Pac-12: Keaton Kristick

Preseason position reviews: linebacker

August, 4, 2010
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Linebacker is not an easy position to rate in the Pac-10. It's fair to say that only Oregon is worry-free at the position.

There are plenty of good individual players: Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict, California's Mike Mohamed and UCLA's Akeem Ayers are getting preseason All-American attention and Washington's Mason Foster looks primed for a breakout. But other than the Ducks, every team gives you reason to pause over the depth chart.

So what's the pecking order?

Great shape

  • Oregon: The Ducks are fast and deep and experienced. Casey Matthews was second-team All-Pac-10, while Spencer Paysinger was his equal in production. Josh Kaddu and Boseko Lokombo are impressive enough that returning starter Eddie Pleasant moved to rover. And sophomore Michael Clay might end up the best of the lot by season's end.
  • USC: Everyone read all about the Trojans problems at LB during spring practices, but that was mostly about a lack of depth. The bottom line is there are three returning starters from the Pac-10's No. 1 scoring defense, and sophomore Devon Kennard may be good enough to beat out Chris Galippo in the middle.
Good shape
    [+] EnlargeVontaze Burfict
    Matt Kartozian/US PresswireVontaze Burfict had 61 tackles and two sacks last season.

  • Arizona State: Burfict may be the best middle LB in the conference, and Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons saw plenty of action as backups for a unit that ranked No. 1 in the conference in total defense. Still, there's reason to pause over the loss of Mike Nixon and Travis Goethel, two heady, productive players.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal switched to a 3-4 defense, and the lineup of LBs is impressive in terms of potential. Sophomore Shayne Skov is a budding star and Owen Marecic is a beast, though this will be his first season as a full-time LB after playing FB last year. It's possible Chase Thomas and Thomas Keiser will be better OLBs than DEs. But we'll have to see.
  • California: Mohamed led the Pac-10 in tackles last year and, though two starters must be replaced, there's talent and experience on the depth chart, particularly if Mychal Kendricks breaks through. The Bears ranked second in the conference in run defense in 2009.
  • UCLA: The Bruins are breaking in two new starters next to Ayers, though MLB Steve Sloan started nine games in 2008. But Ayers may end up the conference's defensive Player of the Year, so he makes up for a lot of the issues here.
  • Washington: Mason Foster is as good a LB as any in the conference, and Cort Dennison is solid in the middle. But who starts on the strong side is one of the Huskies' biggest preseason questions.
  • Oregon State: The Beavers are replacing their two best linebackers: Keaton Kristick and David Pa'aluhi. Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson both have significant experience platooning on the outside, though it remains to be seen how full-speed Pankey is after tearing his Achilles during the offseason. Tony Wilson and Rueben Robinson are competing in the middle.
We'll see

  • Washington State: Though the Cougs are replacing two starters, they have plenty of experience. The problem is the run defense has been terrible the past two years.
  • Arizona: The Wildcats, you might have heard, are replacing all three starters. Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo are JC transfers who have never played a down in the Pac-10. Sophomore Jake Fischer is hardly a veteran. Things could turn out fine, but as the title says, "We'll see."

Oregon State LB Pankey is back running

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
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Good news for Oregon State fans: Coach Mike Riley just tweeted -- and it was confirmed by a school spokesperson -- that linebacker Keith Pankey ran for the first time Monday after tearing his Achilles tendon in February.

Odds are now good that Pankey, a senior who was in a platoon with Dwight Roberson at the "will" outside linebacker spot for two seasons, will be ready for preseason practices.

Back in January, the Beavers expected to have three of their top four linebackers back in 2010, with only Keaton Kristick departing. But Pankey got hurt and middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi quit -- so much for his widely reported military aspirations -- transforming a fairly solid position into a questionable one.

Pankey and Roberson now likely will man the two outside spots while sophomore Tony Wilson is the leader to replace Kristick inside.

Joyless ride: Oregon State trio sentenced to community service

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
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It's all fun and games until the golf cart flips.

The March joyride ended badly for one current and two former Oregon State Beavers as each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle on Tuesday and were sentenced to community service.

