Pac-12: Jamarr Robinson
He topped a list of 48 Sun Devils who were honored.
A news release from the school said the "Hard Hat Program was created to reward those individuals who do what's right in the weight room even when no one is looking ... a Hard Hat Player is someone who is self-motivated, a competitor, committed to personal and team excellence, dependable, accountable, disciplined and most importantly, puts the team first."
To become a Hard Hat Player, a player has to achieve a certain point total during winter workouts. He earns points based on his effort for strength training, speed development and conditioning sessions. They are also awarded points for competitive events and performing extra workouts in the "Blitz Package Program." Each athlete is evaluated after every workout by the sports performance staff with input from an athlete's position coach when applicable.
The list of the honored includes: Corey Adams, Derrall Anderson, George Bell, Omar Bolden, Jarrid Bryant, Mike Callaghan, Jonathan Clark, Chris Coyle, Dean DeLeone, Eddie Elder, Steven Figueroa, Evan Finkenberg, Clint Floyd, Garth Gerhart, Lawrence Guy, Jon Hargis, J.J. Holliday, Matt Hustad, Osahon Irabor, Patrick Jamison, Keelan Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Anthony Jones, Kyle Johnson, Cameron Kastl, Ronald Kennedy, Dan Knapp, Trevor Kohl, LeQuan Lewis, Shelly Lyons, Cameron Marshall, Shane McCullen, Jamal Miles, Bo Moos, James Morrison, Gerald Munns, Brock Osweiler, Aaron Pflugrad, Cole Rarrick, Jamarr Robinson, Andrew Sampson, Zach Schlink, Max Smith, Adam Tello, Steven Threet, Matthew Tucker and Thomas Weber.
Starters or key contributors who didn't make the list (for whatever reason, including injury or excused absence) include: linebacker Vontaze Burfict, receiver Gerell Robinson, receiver Kerry Taylor, defensive end James Brooks, defensive tackle Williams Sutton, defensive tackle Saia Falahola, defensive end Greg Smith and linebacker Brandon Magee.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Arizona State's offense managed one major highlight -- a 35-yard touchdown run from Ryan Bass -- but the Sun Devils' defense dominated the spring game Saturday.
Some main points:
- Senior Danny Sullivan completed only 8 of 16 passes for 42 yards, but he didn't throw an interception as Samson Szakacsy (9 of 14 for 50 yards) and true freshman Brock Osweiler (7-14, 66 yards, two picks) did. Sullivan will enter the fall No. 1 on the depth chart, but the biggest news out of the weekend at the position was the departure of sophomore Chasen Stangel, who had fallen to No. 4. He is the second scholarship quarterback to bolt this spring, joining Jack Elway, though Elway will remain at ASU.
- How good was the Sun Devils' defense? From the Arizona Republic: "There were three interceptions (Ryan McFoy, LeQuan Lewis and Josh Jordan), a fumble recovery (Clint Floyd), seven sacks (including a pair by Jamarr Robinson), four failed fourth-down conversions and 10 punts in as one-sided a conclusion to spring practice as anyone would care to witness."
- The news wasn't all good for the defense: Defensive tackle Otis Jones tore his ACL. The redshirt freshman would have at least added depth on the defensive interior, and his loss increases the pressure for incoming freshmen Corey Adams and William Sutton to be as good as advertised.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The Pac-10 spring position reviews conclude with the defensive ends, the guys who get after the quarterback. Or are supposed to.
Even with four of the top five conference leaders in sacks gone, this is a fairly solid position across the board. The only team that raises a rebuilding red flag is Oregon State, which lost twin sackmasters Victor Butler and Slade Norris.
Of course, Washington and Washington State both produced only 16 sacks in 2008, tied for worst in the conference and among the fewest in the nation.
- California: Cal welcomes back underrated end Tyson Alualu, second-team All-Pac-10 in 2008, and rising star Cameron Jordan, a junior. They combined for 22 tackles for loss last year in the Bears' 3-4 defense. There's also solid, young depth behind them in sophomore Trevor Guyton and junior Keith Browner.
