Pac-12: Lyle Moevao
- Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez gives the low-down on his team as it gets ready for spring practices.
- Arizona State makes a hire to boost recruiting.
- More from a Q&A with California coach Sonny Dykes.
- A thorough preview of Colorado heading into spring practices.
- Not surprisingly, Oregon folks think the proposed 10 second rule is "baloney."
- Former QB Lyle Moevao joins a crew of former Oregon State players working as Beavers GAs.
- A look at Stanford's big issues this spring.
- UCLA has announced its spring football dates, so plan accordingly.
- Former USC coach Pete Carroll makes several accurate observations about the travesty that was the NCAA's treatment of the Trojans.
- New Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen says he wants competition at QB, whether Travis Wilson is permanently cleared or not.
- Five issues for Washington heading into spring practices.
- A scouting report on former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. This is about Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone, but I think there are well-expressed sentiments in it that certainly touch how we talk about football coaches.
He's presently presiding over "The Great Sean Mannion versus Cody Vaz Competition," one that features two players with successful starting experience and few hints about whom Riley favors. Riley's most recent statement on the competition is both will play in the opener against Eastern Washington on Aug. 31. And then a new chapter will be written in this twisting drama.
This QB quandary was preceded by the surprising Ryan Katz to Mannion switcharoo in 2011, and everybody remembers the back-and-forth between Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao previous to that.
Yet if Beavers fans are worried Mannion vs. Vaz has the potential to get truly weird, well, maybe they should be. Riley was ringmaster for one of the all-time odd QB carousels in Pac-10 history: USC in 1995.
Riley, then the Trojans offensive coordinator, was sitting in his office during the preseason when John Robinson stopped by to say he wanted to resolve their QB competition between Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholtz. His idea was to play both. Otten would start, Wachholtz would play the second quarter. The idea was to alternate by quarter.
USC was 8-2-1 that year. Successful season? The Trojans lost to both of their major rivals, Notre Dame and UCLA, so not really. On the plus side, in a game with major Rose Bowl implications, they came back from a 21-0 fourth-quarter deficit to tie Washington. The Huskies then lost the following week to Oregon, essentially giving the Trojans the conference title, even with the crushing 24-20 loss to the Bruins in the regular-season finale in Terry Donahue's final battle for the Victory Bell.
Northwestern was the Cinderella in the Rose Bowl, making its first appearance since 1949. USC was the Evil Stepmother. The Wildcats were on the cusp of something magical! And many of the folks relating that with flowery terms went to journalism school at Northwestern before becoming sportswriters.
As for the game itself, guess what one of the only coaches in the Pac-12 who doesn't presently run an up-tempo offense did to surprise Northwestern? Yep. He used no-huddle, two-minute offense on the first two series -- a pair of TD drives -- that was the cornerstone of what would become a 24-7 lead.
That fast start, however, presented a problem. Otton was in the zone.
"I went to John and said, 'I don't think we should change quarterbacks right now.' We didn't," Riley recalled. "Still to this day, I regret that."
That shows you two things about Riley you may already know: 1. He's willing to make tough decisions: 2. He's not the sort of hard case who can block out the human repercussions of those tough decisions.
Wachholtz had been every bit the match for Otton all season, seeing action in every game. In fact, entering the Rose Bowl, his numbers were slightly better. But on this grand stage -- The Granddaddy of Them All -- he stewed on the bench and didn't play.
Otton went on to complete 29 of 44 passes for 391 yards, much of that going to Keyshawn Johnson, who caught 12 balls for 216 yards and was named Player of the Game. The Trojans nearly blew it, as the Wildcats stormed back, but they ended up winning 41-32.
From the LA Times game story:
Robinson, too, saluted the 6-6 Otton, a junior, but also expressed sympathy for senior Kyle Wachholtz, the other half of USC's two-quarterback offense who never got in the game.
"It's unfortunate Kyle didn't get to play, but Brad was playing so well we just couldn't," Robinson said.
Otton appeared before the media with his right shoulder wrapped in ice. Wachholtz dressed quickly and left.
"I'm sure Kyle's terribly disappointed," offensive coordinator Mike Riley said after the first game this season when one quarterback went the distance when both were sound. "I felt Brad had a good grasp of the game, and I didn't want to make a change."
A few weeks ago, Riley admitted that Wachholtz didn't take the decision well -- "He shouldn't have," Riley said -- and that the emotions of that decision remain with him.