Said former quarterback Lyle Moevao, the apparent ringleader of the conspiracy to drive 15 mph, "it was the wrong kind of fun."

Moevao received 40 hours of community service and 12 months of bench probation. Former linebacker Keaton Kristick was sentenced to 25 hours community service and 10 months of bench probation, while defensive tackle Brennan Olander received 65 hours and 12 months of bench probation.

Neither Moevao nor Kristick, who recently signed a free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, has a criminal record.

Olander received a tougher sentence because of prior convictions in 2006 for criminal mischief and 2009 for second-degree theft. A starter, he likely will face further penalty from coach Mike Riley. Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette-Times noted that "Olander could be up for a 30 percent of the season suspension under OSU’s code of conduct, which is followed a lot more loosely than when it started."

Kirkpatrick also reported that Olander received "a 2008 citation for less than an ounce of marijuana, for which he had to complete a drug treatment program," though that didn't come up in court.

An Oregon State spokesperson said coach Riley wouldn't comment on any potential punishment this week.

Moevao was ordered to pay $750 in restitution, which will cover damages to the golf cart, with Kristick and Olander paying their share to him.

Paul Buker's story for The Oregonian includes quotes from all three participants in Grand Theft Golf Cart.

Un-Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon State police blotter

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
12:00
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Ah, the beautiful Northwest. Wine country. Seafood. Snow-capped mountains. Badly behaving athletes.

It's fair to assume that Oregon State fans are no longer tee-heeing about all of Oregon's off-field troubles. While the Beavers haven't approached the headline-grabbing, are-you-kidding-me? shock of a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronics from a fraternity, their run of incidents has certainly ramped up of late.

The latest two items may threaten the status of one starter, defensive lineman Brennan Olander, and a potential backup quarterback, Peter Lalich. Olander was part of a golf cart joyride gone wrong, which is more of an issue for him than fellow alleged offenders, Lyle Moevao and Keaton Kristick, because: 1. he's still on the team; and, 2. he was involved in a previous incident. Lalich, meanwhile, was charged with a boating DUI over the weekend. He was kicked out of Virginia for two alcohol-related offenses.

If you've forgotten the Ducks' rap sheet, you can review it here: thefts, brawls, DUIs, a domestic incident, Facebook tirades, suspensions and expulsions. Lots of page turners.

As for the Beavers, Paul Buker sets it all up nicely here, while this is another effort from the Statesman-Journal.

Lalich's arrest is the Beavers' seventh police incident this offseason. The Ducks had eight.

Now, here's our issue: There have been rumbles of media criticism over how the incidents have been covered, with a few Ducks feeling like the Beavers got a free pass compared to the national coverage of Oregon's woes.

Balderdash.

We, of course, would never minimize incidents that require police involvement, but come on folks. Let's get real here.

Three Beavers take a joyride in a golf cart and flip it, doing significant damage. Dumb, but just imagine the scene in your head. Are you honestly possessed with a "let's get tough on crime!" outrage. No, you are not.

As for Olander's previous offense, which obviously slipped under the media radar, Buker of The Oregonian writes, "Olander may face additional team sanctions because he has been in court before, having pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by receiving stemming from a May 2009 incident. That incident involved a bike that had been reported stolen and was later found in Olander’s possession. Olander told authorities he had purchased the bike from a transient for $50."

The other three incidents? Two were freshmen cited for minor in possession of alcohol charges. The third was a freshman walk-on who is no longer with the team getting arrested on May 2 for resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer and being a minor in possession.

The names here? John Braun, Tyler Thomas and Kaua Olds.

Compare that to: Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, Jamere Holland, Garrett Embry, Josh Kaddu, Kiko Alonso and Rob Beard.

In other words, the Ducks in trouble for various reasons were stars and contributors from a team that played in the Rose Bowl. In Holland's case, he was an oft-troubled but big-name USC transfer who went nuts on his Facebook page, which is an underhanded pitch for reporters.

