense (72.1 percent). Khalfani Muhammad was actually pretty steady on the ground, averaging six yards per carry and 445 net yards to go with four touchdowns, but the running game wasn’t able to do enough to open up the passing game. Brendan Bigelow, who seemed poised for a breakout season, rushed for just 421 yards and four yards per carry. Goff completed 60.3 percent of his throws with 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions while totaling 3,508 yards. And he did break the school’s single-season passing record. Bryce Treggs had 77 catches for 751 yards and Chris Harper hauled in 70 catches for 852 yards. The foundation for an explosive pass offense is in place, but the Bears simply weren't able to put it all together in Year 1. Grade: D-

Defense: The Bears were last in the league in scoring defense, total defense, passing defense and 10th in rushing defense. Oh yeah, last in pass efficiency defense also. It was not a good year. Injuries played a major role with several projected starters -- including Mustafa Jalil, Stefan McClure, Nick Forbes, Brennan Scarlett and Avery Sebastian being lost for the year or missing significant time. This led to a lack of veteran leadership when things started to spiral and youngsters who should have been redshirting were forced into action. They gave up at least 40 points in nine games, yielded 30 points to FCS Portland State (Cal’s only win of the year) and were last nationally in points allowed at 45.9 (there were a few pick-sixes and special teams points sprinkled in there as well). No way around it, this was a bad, bad year for Cal’s defense. And as a result, defensive coordinator Andy Buh was demoted and the staff was shaken up. There were just five interceptions (from five different players) and the defense produced just 18 sacks on the year. Grade: F

Special teams: Kicker Vincenzo D’Amato was one of the more accurate kickers in league, converting on 17 of 20 kicks -- including a long of 51 yards against UCLA. His only misses were from 45, 46 and 50 yards -- though he did convert five kicks of 40 yards or longer. But Cal failed to return either a kick or a punt for a touchdown and gave up five punt returns for scores (including a blocked punt for a score) and one kick return for a touchdown. Their punt return average was last in the league and the kick coverage team was mediocre. Outside of D’Amato, the special teams were unimpressive. Grade: C-

Overall: Tough, tough first year for Dykes and Co. In some ways, it was the perfect storm of a new coach, a true freshman quarterback, a tough schedule and a rash of injuries the likes we haven’t seen in a long, long time that all contributed to Cal’s worst season since going winless in 1999. The Bears have now lost 16 straight games to FBS opponents and questions are already swirling about the future of the head coach and the decision-makers in the athletic department. The bright side is that, hopefully, the Bears will be healthier next year and a lot of the young players who were forced into action this season will gain from that experience. But if you’re a Cal fan, there’s not much to feel good about when you look at 2013. Grade: F

Pac-12 names all-conference team

December, 2, 2013
The Pac-12 has announced its first- and second-team all-conference squads and postseason awards for 2013.

[+] EnlargeKa'Deem Carey
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsPac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Ka'Deem Carey was the only unanimous first-team pick.
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has been named the league's offensive player of the year. Arizona State defensive lineman Will Sutton joins an elite fraternity, earning his second straight Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award. Washington's Steve Emtman is the only other player to win the league's defensive player of the year award in back to back years (1990-1991).

UCLA's Myles Jack earned freshman of the year for both offense and defense with his 70 tackles as a linebacker and seven touchdowns as a running back. This is the first time since the awards were introduced in 2008 that the same player has won both sides.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham is the league's coach of the year for guiding the Sun Devils to a conference record of 8-1 and winning the South Division. The Sun Devils host Stanford this weekend in the Pac-12 championship game.

The team is selected by the Pac-12 head coaches.

Offensive player of the year: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, DE Arizona State
Freshman Offense and Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Jack, RB/LB, UCLA
Coach of the Year: Todd Graham, Arizona State

First team offense

QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (2)
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona (2)
RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington
WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State
WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
TE Chris Coyle, Grad., Arizona State
OL Evan Finkenberg, Grad., Arizona State
OL Hroniss Grasu, Jr., Oregon (2)
OL Marcus Martin, Jr., USC
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, Jr., UCLA (2)
OL David Yankey, Sr, Stanford (2)

First team defense

DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah
DL Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State
DL Leonard Williams, So., USC
LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA (2)
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford (2)
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford
DB Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon
DB Robert Nelson, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ed Reynolds, Sr., Stanford (2)

First team specialists

PK Zane Gonzalez, Fr., Arizona State
P Tom Hackett, So. Utah
RS Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
ST Soma Vainuku, So. USC

Second team offense

QB Taylor Kelly, Jr., Arizona State
RB Tyler Gaffney, Sr., Stanford
RB Marion Grice, Sr. Arizona State
WR Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
WR Jaelen Strong, So., Arizona State
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington
OL Jamil Douglas, Jr., Arizona State
OL Cameron Fleming, Sr., Stanford
OL Andrus Peat, So., Stanford
OL Isaac Seumalo, So., Oregon State
OL Khalil Wilkes, Sr. Stanford

Second team defense

DL Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State
DL Taylor Hart, Sr., Oregon
DL Devon Kennard, Sr., USC
DL Hau'oli Kikaha, Jr., Washington
DL Tenny Palepoi, Sr., Utah
LB Carl Bradford, Jr., Arizona State
LB Myles Jack, Fr., UCLA
LB Hayes Pullard, Jr., USC
LB Chris Young, Sr., Arizona State
DB Dion Bailey, Jr., USC
DB Osahon Irabor, Grad., Arizona State
DB Marcus Peters, So., Washington
DB Rashaad Reynolds, Sr., Oregon State

