Pac-12: Josh Hubner

Arizona State Sun Devils

2012 record: 8-5
2012 conference record: 5-4 (Second in South Division)
Returning starters: Offense 6; defense 8; Kick/punt: 2

Top returners: QB Taylor Kelly, DT Will Sutton, LB Carl Bradford, RB Marion Grice, RB D.J. Foster, LT Evan Finkenberg, TE/H Chris Coyle, S Alden Darby, DE Junior Onyeali

Key losses: RB Cameron Marshall, LB Brandon Magee, WR Rashad Ross, P Josh Hubner, OL Andrew Sampson, OL Brice Schwab.

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Marion Grice* (679)
Passing: Taylor Kelly* (3,039)
Receiving: Chris Coyle* (696)
Tackles: Brandon Magee (113)
Sacks: Will Sutton* (13)
Interceptions: Keelan Johnson (5)

Spring answers
  1. Dynamic duo (1): Running backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster should make up one of the most prolific 1-2 punches in college football. This was the first time for both to go through full springs at a major college (Grice was a JC transfer, Foster is a sophomore) and the reports are both have added speed and muscle to their frames. With the way ASU uses its backs in the passing game, expect big total yardage numbers from both in 2013.
  2. Dynamic duo (2): On the opposite side of the ball, DT Will Sutton and linebacker Carl Bradford make up an equally dangerous tandem. There are only 10 players in FBS football returning with 10-plus sacks from 2012. And ASU has two of them. Sutton, the league's defensive player of the year, had 13 and Bradford notched 11.5. Combined with several other returning starters, the Sun Devils boast one of the top front sevens in the league.
  3. QB depth: Per head coach Todd Graham, Mike Bercovici had a fantastic spring. We know Kelly is entrenched as the starter. But with Bercovici surging and Michael Eubank bringing the dimension he brings, the Sun Devils have fantastic depth at the position -- something very important for a team hoping to make a championship run.
Fall questions
  1. WR questions: Help should be on the way. Graham called wide receiver his biggest need and the 2013 class includes Jaelen Strong, Ronald Lewis, Joe Morris, Cameron Smith and Ellis Jefferson. When they get put into the fold, it should make an immediate impact on depth and athleticism at the position. All five are at least 6-foot, giving Kelly plenty of options and wiggle room in the red zone.
  2. Line depth: It's always a concern. And while the Sun Devils look stacked on the defensive line, they are working to replace departed Andrew Sampson and Brice Schwab. The staff spent the spring working Sil Ajawara (LG) and Vi Teofilo (RG) into the starting five. Behind them is some versatility in Tyler Sulka, Devin Goodman and Mo Latu.
  3. Special improvements: Graham called ASU's special teams middle of the road last year -- stressing they need to improve in the kicking game if they want to be a better team. Departed punter Josh Hubner was one of the best in the league. Dom Vizzare looks to step in but will be pushed by incoming freshman Matt Haack. Zane Gonzalez was brought in to push returning kickers Alex Garoutte and Jon Mora.

Mailbag: I ku, you ku, we haiku

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
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Well, the call for iambic pentameter and haiku was very, very well received. As promised, those jump to the front of the line and since you took the time to write in Haiku or verse, I'll take the time to answer in Haiku or verse. It's a good ol' fashioned Pac-12 blog poetry slam.

As always, follow us on Twitter. (And a birthday shout-out to Fvstokes this weekend).

To the poetry!

Darius in "Wish I were at Stanford" writes:

Stanford's wide receivers:
Will they be any good, I wonder?
Hope, good news; otherwise, panic.

Kevin Gemmell:

Experience thin;
Need go-to threat on outside;
Paging Montgomery.




Uh Oh Chongo in Danger Island writes:

Pac-12 road trip time.
What is your destination?
Best away game this year?

Kevin Gemmell:

It's too soon to tell;
Though Pullman in winter rocks;
Says Cougarbrian.




Nathan in Seattle writes:

When will the Cougs rise?
When will our time come again?
How far are 10 wins?

Kevin Gemmell:

10 wins are a lot;
For now, enjoy Apple Cup;
New season brings hope.




Yellow in the Pac-12 blog writes (and I'm assuming he's a Washington fan):

Stadium rebuilt,
But can only see one game,
First game or rival?

Kevin Gemmell:

Truly, a tough choice;
Broncos or Cougars, hard call;
DirectTV? Doh!




Ryan in Portland writes:

Do Ducks win Pac-12?
And what about the natty?
I love roses man!

Kevin Gemmell:

Saying 'Natty bad;
Even in form of Haiku;
No roses for you!




Richard in Winters, Calif. writes: Will David Shaw, his conservative ways relent, And more aggressive nature, can invent?

Kevin Gemmell: A coach of the year twice he's been named. Conservatism seems not to dull his fame.




Basho in San Francisco writes: As I once famously said, "Furu ike ya (An old pond) Kawazu tobikomu (A frog jumps in) Mizu no oto (Sound of water)." In other words, do you think that Helfrich will be able to successfully make a splash jumping in as the new HC for the Ducks?

Kevin Gemmell: It's not often that deceased 17th century Japanese poets write in. So this is a treat. And who knew he was an Oregon fan?