Further, the Masoli theft case was a mystery that challenged mainstream reporters for whom Internet rumors are not sufficient grounds to go forward with a story. While the fraternity theft happened on Jan. 23, Masoli was never arrested or officially named a suspect until just before he pleaded guilty on March 12. Those days in between, while a variety of other incidents occurred, therefore created an atmosphere of intrigue: Did he really do it?

Yep.

Further, James' domestic incident also inspired a significant undercurrent of speculation: she's railroading him versus he beat her up. Turned out, it was a complicated, nuanced situation that was handled well by authorities. But, again, there was a long stretch between arrest and resolution. If that had been a single incident, the spotlight wouldn't have burned so bright during the interregnum. It wasn't.

From a media perspective, there was way -- WAY -- more going on with Oregon vs. Oregon State, in large part because it became a perfect storm of unresolved matters involving star players augmented by a scattering of new incidents along a timeline that provide new reasons to revisit the unresolved matters involving star players.

As in, no resolution today? Well, let's debate whether Oregon is out of control under coach Chip Kelly.

What's the bottom line here?

It is this: Oregon and Oregon State fans should know -- and I read a lot of newspapers because it's a major part of my job as a blogger -- that both teams are covered well by responsible, skilled beat reporters who work very hard to get the story correct.

There's no media bias or conspiracy. Promise.

Oregon State spring wrap

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
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OREGON STATE

2009 overall record: 8-5

2009 conference record: 6-3 (tied for second)

Returning starters

Offense: 8, Defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR James Rodgers, C Alex Linnenkohl, DT Stephen Paea, DE Gabe Miller, LB Dwight Roberson, CB James Dockery

Key losses: QB Sean Canfield, LB Keaton Kristick, LB David Pa'aluhi, DE Matt LaGrone

2009 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers* (1,440)

Passing: Sean Canfield (3,271)

Receiving: James Rodgers* (1,034)

Tackles: Keaton Kristick (95)

Sacks: Stephen Paea*, Gabe Miller* (3)

Interceptions: Lance Mitchell* (3)

Spring Answers

1. Cool Katz: Sophomore Ryan Katz entered the spring as the favorite to win the quarterback job and he didn't disappoint. He has a big arm and good mobility. All he is missing is experience. He'll enter fall camp as the clear leader, while Peter Lalich and Cody Vaz compete for the backup job.

2. There are plenty of offensive weapons: Everything starts with the Rodgers brothers, running back Jacquizz and receiver James, but it doesn't end there. Receivers Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop and tight end/H-Back Joe Halahuni will give Katz plenty of options when he distributes the football.

3. Solid in the secondary: The Beavers will be experienced -- not to mention big -- in the secondary, with three starters back from 2009 and all four first-teamers measuring over 6-feet. James Dockery and 6-foot-2, 219-pound Brandon Hardin are the corners, while Lance Mitchell, 230-pound Cameron Collins and Suaesi Tuimaunei have combined for 29 starts at safety.

Fall questions

1. Front seven issues: Taylor Henry stepped up at defensive end after Matt LaGrone quit the team, but what's unclear is if he can hold off touted JC transfer Dominic Glover as the starter. Things also are fluid at linebacker. Will Keith Pankey be 100 percent by fall camp after missing spring with a torn Achilles tendon? Will Tony Wilson or Rueben Robinson step in at middle linebacker?

2. How will the offensive line shake out? Starters Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp missed spring with injuries, which forced line coach Mike Cavanaugh to do some mixing and matching. The good news was the re-emergence of tackle Wilder McAndrews, who almost quit due to persistent wrist problem. It's possible that McAndrews could take over at left tackle and Philipp could move inside to guard. Then Johnson and Burke Ellis could compete at the other guard.

3. Who is Katz’s backup? The story of spring might have been Katz's impressive effort, but Vaz also deserves note. His rise is more about how well he played than Lalich not producing. Considering how often a backup quarterback is needed, this will be an interesting competition to follow during fall camp.

Pac-10 lunch links: USC's Johnson likely out the rest of spring

April, 23, 2010
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Happy Friday.

Pac-10 lunch links: UCLA loses WR Smith

April, 9, 2010
4/09/10
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It seems that everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along.

