Pac-12: David Carter
If the six combined picks from Colorado and Utah are taken away from the conference, the old Pac-10 provided NFL teams 3.1 draft picks per team, also just behind the SEC at 3.17.
Here's where the Pac-12 players went:
No. 8 Jake Locker, QB, Washington: Tennessee
No. 9 Tyron Smith., OT, USC: Dallas
No. 17 Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: New England
No. 24 Cameron Jordan, DE, California: New Orleans
No. 27 Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: Baltimore
7. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA: Tennessee
10. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona: Houston
13. Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA: Denver
21. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State: Chicago
24. Shane Vereen, RB, California: New England
13. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC: Tennessee
20. Mason Foster, LB, Washington: Tampa Bay
25. Shareece Wright, CB, USC: San Diego
29. Christopher Conte, S, California: Chicago
33. Sione Fua, DT, Stanford: Carolina
5. Jordan Cameron, TE, USC: Cleveland
19. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon: Philadelphia
21. Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado: Kansas City
27. Owen Marecic, FB, Stanford: Cleveland
8. Brandon Burton, CB, Utah: Minnesota
9. Gabe Miller, DE, Oregon State: Kansas City
14. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State: Atlanta
23. Richard Sherman, CB, Stanford: Seattle
2. Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford: Cincinnati
14. Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah: Green Bay
17. Ronald Johnson, WR, USC: San Francisco
19. David Carter, DT, UCLA: Arizona
22. Allen Bradford, RB, USC: Tampa Bay
24. Mike Mohamed, LB, California: Denver
32. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona: Green Bay
38. Zach Williams, C, Washington State: Carolina
12. D'Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona: Minnesota
24. Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado: New York Jets
30. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State: Green Bay
37. Stanley Havili, FB, USC: Philadelphia
38. David Ausberry, WR, USC: Oakland
39. Malcolm Smith, LB, USC: Seattle
By Pac-12 school:
Arizona State (1)
Oregon State (3)
Washington State (1)
The final tally by automatic qualifying conferences:
Big Ten... 36
Big East 22
Nebraska was a big swing to the Big Ten from the Big 12 with seven picks. With Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 provided 30 selections.
This was the tally through three rounds:
Big Ten: 13
Big 12: 9
Big East: 4
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- Bad knees happened in threes at Arizona, and the knee injury to Jake Fischer creates uncertainty at linebacker.
- Will Arizona State's new logo be adopted by some unsavory characters?
- Considering all three of California's quarterback competitors.
- Colorado goes HD.
- Oregon's defense was again in control during a scrimmage.
- Is Oregon State enduring a receivers curse? Former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins was at practice.
- Stanford's resurgence means more of a Cardinal presence in the NFL.
- Injuries mean opportunity this spring for a UCLA lineman. Former D-lineman David Carter has moved onto NFL draft charts.
- Some thoughts on USC's NFL draft prospects.
- With Pac-12 membership, Utah puts boots on the ground in California recruiting.
- Considering Washington's special teams. The cornerbacks have stepped up this spring.
- Washington State picks up a commitment with a familiar last name.
- Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and a $300 million asking price: What does it mean?
From the Shrine Game "buzz," former USC tight end Jordan Cameron was noted by Todd McShay as among the "best of the best ." Wrote McShay:
He did an excellent job of getting off the line of scrimmage. He has quick hands and quick feet. He's not the most polished route runner, but he's smooth and fluid. He's very natural adjusting to passes thrown outside the frame or extending on lower passes. He clearly has the most natural ability of all the tight ends.
UCLA DT David Carter made Kevin Weidl's top performers from the West team:
We like his initial quickness, strength and wide lower half. He has good feet and good hands, and does a good job of using them when battling offensive linemen. He made a few plays throughout the day, especially in team drills, disengaging, then redirecting or stopping the run on the interior. He showed a good swim and inside rip move to win as a pass rusher.