Second team specialists

PK Vincenzo D'Amato, Sr., California
P Travis Coons, Sr., Washington
RS Nelson Agholor, So., USC
ST Erick Dargan, Jr., Oregon
ST Joe Hemschoot, Sr., Stanford
ST Ryan Hofmeister, Jr., UCLA

RS: Return Specialist
ST: special teams player (not a kicker or returner)
(2): Two-time first-team selection

Honorable mention

Arizona: LB Marquis Flowers, Sr.; DL Tevin Hood, Sr.; WR Nate Phillips, Fr.; DB Jared Tevis, Jr.; LB Scooby Wright, Fr.

Arizona State: DL Davon Coleman, Grad.; Gannon Conway, Sr.; ST D.J. Foster, So.; ST De'Marieya Nelson, Jr.

California: DL Deandre Coleman, Sr.; QB Jared Goff, Fr.; WR Bryce Treggs, So.

Colorado: RB Mike Adkins, Fr.; LB Addison Gillam, Fr.; PK Will Oliver, Jr.

Oregon: WR/RS Bralon Addison, So.; WR Josh Huff, Sr.; OL Tyler Johnstone, So.; DL Wade Keliikipi, Sr.; LB Derrick Malone, Jr.; RB Byron Marshall, So.; DL Tony Washington, Jr.

Oregon State: OL Grant Enger, Sr.; TE Connor Hamlett, JR.; QB Sean Mannion, Jr.; DB Ryan Murphy, Jr.; DB Steven Nelson, Jr.; ST Terron Ward, Jr.

Stanford: DL Henry Anderson, Sr.; DB Alex Carter, So.; OL Kevin Danser, Sr.; DL Josh Mauro, Sr.; P Ben Rhyne, Sr.; DB Jordan Richards, Jr.; LB A.J. Tarpley, Sr.

UCLA: OL Jake Brendel, So.; ST Jayon Brown, Fr.; P Sean Covington, Fr.; TE Thomas Duarte, Fr.; WR Shaq Evans, Sr.; WR Devin Fuller, So.; DB Randall Goforth, So.; QB Brett Hundley, So.; DB Anthony Jefferson, Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Jr.; DL Cassius Marsh, Sr.; DL Ellis McCarthy, So.; DB Fabian Moreau, So.; OL Alex Redmond, Fr.; DL Eddie Vanderdoes, Fr.; LB Jordan Zumwalt, Sr.

USC: P Kris Albarado, So.; RB Javorius Allen, So.; WR Nelson Agholor, So.; DB Su'a Cravens, Fr.; OL Kevin Graf, Sr.; TE Xavier Grimble, Jr.; QB Cody Kessler, So.; WR Marqise Lee, Jr.; DB Josh Shaw, Jr.; DL J.R. Tavai, Jr.; OL Max Turek, So.; DL George Uko, Jr.

Utah: WR Dres Anderson, Jr.; OL Vyncent Jones, Sr.; DB Keith McGill, Sr.; PK Andy Phillips, Fr.; LB Jason Whittingham, So.

Washington: OL Dexter Charles, So.; PK Travis Coons, Sr.; OL Mike Criste, Jr.; OL Micah Hatchie, Jr.; DB Sean Parker, Sr.; QB Keith Price, Sr.; DL Danny Shelton, Jr.; LB Shaq Thompson, So.

Washington State: OL Elliott Bosch, Sr.; WR River Cracraft, Fr.; PK Andrew Furney, Sr.; DB Damante Horton, Sr.;

Some notes on the teams:

By School: Arizona State and Stanford placed the most players on the first team with six selections each.

By Class: Of the 27 first-team selections, two are graduate students, 11 are seniors, nine are juniors, four are sophomores and one freshman.

Unanimous: Only one player was named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches -- RB Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona.

Two-time Selections: Ten players are repeat first-team selections from last year.

All-Academic: Two first team All-Pac-12 performers also were named to the Pac-12 All Academic second team -- RB Bishop Sankey of Washington and DB Ed Reynolds of Stanford, while Washington defensive lineman Hau'oli Kikaha was named to the All-Pac-12 second team and Pac-12 All-Academic first team. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly earned second-team honors on both the Pac-12 All-Conference and All-Academic teams.

USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon Ducks, Pac-12, USC Trojans, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers, Jordan Zumwalt, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Devon Kennard, Arizona State Sun Devils, California Bears, Tyler Gaffney, Stanford Cardinal, Deandre Coleman, Utah Utes, Will Sutton, Colorado Buffaloes, Todd Graham, Arizona Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, Xavier Su\'a-Filo, Andy Phillips, Shayne Skov, Keith Price, Evan Finkenberg, Sean Parker, Soma Vainuku, Cassius Marsh, Xavier Grimble, George Uko, Hayes Pullard, Marquis Flowers, Taylor Kelly, Hroniss Grasu, Josh Huff, Sean Mannion, Eric Kendricks, Paul Richardson, Anthony Barr, Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, Chris Coyle, Anthony Jefferson, Cody Kessler, Chris Young, Brett Hundley, Vincenzo D'Amato, Kevin Graf, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Richards, Shaq Evans, Deone Bucannon, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Marqise Lee, Khalil Wilkes, Kevin Danser, David Yankey, Davon Coleman, Dion Bailey, Alex Carter, Alden Darby, Terron Ward, Dres Anderson, Randall Goforth, Derrick Malone, Damante Horton, Connor Hamlett, Isaac Seumalo, Andrew Furney, Henry Anderson, Gannon Conway, Scott Crichton, Rashaad Reynolds, Ka'Deem Carey, Andrus Peat, Shaq Thompson, Will Oliver, Ben Gardner, Trevor Reilly, Ty Montgomery, A.J. Tarpley, Cameron Fleming, Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens, Byron Marshall, Ben Rhyne, Josh Mauro, Nelson Agholor, Josh Shaw, Ellis McCarthy, Marcus Mariota, Erick Dargan, Joe Hemschoot, Devin Fuller, Leonard Williams, Max Turek, Grant Enger, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Jared Tevis, Marcus Martin, Keith McGill, Marcus Peters, Ed Reynolds, Jamil Douglas, Bryce Treggs, Elliott Bosch, Tony Washington, Marion Grice, Eddie Vanderdoes, Ryan Murphy, J.R. Tavai, Carl Bradford, River Cracraft, Myles Jack, Thomas Duarte, Alex Redmond, Jake Brendel, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, Tom Hackett, Bralon Addison, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Travis Coons, Robert Nelson, Tyler Johnstone, De'Marieya Nelson, Jaelen Strong, Tenny Palepoi, Steven Nelson, Tevin Hood, Micah Hatchie, Vyncent Jones, Jason Whittingham, Addison Gillam, Scooby Wright, Zane Gonzales, Sean Covington, Kris Albarado, Hau'oli Kikaha, Fabian Moreau, Javorius Allen, Jayon Brown, Osahan Irabor, Ryan Hoffmeister, Nate Phillips, Mike Adkins

Saturday's Pac-12 slate

November, 2, 2013
Here's a look at Saturday's games. All times are ET.

[+] EnlargeKa'deem Carey
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsKa'Deem Carey looks to add more superlatives to a great career Saturday as Arizona travels to Cal.
Arizona (5-2, 2-2) at California (1-7, 0-5) 3:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network: The series is tied 14-14-2, and they have split their last four meetings. This is the Bears and Wildcats first meeting since a 10-9 Arizona win in 2010. Wildcats junior RB Ka'Deem Carey is 80 yards shy of reaching 1,000 rushing yards for the season. When he reaches that mark, he’ll become the third running back in school history to post multiple seasons with 1,000 yards rushing. He’ll join Art Luppino (1954-55) and Trung Canidate (1998-99). Carey has an FBS-leading active streak of 10 consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards, which ties Canidate’s school record set during the 1999 season. Carey has 39 career rushing TDs, second on the school’s all-time list and tied for 14th all time in the Pac-12. Cal freshman QB Jared Goff, who it appears will retain his starting job, has thrown for 300 or more yards in five games, while also attempting 50 or more passes in five games as well. He has connected 112 times with sophomore WRs Chris Harper (58 receptions) and Bryce Treggs (54 receptions) for 1,387 yards. Both should finish the season among the school’s top 10 list for single-season receptions. Ninth and 10th on Cal’s single-season list are notable alums Keenan Allen (61 receptions in 2012) and DeSean Jackson (59 in 2006).

Colorado (3-4, 0-4) at No. 20 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) 7:30 Fox Sports 1: UCLA leads the series 6-2, including victories the past two seasons in Pac-12 play. The Buffaloes' two wins came in 2002 and 2003. The Bruins blocked an Oregon punt that set up an early score in their game with the Ducks. It was the 11th blocked kick in 21 games under coach Jim Mora. The Bruins have played 32 freshmen (17 true/15 redshirt) this season. They played 26 (12 true/14 redshirt) last season. UCLA started three true freshman on the offensive line at Oregon: Alex Redmond at right guard, Caleb Benenoch at right tackle and Scott Quessenberry at left guard. Colorado's junior WR Paul Richardson now has 50 catches for 914 yards (18.3 yards per reception) with seven TDs. He’s inching closer to all the school season marks: 78 receptions (D.J. Hackett, 2003), 1,149 yards (Charles E. Johnson, 1992) and 11 TDs (Derek McCoy, 2003). His 75-yard TD reception was the sixth play of 50 yards or longer this season, tying the modern-day record for most plays 50 yards or longer in a year (and it was the 12th of his career). It was his fifth 100-yard game of the season, giving him eight for his career (records are six and 12, respectively); the latter is fourth all time at CU. His seven TD catches this year have covered 405 yards (57.9 per), and his 18 career have spanned 776 yards (43.1).

What to watch in the Pac-12: Week 10

October, 31, 2013
A few storylines to keep an eye on this week in the Pac-12.

