Pac-12: David Buehler

Don't be surprised if ... USC

July, 8, 2009
7/08/09
5:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Thirteenth in a series of Pac-10 thoughts that might come from unusual angles.

Don't be surprised if ... USC's run of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles ends in 2009.

Of course, you won't be surprised if they win No. 8 either, eh?

I sent my ballot in for the Pac-10 preseason media poll this week and -- after pausing longer than I have since 2002 -- still wrote in USC next to No. 1.

But I thought about it. Really thought about it.

I and most media folks are projecting another conference title for the Trojans. But what follows is a not unreasonable list of reasons why that may not happen.

  1. The schedule is unfavorable: Over an eight-week span, the Trojans will be on the road at Ohio State, at California, at Notre Dame and at Oregon. That's about as tough a schedule as a team can have: two long trips across time zones and visits to the Trojans' likely top competition in the conference -- both of whom could be ranked in the top 10 by game week. Moreover, tough road games are even tougher when you are inexperienced, particularly at quarterback. Finally, USC has lost eight games since 9/22/02. Six of those losses came in Pac-10 road games (the others were 2007 vs. Stanford and the 2005 national title game vs. Texas).
  2. Only three starters return on defense: Sure, that's a bit misleading considering the depth of experience in the secondary. And, oh yeah, the Trojans reserve of young talent is unmatched in college football. But whatever the athletic ability, a lack of experience could end up leading to more mistakes than in the past. Something like: "I thought you were spying Jahvid on that play!" 
  3. No matter who starts, the quarterback will be green: It used to be -- before Pete Carroll arrived at Heritage Hall -- that a Pac-10 team couldn't hope for a conference title without experience at quarterback. The Trojans have, of course, bucked that trend ever since Matt Leinart swaggered his way through his first start: a 23-zip pillaging at Auburn. Still, even the coolest player doesn't always hit the point at the craps table. At some point, the odds are a new starting quarterback is going to play like one for USC -- particularly when the venue is the Horseshoe or Autzen Stadium.
  4. Both specialists will be new: USC is going to lose the Pac-10 because it's breaking in a new kicker and a new punter? Well, that's the sort of thing that could cost a team a close game: a shanked punt here, a missed field goal or extra point there. Anyone remember Ryan Killeen's missed extra point at Washington State in 2002 or his missed 39-yard field goal in the triple-OT loss to California the following year? Or David Buehler's blocked PAT vs. Stanford in 2007?
  5. There's been a lot of staff turnover of late: The Trojans have new offensive and defensive coordinators as well as new defensive line and special-teams coaches. Sure, a lot of the talk this spring was of "upgrades." And defensive coordinator Rocky Seto, a longtime USC assistant, and D-line coach Jethro Franklin, who returned for his second stint with the team, aren't new faces around the program. Still, that's a lot of transitioning for a squad.
  6. It's possible an NCAA ruling in the Reggie Bush case could be a distraction: Signs point to the seemingly endless Bush case actually, you know, ending sometime soon -- whether that's before the season begins or before the first of the year. While the smart money is on the Trojans not getting hammered -- unless something else comes up there is little evidence that ties USC to Bush's alleged improprieties -- any type of ruling will cause a period of hullabaloo that could distract from the task at hand.
  7. The streak won't go on forever: Hey, history tells us that no dynasty lasts forever. Just ask the Mings.

Is this a compelling case? Maybe. Guessing most Trojan adherents will scoff, while fans of nine other Pac-10 teams will respond with feelings ranging from skeptical "maybes" to "heck yeah!"

We shall see.

Big East nips Pac-10 for draft lead

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
10:23
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

[Note this is a corrected post... apologies for not factoring in the underrated Big East].

The Big East nipped the Pac-10 for the lead among conferences in the 2009 NFL draft.

The eight-team Big East supplied 27 total players in the draft, or 3.4 players per team. The Pac-10 supplied 32 selections (3.2 players per team). The 12-team SEC was third with 37 selections overall, or 3.1 per team. The 12-team ACC was third with 33 (2.8 per team).

Last year, the Pac-10's led with 3.4 per team vs. 2.92 per team for the SEC and ACC (2.75).

USC led the way with 11 players selected, including three in the first round, though many are shaking their heads of linebacker Rey Maualuga's tumble into the second round. Every draft-eligible Trojan who started last season was picked.