- Arizona: Juniors Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore combined for 15 sacks last year and both backups, D'Aundre Reed -- who started four games and had 2.5 sacks in 2008 -- and Apaiata Tuihalamaka are back.
- Arizona State: Dexter Davis had 11 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season. James Brooks, Jamaar Jarrett, Jamarr Robinson and 25-year-old newcomer Dean DeLeone will battle it out to replace Luis Vasquez and provide depth.
- Stanford: Tom Keiser had six sacks last year and earned freshman All-American honors while Erik Lorig has started 20 career games. Tom McAndrew provides experienced depth.
- UCLA: Senior Korey Bosworth had 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2008, while junior Reginald Stokes started five of the final seven games last year. He will be challenged by sophomore Datone Jones.
- Oregon: Sackmaster Nick Reed is gone, but that at least means Will Tukuafu might finally get some credit. He had 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss last year. Competition will be hot to replace Reed, with juniors Brandon Bair, Zac Clark and Kenny Rowe in the running.
- USC: Sure, both Kyle Moore and Clay Matthews are gone, but how many teams in the nation do you think would trade defensive ends with the Trojans? Everson Griffen, who had 4.5 sacks last year, is a true talent as a pass rusher, but he needs to be more consistent. Sophomore Malik Jackson and freshmen Wes Horton and Nick Perry each have huge upside.
- Washington: The Huskies sneak in here mostly because of second-team All-Pac-10 end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a high-motor senior who had eight of the team's 16 sacks in 2008. Senior Darrion Jones returns at the other end and youngsters like Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson showed flashes of promise.
- Oregon State: The Beavers also had to replace both starting defensive ends last season, but this year the backups don't arrive with 19.5 sacks split between them like Victor Butler and Slade Norris did. Sophomore Kevin Frahm and senior Ben Terry split two sacks between themselves in 2008.
- Washington State: Matt Mullennix is gone, but Kevin Kooyman is back as is Andy Mattingly, but he might end up as an outside linebacker. But, really, the Cougars only had 16 sacks last year (in 13 games). Youngsters and newcomers will need to step up.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
There's this Guy who doesn't think much of Arizona State's Freshman All-American defensive tackle.
That would be the man-child himself, Lawrence Guy, who recorded 44 tackles and 10 tackles for loss with two sacks in his debut season for the Sun Devils.
|Liam Foley/Icon SMI|
|Lawrence Guy has already bulked up 15 pounds this offseason.|
"I was hoping to get more than I did," Guy said. "I thought I did bad this year. I could have done way better."
The Las Vegas product might just do that in 2009. The 276 pounds he carried on his 6-foot-5 frame in 2008 made him look almost skinny at times, but he's added 15 pounds this offseason and expects to play at around 295 in the fall.
"I'm just trying to go from a D-end's weight to a D-tackles weight," he said. "I feel like I'm going to be harder to move with the extra weight on. And I'll have even more strength. I was at a disadvantage at the lower weight."
While last year was supremely disappointing for the Sun Devils -- they went from a preseason ranking to a losing season -- Guy will be one of the cornerstones of a talented defense that returns seven starters from a unit that ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring (22.7 points per game).
Toss in two of the nation's top incoming freshmen defenders -- linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive tackle Corey Adams, ranked Nos. 16 and 53 on the ESPNU 150 -- and third-year coach Dennis Erickson appears on his way to building a defense that annually joins USC among the nation's elite.
Guy met Adams during his visit, and he knows that another big body up front means less attention for him and pass-rush specialist Dexter Davis, who's rolled up 27.5 sacks over the past three seasons.
"He's going to be a big help in there," Guy said.
While Guy and Davis are settled up front, there should be plenty of competition for vacancies at tackle and end created with the departures of David Smith and Luis Vasquez.
Saia Falahola and Jonathan English will bring experience inside, while James Brooks, Jamaar Jarrett and Jamarr Robinson will battle it out with 25-year-old newcomer -- and workout warrior -- Dean DeLeone at end.
"We're going to have a good defensive line next year," Guy said. "I think we'll be one of the best defenses in the Pac-10 and, hopefully, in the nation. We play with passion."