  1. Light week: Only four games on the Pac-12 docket this week, including one on Thursday (Arizona State at Washington State), one on Friday (USC at Oregon State) and two on Saturday (Arizona at California and Colorado at UCLA).
  2. Let's go bowling: Three teams, Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State, are already bowl bound. Four others sit on the precipice and as many as seven others are still in the hunt (note, because of the 13-game schedule, USC needs seven wins to become bowl eligible). Arizona State, Arizona and UCLA can all become bowl eligible this week.
  3. [+] EnlargeBishop Sankey
    AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonBishop Sankey is one of four Pac-12 backs who average at least 100 yards a game.
  4. 1K club: Washington running back Bishop Sankey became the Pac-12's first 1,000-yard rusher this season and has 1,162 yards on the year. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (920 yards) probably will break through this week against a Cal rush defense that yields an average of 189.1 yards per game. Carey leads the league with 153.3 yards per game, one of four backs who average at least 100 yards per contest (Sankey, 145.2; Tyler Gaffney, 110.8; Byron Marshall, 109.9).
  5. Scoreboard, baby: The Sun Devils have the top two scorers in FBS football in running back Marion Grice (15.4 points per game) and kicker Zane Gonzalez (11.4 ppg) and rank sixth in the nation with 45.4 points per game. Four times this year they have posted 50 or more points. That's the most since the 1973 team. Worth noting, too that Oregon State's Brandin Cooks is third nationally in scoring, making it a hat trick for the conference.
  6. Rubber arm: Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday is on pace to set single-season school records in pass attempts and completions. Through eight games he has completed 273 passes on 428 attempts. Gabe Marks has been the primary recipient with 59 catches for 655 yards. But eight different WSU receivers have 20 or more catches.
  7. Remember, Reser: The Beavers have won three straight over USC in Corvallis, but the Trojans' defense, though injury-depleted, is having a fine season. The Trojans have held six of their eight opponents to fewer than 300 yards. They'll be tested by an Oregon State passing attack that, despite a loss last week to Stanford, is still one of the best in the nation. Cooks leads the FBS with 10.6 receptions per game and 157 yards per game. USC is tied for the conference lead with 27 sacks, which might not bode well for an Oregon State team that gave up eight sacks to the Cardinal last week.
  8. Off and running: The aforementioned Carey is 80 yards shy of reaching 1,000. When he gets there, he'll be just the third Arizona running back to post multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in 10 straight games, which is the longest active streak in FBS. But it was quarterback B.J. Denker who led the Wildcats in rushing last week, posting 192 yards on 15 carries.
  9. Where's the points? Cal, still winless in conference play, is giving up a league high 44 points per game and scoring a league low 22.9 points per game. Moving the ball isn't a problem. The Bears rank sixth in the league in total offense, averaging 468.4 yards per game. But they have only scored 20 touchdowns on the year, second worst only to Colorado's 19. Receivers Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs have combined for 112 catches for 1,387 yards, but just six touchdowns -- five from Harper.
  10. Back to basics: The Bruins are looking to snap a two-game slide after dropping back-to-back road games at Stanford and Oregon. Keep in mind the Bruins have played 32 freshmen this year -- including 17 true freshman. Last year they played 26, including 12 true. Through the first five games, quarterback Brett Hundley averaged 293.8 passing yards per game, was completing 68 percent of his throws with 12 touchdowns to four interceptions. In the last two weeks he averaged just 128 yards and completed 63 percent of his throws with two touchdowns to four interceptions. The more comfortable he gets with his young, reshaped offensive line, and the fact that he's not playing two of the top teams in the league, should help him bounce back.
  11. Explosive potential: The Buffs rebuilding process has yet to produce a conference win. But that doesn't mean Colorado can't be explosive. Wide receiver Paul Richardson has 50 catches and 914 yards with seven touchdowns, and he's sneaking up on some Colorado single-season marks. He has six plays of 50 yards or longer this season. Freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau is 1-1 as a starter and is completing 59 percent of his throws with two touchdowns and an interception.

What to watch in the Pac-12: Week 5

September, 26, 2013
A few things to keep an eye on in the Pac-12 this week.

