Pac-12: Ryan Moya

Preseason position reviews: tight end

July, 28, 2010
7/28/10
9:00
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Welcome to the review of the weakest position in the Pac-10. And that was going to be the case even before Washington gave Kavario Middleton the boot.

Middleton, by the way, was named preseason first-team All-Pac-10 by Phil Steele, even though he only caught 26 passes last year and was being challenged for the starting job by Chris Izbicki.

Only four teams welcome back their starting tight end, and only one -- California's Anthony Miller -- even earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

Why is the position down? Attrition after an "up" season. Consider the departed: Arizona's Rob Gronkowski, Oregon's Ed Dickson, Stanford's Jim Dray, UCLA's Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya and USC's Anthony McCoy. Those guys are now stocking NFL rosters.

So where do things stand? Well, you might say we graded the position on a curve, though there is plenty of potential here.

Great shape
  • California: Miller was the Bears' third-leading receiver last year. Six-foot-7 sophomore backup Spencer Ladner saw action in seven games.
Good shape
  • UCLA: While the Bruins lost their top two TEs, they look solid here with Cory Harkey, Notre Dame transfer Joseph Fauria and hybrid TE-WR Morrell Presley.
  • Stanford: Even though the Cardinal lost Dray, Coby Fleener was their top pass-catcher at the position, and the depth is good with Konrad Reuland, Zach Ertz and 6-foot-8 Levine Toilolo.
  • Oregon State: The Beavers get credit here for H-back Joe Halahuni, who caught 35 passes for 486 yards and three TDs in 2009. Senior Brady Camp is a good blocker with 18 career starts.
  • Oregon: The Ducks lose Dickson, but David Paulson saw extensive action in 2009 and JC transfer Brandon Williams was impressive this spring.
  • Arizona: Gronkowski's back injury made A.J. Simmons the season-long starter, so the Wildcats are at least experienced. Redshirt freshman Jack Baucus is the backup.
  • Washington State: The Cougars' depth chart lists five TEs, with Skylar Stormo and Zach Tatman offering experience at the top.
We'll see
  • USC: Attrition and injuries make this a questionable position for the Trojans. If Blake Ayles and Rhett Ellison stay healthy, things should be OK. The incoming freshman class is strong, starting with Xavier Grimble, who ranked No. 1 at the position, according to ESPN Recruiting.
  • Washington: With Middleton, the Huskies would have been in great shape. Izbicki had a good spring, but he only caught three passes for 7 yards in 2009 and the depth is questionable.
  • Arizona State: Jovon Williams is gone and Dan Knapp is a tackle, but the Sun Devils could move up here just because the position figures to be more involved in the offense in 2010. Trevor Kohl and Christopher Coyle top the depth chart.

Pac-10 deep & thin: Stocked and depleted positions

June, 1, 2010
6/01/10
7:36
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At what position is the Pac-10 deep? At what position in the Pac-10 thin? Here's the first of three parts taking a look at just that.

Deep: Center

Why is it deep? Start with the fact that nine starting centers are back from 2009, though Washington's Ryan Tolar has moved to guard and former starting tackle Drew Schaefer has moved inside to center. Then consider that of those nine, six earned a spot on the 37-man watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's best center. Even Washington State, which lost Kenny Alfred, probably feels pretty good about Andrew Roxas, who's started nine career games.

The big names: Six players are legitimate all-conference candidates: USC's Kristofer O'Dowd (he could be the top center in the 2011 NFL draft), Arizona's Colin Baxter and Stanford's Chase Beeler (both were second-team All-Pac-10 in 2010), Oregon State's Alex Linnenkohl (who has 26 career starts), Oregon's Jordan Holmes and UCLA's Kai Maiava.