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
TEMPE, Ariz. -- About the only thing that favors Arizona State tonight against No. 3 Georgia is the temperature, which stands at 99 degrees an hour before kickoff.
Not that it's difficult to imagine how the Sun Devils might beat the Bulldogs.
1. ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter picks apart a fair-to-middling Georgia secondary.
3. The Bulldogs give up a bunch of turnovers. The Sun Devils do not.
4. This is college football. Anything can happen.
But, if you watched UNLV mount an 18-play, 88-yard drive and a 10-play, 73-yard drive to force overtime in Sun Devil Stadium, it's hard to imagine that Moreno and Stafford won't be able to consistently make plays, even though ASU gets linebackers Gerald Munns and Morris Wooten and defensive end Jamarr Robinson back.
On the other side of the ball, if the Sun Devils can't run against UNLV, then how can they be expected to run against an SEC defense?
And if Carpenter is forced to pass just about every play, how can the questionable offensive line protect him against an athletic front with its ears pinned back?
As for the heat: This isn't Colorado coming to Tempe. The Bulldogs are used to the heat and humidity of the deep South. They won't lose because they're sweating.
Moreover, the Bulldogs are expecting 10,000 fans -- maybe as many as 15,000, according to some estimates -- to show up to support their beloved Dawgs.
And it's not like, in any event, that UGA is unfamiliar with hostile stadiums. They are 26-4 on the road under coach Mark Richt and are 9-2 vs. ranked teams.
This is college football. Anything can happen.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
A look inside the Pac-10 this week.
Arizona State: Sun Devils fans cringing at the defensive performance against UNLV, particularly the 18-play, 88-yard drive in the fourth quarter for the game-tying TD, will be glad to hear the defense will restock a bit with Georgia coming to town. First, middle linebacker Gerald Munns, whose physical performance against Stanford earned him conference defensive player of the week honors a week ago, returns after surgery on his pinkie finger, though he's going to sport a cast for about five weeks. Also, the Sun Devils welcomed back LB Morris Wooten and DE Jamarr Robinson, who both return from suspensions for undisclosed reasons. Wooten, a 245-pound senior, will add a physical presence behind Munns, while Robinson, a 233-pound sophomore, had three sacks in the spring game and will add another athletic threat on the perimeter.
Oregon: Forget for a second that that Oregon's QB position will be split between a pair of first-year players in JC transfer Jeremiah Masoli and true freshman Chris Harper against Boise State. Both of those guys have seen action at home and on the road. With starter Justin Roper sidelined for at least one game, their holy-cow-this-is-D-I-football jitters are mostly gone. The more interesting matchup here is the Broncos redshirt freshman QB Kellen Moore vs. the Ducks defense, which boasts one of the nation's best secondaries. Oh, and that little thing known as the chummy Autzen Stadium crowd. Moore is making his first start on the road. At Autzen. Not easy. Moreover, with four new offensive line starters, it won't be easy to rely on veteran RB Ian Johnson. Boise State only gained 340 yards at home last weekend in a 20-7 win over Bowling Green.
Arizona: After two games, Arizona QB Willie Tuitama was 11th in the nation in pass efficiency with five TDs and no INTs. But after the loss at New Mexico, his rating dropped 30 points because he threw a pair of picks and barely completed 50 percent of his passes. He also was sacked three times and fumbled twice against the Lobos. Two words: Bad night. So how will the senior bounce back at UCLA? The good news is he's getting a huge target back because TE Rob Gronkowski will play for the first time this season since he got sick (strep throat, mono). BYU QB Max Hall made the supposedly stout UCLA defense look like warm butter; can Tuitama regain his confidence and do the same?
UCLA: Remember how the media pounded home the questions about UCLA's offensive line during the preseason? Well, score one for reporters because we were right: This is a lousy O-line. Look no further than the rushing attack: Worst in the nation with 19 yards per game and 0.8 per carry. Longest run of the season? Seven yards. Yuck. Oh, and here's some more bad news. Center Micah Reed, one of two starters with significant experience, will be out two to four weeks with a partial tear of his MCL. The Bruins are scrambling for answers on offense, which includes trying a variety of combinations up front during a time when most teams are trying to create continuity with the same starting five. The visit from Arizona probably will go a long way toward answering this question: Was the Tennessee game a total fluke?