I think Mark Helfrich has a higher burden of expectation than any other coach in the country because if he doesn't win at least 10 or 11 games, there are going to be rumblings. With that said, he obviously knows the system and he was the school's top choice all along, so they seem to think he can keep the momentum going. I tend to agree based on the talent they have coming back -- and coming in.

Chip Kelly went to four straight BCS games -- including the national championship. That is a tough act for any coach to follow -- veteran or otherwise. And Helfrich's ascension comes at a time when Stanford is now a player on the national stage and Washington and Oregon State are trending up. That could create a bit of a paradox. Because if Oregon loses to those teams, will it be because Chip Kelly left? Or is it because the other teams are simply better?

If you're looking for a splash, a spot in the BCS championship game would certainly be nice -- or at least a win in a BCS bowl game. That would reassure the faithful and be considered a splash in his first season. I think that's possible. Anything less than 10 wins, though, will be seen as a disappointment.




Card fan in Rocklin, Calif., writes: "Complacency" seems to be the new buzzword around Stanford Football, as in "Don't get complacent." How realistic a concern do you think this is?

Kevin Gemmell: Not much. David Shaw continues to instill that "us vs. them" mentality. And from the players and coaches I've talked to, they continue to buy into it. Even Stanford's biggest critics say they beat a Wisconsin team that didn't deserve to be in the Rose Bowl and they only beat them by six points.

But those who follow the conference closely knew going in that the Rose Bowl wasn't going to be a blowout either way and that Stanford wins its games by close margins and with white knuckles. For those who understand Stanford football, they realize the Cardinal dominated that game.

They might be getting the respect they deserve as a program -- and three straight trips to BCS bowl games certainly warrants a high level of respect -- but the impression I get from speaking with Shaw is that no one thinks they've "arrived." They didn't buy the negative hype when everyone said they'd take a tumble post-Andrew Luck. And they aren't buying the positive hype now. The team's demeanor matches that of its coach. Which is a good thing.




Papa John in Santa Barbara writes: I love all these interviews that you and Ted are posting. Which made me wonder: What's your Pac-12 all-interview team for 2012?

Kevin Gemmell: I can only work off the guys I interviewed last year. But since I also did the weekly Q&A, I talked to a lot. My team.

Offense

QB: Matt Barkley, USC/Jeff Tuel, Washington State -- Both are great, candid speakers. Tuel's Q&A might have been my favorite of last season. Very honest. Brett Hundley and Keith Price get honorable mention.
RB: Kenjon Barner, Oregon. Loves to talk, and we love to listen.
OL: Jeff Baca, UCLA. Get him talking about beach volleyball and you'll run out of batteries on your recorder.
OL: David Bakhtiari, Colorado: Forthright, very well-spoken.
OL: David Yankey, Stanford. Clear, concise, on message.
TE: Joseph Fauria: My go-to guy at UCLA always had something colorful to say, win or lose.
WR: Marqise Lee, USC. Always seems to have a big smile when he talks.
P: Josh Hubner, ASU: Punters are typically pretty funny guys to talk to. Hubner was no exception.

Defense

DL: Terrence Stephens, Stanford: Possible MVP. One of my all-time favorites.
DL: Ben Gardner, Stanford: With our without the mullet, he's a great talker.
DL: Will Sutton, ASU: Good sense of humor.
LB: Brandon Magee, ASU. Right up there with Stephens for MVP.
LB: Michael Clay, Oregon: Another guy with a big smile every time he talks.
LB: Travis Long, Washington State: Exudes class and leadership when he speaks.
CB: Jordan Poyer, Oregon State: Speaks with a quiet confidence.
S: T.J. McDonald, USC: Knows how to handle the limelight and does so with poise and maturity.
Yesterday we brought you the latest mock draft updates from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay and as you can see from the post, there are as many as six Pac-12 players who could go in the first round.

Along with his mock draft, Kiper also updated his Big Board and top five player rankings for each position . There are just two players on the Big Board -- Dion Jordan and Star Lotulelei -- but among the position rankings the conference is well-represented. The position groups that don't have a top five player from the conference are fullbacks, offensive tackles, inside linebackers, safeties and kickers.

Here's how the Pac-12 players rank in their respective positions:

Quarterbacks

No. 2 Matt Barkley, USC

Kiper's take: I have Geno Smith now ahead of Matt Barkley, but Smith must perform well at his pro day this week.

Running backs

No. 3 Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

Wide receivers

No. 4 Keenan Allen, Cal

Tight ends

No. 2 Zach Ertz, Stanford

Kiper's take: (Notre Dame's Tyler) Eifert has created a little separation. He has the best range of traits and athleticism. Ertz is likely the No. 2 tight end taken. Both have the pass-catching skills of wide receivers and, given their size, can also overwhelm corners. There are about 10-12 intriguing tight ends in the class.

Offensive guards

No. 3 Kyle Long, Oregon

Kiper's take: The guy who has really leapt in the eyes of evaluators in recent weeks is Long, who worked out really well in Indy, and could at least fill in at tackle in a pinch, though guard will be his best position.

Centers

No. 2 Brian Schwenke, Cal

Defensive ends

No. 3 Datone Jones, UCLA

Defensive tackles

No. 2 Star Lotulelei, Utah

Kiper's take: Lotulelei is a certain top-10 pick if everything with his heart checks out, but we're waiting.