Former Oregon DE Kenny Rowe had a slow start, but it appears he also flashed ability in Day Three :
Oregon's Kenneth Rowe and Florida's Justin Trattou stood out during the defensive line drills. But again, that's to be expected when it's just shorts and shells, as both are lighter defensive ends, and drills that focus on athletic ability and agility play to their strengths. Both looked good dropping in coverage -- they had ends dropping in angles in coverage, where defensive tackles would drop straight back like a middle spy -- and showed their athleticism.
Their Day 1 material had some observations about three Pac-12 guys.
Arizona offensive tackle Adam Grant gets a thumbs-up, while Oregon DE Kenny Rowe gets a thumbs-down in this practice review.
And Arizona DE Ricky Elmore was a "top performer" on Day 1.
There will daily updates from these guys, and with 15 Pac-12 players in the game, there should be plenty of info on players of interest.
These are the Pac-12 players in the game.
Brandon Bair, DT, Oregon
Jordan Cameron, TE, USC
David Carter, DT, UCLA
Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
Adam Grant, OT, Arizona
Trevor Hankins, P, Arizona State
Alex Linnenkohl, C, Oregon State
Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
Mike Mohamed, LB, California
Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah
Justin Taplin-Ross, SS, Utah
Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford
Nate Williams, SS, Washington
Zach Williams, OG, Washington State
Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon*
* Playing for East team.
Here are some outstanding senior Pac-10 players, none of whom made first- or second-team All-Conference teams.
Arizona: NT Lolomana Mikaele
The fifth-year senior was a co-captain this season who matured significantly during his time in Tucson. He missed the 2008 season because of a suspension for violating team rules, but he returned in 2009 and 2010 as one of the Wildcats quiet leaders and became well-respected by his teammates. He started all 12 games and finished with 32 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss.
Arizona State: S Max Tabach
The Scottsdale native grew up a Sun Devils fan: He's quoted in his bio as saying that "the day he received a scholarship from ASU was 'one of the best days' of his life." Despite only starting six games -- out of the final seven -- he tied for third on the team with 64 tackles. He also chipped in a sack and two interceptions. He was ASU's most consistent safety in 2010.
California: C Chris Guarnero
It's not easy to replace the best center in program history: Alex Mack. And Guarnero is not terribly big -- 6-foot-2, 270; Mack is 6-5, 316 -- but he started 27 career games and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors the past two seasons.
Oregon: WR D.J. Davis
Davis, the Ducks second-leading receiver, has started 20 games, but his 36 receptions for 410 yards don't tell his whole story. For one, he's a tenacious blocker, a key part of the Ducks rushing success the past two seasons. Second, he's a class guy. Davis, who in high school won the Watkins Memorial Award as the nation’s top African American male scholar athlete, was so moved by the death of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan, he decided to make a touching tribute this season.
Oregon State: WR Aaron Nichols
Nichols is a former walk-on who ended up tied for third on the Beavers with 29 receptions for 330 yards. When the Beavers needed a clutch play this year -- particularly after James Rodgers went down -- Nichols was often the go-to guy. And he's been accepted into Oregon State's highly competitive Doctor of Pharmacy Program.
Stanford: OG Andrew Phillips
Phillips is the unsung leader of one of the nation's best offensive lines, and he played well this season despite a heavy heart: In August, his father, Bill Phillips Sr., died in a plane crash.
UCLA: DT David Carter
Carter never started until he was a fifth-year senior, yet he led all Bruins defensive linemen with 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Further, he's a history major and honor roll student.
USC: FB Stanley Havili
Havili is a four-year starter who's made so many big plays he's hardly "unsung." But he's still underappreciated. He was named USC's Most Inspirational Player Award and was named Co-Lifter of the Year. He played the entire season with a shoulder injury. His 116 career receptions are the most of any fullback in program history.
Washington: OLB Victor Aiyewa
He's a two-time first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection (2nd team this year) and made All-Pac-10 honorable mention. A former safety who moved to "Sam" outside linebacker this season, he ended up leading the Pac-10 in tackles for a loss with 18, 11th-most in school history.
Washington State: OT Micah Hannam
The four-year starter and three-time Pac-10 All-Academic first team member started more losses than any player in the 107-year history of Cougars football. That's perseverance.
