Pac-12: Delashaun Dean

Opening camp: Arizona

August, 5, 2010
8/05/10
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Arizona opens preseason camp today. Here's a quick look.

Who's back: Eight starters on offense, four on defense and both specialists.

Big names: QB Nick Foles, WR Juron Criner, C Colin Baxter, CB Trevin Wade, DE Ricky Elmore, DE Brooks Reed

What's new: The Wildcats lost both coordinators during the offseason. Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes is now the head coach of Louisiana Tech. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is the coordinator at Florida State. They were both replaced by co-coordinators: Bill Bedenbaugh (offensive line) and Seth Littrell (running backs and tight ends) on offense and Tim Kish (linebackers) and Greg Brown (secondary) on defense. Littrell will call the offensive plays. Brown is the only one of the four who is new to the staff -- he was at Colorado in 2009. Also, Frank Scelfo is the new QBs coach. Beyond the football staff, Arizona has a new athletic director: Greg Byrne, who was hired away from Mississippi State.

Key competition: There isn't too much intrigue heading into fall camp, though the pecking order at defensive tackle is worth watching. As for the official depth chart, Vaughn Dotsy and Jovon Hayes are competing at right guard as are Phillip Garcia and Jack Julsing at right tackle. Is Nic Grigsby going to stay healthy and remain No. 1 ahead of Keola Antolin at tailback? The weakside LB spot is unsettled between Paul Vassallo and R.J. Young.

Breaking out: The 6-foot-4 Criner has a chance to be an All-Conference performer. 258-pound H-back Taimi Tutogi had a good spring and figures to help the offense in myriad ways as a runner, blocker and receiver. Who will get more sacks: Elmore or Reed? The over-under for the pair is 18.

Quote: Coach Mike Stoops on exceeding preseason expectations but then flopping in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska: "Last year that was a little bit of a question mark for this team and a lot of people questioned our ability in picking us preseason eighth, but we finished tied for second and went to the Holiday Bowl. This is a team that I thought really achieved some good things last season and I think the loss in the Holiday Bowl really humbled us and fueled us in the offseason. We realized how quickly things can disintegrate if we don’t do things right. I think we are eager to get back out on the field and correct some of those things."

Notes: Arizona will hold most of its training camp practices at the Rincon Vista Complex, located near the school's soccer and track facilities on 15th Street and Plumer Ave. The newly renovated Jimenez Practice facility on campus will host its first practice later this month. The Wildcats will be at Ft. Huachuca from Aug. 11-15... Cornerback Shaquille Richardson, one of the three UCLA signees who was kicked off the team last month after being arrested for stealing a purse, is now with the Wildcats... Receiver Delashaun Dean, who had caught 132 passes over the past three seasons, was given the boot after being arrested on a gun charge. He has transferred to Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Preseason position reviews: receiver

July, 27, 2010
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Receiver is a difficult position to evaluate this year. Just about every team has a solid (or better) lead receiver back and some intriguing, but inexperienced, talent around him. But, other than Washington, no team should feel completely secure.

There is, however, a lot of potential at the position. Many of the names below who appear as secondary options could end up competing for All-Pac-10 spots.

Note: Tight ends and running backs don't count here.

Great shape

  • Washington: The Huskies entire two-deep is back, topped by second-team All-Pac-10 pick Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar, who ranked seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game in 2009. James Johnson was probably the best freshman receiver in the conference last year.
Good shape

    [+] EnlargeJames Rodgers
    AP Photo/Ben MargotOregon State's James Rodgers caught 91 passes for 1,034 yards and nine TDs last year.
  • Oregon State: James Rodgers is clearly the No. 1 returning receiver in the conference. Markus Wheaton, Jordan Bishop and Darrell Catchings offer promising depth, but they combined for 25 receptions last year (Catchings was injured).
  • Oregon: The Ducks aren't flashy, but they welcome back their top three receivers from last year. By season's end, Jeff Maehl was one of the best in the conference. Things would have been better if Tyrece Gaines and Diante Jackson weren't ruled academically ineligible.
  • Arizona: After Delashaun Dean got himself kicked off the team, the Wildcats must replace their Nos. 1 and 4 WRs, which is why they aren't in "great shape." Still, Juron Criner tops a solid returning crew.
  • UCLA: The Bruins welcome back their top-two WRs -- Taylor Embree and Nelson Rosario -- and Colorado transfer Josh Smith figures to make an immediate impact. Sophomores Damien Thigpen and Morrell Presley also seem poised for breakthroughs.
  • USC: While he was hurt much of last year, Ronald Johnson is a top home run threat. Brice Butler and David Ausberry will have to fight to stay ahead of a talented crew of incoming freshmen.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal welcome back their top-two receivers in Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu. That's the good news. The question is who will become options No. 3 and 4?
We'll see