USC: So USC loses a pair of defensive linemen to the first round of the NFL draft -- Sedrick Ellis and Lawrence Jackson -- and then, nonetheless, turns in a pair of dominant performances to start the season. How do the Trojans do it? Well, depth of course. And look no further than the ledger from the 35-3 win over Ohio State. It wasn't just tackle Fili Moala and company whipping the Ohio State offensive line; it also was three true freshmen: tackle Armond Armstead, who recorded a sack, nose tackle Jurrell Casey and end Malik Jackson. That's the future D-line. The present, by the way, had five total sacks and 24 tackles against the Buckeyes.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Mailbox is backlogged... sorry for taking to long to get to it.
Phil from Eugene writes: WOW it's great to know that only two teams play in the pac-10!! Seriously this is the pac-10 blog not the LA blog. How about you expand your coverage because i'm tired of hearing about an overrated USC team who only has 4 returning starters on Offense and a Bruins team that had an uneventful year!
Ted Miller: Phil, sorry about the LA focus but there's a simple explanation: I was in LA to focus on the LA schools. Got more LA stuff coming up over the next couple of days. Went to Eugene, Corvallis, Seattle, Pullman and Tucson in the spring, hit Tempe, the Bay Area and LA in recent weeks. I will do my best to cover all 10 programs as thoroughly as possible, but when you see a date-lined story, know that I'm in that city for a reason. Like, say, I'm going to be in Eugene for the Washington-Oregon game (a trip that likely will include a martini and Oysters Rockefeller at Adam's Place).
Tom from Scottsdale writes: Let's play a numbers game. I'll give you a number that represents the amount of sacks ASU will give up during the regular season. And you will give me a number that represents ASU's win total reflecting upon my number. 1) 55 2) 40 3) 25 4) 10.
Ted Miller: A well-thought out question my fellow Scottsdalian! I'll bite: 55 sacks = 6 wins; 40 sacks = 8 wins; 25 sacks = 10 wins; 10 sacks = 11 wins. My guess: somewhere between 25 and 40.
Mike from Hemet, Calif. writes: If coaching and recruiting make all the difference, how can you justify UCLA as 8th in the conference? Even with a down offensive line, there is more talent on this team than any other save USC. Now with arguably the best trio of coaches in the pac-10, and maybe the nation, I think eighth is absurd! I see your best case/ worst case, and you have everyone beating us, in both cases. Will we even win a game? Please! It doesn't matter, it makes the "I told you so's" so much better.
Ted Miller: Mike, your question confuses me -- coaching and recruiting? Rick Neuheisel is responsible for one recruiting class. And I don't know where you got the idea that "there is more talent on this team than any other save USC," but whoever told you that has never seen UCLA practice. Neuheisel, DC Dewayne Walker and OC Norm Chow will coach these guys up, but it will require all their coaching ingenuity to fill in the significant talent gaps on this team. Yes, the Bruins have plenty of good players, particularly on defense. But every team struggles when it has, as you call it, "a down offensive line" because that's where scoring starts. The uncertainty at QB is also a bit more than a minor issue. And if UCLA's QB and OL exceed expectations and the Bruins win eight or nine games, then I will tip my cap to Neuheisel and gladly accept the "I told you sos."
Brandon from Corvallis, Ore., writes: Ted, Please don't tell me you think Lyle Moevao can lead the Beavers to a great season. Combining his lack of size, inexperienced o-line, and questionable arm, I cant see a great season coming. I hope I am wrong. What is your take on Ryan Katz? I enjoy watching him and look forward to the future
Ted Miller: Moevao is one of the questions with the Beavers heading into 2008, but he's only a minor one for me. I saw a more confident, accurate QB during spring practices and word is he's continued to improve. It doesn't hurt that he's got a strong supporting cast at receiver. He's also a charismatic guy who the offense will rally around. So I wouldn't worry about Moevao. I'd worry about: 1) A rebuilt front seven on defense; 2) A thin group on the offensive line. As for Katz, got to admit I haven't seen enough of him to form an opinion, but what I read has been almost entirely favorable.