James, a sophomore from Texarkana, Texas, led No. 4 Oregon to a 52-31 victory over No. 9 Stanford, carrying the ball 31 times for a career-high 257 yards and three touchdowns. His 76-yard touchdown run came on his final carry as he sealed the game with 1:10 remaining. It was his second 200-yard rushing performance this season.
James also was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week.
Harris, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., collected five tackles to go along with two second-half interception and a pass breakup. His second interception occurred in the end zone when Stanford had a first and 10 on the Ducks 11-yard line. It’s the second Player of the Week honor for Harris -- he won for special teams after game one.
Folk, a junior from Woodland Hills, Calif., came through for Washington for the second straight time against USC as he hit a game-winning field goal to beat the 18th-ranked Trojans. This time, his 32-yarder split the uprights as time expired, giving the Huskies the 32-31 win over No. 18 USC. He was 4-for-4 on field goals for the evening, hitting from 23, 41, 35 and 32 yards. He also made both PAT attempts, accounting for 14 of the team’s 32 points. Last season, it was Polk’s 22-yarder with three seconds to play that made the difference in a 16-13 win over No. 3 USC.
Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were running backs Deantre Lewis of Arizona State, Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State, Stepfan Taylor of Stanford, Johnathan Franklin of UCLA, Allen Bradford of USC, and quarterback Jake Locker of Washington. Also nominated on defense were defensive tackle Stephen Paea of Oregon State, safety Taylor Skaufel of Stanford, defensive tackle David Carter of UCLA and linebacker Mason Foster of Washington. Also nominated for special teams were punter Trevor Hankins of Arizona State, place kicker Rob Beard of Oregon, kick returner Jordan Poyer of Oregon State, and place kicker Kai Forbath of UCLA.
Team of the week: Oregon bounced back from an early 21-3 deficit to whip Stanford 52-31. The Ducks showed dominance on both sides of the ball rolling up 626 yards and shutting the Cardinal out in the second half. The performance boosted them to No. 3 in the national rankings. Hello national title contention.
Biggest play: Having already mentioned the Huskies' fourth-and-11 conversion, let's then tip our cap to Oregon coach Chip Kelly's brilliant -- brilliant because it worked -- decision to go for an onside kick immediately after his team had narrowed the Cardinal's early lead to 21-10. The Ducks recovered and drove for another TD, making the count 21-17
Offensive standout(s): Oregon's LaMichael James rushed for 257 yards and three TDs on 31 carries against Stanford, never getting tackled for a loss in the process. He's now the conference's top Heisman Trophy candidate. Locker is no longer a Heisman candidate, but he bounced back from a career-worst performance against Nebraska to pass for 310 yards and rush for 110 more at USC.
Defensive standout(s): Oregon State's Stephen Paea had been mostly muted by double-teams in the first three games, but he had two of the Beavers' six sacks against Arizona State. Meanwhile, UCLA DT David Carter had three sacks and two QB hurries in the Bruins' win over Washington State. Hard to not also mention Ducks cornerback Cliff Harris, who had two interceptions of Andrew Luck.
Special teams standout: Folk beat USC with a pressure-packed kick for a second consecutive season. For the evening, he was 4-for-4 on field goals with a long of 41 yards.
Smiley face: Following another case of early-season struggles -- in large part due to a brutal schedule with a pair of top-five teams -- Oregon State again figured out a way to not only endure but also improve. The win over Arizona State showcased major gains on both sides of the ball.
Frowny face: Arizona State had another close call at Oregon State, but after ending up on the wrong end of three close calls it's hard to fall back on the whole "moral" victory thing, particularly with players seemingly joking around on the sideline while the game is still hotly contested, per reports from the Arizona Republic.
Thought of the week: Kelly won't want to hear this -- and he certainly won't rhapsodize with reporters about it -- but the unbeaten, third-ranked Ducks look at this point to be favorites in the rest of their games, seeing that a visit to USC on Oct. 30 no longer feels terribly formidable. So if the Ducks hold serve ... well, you fill in the blank.
Questions for the week: Is Oregon State about to join the conference race? The Beavers were projected third in the preseason media poll, if you recall. A win at Arizona certainly would suggest the Beavers will be a factor at the top of the conference. A loss, however, might hint at a middle-of-the-pack finish.