  • California: The Bears only lose No. 2 WR Verran Tucker and the underwhelming Nyan Boateng, but, other than Marvin Jones, they didn't get much production here in 2009.
  • Arizona State: The Sun Devils lost their top-two WRs, but the cupboard isn't empty, with Oregon transfer Aaron Pflugrad, who would have started for the Ducks in 2009, and JC transfer George Bell, Gerell Robinson, Jamal Miles and Kerry Taylor. Still, it's not a proven group.
  • Washington State: The Cougars went through spring with just four scholarship receivers, a crew topped by Jared Karstetter and Gino Simone. The incoming recruiting class features five receivers, and at least a couple will get on the field. The Cougars are OK here but they did rank last in the conference in passing in 2009.

Pac-10 lunch links: Debating USC vs. UCLA recruiting

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
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Happy Friday.

Pac-10 lunch links: Who will step up for Arizona?

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
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With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
Th’ infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut
Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood.

Pac-10 lunch links: Colorado mulls its Big 12 exit options

June, 30, 2010
6/30/10
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He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like oh, sure, he went to Harvard!

Pac-10 lunch links: Locker in the Big Apple

June, 28, 2010
6/28/10
2:30
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Off to the movies we shall go,
Where we learn everything that we know,
Because the movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say!
And this movie's gonna make our lives complete because Terrance & Phillip are sweeeeet!

Bad news weekend for Arizona, UCLA

June, 28, 2010
6/28/10
10:19
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Two bits of bad news this past weekend for UCLA and Arizona.

First, the Bruins saw three incoming freshmen arrested on felony theft charges for allegedly stealing a student's purse.

Second, Wildcats receiver Delashaun Dean will transfer, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Dean had been suspended after being charged with misdemeanor possession of a concealed weapon.

The three Bruins freshmen were each elite prospects: receiver Paul Richardson, defensive back Shaquille Richardson and linebacker Joshua Shirley. More details here. And here.

As for Dean, he told the newspaper that he will choose a Division II school, Texas A&M-Kingsville, according to the Daily Star.

Pac-10 lunch links: Is Henderson having second thoughts?

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
2:30
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We embody what Americans are about. We can moan about it or we can get on with it and we kept going.

Arizona WR Dean suspended after arrest

June, 22, 2010
6/22/10
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Arizona wide receiver Delashaun Dean was arrested over the weekend on weapons charges and has been suspended from the team, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The newspaper reported that coach Mike Stoops said in a statement that Dean was suspended "due to a violation of team rules."

Dean was charged with one count of misconduct involving weapons on Saturday. He is scheduled to appear in court next week, according to the report.

Dean, a senior, was the Wildcats fourth-leading receiver in 2009, catching 42 passes for 396 yards, though that's a bit misleading because the top four receivers all caught between 42 and 48 passes. He was expected to be a key part of an offense that welcomed back at a lot of quality experience, particularly at the skill positions.

If Dean isn't reinstated, senior Travis Cobb is listed behind him on the spring depth chart, though the Wildcats might shuffle the lineup. Cobb caught only one pass last year. Spring standout Gino Crump, listed behind Juron Criner at the "X" receiver, is a possibility.

Huskies' Foster ready for his close-up

April, 8, 2010
4/08/10
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Think of college football players like stocks for a moment.

If you had purchased 1,000 shares of Washington linebacker Donald Butler at this time last year, folks would be comparing you to Warren Buffett. Butler went from a no-good, nobody on an 0-12 team to second-team All-Pac-10 and a potential early-round NFL draft pick.

So, per Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian's insider information, we're putting a buy rating on linebacker Mason Foster.