  1. League play is upon us: Rejoice! Now the Pac-12 teams can gut each other with their nine-game conference schedule and lose all of that national credibility it built up in the first four weeks of the season. This year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, it doesn’t look like there are any easy outs. Would anyone really be shocked if Colorado beat Oregon State based on what we’ve seen? The only one that would be truly shocking would be Cal beating Oregon -- and we might raise an eyebrow if Washington State beats Stanford in Seattle -- especially sans David Yankey for the game and Ed Reynolds for a half.
  2. [+] EnlargeAndre Williams
    Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsUSC's Morgan Breslin has recorded four sacks this season for the Trojans.
    Nonconference notes: A good tidbit from the folks at the Pac-12 offices regarding the league’s 29-4 nonconference record: Since 1934, only one season witnessed the conference capture more than 29 wins in nonleague play; 2002 (32-15), when the league played an eight-game conference schedule, allowing an additional 10 non-conference games to be played. There are three nonconference games remaining (a possible fourth pending Colorado’s situation) against Notre Dame. The Pac-12 is contracted with seven bowl games, so there could be as many as 11 more nonconference games.
  3. Battle of elites (1): Two of the league’s top running backs will be on the field in Seattle on Saturday -- though not at the same time. That would mean either a bizarre trade or either Ka’Deem Carey or Bishop Sankey playing defense. In terms of rushing yards per game, they are separated by less than a yard (149.5 for Carey, 148.67 for Sankey). Yards per carry? It’s even closer (6.97 for Sankey, 6.95 for Carey). Both have four rushing touchdowns. While it’s not truly head-to-head, this could be one of those games folks look to when awarding postseason honors.
  4. Battle of elites (2): Two of the league’s top wide receivers will be on the field in Corvallis on Saturday -- though not at the same time. That would mean a bizarre trade or either Brandin Cooks or Paul Richardson playing defense. Cooks leads the nation with 43 catches for 639 yards and seven touchdowns. In only two games, Richardson has 21 catches for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Sixty percent of the time Cooks catches the ball, Oregon State either gains a first down or scores a touchdown.
  5. Battle of elites (3): Two of the league’s top defensive players will be on the field in Tempe on Saturday -- though not at the same time. That would mean either a bizarre trade or either Morgan Breslin or Will Sutton playing offense (which would be awesome!). Breslin is tied for the conference lead in total sacks (four) with teammate George Uko and leads the league in tackles for a loss per game. Sutton, on the other hand, has nine tackles, no sacks and half a tackle for a loss. The reason? Teams are double- and triple-teaming him like crazy. Plus, ASU has faced more run-based teams in the first few weeks. This week might be a good time for him to break out.
  6. Speaking of USC: How good has the defense been? According to ESPN Stats & Information, none of the four quarterbacks USC has seen has posted a Total QBR above 30. The Trojans are also blitzing a lot more under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Last year they blitzed 25 percent of the time. This year it’s up to 46 percent. And when they blitz, opposing QBs are completing just 41.9 percent of their throws, throwing it away or ending up on the ground.
  7. All hands: With big quarterback numbers come big receiving numbers. Six Pac-12 receivers have hauled in 10 or more catches in a game eight times this season, led by Cooks and Richardson with two each. Also, 17 different receivers have posted 100 or more receiving yards in a game 26 times, led by Cooks and Utah’s Dres Anderson with three games each.
  8. Layoff impact: Colorado is playing for the first time since its Sept. 7 win over Central Arkansas, which seems like months ago, though it actually has been only 20 days. After their Sept. 14 game with Fresno State was called off because of the flooding, the Buffs had a bye in Week 4. This is Colorado’s first trip to Corvallis. The previous two meetings (1931, 1963) took place in Portland. This is the last Pac-12 team Colorado is yet to play since joining the league (though the Cal game in 2011 was the back end of a home and home that didn’t count in the conference standings).
  9. Tough road: This is the second-straight game against a top-five team for California, which faces No. 2 Oregon this weekend. The Bears have gotten huge numbers out of true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who leads the FBS with 435.3 yards per game. But the defense has been hammered with injuries. Not good, considering 12 different Ducks have scored touchdowns so far.
  10. Odds and ends: Worth noting that four more Pac-12 receivers were recently added to the Biletnikoff watchlist: Cal’s Bryce Treggs, Oregon State’s Richard Mullaney and Washington State’s Gabe Marks, who are all in action this weekend. Utah's Dres Anderson is the fourth … UCLA and the Utes are off this week in anticipation of their Thursday night showdown next week in Salt Lake City.

Stat attack! Some Week 2 Pac-12 numbers

September, 10, 2013
It's probably too early to draw too many statistical conclusions, but here is a quick look at some Pac-12 numbers and how they stack up nationally.

Number to the left is national rank.

Scoring offense
3. Oregon, 62.5 points per game
T5. UCLA, 58.0
7. Arizona State, 55.0
T11. Utah, 50.0
T17. Arizona, 46.5

Total offense
3. Oregon, 664.5 yards
7. UCLA, 647.0
9. Washington, 592.0
11. California, 582.5
22. Utah, 539.0
25. Arizona State, 523.0

Note: Welcome to the show, Utes. So how did these guys get these numbers? See below.

Rushing offense
2. Oregon, 425.0 yards per game
7. Arizona, 351.5
8. UCLA, 345.0
24. Washington, 268.0

Passing offense
1. California, 472.5 yards per game
3. Oregon State, 436.5
8. Colorado, 370.5
9. Arizona State, 365.0
24. Washington, 324.0

Note: Washington has to like the balance it showed against Boise State, but will the Huskies maintain it on the road at Illinois? Cal is getting huge production from freshman QB Jared Goff. Did Buffaloes fans think Connor Wood would be putting up such big numbers?

Scoring defense
T1. Arizona State, 0.0
6. Washington, 6.0
T7. Arizona, Oregon, 6.5
19. USC, 11.5
T22. Stanford, 13.0

Total defense
2. Arizona State, 167.0
12. USC, 226.5
14. Stanford, 251.0
19. Arizona, 276.0
24. Washington State, 293.5

Note: USC's defense under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast isn't the problem. It's way early but it appears the Arizona and Washington State defenses are much improved.

Tackles for a loss (per game)
2. UCLA, 11.0
T3. USC, 10.0
T15. Utah, 8.5
T22. Arizona, Oregon, 8.0

3. Bishop Sankey, Washington, 161.0
4. Jordan James, UCLA, 155.0
16. Tre Madden, USC, 130.0
T20. De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, 126.0
25. Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 117.5

Note: Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey's 171 yards on just 16 carries at UNLV don't officially count because of the requirement a player participate in 75 percent of the games thus far. The big test is James at Nebraska. Johnathan Franklin ran all over the Cornhuskers last year.

Pass efficiency
3. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
6. Travis Wilson, Utah
14. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
16. Keith Price, Washington

Note: Wilson, Mannion and Price are answering big preseason questions for their teams. At least so far.