Outside linebackers

No. 2 Dion Jordan, Oregon

Kiper's take: Jordan has shown the ability to move and tackle in space, and really jumped from his combine performance.

Cornerbacks

No. 2 Desmond Trufant, Washington

Punters

No. 1 Jeff Locke, UCLA

No. 3 Josh Hubner, Arizona State

Kiper's take: Locke very well could end up being the top punter taken.

Pac-12 spring preview: South Division

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
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Here are some keys and storylines to watch this spring in the South Division. Yesterday Ted looked at the North Division.

ARIZONA WILDCATS

Start date: March 3

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. New battery: The Wildcats are looking to replace a top-notch quarterback-center combo in Matt Scott and Kyle Quinn. The rock-solid duo helped produce one of the top offenses in the league. Jesse Scroggins and B.J. Denker are among those in the mix to run the offense and several returning offensive linemen are versatile enough to move around. Chris Putton and redshirt freshman Beau Boyster could be in the mix at center.
  2. Many happy return(er)s: Arizona returns a big chunk of its offensive production -- including running back Ka'Deem Carey and receiver Austin Hill. Both should be on all sorts of preseason teams and awards watch lists. But behind the big names, there's also David Richards, Johnny Jackson, Tyler Slavin and Garic Wharton back in the mix.
  3. No learning curve: Last spring, the talk was about Rich Rodriguez calling out his team for its lack of physical conditioning. The fact that the majority of the team understands what is expected -- and they don't need to spend the whole spring learning new systems, should be a huge help. Consider that the Wildcats return their entire defense from a group that was, at times, shaky, but will certainly benefit from another full season of playing in the 3-3-5 scheme.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

Start date: March 19

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. Plugging the middle: One of the few losses to ASU's roster is middle linebacker Brandon Magee -- a leader on and off the field and an all-around heck of a player. Carlos Mendoza looks to be a good fit -- though he's likely to miss spring while continuing to recover from a shoulder injury suffered against Illinois. Folks might remember his two interceptions before going down for the year.
  2. Catching on: Unlike last spring, the Sun Devils have their quarterback. And he's a good one. Now, they need to find folks he can throw to. JC transfers De'Marieya Nelson (H-back, 6-3, 230) and Jaelen Strong (WR, 6-4, 205) are both big bodies who could step in and contribute immediately.
  3. Wait and see: The kicker here is a lot of these players who are expected to compete won't arrive until the fall. So in the meantime, a lot of the younger players and redshirts will get a ton of reps in the system. And speaking of kicker, don't underestimate how much of an impact Josh Hubner made at punter. Iowan Matt Haack, who arrives in the fall, is a rugby-style kicker who can kick with either foot. That's just cool.
COLORADO BUFFALOES

Start date: March 7

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. Meet your QB: Whomever it will be. There are five on the roster and a sixth coming in. Safe to say, quarterback play was extremely inconsistent last season for the Buffs. With an entirely new coaching staff coming in and installing the pistol, this could be one of the more interesting and wide-open position battles in the league.
  2. Curious defense: One needs only to review Colorado's national rankings last year to realize they struggled. As one Buffs insider mentioned to me, they were ranked No. 1 in a lot of categories. Unfortunately, that "1" was followed by two more numbers. Only three defensive ends have playing experience. However a secondary that lacked experience in 2012 has a lot more looking into 2013.
  3. Receiver options: The Buffs welcome back Paul Richardson, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Colorado's premier offensive playmaker will be a nice veteran presence to whomever wins the quarterback job. Grayshirt Jeff Thomas also is back. An improved passing attack should help give the quarterback some confidence and open up the running game.
UCLA BRUINS

Start date: April 2

Spring game: April 27

What to watch:
  1. Life after Franklin: The Bruins say goodbye to the best statistical back in school history -- leaving a huge void in the backfield. Johnathan Franklin was a great presence for young quarterback Brett Hundley, but now someone has to step up to fill that role, either solo or along with a committee. Look for Jordon James, Steven Manfro and Damien Thigpen to all get looks.
  2. New No. 1: The Y-receiver, aka hybrid tight end, was filled wonderfully by Joseph Fauria -- Hundley's favorite red zone target. Darius Bell and Ian Taubler both had looks last year, but Fauria too will be tough to replace. Shaq Evans, Devin Fuller, Jordan Payton and Devin Lucien round out a pretty good receiving corps.
  3. Secondary solutions: The Bruins must replace two corners and a safety -- Sheldon Price, Aaron Hester, Andrew Abbott -- and there isn't a ton of starting experience. Randall Goforth has five starts, but veterans such as Brandon Sermons and Anthony Jefferson have more special-teams experience than actual secondary play. Keep an eye on the secondary too when the Bruins start fall camp to see if any freshmen jump into the mix immediately.
USC TROJANS