Nine Pac-10 players rank on Kiper's top-five list by position

April, 1, 2010
4/01/10
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A bevy of Pac-10 players may not be selected in the first round of the NFL draft on April 22, but the second and third rounds will feature plenty of West Coast flavor, at least according to Mel Kiper.

Kiper ranks nine conference players among the top-five at their respective positions.
Notice that seven different schools have players ranked. While no Oregon State or Stanford players were ranked, both schools are certain to produce draft picks: quarterback Sean Canfield and linebacker Keaton Kristick for the Beavers and running back Toby Gerhart and offensive lineman Chris Marinelli for the Cardinal.

That leaves out only Washington State, and center Kenny Alfred might just get picked late in the draft -- he's not off the radar.

Not since 2007 have all 10 conference teams had at least one player drafted -- see some lean years for Stanford, Washington and Arizona.

Bigger shoes than you think: Oregon State

March, 31, 2010
3/31/10
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Fifth in a series looking at lineup holes that are important even if they don't make headlines.

Oregon State

Everybody is talking about: The Beavers not only must replace their quarterback, they must replace Sean Canfield, who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors after posting an outstanding senior season. Therefore, the marquee competition this spring is between sophomore Ryan Katz and junior Peter Lalich.

Bigger shoes than you think: Middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi

The obvious answer here would be first-team All-Pac-10 linebacker Keaton Kristick, who started 27 games during his career and led the Beavers in tackles in 2009. But this isn't about obvious. Moreover, the Beavers will be moving senior Keith Pankey, who's sitting out spring practices with a torn Achilles tendon, to Kristick's strongside spot. Pankey has started 13 games while previously platooning with Dwight Roberson at weakside linebacker, so he's hardly green. There will be no such veteran presence ready to fill the void at MLB. Pa'aluhi, an underrated player who looked ready to blossom in 2010 as a junior, opted to quit the team for personal reasons and, reportedly, to join the military. He started all 13 games last year and ranked second on the team with 77 tackles and tied for second with eight tackles for a loss. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.

Who is stepping in: It figures to be an interesting competition. Sophomores Feti "Kevin" Unga and Rueben Robinson and senior Walker Vave combined for 32 tackles in 2009, but sophomore Tony Wilson, who sat out last year with a knee injury, might be the frontrunner. There's plenty of potential here, but it's mostly unproven.

Opening the mailbag: Worries about Oregon's D-line

March, 9, 2010
3/09/10
12:30
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This is a quick makeup for missing last Friday while I was doing interviews at Arizona.

Andrew from Syracuse writes: Regarding your Oregon strong and weak article, I agree that the defensive line is the obvious weakness of team but I noticed that you didn't mention incoming freshman Ricky Heimuli. I was wondering what kind of impact you think he'll have next year. I know that it's tough for true freshman to make the transition to D1 football but with the state of the D line it seems that he has the size and strength to contribute right away. At least I'm hoping he does because the line (minus Rowe) was awful against Ohio State and needs big bodies.

Ted Miller: I mostly don't include freshmen who arrive in the fall when assessing the strength of a position for spring practices -- unless the frosh is a spectacular talent at a skill position, where it's easier to contribute early. Line positions are much different animals. When you see true freshmen starting on either line, more often than not it's about a gaping talent void rather than a player beating out veterans.

My guess is Oregon would prefer to redshirt Heimuli but odds are fairly good he'll play because of depth issues and his obvious talent and advanced physical development. Further complicating things, however, is his stated desire to go on a LDS mission after his freshman year (see UCLA offensive tackle Xavier Su'a-Filo, who started at left tackle as a true freshman last fall but opted to go on a mission).

As for the D-line in the Rose Bowl: I disagree.

Ohio State got a career-best performance from quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the Rose Bowl, while Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli reverted to his Boise State passing form -- 9-of-20 for 81 yards with a pick. Quarterback play was the difference in the game, particularly on third down.

Ohio State didn't run the ball well against Oregon, other than Pryor's scrambles. Buckeye backs combined for 87 yards on 28 carries (3.1 yards per carry) with a long run of 11 yards.