Thin: Tight end

Why is it thin? Only four teams welcome back a starting tight end, none of whom earned all-conference honors. In fact, only one returning tight end, California's Anthony Miller, earned honorable mention. And consider the list of departed players from 2009: Arizona's Rob Gronkowski, Oregon's Ed Dickson, Stanford's Jim Dray, UCLA's Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya and USC's Anthony McCoy. Phil Steele recently named his four All-Pac-10 teams, and he made Washington's Kavario Middleton the first-team tight end. Middleton caught 26 passes last year and he's fighting with Chris Izbicki for the starting job.

Fill the void? Miller and Middleton (Izbicki?) could be breakthrough players. UCLA is excited about the Joseph Fauria-Cory Harkey combination. Joe Halahuni, though a hybrid, H-back sort, is a threat for Oregon State. Stanford's Konrad Reuland, a Notre Dame transfer, is promising. It appears that David Paulson, Dickson's backup last year, and JC transfer Brandon Williams will be solid for Oregon. Perhaps Blake Ayles finally stays healthy for USC.

In and out: A look top, eligible Pac-10 transfers

February, 25, 2010
2/25/10
10:53
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Athlon has a nice list of college football transfers who may have a significant impact this fall, including a number who transferred to -- and from -- Pac-10 programs.

Here's our take.

Incoming Pac-10 transfers:

QB Steven Threet, Arizona State (from Michigan) -- Threet finally has found a system that works for him with the Sun Devils after his previous schools -- Georgia Tech and Michigan -- changed coaches and adopted option offenses that didn't fit his skill set. He'll compete with Brock Osweiler for the starting job this spring (Samson Szakacsy will be limited because of a continuing elbow problem).

WR Aaron Pflugrad, Arizona State (from Oregon): Go ahead and pencil in Pflugrad as a starter at a position of need for the Sun Devils, who lost their top-two receivers, Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams.

WR Josh Smith, UCLA (from Colorado): The Bruins have a lot of guys back at receiver, but those guys weren't terribly explosive last year. The hope is that Smith will add some big-play capability.

TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA (from Notre Dame): While the Bruins lost Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya, Fauria will combine with junior Cory Harkey -- and perhaps hybrid receiver Morrell Presley -- to give the offense plenty of punch at the position.

Outgoing Pac-10 transfers:

QB L.D. Crow, UCF (from Stanford) -- Crow was stuck behind Andrew Luck. 'Nuff said.

QB Chris Harper, Kansas State (from Oregon) -- Harper never seemed comfortable at Oregon and said upon transferring that he wanted to be closer to home. He's a talented athlete but raw as a QB.

RB Raymond Carter, Colorado State (from UCLA) -- Couldn't break through in Bruins' crowded backfield.

RB Aundre Dean, TCU (from UCLA) -- See Carter.

WR Vidal Hazelton, Cincinnati (from USC) -- Big things were expected out of him at USC -- he was the Trojans' leading receiver in 2007 -- but he got hurt early in 2008 and decided to transfer over an apparent conflict with coaches over whether he could redshirt or not. Trojans could have used him in 2009.

DT Kaniela Tuipulotu, Hawaii (from Arizona): He started seven games in 2008 but slid down the depth chart -- injuries were an issue -- and opted to transfer to his home state.

Pac-10 spring breakout players

February, 11, 2010
2/11/10
11:00
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Who will breakout and make a move toward stardom this season?

Most of these guys aren't "new," but they could make the next step up in their careers this spring.

Arizona
Juron Criner, WR, Jr
: Criner (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) is already a familiar name to Wildcats fans. Heck, he led the team with nine touchdown receptions in 2009. The reason he makes this list is this: It would be a surprise if he's not first-team All-Pac-10 at season's end.

Arizona State
Aaron Pflugrad, WR, Jr
: Hmm. Name seems familiar? Pflugrad is a transfer from Oregon, who left the Ducks after his father, Robin, was fired as receivers coach. He was expected to start for the Ducks in 2009, and he should be in the same position with the Sun Devils, who need help at receiver.