And it's typically not a strength position in the Pac-10. Coaches who have worked both down south and out west will tell you that one of the peculiar differences is how many more DTs there are in SEC and ACC country. (Quarterback goes the other way.)
So how do things stack up?
- USC: The Trojans would rank among the nation's best at the position if not for the season-ending knee injury to Christian Tupou. Still, Jurrell Casey is a beast, Hebron Fangupo is huge and DaJohn Harris was one of the surprises of spring practices.
- Oregon State: All-America candidate Stephen Paea is powerful and explosive and if he turns in a big season beating double-teams, he could end up a first-round NFL draft pick. Brennan Olander is a returning starter and converted end Kevin Frahm provides depth.
- Arizona State: Both 2009 starters, Lawrence Guy and Saia Falahola, are back, and Corey Adams and Williams Sutton should provide quality depth.
- Oregon: Brandon Bair is underrated, and Zac Clark saw plenty of action as a backup in 2009. While inexperienced, there's young talent to provide depth.
- Washington: The Huskies are solid with Cameron Elisara and Alameda Ta'amu, returning starters who turned in their best work this past spring.
- California: Hard to rate teams that use a pure 3-4 because there's only a single nose tackle. Still, if Derrick Hill can stay healthy, he and Kendrick Payne will be an outstanding tandem making life tough for opposing centers.
- Stanford: The Cardinal is breaking in its own 3-4 this year. Nose tackle Sione Fua is solid in the middle, with Terrence Stephens his backup. Stephens saw limited action as a true freshman in 2009.
- UCLA: The Bruins are replacing two starters, including the dominant Brian Price. David Carter, Justin Edison and Nate Chandler were solid in spring practices, so the position isn't a huge concern.
- Arizona: The Wildcats are replacing two starters, including the underrated Earl Mitchell, a third-round NFL draft pick. After spring practices, Sione Tuihalamaka and Lolomana Mikaele topped the depth chart, which featured six names.
- Washington State: Another position where the Cougars might be "better than you think," particularly if Bernard Wolfgramm can stay healthy. Touted JC transfer Brandon Rankin was impressive this spring, and true sophomore Anthony Laurenzi, a five-game starter in 2009, offers experienced depth.
That is a cause for concern.
On the other hand, safety Rahim Moore, linebacker Akeem Ayers and end Datone Jones are future high NFL draft picks who provide a cause of optimism.
Although the Bruins walked away from spring practices with some questions -- particularly at two linebacker spots -- and an obvious need for some youngsters to immediately contribute, there's enough talent for them to again rank as one of the Pac-10's top defenses.
You lost a lot of guys who saw a lot of action: Who's going to be hardest to replace?
Chuck Bullough: All of them were good. The hardest to replace? It's really different aspects. Obviously, Brian Price being such a disruptive force up front -- that's a guy you're going to miss. Then we have our two linebackers. Reggie Carter was a four-year starter, so obviously his experience, him knowing everything. He was a team leader of the defense. And obviously Alterraun Verner, who was one of the best corners to ever play here. But we have young guys who played well in spring who we hope can step up. Now, I don't know if they will be at the same level as those guys were because those guys were obviously seniors and these guys are younger. But these guys have the ability to get to that level.
How might the 2010 defense be different than the 2009 unit?
CB: We'll be a little younger. We lost those five seniors. But the guys who played this spring -- [middle linebackers] Steve Sloan and Patrick Larimore -- played really well. Replacing Kyle Bosworth at "will" linebacker we've got [Sean Westgate] and we moved a safety down there, Glenn Love, who played real well and was a real surprise of spring. They have a chance to be comparable to the guys from last year. We moved Nate Chandler over from tight end to defensive tackle. He's a big 6-foot-5, fast with great feet. Between him and David Carter and a couple of the young puppies coming in, we'll replace Brian Price. Well, a Brian Price only comes along every once in a while with his explosiveness. But these guys are good football players. The guy stepping in for Verner would be Sheldon Price. He was a freshman last year but he started as a true freshman just like Verner did. It all depends on them taking that next step and being leaders. We lost all our leadership. So I think, with the defense, it will have to be seen as to who takes over the leadership role with these guys gone, when it comes to the fall and it's time to play games, who are the leaders of the defense.