The Ducks didn't dominate up front, but they certainly weren't pushed around.


Kevin from Scottsdale writes: I'm a fan of Keaton Kristick's (Oregon State) and I can't figure out why his performance at the combine isn't getting any attention? He finished in the top 10 in 5 out of 6 "field" categories against 36 of the best college LB's in the country? Yet, most of what has been written about him says he's not athletic, too small (since when was 6'3" 234lbs too small?), and CBS Sports went so far as to say his best chance may be the CFL? Here's what what I saw on the NFL combine website shortly after Monday's session. He tied for 4th among LB's in the 40 (4.64), finished 3rd in the BJ (10'), 6th in the 20S (4.21), 3rd in the 60S (11.33) and 9th in the 3 cone (6.96). Find another player at any position that can say that? I'm guessing not very many.

Ted Miller: I was surprised how well Kristicks's measurables came out -- even his size. I'd have pegged him at about 6-foot-2, 225 when I chatted with him at Pac-10 media day last July.

What stood out to me about Kristick is he tested well in the drills that measure quickness and change of direction. Help me out here: Are those good skills for a LB to have?

I have read the same things you have. Little has been written that indicates Kristick will get drafted anywhere before the late rounds.

One thing to keep in mind is much of what is written around draft time is just blather. There's so much misdirection and overanalysis it's hard to measure what's accurate.

My guess -- and it's only a guess -- is that Kristicks's performances, combined with lots of impressive game tape, as well as a good Beavers legacy at the position, will get him drafted.

I expect him to stick on a team. He may not become star or even a starter, but guys like Kristick seem to find their way to solid NFL careers.


Andrew from Seattle writes: Is there any actual truth to the discussion of kicking WSU out of the Pac 10 or are the local sports talk stations trying to fill a really slow period in local sports? It seems to me that while there are negatives WSU brings to the table there are some positives and reasonable recent success Rose bowl 03 Sweet 16 in 06. All the Internet folks are bringing up comments from Sterk from last April. That too seems a bit far fetched for me.

Ted Miller: At the risk of sounding wishy-washy: No.

There's no chance of kicking Washington State out of the Pac-10.

Zero.


Jeremy from Tempe writes: Why all the Arizona stories? Who cares? Isn't this the Pac-10 blog, not the Arizona blog?

Ted Miller: Three reasons for the glut of Arizona stories.

1. Arizona started spring practices last Friday.

2. I was in Tucson that day.

3. Only Arizona and Stanford are practicing right now.


JT from New York City writes: Ted, I got two weird questions for you. How tall are you and how much do you weigh? It helps give perspective on the dudes you interview.

Ted Miller: I'm 6-foot-10, 280 pounds.

Plus or minus.

No, I'm 5-11, 210. OK, 215. But I'm shooting to drop to two bills by the preseason.

Speaking of which...


Andrew from Berkeley, Calif., writes: I'm headed to Eugene for a non-football related sporting event, I was wondering if you had any suggestions for good food? I noticed you liked Le Cheval in Oakland so I can trust your taste.

Ted Miller: Mmmm. Le Cheval. Made the mistake of pulling up the menu. When's lunch?

Most folks in Eugene would start with Beppe & Gianni's. You'll probably run into Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti there. Beppe is a great guy and he's particularly skilled at hiring hostesses.

I've had a handful of good meals at Adam's Place, home of the Eugene Martini Association, but some folks accused me of being hoity-toity when I touted the place two years ago.

Fact is, I've always thought there were plenty of good meals to be had in Eugene.

And this inquiry is a good time for a heads up: I'm going to put together a list of Pac-10 restaurants for you road trippers this year and, obviously, we need our loyal readers to participate.

So feel free to send in suggestions.

Strong & weak: Oregon State

March, 8, 2010
3/08/10
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The sixth of a 10-part series that looks at where Pac-10 teams are strongest and weakest as they begin spring practices.