Oregon State was second with seven players selected and Oregon was third with six. Arizona State, with a pair of seventh-round selections, maintained a 45-year streak with at least one player drafted.

Not all the news was good: Stanford, UCLA and Washington each had no players selected.

Here's the complete list

Arizona

Eben Britton, OT, Jacksonville, second
Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville, fourth

Arizona State

Troy Nolan, S, Houston, seventh
Paul Fanaika, OG, Philadelphia, seventh

California

Alex Mack, C, Cleveland, first
Zach Follett, LB, Detroit, seventh
Cameron Morrah, TE, seventh

Oregon

Patrick Chung, S, New England, second
Jairus Byrd, CB, Buffalo, second
Max Unger, C, Seattle, second
Fenuki Tupou, OT, Philadelphia, fifth
Ra'Shon Harris, DT, Pittsburgh, sixth
Nick Reed, DE, Seattle, seventh

Oregon State

Andy Levitre, OG, Buffalo, second
Keenan Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh, third
Victor Butler, OLB, Dallas, fourth
Slade Norris, OLB, Oakland, fourth
Brandon Hughes, CB, San Diego, fifth
Al Afalava, S, Chicago, sixth
Sammie Stroughter, WR, Tampa Bay, seventh

Stanford

NONE

UCLA

NONE

USC

Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets, first (No. 5)
Brian Cushing, OLB, Houston, first (No. 15)
Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay, first (No. 26)
Rey Maualuga, LB, Cincinnati, second
Fili Moala, DT, Indianapolis, second
Patrick Turner, WR, Miami, third
Kaluka Maiava, LB, Cleveland, fourth
Kyle Moore, DE, Tampa Bay, fourth
David Buehler, PK, Dallas, fifth
Cary Harris, CB, Buffalo, sixth
Kevin Ellison, S, San Diego, sixth

Washington

NONE

Washington State

Brandon Gibson, WR, Philadelphia, sixth

Pac-10 players of the week

December, 1, 2008
12/01/08
3:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Oregon tailback Jeremiah Johnson, Arizona State safety Troy Nolan and USC kicker David Buehler are the Pac-10 Players of the Week.

Johnson, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif., rushed 17 times for a career-high 219 yards (12.9-yard average) in the Ducks' 65-38 Civil War victory. Included were an 83-yard touchdown and a 79-yard run to set up another TD. The 219 yards rushing is a Civil War record.

Nolan, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif., had eight tackles -- seven solo -- and intercepted a
pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown.

Buehler, a senior from Anaheim, Calif., connected from 35 yards on his only field-goal attempt, was 5-for-5 on PATs and had four touchbacks on seven kickoffs in USC's 38-3 win against Notre Dame.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week was USC tailback Joe McKnight. Also nominated on defense were linebackers Kaluka Maiava of USC and Spencer Paysinger of Oregon and UCLA cornerback Michael Norris. UCLA kicker Kai Forbath was nominated for special teams.

Pac-10 players of the week

November, 3, 2008
11/03/08
2:56
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Oregon State tailback Jacquizz Rodgers, California linebacker Zack Follett and USC kicker David Buehler are the Pac-10 players of the week.

Rodgers, a freshman from Richmond, Texas, rushed 30 times for 133 yards and added five receptions for 55 yards in the Beavers' win over Arizona State. This is his second player of the week honor this season.

Follett, a senior from Clovis, Calif., posted 11 tackles -- eight solo -- including three tackles for loss and one quarterback sack in the Bears' 26-16 win over Oregon. The Ducks entered the game averaging 41.5 points and 475 yards per game, but the Cal limited them to 290 yards and just 4 of 18 on third-down conversions.

In USC's 56-0 win against Washington, Buehler, a senior from Anaheim, Calif., was a perfect 8-8 on PATs and seven of his nine kickoffs forced the Huskies to take touchbacks.

Also nominated for offensive honors were Stanford running back Toby Gerhart and USC wide receiver Patrick Turner. Also nominated on defense were Oregon State end Victor Butler, USC linebacker Rey Maualuga and safeties T.J. Ward of Oregon and Troy Nolan of Arizona State.

Pac-10 players of the week

October, 20, 2008
10/20/08
3:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Arizona running back Keola Antolin, Oregon State safety Greg Laybourn and UCLA kicker Kai Forbath have been named Pac-10 players of the week.