He repeated, "I personally have regrets about that game."
Otton would go to start in 1996 -- how many Weber State transfers start two years for USC? -- but the Trojans went a mediocre 6-6. Wachholtz, who would sell his Rose Bowl ring, admittedly due to his bitterness, would become a tight end in the NFL, though injuries cut his promising career short.
Riley has said he doesn't want to play two quarterbacks this fall, but he obviously isn't afraid to do so, or to make a change if he thinks it will help his team. It's also clear that he knows making a tough call has emotional consequences.
Nonetheless, there is a cold bottom line in all quarterback competitions.
Said Riley, "Who can we trust to be the most consistent player?"
Ted Miller: While I think a team many are underestimating is UCLA, the team at Pac-12 media day that made me go, "Hmm… maybe?" was Oregon State.
Why? A couple of reasons. For one, a slide like this has happened with Mike Riley before. When he returned to Corvallis in 2002 after his ill-fated tenure with the San Diego Chargers, he went 8-5, 7-5 and 5-6. Folks wondered if the program was going to revert back to its dismal run of 28 consecutive losing seasons. Only Riley and the Beavers would go on to win 36 games over the next four seasons.
Further, there's second-year starting QB Sean Mannion, who was OK last year, but wasn't terribly efficient with 18 interceptions and 16 TDs. That sort of feels to me like Sean Canfield throwing 15 picks against just nine TDs in 2007. Two years later, after watching Lyle Moevao mature into a solid QB in 2008, Canfield earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors. And recall the difference in Matt Moore in 2005 -- bad QB, kind of a jerk -- and 2006 -- good QB who grew up and went to the NFL.
Quarterbacks under Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf have dramatically improved their second year in the Beavers offense. The unfortunate exception to this rule, of course, is the guy Mannion displaced last fall, Ryan Katz.
But there's more!
Mannion has a strong crew of receivers and tight ends/H-backs. He just needs a running game to keep the opposing defense honest. I actually think there's enough talent in the backfield to make a "running back by committee" approach work. And the offensive line should improve because, well, it can't do much worse than last year.
But there's more!
What about that defense? It stood out to me at media day that Riley talked about the improved conditioning of sophomore defensive ends Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn. Those two have a chance to be a heck of a tandem. I like the Beavers back seven, which is sneaky good at linebacker and has cornerback Jordan Poyer, a top NFL prospect. The question is can the Beavers cover up an obvious weakness at tackle? Tag that with a firm "maybe."
The key stretch in the schedule runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13 when the Beavers play at UCLA, at Arizona, Washington State and at BYU. Those are four winnable games, but the Beavers have to be road warriors. The bad news is they've won just one true road game over the past two seasons.
Of course, that win was at a good Arizona team, when Katz seemed like he was on the cusp of breaking out -- only WR James Rodgers blew out his knee that night. Little has gone the Beavers way since then.
Call this a hunch that the Beavers will trend up in 2012. They might not get to eight wins, but I expect them to return to the postseason.
Kevin Gemmell: That's not a bad call. But it's the team the Beavers are staring up at in the preseason poll -- Washington State -- that leaves me questioning if there is room for one more in that indecipherable vacuum of second-tier North teams.
Like you, I think UCLA could be dangerous, because the athletes are in place and where Noel Mazzone goes, big offensive numbers usually follow. It seems like they just need a swift kick to the butt-pad to get them going. Jim Mora seems like the guy with the right set of feet.
But until we see what Mora can do at the college level, I'm sticking with the Cougars, because we know what Mike Leach and his teams are capable of.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I've been dropping WSU in occasionally as a team to watch in the North. And while I'm still not quite ready to elevate them in with those second-tier teams -- Cal, Stanford and Washington (in alphabetical order as not to offend) -- I'm a lot closer now than I was when the week started.
I walked away from media day convinced that Leach was not only the right hire, but that his impact is going to be immediate.
Most impressive was the demeanor and focus of quarterback Jeff Tuel. He carried himself with a quiet confidence and poise that stood out to me. I'm not going to compare being up on the stage to quarterbacking a football team -- but let's face it -- sitting up there in front of 100-plus reporters can be daunting. Tuel was loose -- and even cracked wise a couple of times. He carried himself like a mature, veteran, big-time quarterback. That's what you want to see.
