Pac-12: Gary Campbell

Pac-12 lunch links: UCLA loses Kendricks

December, 23, 2013
And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!

Pac-12 lunch links: UCLA LB Barr hurt

August, 21, 2013
Er, well, um, if you're dropping by again, do pop in. Heh. And thanks a lot for the gold and frankincense, er, but don't worry too much about the myrrh next time. All right? Heh. Thank you. Good bye.
And on the 27th month, the NCAA shall speak on Oregon, Chip Kelly and L'Affaire de Willie Lyles.

And those pronouncement will produce... what?

Will the sanctions prove harsher than expected, thereby poleaxing the Ducks off their newfound perch among the nation's elite? Or will the sanctions prove manageable, perhaps causing discomfort but not ending the Ducks' quasi-dynastic run in the Pac-12?

We shall see. Folks in Eugene have been consistently optimistic, and it would rate a surprise if Oregon is hammered. Still, you never know with the NCAA.

The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions (COI) will announce its findings in a teleconference with reporters at 11 a.m. ET. The man who shall describe the Ducks' sanction fate will be Gregory Sankey, associate commissioner of the SEC.

SEC? Uh oh. (Of course, we kid!)

The committee's full report will be released to the media 30 minutes before the teleconference.

Oregon's troubles began in March 2011 when and Yahoo! reported the Ducks made payments to dubious Texas-based scouting service operator Willie Lyles, who had close ties to several Ducks recruits, most notably running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk. Things got murkier when it was discovered that Oregon apparently received very little of value for its $25,000.

Yet the NCAA rules on the use of scouting services at the time were vague enough that Oregon could claim it was operating in a gray area. This became one of the complicating elements as the school attempted to negotiate a summary judgment with the NCAA. That and the fact Lyles had significant relationships with several other schools, schools that had not been hit hard by NCAA sanctions.

Oregon agreed to seven major rules violations, and in October offered to self-impose several penalties, including the loss of three scholarships over three years, recruiting limitations and two years of probation.

The COI, however, rejected the attempt to reach a summary judgment, which forced Oregon officials, including former coach Chip Kelly, to appear before the committee in late April in Dallas.

"We have been informed by the NCAA that the Committee on Infractions report on the University of Oregon will be released tomorrow," the Oregon athletic department wrote in a statement. "Until we have received and reviewed the report we will not comment."

Oregon will have 15 days in which to file an appeal if it is unhappy with the ruling.

As for the severity of the penalties, it's difficult to guess, but Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard makes a good point here:
In a statement that accompanied the October 2012 summary disposition proposal, the Ducks acknowledged that “errors were made and that we will improve” but also that “our coaches did nothing to intentionally gain unfair advantages.”

The NCAA’s enforcement staff -- essentially the prosecutor, while the Committee on Infractions was judge and jury -- agreed during the summary disposition attempt that “the violations were not intentional in nature.” But it also argued that the Ducks nevertheless had “an obligation to ensure that the activities being engaged in comply with NCAA legislation.”

"Intention" matters, and finding a lack thereof is good for Oregon.

It's also notable that the NCAA enforcement staff didn't yoke Oregon with the dreaded "lack of institutional control" charge, instead going with the less worrisome "failure to monitor."

On the other hand, Oregon may fall under repeat violator status due to a 2004 case that was ruled a major violation after assistant coach Gary Campbell, who is still on staff, had improper conduct in the recruitment of running back J.J. Arrington.

Oregon folks would contend the NCAA taking more than two years to resolve this matter is a penalty in itself, with the glacial pace of an investigation allowing a dark cloud of the unknown to shadow the school for an extended period of time.

That dark cloud of the unknown, however, will be removed Wednesday. Whether it gives way to a tornado of sanctions or sunny skies -- or something in between -- remains to be seen.

Pac-12 chat wrap

January, 17, 2013
Fun chat yesterday -- might have been one of the best ever. And I actually mean it this time. You can check out the full chat here or simply enjoy the De'Anthony Thomas-esque highlights.

Marty (Manhattan, KS): Hey ducks....Hahahahaha. That is all.

Kevin Gemmell (2:01 PM): 35-17. That is all.

Jeremy (Honolulu): I asked this questions last week but now it seems a little more relevant... Who do you see replacing Helfrich as OC now that Chip has, ehem, left for the NFL? #WTD

Kevin Gemmell (2:06 PM): Not sure yet. Depends if they want to stay in house. Gary Campbell might get a shot? Steve Greatwood has some previous experience as the run game coordinator. Let's get the HC in place first and then we can worry about coordinators.