California
Ernest Owusu, DE, Jr
: Owusu looked like a budding star early last season when he recorded two sacks and three tackles for a loss against Maryland, but that was about it for his production in 2009. Still, he combines good intelligence and speed with special power -- he's the Bears' strongest player -- and that could all come together as he fights to break into the starting lineup.

Oregon
Diante Jackson, WR, RFr
: Many thought Jackson would offer immediate help to the Ducks' receiving corps as a true freshman, but, instead, he was a scout team star last year. The Ducks are looking for a dynamic, play-making presence at wideout and Jackson might be the guy.

Oregon State
The Unga brothers
: The Beavers lost Keaton Kristick to graduation and Keith Pankey may miss 2010 with an Achilles injury, so there are opportunities at linebacker. These twin brothers -- Kevin "Feti" Unga and Devin "Uani" Unga -- could fight their way into the mix.

Stanford
Shayne Skov, LB, So
: Skov started seven games last year as a true freshman and ended up third on the Cardinal with 62 tackles. The early returns are Skov will be first-team All-Pac-10 before he's done.

UCLA
Cory Harkey, TE, Jr
: With the departure of Logan Paulsen and Ryan Moya, Harkey will finally get his chance to take center stage. He caught eight passes for 41 yards and a touchdown in 2009. His production will be many times that in 2010.

USC
T.J. McDonald, S, So
: First off, the son of former USC legend Tim McDonald is listed at 205 pounds. Really? He looks bigger -- in a good way. And he's a hitter. He had seven tackles as a backup to strong safety Will Harris last year, but he could play either free or strong.

Washington
Talia Crichton, DE, So
: Crichton was forced into action last year as a true freshman -- he started four games -- because the Huskies lacked depth on the defensive line. With the departure of both starting ends -- and the questionable status of Kalani Aldrich's knee -- Crichton is almost certain to ascend to a first-team spot. Here's a guess he's better prepared in 2010.

Washington State
Travis Long, DE, So
: Back in the Cougars' glory days -- folks, it wasn't really that long ago, either -- they always had ends who were disruptive. Long led the Cougars with 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks as a true freshman in 2009. Those numbers will more than double in 2010.

All-Star game invitees

January, 6, 2010
1/06/10
9:36
AM ET
Unless a guy plays for Central Michigan, Troy, Alabama or Texas, the 2009 football season is over. For a handful of players, their sights now turn to the NFL, and the next step for many of them is postseason All-Star games.

While there are a number of all-star games, the Senior Bowl is the premier game -- its roster is almost entirely directed by the NFL -- and the East-West Shrine Game is a clear No. 2.

Here's a list -- count on there being some additions in the coming days -- of the invitees.

Arizona

East-West Shrine Game
DT Earl Mitchell
CB Devin Ross

Arizona State

East-West Shrine Game
OL Shawn Lauvao
WR Chris McGaha
DE Dexter Davis

California

Senior Bowl
DE Tyson Alualu
CB Syd'Quan Thompson

East-West Shrine Game
OL Mike Tepper
CB Syd'Quan Thompson
WR Verran Tucker

Oregon

Senior Bowl
TE Ed Dickson

East-West Shrine Game
S T.J. Ward

Oregon State

Senior Bowl
QB Sean Canfield

East-West Shrine Game
LB Keaton Kristick

Stanford

Senior Bowl
RB Toby Gerhart

East-West Shrine Game
DE Erik Lorig
DL Ekom Udofia
OL Chris Marinelli

UCLA

East-West Shrine Game
LB Reggie Carter
TE Ryan Moya
CB Alterraun Verner

USC

Senior Bowl
TE Anthony McCoy
RB Stafon Johnson
S Taylor Mays
OL Charles Brown

East-West Shrine Game
DB Josh Pinkard

Washington

Senior Bowl
LB Donald Butler

East-West Shrine Game
DL Daniel Te'o-Nesheim

Washington State

East-West Shrine Game
C Kenny Alfred

Pac-10 lunch links: Suspension served, Wulff returns to practice

August, 13, 2009
8/13/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Hello. I'm Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean false. It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies. And in the end, isn't that the real truth? The answer is: No.