Let's go through the three levels: What are you happy with concerning your defensive line and what concerns you?
CB: We feel very good about our D-line. Obviously, we lost both our tackles, but like I said, Nate Chandler came over and played really well. David Carter has improved. Both of those guys are big bodies -- 6-5 and 6-4, 290 and both of them can run. A tackle we have coming in, Cassius Marsh, who we've been keeping in touch with, is really strong for a freshman, which is usually the problem they have coming in and trying to play Pac-10 football from high school. They aren't strong enough. But he's really strong and he's got a nasty streak. So we're expecting him to have to be in the rotation. We've got a guy, Sealii Epenesa, from Hawaii, who's a big, huge body guy. We'll have to see if he can hold up strength-wise but he'll definitely have the ability down the road. Then we have a guy named [Wesley] Flowers who's coming in. We're not sure if he's a D-end or D-tackle yet. But defensive tackle-wise, I feel pretty confident with the switch-over with Nate and having those other guys step up and grow up and the young puppies coming in and being able to help -- they probably won't be able to start -- but they will be able to help. We'll play about four tackles a game. Defensive end, we lost Korey Bosworth, but we have Iuta Tepa and Keenan Graham who made big improvements during spring. Obviously, Datone Jones should become a dominant defensive line player at tackle and end. He's taken a step up. I project for him down the road that he will be a first-round draft pick. He's that good, that big, that fast and he's really hungry. The other two guys obviously didn't play much, so when the live action starts we'll have to find out about those two. And obviously we have [Owamagbe Odighizuwa] coming in -- one of the top defensive ends in the nation. Then again, can he learn the defense? He's got the ability. But you never know until they get here and try to learn the defense. Obviously there's a lot more scheme in college. So we came out of spring feeling pretty good defensive line-wise, compared to going in. Going in we didn't know what Nate Chandler had, we didn't know what Keenan Graham had, we didn't know that Datone had made such a big jump, which he did.
At linebacker, what does Akeem Ayers need to do to become an All-American sort of player?
CB: He's a guy who should be another high-round draft pick for the NFL. He's grown with the defense and he's probably the most athletic linebacker you're going to find. He's a guy who, the more he's in the system, every year, he's gotten better. His second year, we had to play him as a nickel linebacker because he couldn't mentally handle both base and be a nickel. Those were just two different spots. Last year, he could. This year, we feel he should be even more comfortable with the defense. He should not even have to think at all. He still had to think a little bit last year, I believe, but he should just react now because he knows the defense inside and out
How do the competitions at middle and weakside linebacker stand?
CB: I've mentioned Sloan and Larimore need to battle it out next fall and Westgate and Love got to battle it out in the fall. Both are open. Both will be competitions in training camp. They have three months here to improve and we'll see in training camp. But we've got four guys who we believe can play. They did a good job in spring and showed it. Now it's just going to be a training camp battle.
Rahim Moore is already an All-American: Where can he improve?
CB: He's started for two years. He's into the system for a third year. Now his role has become that he has to be the leader in the secondary. Verner was kind of the leader last year. Now Moore has got to be the leader.
Besides Moore, tell me about what's good and what concerns you in the secondary?
CB: We feel pretty good with our two safeties. Obviously, both Tony Dye and [Moore] have both played. They've started for two years now. That's where our veterans are in the secondary and the safety position. And obviously we have Dietrich Riley coming in who's a big-time recruit who is very bright. We expect him to be able to come in and contribute and play. And we've got some guys who've got another fall to improve. We feel good about the safety position. The corners, obviously I mentioned Price before. He's a second-year starter. He's a tall guy who's gaining weight. Last year, he didn't have enough weight. He was probably 160 pounds. He was too small. But he's gained 15 or 20 pounds, I think, without losing his 10.5 speed in the 100 [meters]. He could be a special player and it's his turn to take over at corner. Then we have Aaron Hester who was a starter before he broke his leg. He's another big, tall, long-armed guy who can run like the wind. We feel comfortable with him. We have Andrew Abbott and Courtney Viney behind those two who are two savvy veterans that we feel can play. And obviously we've got a couple of freshmen coming in. We've got Anthony Jefferson and Tevin McDonald. With Tevin McDonald, we don't know if he's a safety or a corner. We also have Shaq Richardson coming in. So we have some guys there. But it's hard to know with those rookies until they actually play. If those guys can play, they will just be bonuses.