Anthony(Las Vegas) [via mobile]: Will the Pac12 be setting up a grief counseling hotline for us Oregon fans?

Kevin Gemmell (2:08 PM): Yes. That would be Ted's mailbag.

Robert (New York): How much improvement can we expect from Cougars with Yost hiring among other things?

Kevin Gemmell (2:12 PM): I like the move because it just brings a different set of eyes and a fresh take on the offense. Obviously, there are a lot of the same philosophies and beliefs -- but kudos to Mike Leach for making the move and bringing in a fresh perspective.

Freaky Kikki (Tempe): How many losses will it take for USC to start looking for new head coaches next season?

Kevin Gemmell (2:16 PM): I think if there is another seven or eight win season -- coupled with more off-the-field embarrassments (deflated balls, number switching, lying about the coaches poll, jogging away from press conferences when asked about injuries) then he could be gone. If he gets 8-9 and there are zero off-field distractions or issues, he could buy more time.

jeff berez (florida): Hello Kevin, Do you agree with Coach Shaws statement after the Rose Bowl victory that Stanford still doesn't get the respect it deserves? It seems they were a bit low in the final rankings considering they won 8 in a row including victories over 4 straight ranked teams! I feel the Cardinal have a legitimate shot at playing for the BCS Championship game. If they hadn't gagged the game against the Huskies they most likely would have played Notre Dame in a rematch! That would have been a great story.

Kevin Gemmell (2:23 PM): I think Shaw uses the lack-of-respect tactic to keep his players hungry. There is nothing better than an us-vs.-the-world mentality and it obviously works. I don't underestimate Stanford -- but I do think they have some offensive holes that need to be worked out.

CougarBrian (Nendels Inn): There was a lot of hype for WSU's first game this season vs. BYU, and we know how that turned out. With a down Auburn as the Cougs' opener in 2013, do you think expectations will be tempered, or will hype be high due to the Apple Cup win and a lesser(ish) opponent?

Kevin Gemmell (2:25 PM): I think they'll probably be a bit more tempered. 2012 was a reality check that things are going to take a little more time than we all initially thought. Can you believe there were folks out there actually predicting a big win for WSU against BYU (gulp).

Mike (Brussels): Do you think Pep Hamilton will leave Stanford?

Kevin Gemmell (2:27 PM): Not sure. He seems to be making himself available to the market, which is interesting. But I still have trouble believing he would leave for a lateral job as an OC somewhere else. If he gets a head coaching opportunity, he'd take it.

Larry Scott (undisclosed location): Who will be the next coach I lose to the NFL?

Kevin Gemmell (2:43 PM): Interesting question -- Mora or Shaw seem to be the most obvious choices right now. But both seem awfully content. Going to be a couple of years at least until we see another one go to the NFL. Just my guess.

robert (Puyallup, WA): is ASJ the best tight end in the conference now?

Kevin Gemmell (2:43 PM): Conference, yes. Country, yes.

Chip Kelly (Philadelphia): How are the Philly fans going to treat me?

Kevin Gemmell (2:49 PM): Dude, they booed Santa Clause...

Matt (Tucson): Arizona has a ___% chance of successfully replacing matt Scott next season

Kevin Gemmell (2:52 PM): 30. I don't think people appreciate how good Scott was this year. And Carey and Hill both benefited from that.

Nate (Tacoma, WA) [via mobile]: Will the PAC-12 finally join the rest of the leagues in an eight game conference schedule?

Kevin Gemmell (2:58 PM): I hope not. Ted is for the eight-game schedule. I'm still on the fence, but tend to lean more toward the nine-game schedule. I like that winning your conference really means something. Stanford earned its conference title this year.

Sweet beginnings: De'Anthony Thomas

August, 31, 2011
AM ET is looking at potential "Sweet Beginnings" -- players who are about to make highly anticipated debuts -- and our Pac-12 selection is Oregon freshman running back De'Anthony Thomas, who's "Sweet Beginning" started on Twitter.

How so? Well, if your Twitter feed included people watching the Ducks practice this preseason, what you got was "De'Anthony Thomas just did this," "De'Anthony Thomas just did that" and "I can't believe what De'Anthony Thomas just did" over and over again.