Five Pac-10 TEs on Mackey Award watch list

July, 29, 2009
7/29/09
1:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Five Pac-10 tight ends were selected for the 30-man John Mackey Award watch list. The Mackey Award is given annually to the nation's top tight end.

Those players are:

Ed Dickson, Oregon
Rob Gronkowski, Arizona
Anthony McCoy, USC
Ryan Moya, UCLA
Logan Paulsen, UCLA

For the complete list, go here. The winner will be announced on Dec. 10.

Sorting out the Pac-10 middle

July, 22, 2009
7/22/09
5:43
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Results of the annual Pac-10 media poll will be announced on July 30, but here's a guess at how most ballots will look:

1. USC; 2. California; 3. Oregon; 4. Oregon State... 9. Washington; 10. Washington State

And from five to eight all heck breaks loose.

Now, some -- such as Phil Steele -- think Oregon will tumble. Some have issues with Oregon State. And some think Washington will be a surprise team.

But a plurality figures to vote these six teams as they appear above and then throw the other four into the air and leave it to the college football spirits to decide.

So where do you rank Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA?

I wouldn't be completely shocked if any of those four actually broke into the top four. I also wouldn't be astonished if any finished ninth.

I think I've written at various times that all four should end up bowl-eligible, even though eight conference teams with a .500 record or better is difficult to pencil out. (It did, however, happen in 2006 -- and Washington even finished 5-7).

I changed my own 5-8 a number of times. I won't tell you how I voted yet. My boss threatened to tear off my arm and beat me with it if I did. He's done it before so I believed him.

Why the difficulty?

For one, each of the Unfixed Four will break in a new quarterback, though Stanford and UCLA both have their starters back from 2008.

(Read full post)

Who's loaded at one position?

May, 28, 2009
5/28/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

We've discussed positions of concern a lot. But where are teams (almost) worry-free?

Here are some spots.

USC's offensive line: The Trojans welcome back all five starters, including the nation's best center, Kristofer O'Dowd. And, oh by the way, super-sophomore Tyron Smith might displace returning starter Butch Lewis at tackle. The Trojans averaged 195 yards rushing per game last year and surrendered only 18 sacks, fewest in the conference.

California's secondary: All four starters are back, including first-team All-Pac-10 cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, from a unit that finished third in the nation with 24 interceptions and ranked sixth in pass efficiency defense. And the backups are so good that a couple of returning starters are hearing footsteps.

USC's secondary: Start with Taylor Mays and Josh Pinkard, the best safety combination in the nation -- though Pinkard played corner last year. Sure, two starters -- Kevin Ellison and Cary Harris -- are gone. But three players -- safety Will Harris and corners Shareece Wright and Kevin Thomas -- have starting experience. And a couple of the youngsters turned in impressive springs.

Oregon State's quarterbacks: The Beavers have two successful starting quarterbacks in Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao, though Moevao is coming back from shoulder surgery. They also have an impressive No. 3 in redshirt freshman Ryan Katz, and Virginia transfer Peter Lalich is a wildcard who had disappeared before coming up big in the spring game. His questionable attitude won't help him climb the depth chart, though.

UCLA's tight ends: Ryan Moya earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors last year, and he was Logan Paulsen's backup until Paulsen's season ended with a foot injury in the opener against Tennessee. The Bruins also like sophomore Cory Harkey, and then there's touted freshman Morrell Presley, who's more a hybrid receiver-tight end. Lots of options here. Just got to get them the ball.

Pac-10 lunch links: Moya will miss UCLA spring practices

March, 20, 2009
3/20/09
2:26
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Join me in wishing Kathy Ireland a happy birthday.

It's Haves and Who Knows? at tight end this spring

March, 3, 2009
3/03/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

It's not completely accurate to call it feast or famine at the tight end this spring in the Pac-10.