Receiving yards per game
1. Paul Richardson, Colorado, 208.5
4. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, 144.0
7. Bryce Treggs, California, 133.0
24. Jaydon Mickens, Washington, 109.0

Note: Guessing more than a few folks are going, "Oh, yeah, that Paul Richardson." Here's a quiz: Who's the big name missing here? Hint: Marqise Lee, the best receiver in the country.

Northwestern lost quarterback Kain Colter minutes into Saturday's game and never had full use of star running back Venric Mark.

One of the nation's most dynamic offensive backfields wouldn't be a factor in a tricky road opener against Cal and its potent "Bear Raid" offense.

So what did Northwestern do? It found another way to win. Linebacker Collin Ellis recorded two interceptions for touchdowns, tight end Dan Vitale sparked the passing game and third-string running back Treyvon Green stepped up for Mark on the ground.

Aaaand ... there might have been a few injury flops involved.

It added up to an exhausting 44-30 Northwestern victory against a plucky Cal team that gave the 22nd-ranked Wildcats all they could handle. Bears true freshman quarterback Jared Goff passed for 445 yards and two touchdowns, but he showed his age with three second-half interceptions, including the game-changer, which Ellis returned 56 yards to the end zone late in the third quarter.

Ellis, who beat out Drew Smith for Northwestern's third starting linebacker spot, was all over the field in an effort that at least will earn him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Northwestern also generated a decent pass rush, and safety Ibraheim Campbell picked off Goff in the closing minutes.

Cal made plenty of plays, attacking through the air with talented receivers Chris Harper (11 catches, 151 yards, 2 TDs) and Bryce Treggs (13 receptions, 145 yards). Despite a limited playbook, the Bears showed how dangerous they could be.

Northwestern was limited, too, but not by design. Colter left the game early after taking a shot to his head and his left shoulder. He was re-evaluated at halftime but ruled out, left to stew on the sideline, unable to run the nearly unstoppable zone-read with Mark.

As for Mark, the All-America returner wasn't used on returns and only played for stretches. He wasn't listed on the team's injury report and practiced throughout the preseason. It'll be interesting to see what Coach Pat Fitzgerald says about Mark's status going forward.

Northwestern surged on special teams in 2012, but Cal held a decided edge in the kicking game, scoring its first touchdown on a fake field goal and recovering a Wildcats fumble on a kickoff return. At least All-Big Ten kicker Jeff Budzien came through three field goals.

The little-used Green also stepped up late with a 55-yard burst to take Northwestern out of its own territory. He finished off the drive with a 6-yard plunge. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian had a big first half in relief of Colter but struggled a bit down the stretch.

Injuries were a big story for Northwestern throughout the game, both real and (possibly) imagined. Wildcats players were down after many plays in the second half. Cal coach Sonny Dykes clearly thought something was up (the Bears, ironically, were the team accused of faking injuries against Oregon). Northwestern also caught a break when Cal standout linebacker Chris McCain was ejected for targeting.

A wild game for the Wildcats, but it usually is just that. They survived and advanced in a Pac-12 stadium, not an easy place for Big Ten teams to win.

It's a good bet Northwestern enters its Oct. 5 home showdown against Ohio State at 4-0. The Wildcats still have never lost an opener under Fitzgerald.

Q&A: Cal quarterback Jared Goff

August, 22, 2013
Jared Goff talks with the confidence of a fourth-year starter. But Cal’s true freshman quarterback, who was named the starter last week, will have that confidence tested with three of his first four games against top 25 teams -- including No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Oregon. He took some time to chat with the Pac-12 blog about the job, his receivers and his expectations for 2013.

Jared Goff, starting quarterback. Has that sunk in yet?

Jared Goff: Definitely. It’s definitely set in. Probably Sunday or Monday. They made the decision on Friday, and Friday and Saturday were crazy with texts and calls every hour of the day. I think I handled it pretty well. Then we started preparing for Northwestern this week, and that’s when it really sunk in.

Jared Goff, starting quarterback, who has to face Northwestern, Ohio State and Oregon in three of his first four career games. Has that sunk in yet?

JG: Right now we’re just focused on Northwestern. Obviously, I know we've got a tough schedule coming up this year. But we’re focused on Northwestern. Ohio State and Oregon and all of those other great teams, those will come when the time comes. Right now we’re focused on Northwestern. That’s all we can do.

What was your confidence level like during the competition? Did you feel like this was your job to lose?

JG: Not really. I had two great competitors right beside me. In my opinion, they are two of the best quarterbacks in the country. They are great competitors and great people, and they really supported me when the decision came out. I really respect them for that. They are going to continue to push me and support me and be ready should anything happen ... It was a lot of congratulations from them. They were really respectful and mature about it, and they handled it with a lot of class.

You’ve got some good, young wide receivers to throw to. What are your thoughts on that group?

JG: They’re incredible. We’re extremely, extremely deep at wide receiver. We’ve got guys that could play anywhere else that might not get that much time this year because of how deep we are. Guys like Bryce Treggs, Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler, Darius Powe, Richard Rodgers, Jackson Bouza. All those guys are incredible. They run great routes and have great hands. We’re really starting to mesh together. It’s a good looking group.