When you lose six guys like you lost, most folks think you'll take a step back. Do you think the 2010 unit can be as good as your 2009 crew?
CB: I think it will be interesting who steps up and becomes a leader. The "mike" [middle] linebacker in my defense has always been that guy. He makes all the checks. So Sloan and Larimore, one of them -- whoever it is -- has got to step up. Reggie Carter grew up into that leadership role as he got older. In spring, we saw Datone and Ayers and Rahim take up that leadership role which last year was with the older guys. Those three guys should be the leaders because they've played so much and gotten a lot of accolades.
But the Bruins glass is also half-full on that side of the ball.
"Rahim Moore, Akeem Ayers, Datone Jones, David Carter -- those four guys are big-time players," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "They all will get chances to play at the next level. The next seven who come after them have to play their [rear ends] off. I think there's enough talent. There's just not a lot of experience."
Fact is the Bruins look pretty good getting off the bus. Take converted tight end Nate Chandler, a 6-foot-5, 291 pounder who's lining up beside Carter at defensive tackle.
"He's a physical specimen. In the weight room, he's a freak of nature," quarterback Kevin Prince said.
Then there are cornerbacks Sheldon Price and Aaron Hester. Both are over 6-feet. Both are fast. Both have good hips.
"You can't go out and look at two prettier corners," Neuheisel said. "They look like what the NFL looks for. But they've got to play like it."
Glenn Love has a 6-foot-4 frame that could fill out and make him a speedy outside linebacker instead of an inconsistent safety. Hard-hitting Patrick Larimore is making noise at middle linebacker, where he's competing with Steve Sloan.
Still, the front-seven depth is questionable. What is not questionable is whether a highly rated crew of incoming freshmen will contribute. "They have to," Neuheisel said.
The Bruins led the conference in turnover margin a year ago in large part because they forced 30, which was five more than any other team. Three fourths of a secondary that grabbed 20 interceptions is back. UCLA ranked third in scoring defense (21.2 ppg) and total defense (334 yards per game), which was even more impressive when you consider that the offense was mostly rotten.
The offense should be better this fall because Prince and most of the starters are back. The question now is whether -- or how much -- the defense falls off. It has been solid in recent years in large part due to Price, Verner and Carter, who combined for 120 starts over the past four seasons.
"I feel real comfortable with the defense," Prince said. "They don't have the names yet but I think they will start establishing names for themselves."
That's the message. The big names are gone. Which means new names are poised to grow.
Jones, for one, thinks the defense will be faster in 2010. And, he said, it will play angry.
"A lot of guys think we lost a lot but we're going to be loaded," he said.
Here are the biggest shoes to fill in the Pac-10 with spring practices just around the corner.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
How do you replace the best running back in the nation, a guy who scored 28 touchdowns and rushed for 1,871 yards? You don't. Those sorts don't come around every season.
The Contenders: Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gafney will get first crack, as well as Jeremy Stewart, who's coming back from a knee injury. Incoming freshman Anthony Wilkerson could be a dark horse.
Sean Canfield, QB, Oregon State
The first-team All-Pac-10 quarterback became an NFL prospect during a strong senior season. He led the conference with 3,271 yards passing and 21 touchdowns, which tied with Washington's Jake Locker.
The Contenders: This will be a showdown between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich this spring, with Katz starting as the leader.
Brian Price, DT, UCLA
Price could be an NFL first-round draft pick. He led the Pac-10 with 23.5 tackles for a loss in 2009. 'Nuff said.