[+] EnlargeMason Foster
Tom Hauck/Getty ImagesWashington coach Steve Sarkisian thinks linebacker Mason Foster will have a big year.
"I love Mason Foster. He's an All-Pac-10, Player-of-the-Year-type of guy in this conference," Sarkisian said.

Of course, your returns won't be as extraordinary as they were on Butler. Foster, a 6-foot-2, 244-pound senior, is underrated but hardly unknown.

For one, you can't set a school record, lead the conference and rank third in the nation with six forced fumbles and remain completely obscure. Moreover, Foster's name causes all Arizona fans indigestion because he was the opportunistic fellow who grabbed that ball that bounced off Wildcats receiver Delashaun Dean's foot and returned the interception 37 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the Huskies stunning upset win.

And, of course, he won the Earle T. Glant "Tough Husky" Award at the UW's postseason banquet.

Still, while Butler made a name for himself in 2009, Foster was mostly in the background.

"It's my turn to show what I can do now," Foster said.

One thing Foster does is make plays. His six forced fumbles and his three interceptions mean he was personally responsible for nine take-aways. He also ranked second on the Huskies with 85 tackles and third with 7.5 tackles for a loss. He led all conference linebackers with nine passes defended.

The tackles and forced fumbles? Foster can hit you. The passes defended? Foster can make plays as an athlete in the back-half.

Considering four of the six linebackers who earned All-Conference status are gone, it's easy to see why Foster's price-earnings ratio is tempting.

Of course, the defense around Foster is questionable. While the Huskies only lose two and a half starters -- the half being part-time starting end Darrion Jones -- the two were big presences for the front-seven: Butler and end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. The 2009 Huskies ranked ninth in the conference in scoring defense (26.7 ppg) and eighth in total defense (389.5 yards per game).

Foster doesn't seem worried.

"Don't count us out," he said. "We've got a lot of young, athletic guys."

On the plus side, the defense surged late, shutting out Washington State and holding California to just 10 points.

And, of course, the unit was vastly better under new, fiery coordinator Nick Holt than the 2008 crew that ranked 116th in the nation, surrendering nearly 40 points per game for an 0-12 team.

"It's totally different -- completely different," Foster said. "We don't even like to think about [0-12] anymore. I love coming here every day, being around all the guys and the coaches."

That new-found energy and enthusiasm has the Huskies thinking that after going 5-7, they will break through and earn the program's first bowl berth since 2002.

"This feels great compared to how it was before," Foster said.

Is a bull market at hand for Foster and the Huskies?

Strong & weak: Arizona

March, 2, 2010
3/02/10
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The second of a 10-part series that looks at where Pac-10 teams are strongest and weakest as they begin spring practices.

Arizona.

Strong: Offensive skill positions.

Why it's a strength: The Wildcats welcome back just about all their top skill guys -- their top-two quarterbacks (Nick Foles and Matt Scott), top three rushers (Nic Grigsby, Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko) and five of their top six receivers (Juron Criner, Delashaun Dean, Bug Wright, David Douglas and David Roberts). The only loss is 2009's leading receiver Terrell Turner. Even the early departure of TE Rob Gronkowski is eased by the fact that he didn't play in a single game last year.

Weak: Up the middle defense.

Why it's a weakness: It's a weakness because the Wildcats must replace both defensive tackles, all three linebackers and free safety Cam Nelson. Moreover, they head into spring without a lot of obvious answers at those position, seeing that the defense's top four tacklers and five of the top six are all gone. Lolomana Mikaele was listed as the backup at both DTs positions at the end of last year, but he finished with just 12 tackles. Two junior college transfers, linebackers Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo, are expected to earn starting positions. Toss in new co-coordinators -- though Tim Kish was promoted from linebackers coach -- and there are a lot of questions on this side of the ball.

Foles doesn't want Arizona's season deflected off course

November, 18, 2009
11/18/09
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He might look like a mellow dude with his long blond locks and laid-back demeanor, but quarterback Nick Foles frets about things just like the typical Arizona fan. He's well aware of the monstrous what-might-have-been that lingers over the Wildcats season because of two peculiar deflected passes.