The Cougars are going to score points, lots of them. And Tuel is going to put up numbers, big ones. Plus, there is depth at the position. Should Tuel suffer another injury -- he only appeared in three games last year -- Connor Halliday is waiting in the wings. I can think of a few teams that wouldn't mind having Halliday as a failsafe.
And I don't think the conference is fully prepared for what Leach and Co. are going to unleash each week. In his 10 years at Texas Tech his teams went to 10 bowl games. In 2000, his first year, he re-wrote virtually every Texas Tech passing record -- and then proceeded to re-break them for the next nine years. In his final two seasons his teams won 19 games. Washington State has won nine in the past four.
I'm predicting a 4-0 start (at BYU, Eastern Washington, at UNLV, Colorado). This team should make the postseason and if everything comes together with some haste, seven or eight wins is a very realistic possibility.
Why? Good numbers without stockpiles of elite recruits. Non-elite recruits becoming NFL draft choices. Thirty-six wins over the previous four seasons. You know, the usual suspects.
Oh, but how two down seasons can change things. After going a combined 8-16 over the past two years, many Beavers fans are either calling for head coach Mike Riley's head, or they are at least calling for the heads of his coordinators: Mark Banker on defense and Danny Langsdorf on offense.
How quickly can things change? Well, I wrote this heading into 2010 as part of a "Don't be surprised if..." series: "Don't be surprised if ... Beavers offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf becomes a hot head-coaching candidate when new starting quarterback Ryan Katz posts surprisingly strong numbers this fall."
In fact, there now appears to be some question as to whether Riley will take over play-calling responsibilities from Langsdorf in 2012, which Riley gave to Langsdorf midway through the 2008 season. This question is being -- legitimately -- asked because Riley is calling plays this spring.
Riley was noncommittal -- and a tad uncomfortable -- with this line of inquiry Monday, and you can see video of his thoughts here. He called it "not a big deal." He said he was calling plays so he could see how the offense reacted against certain looks from the defense: "It's a way to orchestrate a big-picture look," he said.
When asked if it was for spring only, he said, "For right now, it's only for spring."
That qualifies as a "maybe," not a "Yes" or "No."
So here's my defense of Langsdorf, who also coaches the Beavers QBs. It might not be completely comforting for Beavers fans, but I think it's fair and accurate: The reason the Beavers offense has struggled the past two seasons ... drum roll please ... is a lack of good players.
I know: Thud.
The 2010 season likely would have been different if receiver James Rodgers hadn't blown out his knee during an impressive win at Arizona on Oct. 9. And the Beavers would have qualified for a bowl game if typically reliable tight end Joe Halahuni hadn't dropped a 2-point conversion that would have beaten homestanding Washington in double-overtime.
2011? Well, that was just pretty lousy. Riley, Langsdorf, Banker, the players -- everyone associated with the program -- surely spent some time wondering where they failed.
Still, as the Pac-12 blog observed while praising Langsdorf just two years ago:
In his six seasons as offensive coordinator, the Beavers have posted five of their top-nine all-time seasons of total offense. Remember the early careers of quarterbacks Matt Moore, Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao? One word: Yucky. Remember their late careers? Two words: Dramatic transformation. Canfield earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 and joined Moore in the NFL.
In 2008, with Langsdorf calling plays, the Beavers ranked 32nd in the nation with 30.5 points per game and 30th in the nation with 407.1 yards per game. In 2009, they ranked 26th in points (31.5 ppg) and 34th in yards (410.6 ypg).
In other words, Langsdorf has been a successful coordinator and playcaller. At least when he's shown up for battle with more than a pillow shield and plastic sword.
Things set up fairly well for the offense heading into 2012. Langsdorf has his returning starter at QB in Mannion. He has a good crew of receivers, led by Markus Wheaton. But the offense will struggle if it can't generate a running game, which mostly hinges on improved play on the offensive line, which has been sub-par two years running.
One of the criticisms of Riley has been his loyalty to his assistant coaches, but he's made tough decisions recently, including firing longtime linebackers coach Greg Newhouse in March of 2011 (mostly because of recruiting shortcomings). If Riley takes away play-calling responsibilities from Langsdorf, it will be a painful blow to both men.
But it appears that possibility is at least being considered, so it will be worth asking about in advance of the season opener on Sept. 1 against Nicholls State.
- Previewing Arizona State's tight ends. More on former Sun Devils receiver Kerry Taylor's anti-Dennis Erickson Tweets.
- California QB Zach Maynard is a transfer to watch.
- Colorado fans: Buy your new Pac-12 gear here. Now!