Oregon State

Strong: The Rodgers brothers

Why it's a strength: Well, would you be interested in welcoming back a pair of first-team All-conference playmakers who combined for 330 yards per game and 32 touchdowns in 2009? Of course you would. These two are the biggest reasons the Beavers figure to be in the mix in the top-third of the conference again in 2010, even with a new quarterback running the offense. Jacquizz Rodgers ranked third in the conference with 1,440 yards rushing last year and was second in receptions per game with six. James Rodgers ranked second in the conference in receiving yards with 79.5 per game and was an ever-present threat on the fly sweep. He also ranked third in punt returns.

Weak: Linebacker

Why it's a weakness: The Beavers knew they'd be without Keaton Kristick, who's off to the NFL, but the offseason also saw them lose starting middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi -- he quit to join the military -- and Keith Pankey, who ruptured his right Achilles tendon during a running drill in February and may be out for the season. Dwight Roberson will return at one outside spot -- he platooned with Pankey the past two seasons -- but the depth is questionable and young. The Unga brothers, Devin and Kevin, both sophomores, Walker Vave, Tony Wilson, Keo Camat, Rueben Robinson and newcomer Michael Doctor will battle to fill the voids. While nearly everyone is back on the defensive line and in the secondary, the Beavers now will be inexperienced at linebacker.

Some Pac-10 combine notes and numbers

March, 2, 2010
3/02/10
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Lots of goings on at the NFL combine with Pac-10 guys. Here are some updates.

From Scouts Inc. reports on ESPN.com:

  • Everyone expected USC S Taylor Mays to shine in this setting and Mays did not disappoint. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Mays posted an official time of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash. While we are still concerned about his inconsistencies on film, Mays clearly has early-first-round natural ability, and teams are sure to fall in love with his upside if they haven't already.
  • Arizona State's Dexter Davis, TCU's Jerry Hughes, Michigan's Brandon Graham and Utah's Koa Misi all played defensive end in college but are expected to move to 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Base 3-4 teams looking for help at outside linebacker were interested to see how they ran in the 40-yard dash, and none of them disappointed. Davis (4.56 seconds), Hughes (4.59), Graham (4.69) and Misi (4.69) all are fast enough to play linebacker in the NFL. Those times are unofficial, of course, but it's worth pointing out that the average 40 time for outside linebackers at the 2009 combine was 4.78.
  • It should come as no surprise that Campbell, USC's Charles Brown and West Virginia's Selvish Capers stood out during one-on-one mirror drills. All three looked fluid and quick, but Iowa's Bryan Bulaga showed the best poise of the group. Bulaga didn't overreact to head fakes or quick changes in direction and stayed with his man throughout.
  • USC G/C Jeff Byers had a hard time sinking his hips and keeping his shoulders back before starting his one-on-one mirror drill, and Byers' technique deteriorated once Idaho OT/G Mike Iupati forced him to change directions. Byers had a particularly difficult time staying low and that's a real concern because hip and back injuries forced Byers to miss two seasons early in his collegiate career and he looks stiff.

From other sources:

Thoughts on the 2009 top 30

February, 25, 2010
2/25/10
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It feels like this is our final goodbye to the 2009 season: Our reworked top 30, which was topped Wednesday by Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

No surprise there, right?

Some notes on the list, and then we firmly turn our attention to 2010:

  • Oregon State led all teams with five players, including four in the top 10. Imagine if you'd read that 11 years ago?
  • Washington State had none -- only center Kenny Alfred was considered. Arizona State had just one, though the Sun Devils had a few who just missed the cut -- linebacker Mike Nixon, for one -- and a couple who figure to be on our 2010 preseason list (linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy).
  • 2009 was a highly competitive season in the conference, and that showed in the rankings. Arizona, California, Oregon and USC each had four players ranked. UCLA and Washington had three. Stanford two.
  • Only one offensive lineman -- USC's Charles Brown -- was on the list. USC's Jeff Byers and Stanford's Chris Marinelli just missed the cut. O-line is a questionable position for the conference next year, even with a lot of starters back. Only three of ten All-Pac-10 linemen are back -- and none from the first-team.
  • Five quarterbacks and five defensive ends made the list, making those the top two positions. Four quarterbacks will be back but just two of the DEs, which the quarterbacks might be happy to hear.
  • Thirteen of the top 30 are back next year, including seven of the top 10 (though none of the top three).
  • Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona each will have three players from the list back in 2010. USC will have none.