Neither The Oregonian's Ken Goe nor Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard are known for hyperventilating over young players with lots of flowery talk of certain greatness, yet Goe called Thomas a "flash of electricity," and Moseley simply said Thomas was "phenomenal throughout camp."

The 5-foot-9, 173-pound native of Los Angeles, who notoriously spurned a commitment to USC to sign with Oregon, is not listed on the Ducks two-deep depth chart in advance of the marquee matchup with LSU in Cowboys Stadium for a pretty good reason: LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are one of the better running back tandems in the country. But you can be certain Thomas get at least a few touches against the Tigers. And more as the season wears on.

"De’Anthony definitely is a great, great football player," Ducks running backs coach Gary Campbell told The Oregonian. "He’s going to be able to help us early, I believe. And one day he’s going to be an outstanding football player.”

Thomas, nicknamed "The Black Mamba" at Crenshaw High School, was rated the nation's No. 16 overall prospect last year by ESPN Recruiting. His senior season, he rushed for 1,306 yards -- averaging 11.4 yards per carry -- and caught 16 passes for 349 yards and totaled 27 touchdowns.

More than a few folks have compared his speed and ability to change direction to Reggie Bush.

While football is a game of doing, not talking, Thomas appears fully capable of walking the walk in 2011.

Five memorable Pac-10 recruiting moments

January, 30, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

With national signing day just around the corner, we're joining the other conference bloggers in recalling memorable recruiting moments.

Of course, the nature of the Pac-10 blog's memory might be a bit different, leaning toward the strange instead of the player-personnel moments.

1. Kevin Hart decides to play for California -- Not!: Hart, an offensive lineman, became the first FBS player from Fernley, Nev., when last year he picked the Bears over Oregon, saying, "Coach [Jeff] Tedford and I talked a lot, and the fact that the head coach did most of the recruiting of me kind of gave me that real personal experience." Only problem was: Hart had never talked to Tedford and wasn't offered a scholarship, by Cal or any other FBS program. He'd made his entire recruitment up and then staged a ceremony at the high school in front of television cameras.

2. Pete Carroll arrives at USC: USC had always recruited well, but Carroll has created a recruiting juggernaut that might even eclipse what Bobby Bowden had going at Florida State during its run of dominance in the 1990s. In 2001 and 2002, Carroll's first two seasons at Troy, UCLA finished atop the Pac-10 recruiting rankings. Since then, USC has owned the top spot every year and hasn't been ranked out of the nation's top-10. In fact, the Trojans have finished No. 1 in the nation, according to at least one of the major services, five times over the previous six years.

3. J.J. Arrington signs with Oregon -- Not!: Oregon and California were in a tight battle for the services of touted junior college running back J.J. Arrington in 2003. On the last night a JC player could sign a letter of intent, Arrington told Oregon assistant Gary Campbell that he wanted to be a Duck. Only the midnight deadline passed without a signed letter, with Arrington having second thoughts. According to the LA Times, "Campbell went to the hotel where Arrington was staying, and the player forged his father's signature and falsified the time on the letter of intent." When Cal uncovered the subterfuge and complained, Oregon released Arrington and Campbell was suspended and not allowed to recruit off-campus for a year.

4. Dirty recruiting 2002: Then-Washington coach Rick Neuheisel told reporters on signing day in 2002 that he felt like he needed to hose himself off because of all the dirty recruiting going on against him, specifically naming Oregon and UCLA. To support his case, Neuheisel pointed out that Oregon had been running a video at Autzen Stadium that juxtaposed an image of him with a movie scene of people vomiting. Lovely. As for then-UCLA coach Bob Toledo trying to lure offensive lineman Clay Walker away from Washington, Neuheisel said: "Bob Toledo tells (Walker) that 'if I'm gone, you don't think (Neuheisel) is going to be the next head coach at UCLA?' I mean Bob Toledo is basically telling (Walker) he's going to get fired." Toledo did get fired. And who's UCLA's coach now? Just saying.

5. Bolden's hat spat: On national signing day 2007, touted cornerback prospect Omar Bolden sat in a television studio with three hats in front of him: USC, Washington and Oregon State. Most assumed he was about to don the USC hat. He flipped the Huskies and Beavers hats aside. He picked up the USC hat. Then he tossed the hat away, reached behind himself and produced an Arizona State hat. "I ain't going to be no Trojan... I'm going to be an Arizona State Sun Devil," he said. The move went over way better in Tempe than at Heritage Hall.