- Reliving the thrilling 2009 Civil War from an Oregon perspective. "Impending doom" for Oregon? One point about the BCS title game: The Ducks lost on a last-second field goal, gained 449 yards vs. Auburn and held the Tigers to their second lowest point total of the season. This notion they got pushed around has taken on a life of its own, even though it's divorced from reality.
- Former Oregon State QB Lyle Moevao is winning championships... in France. Lyle, can you say, "I love crępes"? Thanks for the link.
- Will change be good for UCLA?
- USC from a Stanford perspective.
- Utah and BYU shortly will be done with the Mountain West and then will head off in different directions. And here's why Utah won't be quaking in its cleats when it visits USC on Sept. 10.
- Washington coach Steve Sarkisian maximizes his visibility. The Huskies rank 51st in this countdown, one spot ahead of San Diego State and two spots ahead of Tulsa. Maybe this a bit of college football comic theater?
- Some Pac-12 coaches are on the hotseat: Who will survive?
- Funny stuff here: What Google might mean for the Pac-12.
Don't be surprised if ... Beavers offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf becomes a hot head-coaching candidate when new starting quarterback Ryan Katz posts surprisingly strong numbers this fall.
If the above line is giving you a sense of deja vu, it should. We wrote the same thing about Sonny Dykes last year, and Arizona's offensive coordinator was hired this past offseason as Louisiana Tech's head coach.
Langsdorf, who doubles as the Beavers' quarterbacks coach, will be a head coach within the next two years -- at least he should be -- and if Katz puts up impressive numbers as a first-year starter, a sharp AD somewhere will snatch him away from what many feel is the Pac-10's best collection of assistant coaches before the 2011 season.
Why? In his six seasons as offensive coordinator, the Beavers have posted five of their top-nine all-time seasons of total offense.
Remember the early careers of quarterbacks Matt Moore, Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao? One word: Yucky. Remember their late careers? Two words: Dramatic transformation. Canfield earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 and joined Moore in the NFL.
The fly sweep with James Rodgers and the "Wild Beaver" formation with Jacquizz Rodgers lining up at quarterback? Those innovations were executed by Langsdorf, who took over play-calling duties from head coach Mike Riley midway through the 2008 season.
Langsdorf is young enough -- 38 -- to be young and old enough to be experienced (14 years coaching, with three years in the NFL and CFL). Character? In 2007, he donated a kidney to Laurie Cavanaugh, the wife of Beavers offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh.
And, really, isn't it time that Riley developed a coaching tree? Is there any college coach who is a better role model for the best way to be?
Langsdorf learned to evaluate talent from Riley, who's built a top-25 program and NFL pipeline without ever ranking in the top 25 in recruiting. He's learned how to gather and cultivate a loyal, accomplished staff from Riley. He's learned how to win under less-than-ideal circumstances from Riley. He's learned how to conduct himself with class from Riley.
He also probably learned a bit from his father, Ed Langsdorf, who coached at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., Danny Langsdorf's alma mater, for 20 years before becoming a scout for the San Diego Chargers.
No assistant coach is a sure thing when he makes the leap to head coach. But Langsdorf feels pretty close to it, particularly in the right circumstances.
If Oregon State surges this year on offense, and Katz stands out as another Langsdorf pupil, it's hard to imagine Langsdorf won't raise more than a few eyebrows among ADs looking for a go-getter to jump-start their program.
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.
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.
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?
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.
He points to his tight end Joe Halahuni. He caught 35 passes and became an offensive weapon after the middle of the season. Riley points at his slot receiver, Jordan Bishop. The 6-foot-3 sophomore can high jump over seven feet. He points at his split end, where Darrell Catchings and Markus Wheaton are engaging one of the more spirited competitions this spring.
Then he points at Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 1,440 yards, caught 78 passes and scored 22 touchdowns a year after being the Pac-10's Offensive Player of the Year as a true freshman.
Riley agrees with a reporter that Jacquizz should be a top Heisman Trophy candidate.
The main point, however, is the Beavers offense has a lot of guys who can punish a defense.
"Athletically, it's as good as we've ever been," Riley said.
Then Riley circles his quarterback.
"It's our biggest question on offense," he said. "If we can bring our quarterback up to the rest of the offense, then it's going to be good."
That quarterback figures to be sophomore Ryan Katz, who's got a big arm but little experience. While Katz officially is competing with Virginia transfer Peter Lalich for the starting job, Katz started spring practices with the No. 1 offense and he's yet to yield that perch.