Pac-10 top 30 in 2009: No. 1

February, 24, 2010
2/24/10
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Our final top 30 player rankings from 2009 will start from the bottom and work up to No. 1.

[+] EnlargeToby Gerhart
Ivan Pierre Aguirre/US PresswireToby Gerhart won the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back.
Click here for Nos. 2-30. Preseason rankings are here.

1. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford (25): Gerhart was the best player in the nation, so it makes sense that he sits atop the Pac-10 list. A consensus All-American, Gerhart finished second to Alabama running back Mark Ingram in the closest Heisman Trophy vote in history -- Ingram's playing for a national title contender clearly provided him the slim margin of victory -- but he beat out Ingram for the Doak Walker Award, which is given annually to the nation's best running back. Gerhart led the nation in rushing (1,871 yards) and touchdowns (28) -- only one other runner had more than 21 TDs. His 143.9 yards rushing per game was 25 yards more than any other conference running back. He also caught 11 passes for 157 yards and even threw a TD pass. Defenses crowded the line of scrimmage and tried to gang up on Gerhart. It just didn't matter.

2. Brian Price, DT, UCLA (6)
3. Sean Canfield, QB, Oregon State (NR)
4. Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon (9)
5. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State (4)
6. Jake Locker, QB, Washington (11)
7. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State (24)
8. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (NR)
9. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State (22)
10. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA (NR)
11. Damian Williams, WR, USC (7)
12. Taylor Mays, S, USC (1)
13. Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon (16)
14. Tyson Alualu, DE, California (26)
15. Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA (15)
16. Jahvid Best, RB, California (2)
17. Charles Brown, OT, USC (17)
18. Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California (8)
19. Keaton Kristick, LB, Oregon State (28)
20. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (NR)
21. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE, Washington (23)
22. Mike Mohamed, LB, California (NR)
23. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (NR)
24. Donald Butler, LB, Washington (NR)
25. Everson Griffen, DE, USC (30)
26. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona (NR)
27. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (NR)
28. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon (NR)
29. Earl Mitchell, DT, Arizona (NR)
30. Travis Goethel, LB Arizona State (NR)

Pac-10 top 30 in 2009: No. 2

February, 23, 2010
2/23/10
12:45
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Our final top 30 player rankings from 2009 will start from the bottom and work up to No. 1.

Click here for Nos. 3-30. Preseason rankings are here.

Price
Price
2. Brian Price, DT, UCLA (6): Everyone knew Price was coming; they just couldn't stop him, even with a double-team. The Pac-10 defensive player of the year -- a likely NFL first-round pick this spring -- led the conference with 23.5 tackles for loss, which is eight more than No. 2 (Washington's Donald Butler). That total ranked fourth in the nation. Seven of those TFLs were sacks, a total that ranked first among conference interior linemen. He also had 48 total tackles and forced a pair of fumbles.

3. Sean Canfield, QB, Oregon State (NR)
4. Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon (9)
5. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State (4)
6. Jake Locker, QB, Washington (11)
7. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State (24)
8. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (NR)
9. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State (22)
10. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA (NR)
11. Damian Williams, WR, USC (7)
12. Taylor Mays, S, USC (1)
13. Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon (16)
14. Tyson Alualu, DE, California (26)
15. Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA (15)
16. Jahvid Best, RB, California (2)
17. Charles Brown, OT, USC (17)
18. Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California (8)
19. Keaton Kristick, LB, Oregon State (28)
20. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (NR)
21. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE, Washington (23)
22. Mike Mohamed, LB, California (NR)
23. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (NR)
24. Donald Butler, LB, Washington (NR)
25. Everson Griffen, DE, USC (30)
26. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona (NR)
27. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (NR)
28. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon (NR)
29. Earl Mitchell, DT, Arizona (NR)
30. Travis Goethel, LB Arizona State (NR)

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