Start date: TBD

Spring game: April 13
  1. New defensive scheme: The Trojans will move to a 5-2 defensive scheme under Clancy Pendergast, and the spring drills will be the first opportunity to see the defense in action. The Trojans will have an experienced front seven, but four new starters are expected in the secondary.
  2. Replacing Barkley: Max Wittek got the first extended audition in the battle to take over for Matt Barkley, but he didn’t do enough in two late-season starts to claim the job. Cody Kessler and freshman spring enrollee Max Browne also will be looking to take the reins at one of the glamour positions in college football.
  3. Lane Kiffin on the hot seat: The Trojans are coming off a disappointing season, and the fans are howling in protest, but so far his boss Pat Haden has maintained full support for his coach. Now is the time for Kiffin to show why that support is warranted. -- Garry Paskwietz, WeAreSC
UTAH UTES

Start date: March 19

Spring game: April 20

What to watch:
  1. Erickson impact: The biggest question was what sort of role Dennis Erickson would play in the offense once he arrived. We'll know sooner than later. He already has talked about putting an identity on the Utah offense. That starts in spring when routines are established and expectations are set. And with Erickson on board to give the offense a push, the expectations will be much higher.
  2. Wilson maturing: That leads us to the presumptive starting quarterback -- Travis Wilson -- who jumped in midseason after Jordan Wynn got hurt and Jon Hays struggled to produce. Wilson went from OK to pretty good in just a few weeks. A nice jump considering his experience level. With an entire offseason knowing he'll be the starter -- and with Erickson and Brian Johnson molding him -- it will be interesting to see what progress he makes this spring.
  3. D-line makeover: The Utes lose some talent on the defensive line -- specifically All-American defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. Look for DE/LB Trevor Reilly to spend more time with his hand down. Tenny Palepoi, LT Tuipulotu and JC transfer Sese Ianu could all see time in the mix at defensive tackle.
Hail to the chief he's the one we all say hail to;
We all say hail 'cause he keeps himself so clean.
He's got the power, that's why he's in the shower.

Pac-12 sees 38 invited to NFL combine

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
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The official list of college players invited to the NFL combine is out and 38 from the Pac-12 made the cut. At least one player from every team in the conference was invited. A total of 333 players were invited and workouts begin Feb. 23. You can see the complete list here.

Lunch links: Beavers' QB battle continues

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
2:30
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The Grinch hated Christmas -- the whole Christmas season. Now, please don't ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or it could be that his head wasn't screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all ... may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Pac-12 2012 awards announced

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
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The Pac-12 conference has announced its 2012 individual honors and all-conference first and second teams as voted on by the coaches.

Offensive Player of the Year: Marqise Lee, WR, USC.
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, DE, Arizona State.
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon.
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Williams, DE, USC.
Coach of the Year: David Shaw, Stanford.

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE

QB Marcus Mariota, Fr., Oregon
RB Kenjon Barner, Sr., Oregon
RB Ka’Deem Carey, So., Arizona
WR Marqise Lee, So., USC
WR Markus Wheaton, Sr., Oregon State
TE Zach Ertz, Sr., Stanford
OL Hroniss Grasu, So., Oregon
OL Khaled Holmes, Sr., USC
OL Brian Schwenke, Sr., California
OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, So., UCLA
OL David Yankey, Jr., Stanford

SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE

QB Matt Scott, Sr., Arizona
RB Johnathan Franklin, Sr., UCLA
RB Stepfan Taylor, Sr., Stanford
WR Austin Hill, So., Arizona
WR Robert Woods, Jr., USC
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, So., Washington
OL Jeff Baca, Sr., UCLA
OL David Bakhtiari, Jr., Colorado
OL Sam Brenner, Sr., Utah
OL Kevin Danser, Sr., Stanford
OL Sam Schwartzstein, Sr., Stanford

FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE

DL Scott Crichton, So., Oregon State
DL Dion Jordan, Sr., Oregon
DL Star Lotulelei, Sr., Utah (2)
DL Will Sutton, Jr., Arizona State
LB Anthony Barr, Jr., UCLA
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford
LB Chase Thomas, Sr., Stanford (2)
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, So., Oregon
DB Jordan Poyer, Sr., Oregon State
DB Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford
DB Desmond Trufant, Sr., Washington

SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE

DL Henry Anderson, Jr., Stanford
DL Morgan Breslin, Jr., USC
DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Datone Jones, Sr., UCLA
LB Kiko Alonso, Sr., Oregon
LB Michael Clay, Sr., Oregon
LB Brandon Magee, Sr., Arizona State
DB Deone Bucannon, Jr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Jr., Arizona State
DB T.J. McDonald, Sr., USC
DB Nickell Robey, Jr., USC

FIRST-TEAM SPECIALISTS

PK Vince D'Amato, Jr., California
P Jeff Locke, Sr., UCLA
RS Reggie Dunn, Sr., Utah
ST Jordan Jenkins, Sr., Oregon State

SECOND-TEAM SPECIALISTS

PK Andrew Furney, Jr., Washington State
P Josh Hubner, Sr., Arizona State
RS Marqise Lee, So., USC
ST David Allen, Sr., UCLA