"What stands out about Ryan -- always has -- is he's got really good physical ability. A Great arm," Riley said. "It's one of those deals where you're kind of taken aback by the strength of his arm sometimes. He throws the ball so easily with a lot of velocity. He's got to learn a little bit more about taking something off it every once and a while. I tell him all the time, 'You don't always have to throw a 95 miles per hour ball.'"
The good news is Katz, Riley said, has consistently improved since arriving in Corvallis from Santa Monica (Calif.) High School. But there's a caveat hidden in that positive point, because every recent Oregon State quarterback has improved steadily during his career, from Derek Anderson, to Matt Moore, to Lyle Moevao, to Sean Canfield.
But each of those guys started his career slowly and, well, unimpressively. Anderson completed just 47 percent of his passes his first year as the Beavers starter under then-coach Dennis Erickson. Moore threw 19 interceptions. Moevao and Canfield combined for 21 interceptions in 2007.
The question is how steep Katz's learning curve will be.
"There is a process with us," Riley said.
By all accounts, Katz has embraced the No. 1 role, though he admits it goes against his type to be a vocal leader. As a personality, Katz is closer to the quieter Canfield than the effusive Moevao.
"More than vocal-wise, I tried to lead by example," Katz said.
The Beavers offense has evolved in recent years as Riley yielded control to coordinator Danny Langsdorf. The Beavers have increased the role of running backs and the flanker in the passing game. They added the fly sweep. Canfield's accuracy but lack of a strong arm had the offense looking West Coast-ish for a while in 2009.
Katz brings back the big arm of say an Anderson or Moore and adds some athleticism. Katz will move around in the pocket and there will be more designed bootlegs. And there's an increased emphasis of screen passes in order to build his confidence through the air.
And Katz needs to find his rhythm quickly. The opener is vs. TCU in Cowboys Stadium -- a top-10 team playing in a friendly stadium that is far bigger than its home field.
"When the time comes, it's definitely going to be eye-opening," Katz said. "But I'm just going to take it and run with it. I can't stand out there and be star struck."
After TCU, the Beavers play host to Louisville, then visit Boise State, a likely top-five team.
So there's no soft schedule that allows Katz to acclimate himself to the speed of the game. He's bound to make mistakes, which means criticism. Katz is aware that is an inescapable part of playing the position.
"That's definitely in the back of your mind, but if I just work day by day and get better that will play it self out," he said. "I know that comes with the job."
But he said he learned a lot from watching Canfield and Moevao weather the storm and come out strong on the back end.
But if Katz plays well from the start and minimized the growing pains, then Beavers should become a major player in the Pac-10 race.
Whoops. Make that one of three. Oregon recently joined the Beavers and Arizona State as programs searching for a new signal-caller.
It's not like offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf doesn't have anything to work with, though. He's got four of five starting offensive linemen back as well as plenty of talent at receiver.
Oh, and he's got the Rodgers brothers, too, James and Jacquizz , All-Pac-10 playmakers as runners and receivers who should make the transition far easier for whomever wins the QB job.
The Beavers started spring practices this week, so it seemed like a good time to check in with Langsdorf.
So ... no Sean Canfield or Lyle Moevao: That's got to feel different.
Danny Langsdorf: It sure does. We had such a veteran presence at that position for two years. That's pretty unique. Having both of them gone, I'm still getting used to it. But we ran into this a couple of years ago when we lost Matt Moore. We've got two guys who we think are both capable of playing for us in [Ryan] Katz and [Peter] Lalich. We'll let them battle it out and see which one is our best guy.
Tell me about those two quarterbacks: First Katz. What are his strengths and where does he need work?
DL: He's got an unbelievable arm -- probably the strongest we've had here in a long time. He's very talented throwing the ball. He's got to work on his accuracy and being able to harness that strength in his arm. He's got to show a little touch on the ball and just be able to spread the ball around to where guys can catch it. I think he's got a good command of the offense. He's been here long enough. He hasn't played a lot but he played in a few games last year and got some good game experience. We feel great where he's at and the amount of talent he possesses. He's already been exciting to start spring ball.
And Virginia transfer Lalich?