Joe from Springdale, Calif., writes: If Mitch Mustain gets the start against Virginia and does a great job, can we expect him to start against Ohio St. even if Mark Sanchez is healthy?
Ted Miller: Joe I saved your question and tossed it at Pete Carroll on Monday. His answer? He's not even going to entertain a "what if" scenario. Which is the right answer. I then told him that it was a question from a USC fan and he told me that's probably why I finally asked him a good question. But so as to not leave you high-and-dry: My guess is Sanchez is the guy even if Mustain -- or Aaron Corp -- plays well against UVA. That's because Virginia likely will be the weakest team the Trojans play all season.
Nathan from Boston writes: I'm wondering if people are reading into Chip Kelly too much. Perhaps the Ducks' success last year has more to do with Dixon's seniority last year. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe their best seasons were during Harrington, Clemens and Dixons' senior years. Based on this trend they'll be so-so the next two years and fantastic for Costa's Senior year.
Ted Miller: Not an unfair point, and I'd guess Kelly would say as much. We tend to swing for extremes with coordinators, and Kelly is the latest flavor of the month because the Ducks offense, at its peak last year, was as good as any I've seen, other than perhaps the 2005 Trojans. On the other hand, I didn't see Dixon's brilliance coming, and I don't recall a single soul predicting big things for him. So Kelly deserves some credit. Still, experience is typically something a QB needs to really thrive and it generally comes through a few hard knocks here and there. So, yes, Costa might struggle this year at times. My guess, by picking Oregon second in the conference, is he won't struggle so much that the Ducks lose a bunch of games.
Chris from Portland writes: Last season's defeat of USC by the Oregon Ducks was received as a dethroning by many of the Duck faithful. The Ducks subsequently lost 4 games after losing numerous players to injury. If they can beat USC (again), could this be the start of a new era in the West?
Ted Miller: No.
Sorry. USC ain't going anywhere, even if the Ducks win a second in a row.
Nick from St. Paul writes: Ted, the last time ASU really came to life and did what the program is capable of, they had a surprise season from Derrick Rodgers, who went ballistic for a year before heading pro. Are any of the additions of the past 2 years in the defensive front 7 capable of having that sort of effect for the Sun Devils this year? Vazquez or James Brooks, perhaps?
Ted Miller: I really like Arizona State's foursome at DE -- Dexter Davis, Luis Vasquez and James Brooks and Jamarr Robinson. Davis and Vasquez are known commodities -- perhaps the best DE tandem in the Pac-10. Robinson had three sacks in the spring game, and Brooks -- a 283-pound redshirt freshman -- certainly passes the sight test. Still, I don't suspect any of these guys are going to go ballistic and record, say, 15 sacks. My guess is they'll combine for perhaps 30 sacks, though, and be a major headache for Pac-10 QBs.
Barrett from New York writes: With all the preseason talk of hot seats and what Mike Stoops needs to do to keep his job, what does Coach Stoops need to do to earn back fans?
Ted Miller: Win six or seven games this season -- seven is a lot better -- and get the Wildcats to a bowl game. It probably would be in Stoop's best interest to win the bowl game if his squad ends the regular season 6-6, because 6-7 doesn't really represent much improvement over the past couple of years. My guess is that he gets it done. This schedule is wired for a breakthrough.
Stacy from Louisville writes: Does the way Pete C
arroll runs his practice contribute to the injury bug that always seems to hit the Trojans? Were it not for injuries this is a program that could have won a couple of more national titles.
Ted Miller: Stacy is referring to the physical, high-energy nature of USC practices, which involve more full-contact banging than most schools (and make Trojans practices incredibly entertaining). To this question I'd say: Maybe. Probably. But I'd also counter that the way USC practices has contributed to two national titles and six consecutive top-five rankings. And it's not just about helping the Trojans prepare for games. Recruits who stop by on "Competition Tuesdays" -- when the full-contact work peaks -- tend to get caught up in the intensity and the festival-like atmosphere because USC practices are open to the public and often are packed along the sidelines.