ALL-PAC-12 HONORABLE MENTION
NOTES
  • By School: OREGON and STANFORD placed the most players on the first team with five selections each, followed by OREGON STATE with four.
  • By Class: Of the 26 first-team selections, 14 are seniors, five are juniors, six are sophomores and one freshman.
  • Unanimous: Only one player was named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches--WR Marqise Lee of USC.
  • Two-time selections: Two players are repeat first-team selections from last year--DT Star Lotulelei of Utah, LB Chase Thomas of Stanford.
  • All-Academic: Two players were named to the first team on both the All-Pac-12 Team and the Pac-12 All-Academic Football Team--P Jeff Locke of UCLA, OL Khaled Holmes, USC. In addition, OL Kevin Danser of Stanford, DL Ben Gardner of Stanford and Michael Clay of Oregon were named second-team All-Academic and second-team All-Pac-12.
Tags:

Datone Jones, USC Trojans, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Alex Debniak, Johnathan Franklin, Jeff Locke, Arizona State Sun Devils, Joseph Fauria, Matt Barkley, California Bears, Jeff baca, Kenjon Barner, Usua Amanam, Markus Wheaton, Keelan Johnson, Stanford Cardinal, Jordan Poyer, Damien Thigpen, Utah Utes, Will Sutton, Stepfan Taylor, Colorado Buffaloes, Wes Horton, Dion Jordan, Matt Scott, Arizona Wildcats, Brandon Magee, Oregon Ducks, Xavier Su\'a-Filo, Travis Long, Josh Hill, Justin Glenn, Desmond Trufant, Vince D'Amato, Daniel Simmons, Chase Thomas, Deveron Carr, Shayne Skov, Evan Finkenberg, Isaac Remington, Dan Buckner, Sean Parker, Cassius Marsh, Robert Woods, Xavier Grimble, George Uko, Nickell Robey, Hayes Pullard, Keenan Allen, Taylor Kelly, Chris McCain, Hroniss Grasu, Josh Huff, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Cooper, T.J. McDonald, Jake Fischer, Anthony Barr, Taylor Hart, Kiko Alonso, Osahon Irabor, Brian Schwenke, Steve Williams, Terrance Mitchell, Drew Schaefer, Michael Clay, Ryan Hewitt, Jordan Jenkins, Levine Toilolo, Chris Coyle, DeAnthony Thomas, Andrew Abbott, Kyle Quinn, Brett Hundley, Jake Fisher, Zach Ertz, Terrence Stephens, Terrence Brown, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, Jordan Richards, Shaq Evans, Deone Bucannon, Tony Burnett, David Shaw, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Marqise Lee, Kevin Danser, Rashad Ross, Sam Schwartzstein, David Yankey, Drew Terrell, John White IV, Dion Bailey, Austin Hill, Star Lotulelei, Brian Blechen, Jake Murphy, Alex Carter, Alden Darby, Joe Kruger, Reggie Dunn, Trevor Romaine, Colt Lyerla, Isaac Seumalo, Tevita Stevens, Andrew Furney, Andre Heidari, Sean Sellwood, Josh Hubner, Kyle Negrete, Henry Anderson, Scott Crichton, Rashaad Reynolds, Ka'Deem Carey, Shaq Thompson, D.J. Foster, Brendan Bigelow, Ben Gardner, Trevor Reilly, Darragh O'Neill, Andrew Hudson, Ty Montgomery, Max Tuerk, Cameron Fleming, Trent Murphy, Sam Brenner, Kevin Hogan, Eric Rowe, David Bakhtiari, Marcus Mariota, Yuri Wright, Kenneth Crawley, Leonard Williams, Grant Enger, Brandin Cooks, Jared Tevis, Travis Feeney, Avery Sebastian, John Martinez, Ed Reynolds, Daniel Munyer, Elliott Bosch, Morgan Breslin, Darryl Monroe, Marion Grice, John Timu, Carl Bradford, Nate Fakahafua, Silas Redd, Jeremiah Poutasi, Nick Kasa, Jake Brendel, Christian Powell, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Brett Bartolone, Teondray Caldwell, Andrew Seumalo, Daniel Zychlinski, David Allen, Jaxon Hood, Alex Lewis, Marques Moseley, Will Perciak, Wade Keliikippi, Cyrus Coen

Conference names players of the week

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
5:00
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Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor, Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee and Washington State kicker Andrew Furney have been named the players of the week by the Pac-12 conference.

From the league's release:
Taylor, a senior from Mansfield, Texas, rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in two-and-a-half quarters of play, helping Stanford to a 35-17 victory over UCLA. He posted a 49-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, then added a 40-yard scamper in the third quarter that led to his second score of the game (a one-yard touchdown run). Taylor, who turned in his school-record-setting 21st career 100-yard rushing performance, eclipsed 4,000 career rushing yards on a 19-yard run on the game’s opening drive. He ranks third in the Pac-12 and 16th in the nation in rushing, averaging 113.67 yards per game this season.

Magee, a senior from Corona, Calif., collected a career-high 17 tackles (14 solo), including three tackles for loss, in Arizona State’s 41-34 Territorial Cup victory over Arizona. His 14 solo tackles are the most in Territorial Cup history, and his 17 total tackles are tied for the fifth-most in the history of the storied rivalry. Magee, who leads ASU and ranks second in the Pac-12 with 104 tackles on the year, became the first Sun Devil to log 100-or-more tackles in a single season since 2006. He plays a key role on a unit that ranks second in the Pac-12 total defense (350.8 yards per game), sacks (4.0 per game) and tackles for loss (8.83 per game).