DL: Peter has a little bit of experience in games, although it was at Virginia, but playing in some games is always a good thing, for a quarterback especially. He's a smart kid who can pick up our system fast. He's also got a good arm. I'd say Katz is probably more mobile than Peter right now, but [Lalich] is a big, strong drop-back passer. We feel like we've got two guys who can really throw the ball well. And Cody Vaz is in there, too. He's our [redshirt] freshman and he's also got a talented arm. Those three guys right there are proving they can make a lot of throws in our offense.
The general feeling is Katz is ahead: Is that true?
DL: It's still pretty early but you can say that in the sense that he's been here the longest. He's played in games in our system. All those things are to his advantage. So if you watch us take a team period, the first snaps are going to Ryan for sure. But I don't think that is to say that competition is at all over. We've got a lot of time before we play our first game. We've got a lot of situations to put those guys through to see who can handle the entire game the best. We'll do that throughout spring practices. But I think if you had to make a decision right today you'd probably say that.
Part II on Friday: Langsdorf talks about the Rodgers brothers, other offensive weapons and the rugged schedule.
Jason from Portland writes: Chip Kelly should have kicked both [Jeremiah] Masoli and [LaMichael] James off the team. They are criminals and criminals shouldn't play college football. How can you not see this?
Ted Miller: I received lots of notes like these. This one was just the most coherent and expletive-free.
Why does this feel like I'm being sucked into a sociopolitical debate -- you know one of those where the arguing parties never listen to each other but just scream their positions with self-righteous fervor?
Some folks fall into the "zero-tolerance" camp. I do not. When I listen to the "zero-tolerance" camp's arguments, I remain unconvinced the result benefits anyone. I completely understand what they are saying. I just don't buy it.
I believe Kelly's punishment for James -- a one-game suspension -- fits his transgression. I believe suspending Masoli for the 2010 season, while leaving open the possibility he could return in 2011, is a severe punishment that offers a young man an opportunity to redeem himself.
Jake from Sacramento writes: What do you think the odds are of Masoli transferring from Oregon, red-shirting, and playing somewhere else in 2011?
Ted Miller: Slim.
For one, which FBS program take him for just one year? His pool would be severely limited not only by his legal troubles and the negative attention his arrival would bring, but also by his skills being specific for a spread-option offense.
If Masoli believes he can no longer remain in Eugene, his most likely option is transferring to an FCS program, where he could play immediately.
I hope he doesn't take that route, though. Kelly gave Masoli an great opportunity to earn his way back. I think it would be a mistake for him not to take advantage of it.
Donald from Eugene writes: If the PAC10 does expand but neither usc or ucla make the championship game, wouldn't the attendance be similar to this season's b-ball tournament? In other words, how many fans would come to watch, for example, UW vs UA in the Rose Bowl for the PAC10 championship? This is not the SEC where not only are there way more passionate fans but all the schools and major venues are located in relative proximity to each other. From a pure logistic standpoint, I don't see a "neutral" field championship game being practical.
Ted Miller: Maybe. Maybe not.
Let's take your example, though: Washington vs. Arizona in the Rose Bowl for the Pac-10 title. That's two hungry fan bases that would buy a lot of tickets. (And Seattle folk probably would embrace an excuse to escape to Southern California in December).
Would 91,000 fans buy tickets? Probably not, but I'd bet $1 that close to 71,228 would show up, which is the capacity of the Georgia Dome, where the SEC title game is played.
If an LA team were in the game, it would sell a lot of tickets. If a Bay Area team were in the game, it would do fairly well. Washington and Oregon fans tend to travel well. It's an easy trip from Arizona.
If it were Oregon State vs. Washington State, that might be a hard sell to the locals, but the possibility of a Rose Bowl berth would be alluring enough for Cougars and Beavers fans that the stadium would certainly be more than half-full.
I don't see a Pac-10 title game being a financial flop if the conference office handles it well, such as making sure that there's more going on than just a single game on Saturday.
Your point also perhaps bolsters the argument for NOT splitting up the divisions into a North and South. Putting traditional rivals in opposite divisions would increase the odds for an LA team playing for the championship.
Bruce from Portland writes: So why did the NCAA grant [receiver Darrell] Catchings another year of eligibility when he play two games last year and [quarterback Lyle] Moevao played just ONE PLAY and was not granted another year?
Ted Miller: Two different cases.
Catchings' case was approved by the Pac-10 office and was a textbook medical hardship. He has never taken a redshirt year, he suffered a season-ending injury and didn't play past the third game of the 2009 season.