Washington, California, Stanford, etc. will insist they've got a wealth of talent at the position, despite the lack of returning production.

But in trying to evaluate a position, it seems best to stick with what is proved over what is potential. So there doesn't seem to be much middle ground here.

Great shape

     
      AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
      Rob Gronkowski hauled in 47 receptions for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008.
  • Arizona: It's always nice to have back a certain preseason All-American, which is what the Wildcats have in future first-round draft pick Rob Gronkowski. It's also nice to have all four names on last season's depth chart at tight end and H-back coming back in 2009.
  • UCLA: Ryan Moya earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2008, but he wasn't even the No. 1 tight end entering the season. That would be Logan Paulsen, who returns this spring after missing last year with a broken foot. And there's talented sophomore Cory Harkey. And touted true freshman Morrell Presley, who's enrolled and will participate in spring practices.
  • Oregon: Ed Dickson was second-team All-Pac-10 -- yes, tied with Moya -- in 2008, and his athleticism makes him an NFL prospect. And this depth chart lists eight guys at the position heading into spring.
  • USC: Is it possible for a USC player to be underrated? Yes. Let me introduce you to Anthony McCoy, who caught 22 passes for 256 yards last year. Toss in talented sophomore Blake Ayles -- nagging injuries limited him in 2008 -- and you've got two big targets for whoever wins the quarterback job.

Good shape

  • Oregon State: The good news is all five names on the 2008 depth chart at tight end and H-back are back. The less excited news is those guys combined for 29 receptions. Can the combination of Howard Croom and Brady Camp become more than just solid?

We'll see

  • Stanford: Starter Austin Gunder, the Cardinal's third-leading receiver in 2008, is gone, but his 17 receptions were just four more than backup Coby Fleener. Notre Dame transfer Konrad Reuland also figures to be firmly in the mix this spring. And, curiously, Stanford signed four tight ends during the recruiting season, though they won't be around until the fall.
  • California: Cameron Morrah, the Bears second-leading receiver, surprised many when he opted to enter the NFL draft a year early. That was a hit. But backup Tad Smith is a good blocker -- just three receptions in 2008 -- and many are high on sophomore Anthony Miller, who caught the winning touchdowns pass in the Emerald Bowl victory over Miami (though that was his only reception of the season).
  • Arizona State: There are a lot of names here but little certainty -- see just seven combined receptions among returning players. Sophomore Dan Knapp looked good before getting hurt. Redshirt freshman Steven Figueroa could be a factor. Senior Jovon Williams saw a lot of action last year. Touted freshman Christopher Coyle arrives in the fall.
  • Washington: If sophomore Kavario Middleton, a touted but physically undeveloped 2008 recruit, has been working hard in the weight room, he could become one of the conference's breakout players. Behind him are sophomore Chris Izbicki and JC transfer Dorson Boyce.
  • Washington State: The top two names from the 2008 depth chart -- Devin Frischknecht and Ben Woodard -- are gone. Senior Tony Thompson had four catches last year. Touted JC transfer Peter Tuitupou, tabbed as the starter when he signed, shocked the staff by opting to go on a two-year church mission. There's hope that Zach Tatman, a former walk-on offensive lineman, might be able to step in. Perhaps some young guys will step up.

Pac-10 players of the week

October, 13, 2008
10/13/08
3:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, Oregon cornerback Jairus Byrd and USC defensive tackle Fili Moala were named Pac-10 Players of the Week on Monday.

Gerhart, a junior from Norco, Calif., rushed 24 times for 116 yards in the Cardinal's 24-23 win over Arizona, scoring the game winning touchdown with 25 seconds remaining in the game. Considering Stanford piled up 286 yards rushing against the Wildcats, Gerhart's backfield mate Anthony Kimble, who contributed 110 yards, also deserves note.