Furney, a junior from Burlington, Wash., connected on all three of his field goal attempts in a 31-28 Apple Cup victory over Washington. His field goals came on tries of 21, 45, and 27 yards. His 45-yarder tied the game with 1:59 remaining in regulation, and his 27-yarder in overtime gave Washington State its first Apple Cup win since 2008. Furney’s first career game-winning kick capped the largest comeback in Apple Cup history, as WSU overcame an 18-point fourth quarter deficit. His 60-yard field goal against Eastern Washington is the longest in the Pac-12 this season.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were running backs Marion Grice of ASU, Kenjon Barner of Oregon, John White of Utah and Carl Winston of Washington State and tight end Joseph Fauria of UCLA. Also nominated on defense were defensive back Deone Bucannon of Washington State and linebackers Chase Thomas of Stanford and Eric Kendricks of UCLA. Also nominated on special teams were punter Josh Hubner of ASU, wide receiver Keanon Lowe of Oregon, wide receiver/kick returner Reggie Dunn of Utah and linebacker Anthony Barr of UCLA.

Q&A: Arizona State's Josh Hubner

November, 16, 2012
11/16/12
4:30
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We at the Pac-12 blog don't discriminate. Which is why we felt compelled to get a special teams player in one of the Friday Q&As. And who better than Arizona State punter Josh Hubner, who is second in the nation with 47.4 yards per kick? Coach Todd Graham calls him "without a doubt" the best punter the country, and he was recently named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. He was kind enough to rest his leg for a few minutes and chat with the Pac-12 blog.

I know you were a quarterback, a wide receiver, a tight end, a punter and a defensive end in high school. How did you settle on being a punter in college?

[+] EnlargeJosh Hubner
AP Photo/Rob HoltArizona State punter Josh Hubner has NFL aspirations.
Josh Hubner: It was just as much of a shock to me as it was everybody else. I came out of high school and had originally signed up for the Army. That fell through. So I picked up with Scottsdale Community College literally three weeks before the season started. I sat down with the coach and he knew I was an all-state punter coming out of high school and he said he wanted me to punt and work with the tight ends. I worked with them for about 15 minutes and then it was established that all I was going to do was punt. It became something I poured my heart and soul into.

Pretty thankless job, though. Right?

JH: Yeah. But that's alright. I'm used to it and I'm accustomed to it. You jog out there understanding that your offense didn't get it going, so you do what you can to put your defense in a good position.

What's the feeling for a punter when you stick a ball inside the 10? Is it comparable to a sack or scoring a touchdown?

JH: Thinking back to high school, I don't think there is any better feeling than scoring a touchdown or sacking the quarterback 10 yards behind the line. But it's definitely a pretty invigorating feeling. A lot of the guys will look at me like I'm crazy because I'm running off the field all fired up because I put the ball inside the 3-yard line. I know in my head, I'm thinking now we can get a safety and I can be directly responsible for that. Or you kick it 65 yards and they muff the punt. All of those things fire you up. Guys like Will Sutton look at me like, 'you're crazy, but whatever you're doing, you're doing well.' It's always cool. The guys are cool about it.

You're in the hunt for the Ray Guy Award. What would that mean to you?

JH: That's big. I would have never imagined. It's an honor. He's somebody I idolized for a long time. I actually went to a couple of his camps and I actually got a chance to work with him personally a few years back. I don't think I actually realized who I was standing next to at that point. Now we're here. It's almost overwhelming, and it leaves me at a loss for words. I can't believe I'm where I'm at.

Do you miss hitting? Do you ever go out of your way to get out there and drop the shoulder a few times?

JH: I'm sure if you ask [safety Alden] Darby or any of those guys about me, they'll tell you. In spring ball we do this thing called "The W Drill" and they would always have the walk-ons run the ball. It's like a trench drill. I'd be the first guy to jump in there and grab the football and relive the glory days. But the more and more my tenure at Arizona State comes to a close, I'm starting to realize I'm just a punter and I probably need to preserve my health and my leg. But I also think I'm always going to be that way. I'm always going to be high strung and wired and wanting to get in on the action.

Looking at the team in the big picture, you had the hot start and now you're in another losing streak, not unlike last year. Can you tell a difference between the mentalities of last year's team and this year's at this point?

JH: Absolutely. It's 180 degrees. Guys are still playing for the team and the coaching staff and the fans. Guys are confident. They still have that hunger about them. Now it's mixed with a little bit of that disappointing feeling when you know you have all of the talent in the world to do what you know you can do, and you end up beating yourself. It comes down to whether you want it, and these guys want it. We want to be bowl eligible. We want to beat UofA. All of those things are big. We want the seniors to go out with a bang. This will be my last game at Sun Devil Stadium. I would say the mentality is much more positive than you'd think. We're still trying to get better, and that's all you can do.

Can we assume the NFL is next for you?

JH: Yeah, hopefully. A lot of that is something I'm trying to do my best to keep on the backburner. But it comes at you real quick. It's something I'm focused on, but it's not going to take away from what I'm doing here. We want to finish big. Hopefully I'm not on the field too much at the end of the season. But it's something I'd like to give a shot in the future.

You're 6-4, 238. Do you ever give coach [Todd] Graham a little elbow in the ribs and say 'come on, let me fake one. Let me run one.'