Because it’s a younger group, does that make it a little easier for you to get on the same page with them as a true freshman rather than trying to win over a bunch of 22- or 23-year-olds?

JG: It definitely helps that they are all pretty much my age, 19 or 20. Jackson is almost 23. He’s the oldest on the offense and he’s the veteran. But most of them are pretty young, and it makes it a lot easier to mesh with them and get to know them.

You committed to Jeff Tedford, but stayed with Sonny Dykes. Was that because of your dad’s ties to the school (he was an All-American catcher)? Did you consider switching after the coaching change?

JG: With my decision, my dad going here didn't really have much to do with it. It was more of a bonus. It was a cool thing that my parents went here. But that didn't drive me to pick Cal. But as far as coach Tedford being let go and coach Dykes came in, I was definitely cautious at first and I wanted to see who they were going to hire. But the whole time I was going to stick with Cal. I knew I was. And when they hired coach Dykes, it made it that much easier. And with the new offense, it made it that much better.

Is this the kind of offense you wanted to be in? It’s quite a contrast to the pro-style system coach Tedford was running. Or did the scheme not matter?

JG: I just wanted to play. I think I can fit in many offenses. But this offense really suits me well. I ran something similar in high school, so it makes sense. It's a perfect fit for me.

How much do you think enrolling early made a difference in the competition?

JG: It made all the difference. If I didn't do that I would not be in the situation I am right now. For sure.

In your eyes, what would make a successful first season?

JG: Our goal right now is the Rose Bowl. That’s what we’re shooting for. That’s what we’re working for every day. That’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s all we can expect right now.
Receiver is not as strong a position in the Pac-12 as it was last year, but it's still pretty darn good, with Belitnikof Award winner Marqise Lee back and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks being a potential All-American.

And if Arizona didn't lose Austin Hill to a knee injury this spring, three 1,000-yard receivers would be back.

So how do things stack up?


[+] EnlargeNelson Agholor
Jonathan Moore/Getty ImagesReceiver Nelson Agholor proved last season that he can be a deep threat for USC.
USC: Lee is the nation's best receiver. Sophomore Nelson Agholor averaged 17.9 yards per catch last year. Just like last year when Lee was paired with Robert Woods, this might become the best combo in the country, though, of course, Woods was far more proven than Agholor. The depth is questionable but, at least based on recruiting rankings, it is talented.

Oregon: While De'Anthony Thomas is officially a running back, you can't help but allow him to toss some fairy dust here. Further, Josh Huff seemed to take a step forward from being a pure athlete to a legit receiver last year, and up-and-comer Bralon Addison as well as Daryle Hawkins and Keanon Lowe are back. It's worth noting the top six pass-catchers overall are returning.

Washington: Kasen Williams is the headliner after catching 77 passes last year. He's big and fast. The next two leading wideouts, Jaydon Mickens and DiAndre Campbell, also are back. Like the Ducks, the Huskies' top six pass-catchers, which includes a TE and RB you might have heard of, are back. Washington and Oregon fans will delight in knowing that I switched these two at the last minute, when I decided you couldn't completely ignore Thomas as a receiver.

Washington State: While there's no Marquess Wilson among the returning guys, this is a deep crew: Brett Bartolone, Gabe Marks, Dominique Williams, Isiah Myers, Bobby Ratliff and Kristoff Williams caught between 53 and 22 passes last year. Phil Steele ranked the Cougars 28th in the nation at this position.

Oregon State: The Beavers cling to "great shape" only because the speedy Cooks could be headed for a huge season after he caught 67 passes for 1,151 yards -- 17.2 yards per catch -- last year. There are some depth questions, though Kevin Cummings and Richard Mullaney combined for 31 receptions last year and Obum Gwacham and Micah Hatfield are back.


UCLA: Shaq Evans caught 60 passes for 877 yards last year, but after him the leading returning receiver is Devin Fuller, who caught just 20 passes. Still, there's young talent here, topped by Devin Lucien, Jordan Payton and Kenny Walker.

California: Sure, Keenan Allen is gone, but there's lots of young talent that saw action last year. Chris Harper was second on the 2012 Bears with 41 catches, while speedy Bryce Treggs had 21. Darius Powe and Maurice Harris also saw action, while redshirt freshman Kenny Lawler is promising. This might turn out to be a "Great shape" crew -- if there's a QB getting them the ball consistently.

Colorado: Don't laugh -- the Buffaloes are solid at receiver, particularly with Paul Richardson back after missing 2012 with a knee injury. He's an All-Pac-12 type talent, and the top two receivers from 2012, Nelson Spruce and Tyler McCulloch, are also back. Further, converted running back D.D. Goodson is intriguing. Question for Buffs is QB, not WR.

Utah: The Utes two leading wideouts in 2012 are back. Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott combined for 69 catches last year. And they are probably better than folks think because the Utes' passing game problems started at QB, where true freshman Travis Wilson was taking his lumps most of the season. It hurts that projected starter Quinton Pedrosa was given the boot this summer for violating team rules.

Arizona: The Wildcats would have been in "Great shape" if Hill hadn't blown out his knee and Tyler Slavin hadn't left the program. The issue isn't experience: Five guys return with at least 20-catch seasons. But there's a decided lack of a go-to guy. The leading returning receiver, Dave Richards, caught just 29 passes last year and ranked fourth on the team.