Byrd, a junior from Clayton, Mo., recorded nine tackles, an interception and three pass breakups in the Ducks 31-24 win over UCLA. The Oregon defense limited UCLA to 53 yards rushing and 351 total yards and posted six sacks.

Moala, a senior from Buena Park, Calif., blocked two field goal attempts in the third quarter of USC's 28-0 win against Arizona State. The two blocks ties the NCAA record for most blocked field goal attempts in a quarter.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week were Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, running backs Joe McKnight of USC and Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State, UCLA tight end Ryan Moya and Arizona wide receiver Terrell Turner. Also nominated on defense were defensive backs Kevin Thomas of USC, Kris Evans of Stanford and Nate Ness of Arizona, Oregon State end Slade Norris and Arizona State linebacker Mike Nixon. Arizona Kicker Jason Bondzio was nominated for special teams play.

Pac-10 players of the week

October, 6, 2008
10/06/08
3:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, California defensive end Cameron Jordan and Cal punter Bryan Anger were named Pac-10 Players of the Week on Monday.

Sanchez, a senior from Mission Viejo, Calif., was 19-of-28 (.679) for 332 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Trojans 44-10 win over No. 23 Oregon. His scoring passes covered 34, 63 and 11 yards. USC rolled up 598 yards total offense, including 443 yards passing and were forced to punt only one time.

This is the third time this year Sanchez has earned player of the week honors.

Jordan and Anger played key roles in California's 24-14 win against Arizona State.

Jordan, a sophomore from Chandler, Ariz., made the most of his first start, posting eight tackles -- five solo -- including three tackles for loss (-8) and two quarterback sacks (-7) and forced a fumble. The Cal defense limited Arizona State to 236 yards total offense (71 rushing, 165 passing), just 4-of-16 on third-down conversion attempts, forced three turnovers and posted three quarterback sacks (-22).

Anger, a freshman from Camarillo, Calif., averaged 47.4 yards on seven punts, including a career-long 72-yard boot. Three of Anger's seven punts were downed inside the Arizona State 10-yard line.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were tight ends Rob Gronkowski of Arizona and Ryan Moya of UCLA and tailback Shane Vereen of California. Also nominated on defense were backs Alterraun Verner of UCLA, Kevin Ellison of USC and Devin Ross of Arizona. Kicker David Buehler of USC, punter Aaron Perez of UCLA and punt returner Mike Thomas of Arizona were nominated for special teams play.

Pac-10 Morning: Which Kevin Craft goes to BYU?

September, 11, 2008
9/11/08
11:41
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Not to be too serious, but take a moment and remember what day it is. 

  • Arizona surely is sorry to hear the New Mexico QB is struggling
  • Arizona State's tight ends are playing OK, which is a bit of a surprise after significant attrition at the position. Here's a boost for the offensive line. Turns out the "Bring on Georgia" promotion wasn't a conspiracy from Atlanta.  My wife loves Chick-fil-A, so consider this an apology.
  • Maryland may not look good on film, but this is a long road trip for California. Let's hear it for the fullback, who brings out the Best in the Bears running game. For those interested in a review of how the Tree Sitters started sitting, here's a good read.
  • Nice story on Oregon's "other" defensive end, Will Tukuafu, becoming the Ducks' emotional leader.
  • What's wrong with the Oregon State defense?
  • Stanford TE Jim Dray, back from a knee injury, could play against TCU.
  • UCLA might be able to exploit BYU's secondary. Which Kevin Craft shows up at BYU to run the Bruins offense? Speaking of QBs, an update on Ben Olson. And might Moya be Craft's go-to guy?
  • Hey, it's USC -- that means celebrities on the sidelines! DT Fili Moala likes Ohio State's physical style of play. A keyboard battle over the USC-Ohio State showdown. Spicer wants to spice things up.
  • The good news is Washington safety Darin Harris is OK. The bad news is his concussion will sideline him for the Oklahoma game. Also in the story: RB Chris Polk is likely done for the year due to a shoulder injury but the freshman likely will qualify for a redshirt year. Where's the pass rush? Frosh TE Kavario Middleton is stepping up.
  • Washington State is down, but LB Gary Trent is the sort of player who can bring the program back. Former coach Jim Walden asks for patience.
  • Jon Wilner reacts to an Indianapolis Star report on "special admits" for football programs, of which California led the nation.