Chris Morrison/US PresswireArizona quarterback Nick Foles hopes the Wildcats redeem themselves against Oregon this Saturday.

There's the ball that bounced off receiver Delashaun Dean's foot that Washington intercepted -- at least that's what the officials ultimately ruled -- and returned in the waning moments for a game-winning touchdown.

And there's the pass that deflected off a California defender last week and back to Foles, who decided -- ill-advisedly, according to the rule book -- that he got a do-over and tried to re-pass.

Instead of a go-ahead field goal attempt from the Bears 25-yard line with less than two minutes left in the game, the Wildcats ended up failing on a fourth-and-long from the 39 after a spot-of-the-foul penalty.

One play does not a game make, but a strong case can be made for those two being as important as any two plays in the Pac-10 this year. Without them, Arizona might be undefeated in the conference, ranked in the top-10 and the Rose Bowl frontrunner heading into the season's final stretch.

"It's just crazy," Foles said. "It's one of those things that you wouldn't think would happen for 100 years but it's happened to our team two times in a year and I was part of it both times. It's just one of those things you've got to learn from. It's tough to lose games like that but you can't beat yourself up over it."

Ah, but one gets a sense that Foles has beaten himself up plenty. He admits he didn't sleep after the Cal game. He wasn't much for eating on Sunday, either.

"You feel like crap," he said. "You wish you had the play back. I can't tell you how many times I've replayed it in my head and what could have gone different."

Yet there's a big, fat redemption opportunity coming to town Saturday and a big stage on which to earn it. Pac-10 leader and 11th-ranked Oregon (8-2, 6-1) will square off with the Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) with first place in the conference at stake (ABC, 8 p.m. EST). ESPN's College GameDay also will be there, so the scene figures to be plenty festive.

The situation is fairly simple for both teams. Win and you're still in.

If Arizona wins its final three games, it's going to its first Rose Bowl. If Oregon wins its final two, then it gets the date with the Granddaddy.

Foles' season had been cruising along at a very impressive rate before the 24-16 loss at Cal. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound sophomore became the starter by the season's fourth game, and the Wildcats headed to Berkeley averaging 32.2 points per game and ranking No. 1 in the conference in total offense (448.6 yards per game). They had given up only four sacks all season and Foles ranked second in the conference and 20th in the nation in passing efficiency.

But the Bears turned in their best defensive performance of the year and kept Foles and company in check. With the Wildcats running game stymied, Foles completed 25 of 41 passes for just 201 yards with a touchdown and interception and was sacked three times, twice on the final possession. Those short passes to his speedy wideouts that had been breaking for nice gains before were stopped immediately by a suddenly sure-tackling Cal defense, see Foles' meager 4.9 yards per completion.

"Our offense just couldn't get into a rhythm," Foles said.

Now the question is how does Foles bounce back from his first real taste of adversity? While his upside is obvious, coach Mike Stoops also pointed out that Foles hasn't arrived.

"He's certainly a work in the making," Stoops said. "He's a talented player. He's got a lot of work to do but he shows a lot of positive signs. He's very accurate, has good poise, sees the field very well, has great instincts. Those are all very positive attributes. The maturity and the timing, all of those things are still coming. Getting comfortable at everything he does... Getting that ultimate confidence in what you're doing and handling everything, I think he still shows signs of a player maturing."

Foles said he buried himself in Oregon game film on Monday, and that served to refocus him. He quickly pointed out that the loss at Cal didn't irrevocably ruin the season.

The big prize remains there for the taking. It has not been deflected away.

Said Foles, "I know the big picture. You always are aware of the big picture."

Pac-10 lunch links: Is the USC dynasty over?