Moevao was denied by the NCAA because he played five years -- he voluntarily redshirted in 2006 -- and missed only one season beyond his control.
By comparison, USC's Jeff Byers earned a sixth year because he lost two seasons to injury and never took a voluntary redshirt.
Just so you know, Oregon State officials always believed Moevao's case was a huge long shot.
Derrick from Omaha writes: I have asked this before, could you explain Costa's eligibility status? He is listed as a Senior but last year was pretty much his first season.
Ted Miller: 2010 will be Costa's fifth year at Oregon.
He saw action as a true freshman in 2006. He redshirted in 2007 (and blew out his knee in practice). He missed all of 2008 with a knee injury. He saw action in 2009, starting against UCLA.
And, yes, if Costa wanted to petition for a sixth year due to medical hardship, he'd be a long shot because he was voluntarily redshirting in 2007 before he got injured in an October practice.
Clark from Iraq writes: I have a question about your schedules you posted for ASU and Stanford. You have one playing Oregon Oct 1st and one playing Oregon Oct 2. I was wondering which one is right?
Ted Miller: Both!
The schedule posted for Stanford was for 2010. The schedule posted for Arizona State was for 2011.
- Texas transfer Dan Buckner, who won't be eligible until 2011, is turning some heads at Arizona's spring practices.
- Arizona State, which struggled to fill out its 2010 schedule, is now good through 2013.
- California coach Jeff Tedford is hoping his case of the grumps gets cured by spring practices, which begin today and will be all about competition. The Bears' secondary is a big concern.
- What is Oregon coach Chip Kelly going to do with running back LaMichael James and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli? John Canzano provides perspective.
- What's next for former Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao?
- Former USC defensive line coach Jethro Franklin lands at Temple. More Trojans to watch this spring.
- Checking in on Washington's pro day.
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall
The time we cried
Break on through to the other side.
- Arizona starts spring practices Friday with a lot of changes. Some dingbats have the Wildcats too low in their offseason rankings of the Pac-10.
- Some pre-spring notes from California, including news that linebacker Mychal Kendricks will miss the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery. By the way, the QB situation figures to be interesting.
- The Oregon Duck is free of corporate obligations. Updates on a couple of Ducks who are in court.
- More on now former Oregon State QB Lyle Moevao not getting a sixth year from the NCAA.
- Stanford's new defense feels good to Chase Thomas, who's now more a linebacker than a DE.
- A running back caught in a position logjam might move to defense for UCLA.
- New USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin checks in with Big Red for some tips. The Trojans make the John Baxter hire official.
- Warren Moon likes the direction Washington is headed.
- Washington State must get better on the offensive line this spring.
- Reasons why massive college football realignment won't happen.
Moevao, the Beavers' starting quarterback in 2008, played only one down last season. First, he was slow to recover from shoulder surgery and then, once he returned to practice, he suffered a season-ending foot injury.
"We are all very disappointed in the outcome of Lyle's appeal for the sixth year," coach Mike Riley said in a statement. "We will of course miss him, both as a person and as a player on our team. He not only won a lot of games as our quarterback, including some of our biggest wins in history, but he also was the heart and soul personality in our program."
Moevao's appeal was denied, according to the school's statement, "due to him not demonstrating the loss of two seasons beyond his control, as defined by current NCAA legislation. Moevao redshirted in 2006 after transferring to OSU from El Camino Community College in California."
Moevao has already graduated with a degree in sociology. He will finish his career with an 11-4 record as a starter. He ranks seventh on the Beavers' all-time list for passing yards with 3,410.
Oregon State heads into spring practices, which start March 29, with four quarterbacks: sophomore Ryan Katz, junior Peter Lalich and redshirt freshmen Jack Lomax and Cody Vaz. Incoming freshman Sean Mannion will join the team in August.
- Not everyone is thrilled with Arizona State's hire at offensive coordinator.
- California season review: Quarterback.
- Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti is recovering from double knee replacement surgery. Coach Chip Kelly said he's "day to day."
- Checking in with Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao, who's chances of getting a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA are remote.
- Reviewing the defining plays of Stanford's season.
- Aaron Corp's father talks about the USC backup QB's thoughts on transferring.
- Incoming freshman QB Nick Montana wants to enroll early at Washington so he can participate in spring practices. Breaking news on Jake Locker's... dog.
- Ranking the Pac-10's 2010 nonconference schedules.
- How will the Pac-10 end up in the final national polls? Probably not good.