JH: Let me run the ball. Haha. If we're running a fake, I'm not throwing. I'm going to keep it. I'm going to run it. Send a couple big 280-pound guys like Will Sutton out on the end to seal a block and I'm taking it to the house or running over that 180-pound returner that wants to tackle me high. I wish. But as a punter, you understand you're down to do whatever for the team. Whatever the team needs, I'm out there and I'm doing it. Right now, that's punting the ball, so I'll stick with that.

Conference names players of the week

October, 29, 2012
10/29/12
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The Pac-12 conference announced its players of the week and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is the offensive player of the week, Arizona's Marquis Flowers is defensive player of the week and Utah kick returner Reggie Dunn is special teams player of the week.

From the Pac-12's release:
Lee, a sophomore from Inglewood, Calif., set a Pac-12 record with 345 receiving yards while hauling in 16 catches -- one shy of the USC single-game record, and the third-highest total in Pac-12 annals -- and a pair [of] touchdowns in a 39-36 loss to Arizona. His 345-yard receiving effort represents the fifth-highest single-game mark in NCAA history. He accounted for 469 all-purpose yards, a total that ranks second in NCAA history, as he added 123 yards on three kickoff returns and a one-yard rush. Lee, who racked up 255 receiving yards in the first half, caught six passes of 28 yards or longer on the afternoon. In 2012, he has 76 receptions for 1,129 yards (14.9 average) with 10 touchdowns and has returned 15 kickoffs for 426 yards (28.4 average). He leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (141.1, second in the FBS), receptions per game (9.5, third in the FBS), all-purpose running (199.9 avg., fourth in the FBS) and kickoff returns (28.4 avg., 12th in the FBS).

Flowers, a junior from Phoenix, Ariz., accounted for three takeaways and seven total tackles in Arizona’s 39-35 win over USC. On the game’s opening possession, he halted a 13-play USC drive with an interception at the UA 26-yard line to set up a 7-play, 60-yard touchdown drive for the Wildcats. In the second quarter, Flowers quelled another USC attack deep in Arizona territory with a strip of running back Silas Redd, and later in the frame, he preserved a three-point Wildcat lead with with his second interception of the afternoon. His three takeaways were part of a five turnover day for the Arizona defense, its highest single-game total since 2008. Flowers and the UA defense, which allowed just one third-down conversion in five second-half attempts, held USC scoreless on six of the final seven possessions of the game.

Dunn, a senior from Compton, Calif., returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, tying the NCAA record for kick return touchdowns in a game, in a 49-27 victory over California. Dunn set the NCAA record for kick return average in a game (74.0), returning three kicks for 222 yards. He tied the school record for 100-yard kickoff returns in a season (2) and set school records for kickoff return touchdowns in a game and 100-yard kick returns in a career (3). As a sophomore in 2010, he became the first Ute in 25 years to return a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, accomplishing the feat against Iowa State.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Matt Scott of Arizona and Brett Hundley of UCLA and running backs Marion Grice of Arizona State and Christian Powell of Colorado. Also nominated on defense were defensive backs Usua Amanam of Stanford, T.J. McDonald of USC and Desmond Trufant of Washington and linebackers Carl Bradford of ASU and Eric Kendricks of UCLA. Also nominated on special teams were punters Kyle Dugandzic of Arizona, Josh Hubner of ASU and Kyle Negrete of USC, placekicker Ka'imi Fairbairn of UCLA and running back/punt returner De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas and Arizona returner Richard Morrison were named the Pac-12 players of the week.

Here's the release from the conference:
Barkley, a senior from Newport Beach, Calif., led USC to a 50-6 victory over Colorado as he threw for a USC single game record-tying six touchdown passes, including a school record-tying five in the first half, to become the Pac-12’s career record holder. He passed former Trojan Matt Leinart‘s Pac-12 record of 99 career touchdown passes and now has 102 for his career. Barkley completed 95.0% of his passes (19-of-20) to set both the Pac-12 game mark for highest completion percentage (minimum 15 completions) and the Pac-12 game passing efficiency rating record (319.2). He threw for 298 yards overall with no interceptions and was 16-of-17 for 269 yards in the first half to earn College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week and National Quarterback of the Week.

Thomas, a senior from Marietta, Ga, led an impressive Stanford defensive performance that held the Pac-12's No. 3 rushing offense to three yards rushing in a 21-3 victory over Cal in the 115th Big Game. The three yards rushing (0.1 yards/carry) was the fewest allowed by a Stanford defense since 2003 (vs. BYU, minus-five) and tied for the seventh best in school history. Thomas had seven tackles, which included 4.0 tackles for loss in the game. He registered one sack for a seven-yard loss, a forced fumble and another fumble recovery. Stanford's dominating defense recorded 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and allowed only three points, the lowest since the 2011 season opener versus San Jose State and lowest in a Big Game since 1998. Stanford's defense held Cal, which entered the game averaging 5.0 yards per carry, to 3.86 inches per carry.