Stanford: Five of the top six receivers from 2012 are gone, though it's worth noting the top two didn't play receiver. While Ty Montgomery hinted at his potential in 2012, he only caught 26 passes for 213 yards with no TDs. After that, there are just names and potential based on strong spring performances: Devon Cajuste, Michael Rector, Kodi Whitfield and Kelsey Young.

Arizona State: None of the Sun Devils' top five pass catchers from 2012 are back playing receiver this fall. The position was decidedly questionable last year -- see the top three receivers being a tight end and a pair of running backs -- and it is even more so this year, in large part because it's the team's only obvious hole. Yet, great hope hangs on incoming players, most notably the touted Jaelen Strong.

You can see previous previews here:


Running back

Media day lineup set

June, 18, 2013
Last week, Ted gave you the rundown of which Pac-12 players will be attending media day on July 26. Now the on-stage lineup has been set.

We'll be there to bring you each team's summary "On stage..." post like we did last year, as well as "Seen and Heard" posts, a multi-story notebook and plenty of videos.

We can't make any promises that the entire Google-web won't collapse and Utah's "On Stage" post won't disappear like it did last year (Ted still feels really bad about that one), but he told me he's going to slip the IT guy at Sony Studios a $20 just in case. (Anyone needing a refresher on that story can check out the final question from this mailbag last year.)

Here's the lineup so you can start planning ahead.

9 a.m. Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner

9:15 a.m. Washington State - Coach Mike Leach, Elliott Bosch (OL), Deone Bucannon (DB)

9:30 a.m. California - Coach Sonny Dykes, Bryce Treggs (WR), Nick Forbes (LB)

9:45 a.m. Washington - Coach Steve Sarkisian, Keith Price (QB), Sean Parker (DB)

10:00 a.m. Oregon State - Coach Mike Riley, Brandin Cooks (WR), Rashaad Reynolds (DB)

10:15 a.m. Oregon - Coach Mark Helfrich, Marcus Mariota (QB), Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB)

10:30 a.m. Stanford - Coach David Shaw, David Yankey (OL), Shayne Skov (LB)

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. Colorado - Coach Mike MacIntyre, Paul Richardson (WR), Chidera Uzo-Diribe (DE)

11:15 a.m. Utah - Coach Kyle Whittingham, Jake Murphy (TE), Trevor Reilly (DE)

11:30 a.m. Arizona - Coach Rich Rodriguez, Terrence Miller (WR), Jake Fischer (LB)

11:45 a.m. USC - Coach Lane Kiffin, Marqise Lee (WR), Hayes Pullard (LB)

12:00 p.m. Arizona State - Coach Todd Graham, Taylor Kelly (QB), Alden Darby (S)

12:15 p.m. UCLA - Coach Jim Mora, Xavier Su’a Filo (OL), Anthony Barr (LB)

Pac-12 players attending media day

June, 13, 2013
The official start to the countdown to the Pac-12 College Football Season begins for most media folks at media day (for the Pac-12 blog, there is no start or finish line, just one continuous super-marathon of joy).

This year Pac-12 media day is Friday, July 26 at the Sony Studios Lot in Culver City, Calif. The Pac-12 coaches will be in Bristol, Conn., talking to ESPN folks the two days before the LA event, and yours truly will also be there, making himself profoundly annoying.

In LA, Kevin and I will be there, diligently polishing the bland overflow of verbiage into shiny nuggets of fun and useful information.

But the chief question on your mind is this: Who shall tell you reporters about how offseason workouts were the best IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD and that this team has great chemistry and leadership?

Glad you asked. Each team brings its coach and two players, one offense, one defense.

And here they are:
Arizona: LB Jake Fischer, WR Terrence Miller
Arizona State: QB Taylor Kelly, S Alden Darby
California: WR Bryce Treggs, LB Nick Forbes
Colorado: WR Paul Richardson, DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe
Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
Oregon State: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Rashaad Reynolds
Stanford: OG David Yankey, LB Shayne Skov
UCLA: OLB Anthony Barr, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo
USC: WR Marqise Lee, LB Hayes Pullard
Utah: TE Jake Murphy, DE Trevor Reilly
Washington: QB Keith Price, S Sean Parker
Washington State: S Deone Bucannon, C Elliott Bosch

The most glaring omission is Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, who is only the defending Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. The second most glaring is Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, who only led the nation in rushing last year.

Carey's excuse is offseason, off-field trouble. He's not talked to reporters since a series of knuckle-headed events. Many of you might recall his last public quote not being particularly admirable.

Sutton's omission was coach Todd Graham's decision, according to the Sun Devils sports information department, though it's no secret Sutton isn't a huge fan of interviews, despite being pretty good at them and never receiving any bad publicity (at least that comes to mind).

Darby was selected for his "leadership." The problem with that explanation is it chips away at Sutton, fairly or unfairly, as in: Is he not a good leader, too? And everyone wants to talk to Sutton, a preseason All-American who notably opted to return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft.

Things certainly will be quieter at Arizona State's table. If Sutton attended, many of the reporters on hand would have written, "Will Sutton is unblockable and Arizona State is going to be good" stories. Now they won't, which means less buzz for the team.

Does it matter? It certainly won't blow up a season. But there are probably a few AP voters on the East Coast who will, as a result, know less about the Sun Devils before they fill out their preseason ballots. In college football, where you start does matter in terms of where you finish.