The Contenders: Good question. The Bruins are perilously thin here, considering both tackles need to be replaced and only senior David Carter has much experience. The answers here might be in the Bruins' recruiting class.
Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California
The Cal secondary was a huge disappointment this season, but Thompson, a four-year starter and two-time first-team All-Pac-10 performer, was mostly his usually stellar self.
The Contenders: Will Darian Hagan step up in his senior season? Perhaps the answer is sophomore Josh Hill? Or maybe a redshirt guy? The Bears only signed one player listed as a corner in their most recent recruiting class. Expect there to be a lot of competition here this spring.
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
Te'o-Nesheim, a high-motor guy who started four years and earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors his final two seasons, ranking third in the conference with 9.5 sacks.
The Contenders: Considering the other end, Darrion Jones, also is gone, the Huskies will trend young here. Andru Pulu was listed behind Te'o-Nesheim on the depth chart, with Talia Crichton and Kalani Aldrich on the other side. There also will be opportunities for younger players here.
Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon
Dickson not only was the Ducks' second-leading receiver with 42 receptions for 551 yards and six touchdowns, the matchup problems he presented forced defenses to scheme specifically for him. That helps an offense in ways that aren't accounted for in statistics.
The Contenders: Junior David Paulson was Dickson's backup last year, and he had some nice moments, but he's no Dickson. JC transfer Brandon Williams and touted incoming freshman Curtis White will be in the mix here.
Kenny Alfred, C, Washington State
Alfred, a four-year starter, was a good player on a bad -- and beaten up -- line. His brain as well as his physical ability will be hard to replace.
The Contenders: Walk-on junior Chris Prummer was listed as Alfred's backup -- largely due to injury -- but Andrew Roxas, who redshirted this year after contracting viral hepatitis, is probably the leader here, though Steven Ayers could move inside to challenge him. Or there could be some reshuffling.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
One week and it begins...
- Topping the list: the status of Oregon QB Nate Costa. While the particulars don't look good -- the vagueness and "no comment" statements two days after the incident raise eyebrows -- there's still no official word on Costa's injured knee. It's probably a good thing that the running game looked good at Friday's scrimmage.
- It's meet the team at Arizona, and you might want to bring your new depth chart. Is coach Mike Stoops making his last stand -- or is he on the cusp of breaking through? The Tucson Citizen's Anthony Gimino seems to favor the latter.
- Arizona State might have the Pac-10's best cornerback. While he doesn't have talent like Omar Bolden, DT David Smith is the sort of hard-hat plugger most teams would love to have.
- Is Anthony Felder California's forgotten LB? Getting philosophical with the decision to start Kevin Riley over Nate Longshore.
- What about Oregon State's special teams?
- From the Stanford student paper: the Cardinal defense.
- UCLA's QBs just can't get out of the news. Now there's questions about who Kevin Craft's backup might be. And what about this line from Brian Dohn's story: "At one point, Craft threw interceptions on three straight passes, but Chow said he wasn't concerned." Not concerned? Also, this on the OL lineup: "Nick Ekbatani (right tackle), Darius Savage (right guard), Micah Reed (center), Scott Glicksberg (left guard) and Micah Kia (left tackle). However, if Kia cannot play against [Tennessee], Brandon Bennett would start at left tackle." A look at UCLA's "other" CB, Michael Norris. And David Carter gives the Bruins some depth on the DL.
- After all the injury tumult, USC breaks camp feeling pretty darn good. It appears QB Mark Sanchez is a go. USC names team captains: Sanchez, Brian Cushing, Kevin Ellison and Jeff Byers. The 2008 season at a glance. Injury update. And the face of the Trojans defense has two noses.
- Washington center Juan Garcia's foot holds up during a scrimmage, so he should play against Oregon. Just amazing -- kudos to Garcia and the UW trainers. It appears three freshmen will get carries in the Huskies backfield. More from OC Tim Lappano on the skill positions. Afternoon practice notes. And more notes. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Molly Yanity made her own depth chart, so this link is to help Tyrone Willingham get it right.
- Washington State is still a work in progress. That's a polite way of saying Friday's practice was ugly. And what are the remaining questions?