Pac-12: Pernnell Booth
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Much like many of the players, these links are day-to-day.
- Arizona's Eben Britton is one of the best offensive tackles in the Pac-10, but it turns out that might be the least interesting thing about him. The Wildcats DBs, meanwhile, want to go man-to-man.
- Arizona State's offensive line wants to move on from all the "55" talk, but it doesn't help when your potential starting center is hurt. And who will start at cornerback opposite Omar Bolden?
- Just because California's receivers are young and inexperienced doesn't mean they won't turn out good. Take Marvin Jones -- the true freshman may be the breakout performer of preseason camp. The way things are going, he looks like the No. 3 behind Michael Calvin and Nyan Boateng, at least according to my perception at practice Monday. Jonathan Okanes empties his notebook after a long interview with QB Nate Longshore. And a practice report.
- Seniors are getting no free pass at Oregon, at least not those trying to fill gaps on the offensive line. If the line blocks well, it will make things easier for offensive coordinator Chip Kelly to work his magic. Practice notes here and here.
- It's starting to look like there won't be a QB competition at Oregon State because Sean Canfield's shoulder has become a lingering problem, making Lyle Moevao the starter by default. It might be premature to wonder if redshirt freshman walk-on Justin Engstrom might be the backup against Stanford, but it's worthy of note. Pernnell Booth is a key piece of the Beavers rebuilding D-line.
- The Stanford D-line might be one of the surprises of the season.
- We're going to call this good news at UCLA -- the O-line is improving, even with reserve Mike Harris out with a high ankle sprain. Brian Dohn also added this from practice: "On the field, Chris Forcier appeared to out-perform Kevin Craft is what quickly became a two-quarterback race." Here's another take on the new QB competition. And another. Who is Kevin Craft, anyway?
- USC also needs to look at its options if Mark Sanchez isn't ready for the opener at Virginia. Hey, no panic, even if the Trojans also are banged up at WR. Allen Bradford appears to be firmly establishing himself in the tailback rotation.
- Washington has lost its second-most experienced receiver because of personal reasons, though Curtis Shaw only caught five passes last year. A look at Ronnie Fouch, Jake Locker's backup. The competition at RB remains hot, and the LB situation isn't as clear as once thought. Practice notes here. And here.
- Washington State will play without speedy receiver Jeshua Anderson for at least six weeks after hernia surgery. Jim Moore looks at the new discipline installed by coach Paul Wulff. And, get this, the Cougs athletic department turned a profit last year. Here's a look at the O-line.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Touching all the bases while optimism remains high.
- Arizona receiver Mike Thomas isn't tall, but he's Money. Also, read to the notes portion of the story for this tidbit: "The Arizona Wildcats defense dominated Tuesday's practice." Hmm... is the defense better than some thought... or the offense worse? One thing is certain with the Cats D: LB Ronnie Palmer is the leader.
- Arizona State needs to get even more defensive. Meanwhile, RB Keegan Herring is battling for carries on top of a bevy of backs.
- While it's better to give than to receive -- and QB competitions always get more attention -- California's got bigger issues at WR than QB. Notice that this name keeps coming up: Marvin Jones. Here's a Day 2 practice report. And here's another name to cogitate over: TB Shane Vereen.
- Pitchfork Nation looks at Arizona State's QBs -- past and present. And there's a special gift: A picture of ole No. 7, who attended the Sun Devils opening practice Monday to watch his freshman son play.
- Rob Moseley takes a look at what some believe is the soft spot of Oregon's defense. Here's an update on talented but hurting freshman QB Chris Harper. Meanwhile, Justin Roper doesn't appear eager to step aside for Nate Costa.
- At Oregon State, the Beavers are already banged up. TB Jeremy Francis got hurt and DT Pernnell Booth is hurting. The good news is OT Andy Levitre plans on delivering the hurting.
- It's time for Stanford to finally develop a running game.
- The tempo is up at UCLA. Brian Dohn provides an impression. The Press-Enterprise checks in on QB Ben Olson, the LA Times considers the secondary and the Orange County Register wants to know who the heck these guys are.
- It begins today at USC. But first, the paperwork. Scott Wolf checks in with Mark Sanchez.
- Molly Yanity chats with the former walk-on who will replace Washington LB E.J. Savannah: Josh Gage. Molly also has some good notes, including this encouraging paragraph about center Juan Garcia: "Center Juan Garcia's sprained left foot is healing at an impressive rate. Originally expected to miss most of the season, Garcia is possibly a week away from contact drills." Don Ruiz has more on Garcia's recovery.
- It's way early, but Washington State's players say it's obvious there's a new sheriff in town. And another take on the opening of practice. And another.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Moving on to defense, this is a strange one.
Guess how many defensive tackles from the 2007 All-Pac-10 First and Second Teams and honorable mentions are back this fall?
That means the No. 1 guy on this list, USC's Fili Moala, didn't get a single vote from conference coaches last year.
Nonetheless, he's expected to be a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Go figure.
If there is any one position where the Pac-10 is consistently lacking -- and falls way short of the SEC -- it's defensive tackle. That is, of course, outside of USC; think that might be meaningful?
The position doesn't actually get that much respect in the conference. Of the eight defensive linemen honored as First- or Second-Team All-Pac-10, only two -- USC's Sedrick Ellis (duh) and Arizona's Lionel Dotson -- were DTs and not sack-producing DEs.
A lot of that is DEs put up impressive sack stats in a pass-happy conference. But a run-stuffing DT who also can collapse a pocket is a presence that transforms a good defense into a great one.
And most prognosticators don't think the Pac-10 will have a great defense this fall. Other, of course, than said Trojans.
- Fili Moala, Sr., USC: Got to be honest: I thought Moala was just the guy who played beside Sedrick Ellis and Lawrence Jackson in 2007, but he apparently will be a first-round draft pick this spring. In fact, Todd McShay has him going No. 1 overall.
- Ekom Udofia, Jr., Stanford: A touted recruit in 2005, he appears poised for a breakout. The 310-pounder is already appearing on a few 2009 draft lists.
- Brigham Harwell, Sr., UCLA: A knee injury ended his 2007 season, but he's a high-motor guy who's started for three years.
- Brian Price, So. UCLA: Got double-teamed as a true freshman; he's a budding star. Don't be shocked if he ends up First-Team All-Pac-10.
- Averell Spicer, Jr., USC: Starting on USC's DL is, in itself, meaningful. Spicer flashed some play-making ability in 2007 and this past spring. A hard worker with skills.
- Ra'Shon Harris, Sr., Oregon: He's got the size at 6-foot-5, 321 pounds. He just needs to use it more.
- Derrick Hill, So., California: Played well late in 2007, so the former elite recruit should push past Mika Kane on the depth chart and become the noseguard when the Bears use a new 3-4 look.
- David Smith, Sr., Arizona State: A lunch-pail guy who started 13 games in 2007 and made 6.5 tackles for loss.
- Pernnell Booth, Sr., Oregon State: Three tackles for loss last year. If healthy, he's solid.
- Fevaea'i Ahmu, Sr., Washington State: He's experienced but he's battled injuries throughout his career.