November, 5, 2009
11/05/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Think about Montana. I can't. Think about Madrid. I can't. Think about a cool drink of water. All right. That's what it will be like. Like a cool drink of water. You're a liar. It will just be nothing. That's all it will be. Just nothing.
  • Arizona receiver Delashaun Dean has had an injury-riddled season but he feels better now.
  • Arizona State quarterback Samson Szakacsy -- formerly No. 3 behind Danny Sullivan and Brock Osweiler -- could see more action over the coming weeks.
  • More on California losing its starting tight end, Anthony Miller, for at least this weekend vs. Oregon State. Quarterback Kevin Riley is playing well.
  • Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has overcome a lot to be where he is today, including a time when he was on the wrong side of the law. This Oregon fan also knows suffering.
  • Oregon State's secondary wants to prove its doubters wrong.
  • Ten reasons why Stanford beats Oregon. And it might surprise you how strong a case is made by Jon Wilner.
  • UCLA's injury list got longer on Wednesday. And things are thin at cornerback.
  • USC's offense will try to get back on track at Arizona State. Is it time throw dirt on USC's dynastic run through the Pac-10 and all of college football? The short answer is "no." The longer answer is, "Child, please, that's just crazy talk."
  • More on the Jake Locker watch, but the guess here is the Washington quarterback will play at UCLA. Special teams play hasn't been special.
  • It hasn't been a great season at Washington State, but this young man is living a dream.

Midseason report: Arizona

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
11:45
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Arizona is a foot away from elite status.

(No, stop. Thanks ... no ... you're great. Thanks! Please. OK, keep clapping).

Arizona began the season by physically dominating Central Michigan, which is now 6-1 with a victory over Michigan State. It then lost at Iowa, which is unbeaten and ranked sixth in the BCS standings.

Then the Wildcats changed quarterbacks from Matt Scott to Nick Foles, and Foles has been a revelation.

He led Arizona to a nail-biting win at Oregon State, which hasn't lost since then. He passed for over 400 yards in a nail-biting win over Stanford.

Ah, but that pass that bounced off receiver Delashaun Dean's foot into a Washington defender's hands on Oct. 10, which was then returned for a game-winning touchdown -- that is preventing the Wildcats from being tied for first in the Pac-10 and nationally ranked.

Though, notably, Arizona sits at No. 22 in the BCS standings.

Still, at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference, despite a quarterback change and numerous injuries, the Wildcats appear headed to a second consecutive bowl berth. And maybe more.

Offensive MVP: Foles isn't playing like a sophomore first-time starter. He leads the Pac-10 in pass efficiency and has averaged 351 yards passing per game in three starts. He's tossed nine TD passes with just two picks, one of which was the freak play at Washington. His 73.9 completion percentage is on pace for a school record. The Wildcats now rank first in the conference and 14th in the nation in total offense and have adopted more of a Texas Tech spread scheme to best accommodate Foles' skills.

Defensive MVP: Junior defensive end Ricky Elmore has carried the pass-rushing load with opposite end Brooks Reed nursing a sprained ankle. He ranks fourth in the conference with 5.5 sacks and has 24 tackles overall.

Upon further review, replay officials are inconsistent

October, 13, 2009
10/13/09
10:19
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


It appears "irrefutable video evidence" is refutable. Until it isn't.

Pac-10 director of officials Dave Cutaia told the Arizona Daily Star that replay officials acted correctly when they allowed the game-winning interception return to stand in Washington's 36-33 win over Arizona on Saturday.

The discussion, mostly coming from the Arizona side of things, centers around whether Nick Foles' pass late in the fourth quarter hit the ground as it deflected off receiver Delashaun Dean's foot and into the hands of linebacker Mason Foster.

The meat of Ryan Finley's story:

Pac-10 rules dictate there must be "sufficient, viewable camera angles that provide undeniable proof that a correction to the call is necessary."

Cutaia said that standard was not met.

"It's harder than convicting in a criminal trial, in a way," said Cutaia, a retired police chief. "To convict, you need to convince 12 people that it's beyond a reasonable doubt. To overturn a call, it has to be beyond all doubt."

Cutaia conceded than an overturned first-quarter Washington fumble might have been incorrect because video replay did not prove enough to change it.

In other words, one set of standards -- the correct one -- was assiduously applied once. But not in another instance.

If any team can understand how Arizona feels it's Washington. The Huskies got jobbed by the inconsistent application of the replay booth -- or the non-use of it -- at Notre Dame.

What is most concerning about many of these cases of bad officiating, whether it's Oregon-Oklahoma in 2006, or Georgia-LSU this season, or the aforementioned two cases, is that the home team most frequently seems to benefit from the calls.

It might be complete coincidence, but a paranoid sort might wonder whether some officials are influenced by their environment.

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