Morrison, a junior from Royse City, Texas, delivered the back-breaker in the third quarter of last Saturday’s 52-17 victory over Washington. With Arizona leading 38-17, the Wildcats forced the Huskies into a punting situation. Morrison fielded the punt and raced 63 yards, aided by a key block from Mark Watley to spring him for the final yards, for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. The return was the longest of Morrison’s career and was also his first touchdown on a return. Arizona’s last punt return for a touchdown was turned in by Bug Wright, who had an 86-yard scoot against Washington State on Nov. 7, 2009, at Arizona Stadium.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterback Marcus Mariota of Oregon, and running backs Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona, Storm Woods of Oregon State and Stepfan Taylor of Stanford. Also nominated on defense were linebackers Jake Fischer of Arizona and Michael Doctor of Oregon State and defensive end Kevin Greene of USC. Also nominated on special teams were punters Josh Hubner of Arizona State, Jackson Rice of Oregon, and Keith Kostol of Oregon State.
Punters are often overlooked, at least until they mess up badly and shank one. But punters play a major role in field position, which often proves crucial in a tight game.

So how do things stack up at punter in the Pac-12?

By the way, if you want to review previous position reviews, go here.

Great shape

Oregon: Jackson Rice was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. The Ducks were No. 1 in the nation in net punting last year. Really not much else to say.

[+] EnlargeJackson Rice
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireAs a Ray Guy finalist last season, Jackson Rice had Oregon tops in the NCAA in net punting.
Arizona: Kyle Dugandzic led the Pac-12 with an average of 46 yards per punt.

Utah: Sean Sellwood was fourth in the Pac-12 with an average of 45 yards per boot. And the Utes were 12th in the nation in net punting.

UCLA: UCLA's Jeff Locke averaged 44.3 yards per punt, which ranked fifth in the conference. The Bruins were 22nd in the nation in net punting. Locke is also good on kickoffs.

Good shape

Colorado: Darragh O'Neill was solid last year with a 42.6-yard average, but he's being challenged by Zach Grossnickle.

Arizona State: While Josh Hubner only averaged 41.3 yards per punt, the Sun Devils were fifth in the conference in opponent punt returns.

USC: Kyle Negrete averaged a modest 40.1 yards per punt in 2011. The Trojans were 43rd in the nation in net punting.

We'll see

Stanford: Daniel Zychlinski was Stanford's starting punter for the first 10 games in 2010 before David Green took over. He averaged 41.7 yards in 2010.

Washington State: JC transfer Mike Bowlin will take care of punting and kickoffs. He looked good this spring.

Oregon State: Australian Tim McMullen was No. 1 on the post-spring depth chart. Hopefully he is as colorful as the departed Johnny Hekker. Keith Kostol is another possibility.

Washington: The Huskies are counting on touted incoming freshman Korey Durkee to replace Kiel Rasp.

California: The Bears are only replacing Bryan Anger, perhaps the best punter in school history. On the post-spring depth chart, incoming freshman Cole Leininger was the only punter listed.

Preseason position reviews: punter

July, 6, 2011
7/06/11
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Punters often don't get much respect, but if you understand the value of field position, you understand the value of a good punter.

California and UCLA might be offensively challenged this fall, but if their defenses step up, they might be able to steal a few games by being opportunistic after their punter creates a field-position headache for their opponents.

So how does the entire conference stack up? Read on.

Great shape

California: Bryan Anger, first-team All-Pac-10, is on the short list for the Ray Guy Award. Huge foot. Averaged 45.6 yards per boot in 2010, which ranked sixth in the nation. Twenty one of 62 punts downed inside 20-yard line.

UCLA: Jeff Locke is also a leading Ray Guy candidate. He led the conference in punting last fall at 45.8 yards per punt and earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors. Twenty four of 64 punts went for 50-plus yards.

Washington: The Huskies actually have two good punters. Will Mahan averaged 40.6 yards per punt in 2009 and got off to a good start in the 2010 opener at BYU -- 45.2 yards per boot -- before getting hurt. Then Kiel Rasp stepped in and averaged 43.8 yards per punt. An "or" was between the two on the post-spring depth chart.

Good shape

Oregon: Jackson Rice averaged a solid 42.3 yards per punt in 2010, with 18 of 40 punts downed inside the 20.

Stanford: Dan Zychlinski didn't punt much last season -- see a conference-low 27 punts -- but he averaged a decent 41.8 yards per attempt.

Oregon State: Johnny Hekker averaged 41.7 yards per punt, which ranked eighth in the conference.

Utah: Sean Sellwood, a South Africa native, was solid last season with a 41-yard average. Ten of his 33 punts were downed inside the 20. On the worrisome side, three of his punts were blocked.

We'll see

Colorado: Zach Grossnickle is back. That's good. His 35.7 yards per boot average from 2010 is not. Potentially more good news: Mark Brundage, a transfer from Rice, averaged 44.2 yards for 26 punts in 2009. They will compete for the starting job.

Washington State: Dan Wagner averaged 51 yards per punt last season. On one punt. Of course, he backed up one of the nation's best punters in Reid Forrest and had a solid spring.

Arizona State: Josh Hubner is a touted junior college transfer. At 6-foot-4, 230, he looks like a tight end.

USC: Kyle Negrete was No. 1 on the depth chart after spring practices. Incoming freshman Kristopher Albarado was one of nation's top recruits at the position.

Arizona: Kyle Dugandzic takes over for Keenyn Crier, which might be a good thing because Crier was the worst punter in the conference last season.

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