Pac-12: Ian Knight

Happy Friday.

North division scrimmage roundup

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
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Catching up on the scrimmages and spring games in the Pac-12 north.

STANFORD

The defense was the stronger unit at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco as Stanford's quarterback competition yielded few answers in the annual spring game.

"I don't care what the numbers say, (the quarterbacks) didn't play well enough for us to win," head coach David Shaw told reporters after the game.

The two quarterbacks who emerged from the pack of five pre-spring, Josh Nunes and Brett Nottingham, had fairly pedestrian performances. Nunes -- who played with the entire game with the first team offense -- connected on 11 of 29 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Nottingham was 12-of-19 for 118 yards and an interception.

Shaw said following the game that the competition is still even, and neither quarterback seemed particularly pleased with their performances.

"I still have a lot of stuff I can clean up," said Nottingham. "I feel the offense, especially the wide receivers, stepped up and made some really nice plays today. It was tough for our offense to get into a rhythm today."

Said Nunes: "I feel like I left a lot of plays on the field today. We've got some of the best defensive linemen and outside linebackers in the country, so they definitely gave us a run for our money."

WASHINGTON

The defense is improving, according to Washington quarterback Keith Price via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

"They are definitely getting better," Price said. "It's tough because they are throwing different kinds of looks at me that I haven't seen before and it's a matter of me adjusting. So next week, the offense should be ripping."

The Husky D blanked the offense in an approximate 30-play scrimmage. But the offense did get on the board during some of the goal-line work. Price went 7-of-11 for 69 yards total -- which included a touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian is crediting much of the turnaround to the overhauled defensive coaching staff and new coordinator Justin Wilcox. But he also said the players are simply playing better.

"It's been pretty cool [to watch]," Sarkisian said. "And by no means do I think it was manufactured. The defense is winning these plays."

WASHINGTON STATE

Quarterback Jeff Tuel threw four touchdown passes and the Washington State defense forced four turnovers during a scrimmage in front of a couple hundred fans at Martin Stadium.

Tuel completed 22 of 47 balls for 200 yards, the four scores and a pair of interceptions. Andrei Lintz continued to shine, catching seven balls for 57 yards and a score.

"I thought the best thing was neither side stayed down for a long period of time," head coach Mike Leach told reporters. "... One side would get hot and the other side would take it away. And then the next side would take it away so it would go back and forth. It was pretty good work. Both sides have something to be ticked off about, but both sides have some encouraging stuff. Which means you're out there pretty well trading blows back and forth. I thought it was our best scrimmage as a team."

Darryl Monroe and Tana Pritchard both recorded interceptions for the Cougar defense and Xavier Cooper, Ian Knight and Logan Mayes all tallied sacks. Mayes also blocked a field goal attempt.

Returning sackmen in the Pac-12

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
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The Pac-12 will be loaded with outstanding passers in 2011, but those guys are less effective when they don't have any time to throw.

After previously looking at top returning passers, rushers, tacklers, receivers and ball hawks -- interceptions -- we move on to the returning players with the most sacks.

Four of the top-five sackmen are returning in 2011, and three of them were sophomores or younger last fall. So there should be some pretty good pressure this fall.

Here's the list:

1. Mychal Kendricks, Sr., LB, California (8.5 sacks): Kendricks ranked second in the conference in sacks last fall, but he may get fewer in 2011 because he's moving from outside to inside linebacker in the Bears' 3-4 scheme.

2. Shayne Skov, Jr., LB, Stanford (7.5): Of course, maybe playing inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme doesn't kill sack numbers -- see Skov, who piled up this total in just 11 games. Skov and Kendricks are in the mix for first-team All-Pac-12 as well as All-American honors.

3. Chase Thomas, Jr., OLB, Stanford (7.5): Thomas is an underrated player who figures to get more attention this year. He and Skov are big reasons the Cardinal led the conference with 36 sacks in 2010.

4. Josh Hartigan, Sr., DE, Colorado (7.0): As a former inside linebacker, he's undersized -- 6-foot-1, 215 pounds -- but he's an agile pass-rush specialist. Of his 24 tackles in 2010, seven were sacks. Note: Colorado would have had a second player on this list -- junior Forrest West, who had 5.5 sacks last year -- but he left the team.

5. Junior Onyeali, So, DE, Arizona State (6.5): At 5-11, 233, he's not the most intimidating presence on the edge, but if the QB ends up on his rear end, it doesn't matter how tall you are. The conference's defensive freshman of the year looks to build on a huge debut season.

6. Justin Washington, So., DT, Arizona (6.0): Likely the player who finished second to Onyeali in the defensive freshman of the year voting. Washington started fast and then got banged-up. When healthy, he looked like a budding star inside.

7. Travis Long, Jr., DE, Washington State (5.0): The Cougars finished tied for last in the conference in sacks with just 23 (tied with, surprisingly, Arizona State). Long's numbers will go up if the other members of the Cougs' front four garner more respect in 2011.

Onyeali, Washington and Long each sat out spring with injuries but are expected to be good-to-go this fall.

Whom to watch for in 2011: Arizona DE C.J. Parish, ASU DE James Brooks, Cal DE Trevor Guyton, Oregon DE Dion Jordan, Oregon State DE Taylor Henry, UCLA DE Datone Jones, USC DE Nick Perry, Utah DE Joe Kruger, Washington DE/OLB Josh Shirley and Washington State DE Ian Knight.

Changes on WSU depth chart

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
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Washington State has released its post-spring depth chart -- link here -- and there are a number of changes from the pre-spring depth chart worthy of note.
  • Offensive linemen John Fullington and Wade Jacobson switched starting spots, with Fullington moving from right tackle to left guard and Jacobson replacing him at right tackle. Also on the offensive line, Rico Forbes moves from backup left tackle to backup right tackle.
  • Andrei Lintz is No. 1 at tight end after Skylar Stormo moved from No. 1 tight end to backup defensive end behind Travis Long.
  • Redshirt freshman Connor Halliday is now the No. 3 quarterback after starting spring at No. 4.
  • Ricky Galvin is listed at backup running back behind Logwone Mitz.
  • Toni Pole has move from No. 3 to starting left defensive tackle. Anthony Laurenzi is No. 1 at right defensive tackle, ahead of Brandon Rankin, who sat out spring due to injury.
  • Mike Ledgerwood is now No. 1 at middle linebacker, ahead of C.J. Mizell, who started spring at No. 1.
  • Damante Horton is No. 1 at one cornerback ahead of senior Aire Justin, a returning starter, though there might be a complicated explanation for that.

What jumps out of this depth chart? There's way more "maybe" here than in the previous three seasons under coach Paul Wulff.

For one, all five offensive linemen have starting experience and four are seniors. That's typically a good thing.

The Cougars have six receivers who can play, topped by Marquess Wilson, and a veteran quarterback in three-year starter Jeff Tuel. Another good thing.

The defensive depth chart is just that: There's some depth. There's far less "Who?" when reviewing the two-deep. Officially, eight starters are back, but there's plenty of playing experience. Big question will be if JC transfer Ian Knight, No. 1 at right defensive end, is ready for the grind of a Pac-12 schedule.

Does the cumulative effect of this mean the Cougars are a threat in the Pac-12 North? Probably not. But this is a roster that can compete and perhaps win a handful of games in the Pac-12.

Maybe.

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