Antolin, a freshman from Las Vegas, rushed 21 times for 149 yards (7.1 yards per carry) with three touchdowns and added a reception for nine yards and had four kickoff returns for 79 yards, giving him 237 all-purpose yards.

Laybourn, a senior from Portland, led the Beavers' defensive effort in a 34-13 win at Washington. He posted a game-high 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops. The OSU defense forced four turnovers.

Forbath, a sophomore from Pacific Palisades, Calif., scored 11 of UCLA's 23 points in the Bruins' 23-20 win against Stanford. He was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, connecting from 37, 19 and 28 yards, and made both of his PAT attempts.

This marks the second player of the week honors this year for both Laybourn and Forbath.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were Oregon State flanker James Rodgers and quarterbacks Mark Sanchez of USC and Kevin Craft of UCLA. Also nominated on defense were cornerbacks Devin Ross of Arizona, Alterraun Verner of UCLA and Josh Pinkard of USC. Kickers David Buehler of USC and Jason Bondzio of Arizona were nominated for special teams play.

Pac-10 players of the week

October, 6, 2008
10/06/08
3:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, California defensive end Cameron Jordan and Cal punter Bryan Anger were named Pac-10 Players of the Week on Monday.

Sanchez, a senior from Mission Viejo, Calif., was 19-of-28 (.679) for 332 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Trojans 44-10 win over No. 23 Oregon. His scoring passes covered 34, 63 and 11 yards. USC rolled up 598 yards total offense, including 443 yards passing and were forced to punt only one time.

This is the third time this year Sanchez has earned player of the week honors.

Jordan and Anger played key roles in California's 24-14 win against Arizona State.

Jordan, a sophomore from Chandler, Ariz., made the most of his first start, posting eight tackles -- five solo -- including three tackles for loss (-8) and two quarterback sacks (-7) and forced a fumble. The Cal defense limited Arizona State to 236 yards total offense (71 rushing, 165 passing), just 4-of-16 on third-down conversion attempts, forced three turnovers and posted three quarterback sacks (-22).

Anger, a freshman from Camarillo, Calif., averaged 47.4 yards on seven punts, including a career-long 72-yard boot. Three of Anger's seven punts were downed inside the Arizona State 10-yard line.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were tight ends Rob Gronkowski of Arizona and Ryan Moya of UCLA and tailback Shane Vereen of California. Also nominated on defense were backs Alterraun Verner of UCLA, Kevin Ellison of USC and Devin Ross of Arizona. Kicker David Buehler of USC, punter Aaron Perez of UCLA and punt returner Mike Thomas of Arizona were nominated for special teams play.

Ranking the Pac-10 kickers...

July, 21, 2008
7/21/08
12:46
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Kickers? The Pac-10's got kickers, even with the departure of 2006 Groza Award winner Alexis Serna of Oregon State.

That's because 2007 Groza Award winner Thomas Weber will again be splitting the uprights for Arizona State.

Only three schools are looking for new kickers: Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State. And the returning kickers ranged from solid to, well, Weber.

  1. Thomas Weber, So., Arizona State: In 2007, he was the nation's best kicker. He might not connect on 24 of 25 field goals again, but he's got a big, accurate leg. And he's been clutch.
  2. Kai Forbath, So., UCLA: Just about any other year, connecting on 25 of 30 field goals with a long of 54 would be good enough for First-Team All-Pac-10. In 2007, all it got was an honorable mention.
  3. Jason Bondzio, Sr., Arizona: This is depth -- the No. 3 kicker hit 21 of 26 in 2007.
  4. David Buehler, Sr., USC: Trying. To. Resist. 80s movie. Reference. 16 of 19 last year. Anyone? Anyone?
  5. Matt Evensen, Sr., Oregon: Good on 16 of 20 in 2007 and looked good this spring.
  6. Ryan Perkins, Jr., Washington: Add toughness to his resume (15 of 20) -- he's struggled with injuries.
  7. Jordan Kay, Sr., California: Coaches would like him be as consistent on field goals (65 percent) as extra points (100 percent).
  8. Justin Kahut, So, Oregon State: He looked so good this spring, some wondered if he might be better than Serna.
  9. David Green, RFr., Stanford: Former big-time recruit expected to win the job.
  10. Wade Penner, So, Washington State: Kicker has been uneven, at best, for the Cougars in recent years. Penner showed promise during the spring.

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