Pac-10 Internal Affairs

September, 3, 2008
9/03/08
11:14
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

A look inside the Pac-10 this week.

Washington: The heat is on coach Tyrone Willingham, and his likely tall order is producing an upset victory over No. 15 BYU at Husky Stadium this weekend in front of an increasingly disgruntled fan base. It's obvious that the Huskies defense can only do so much with schemes to mask talent gaps. But it's the offense that severely underachieved at Oregon. That should improve this week inside a home stadium where calling audibles at the line of scrimmage will be far easier than inside boisterous Autzen Stadium. The offensive line, which was surprisingly bad against the Ducks, also should feel challenged this week, and a less athletic BYU defense should help. Moreover, offensive coordinator Tim Lappano told reporters he plans to expand the playbook after holding back with so many freshmen in the playing rotation.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils offensive line -- picked apart during the preseason -- mostly passed its first test against Northern Arizona. Give them a gentleman's C, considering the absence of a running game while yielding only one sack. Stanford will offer a far stouter test. For one, the Cardinal feature a veteran defense with nine starters returning. Second, that defense was strong against the run vs. Oregon State but gave up 404 yards passing, which means ASU QB Rudy Carpenter will be firing away. But will he be safe in the pocket? This won't just be a test of the OL, either. It will be a test of whether Carpenter will stick to the plan to get rid of the ball quickly instead of trying to wait for a big play to develop downfield. It's notable, though, that the Beavers rebuilt offensive line only gave up two sacks in 54 pass attempts to the Cardinal.

Oregon State: It's interesting how so many appear to be expecting Penn State to roll through the Beavers. That gets a big "hmmm" here. Are folks supposed to be impressed with the Nittany Lions bludgeoning Coastal Carolina 66-10 with 334 yards on the ground and six rushing TDs? If so, why isn't Arizona getting more hype for its 70-zip win over Idaho, which would beat Coastal Carolina, a team that, apparently, is located on the coast of one of the Carolinas? I see an Oregon State team that will shock Penn State with its speed on the perimeter. If the Beavers maintain something approaching parity in the trenches, this will be a close game. The return of safety Al Afalava also will substantially help the Beavers run defense, which was so porous against Stanford. One caveat: It's also possible that some of OSU's younger players will be wide-eyed playing in front of 107,000-plus at Beaver Stadium, so that could lead to early and critical mistakes.

USC: Which is more important a RB's foot or an LB's finger? While most eyes are on Ohio State RB Beanie Wells' injured foot in anticipation of the Buckeyes Sept. 13 visit to USC, it might be as important to pay attention to Trojans LB Rey Maualuga's broken finger, which he aggravated vs. Virginia while turning in a performance well below the All-American's standards. The thing with a RB's foot -- it becomes obvious when it's injured and the back can't play. With a finger, the feeling is tape it up and go. But it's often worse to play with a seemingly minor injury because it can lead to major mistakes. Recall QB John David Booty playing with an injured hand in the upset loss to Stanford and tossing four interceptions. What if a RB or TE escapes a Maualuga tackle and transforms a routine play into a TD? Moreover, USC has been quietly hit by injuries to its LB depth, most particularly Maualuga's talented backup Chris Galippo (back). At present, Maualuga's backup is true freshman Uona Kaveinga, though Galippo could be back for the Ohio State game.

UCLA: If we can step away from the glow of an upset win over Tennessee for a moment, the present and future reality is the Bruins need to replace three injured offensive starters. Recall: This offense already has a patchwork line and is using its third QB. So who steps in for TE Logan Paulsen (broken foot), WR Marcus Everett (toe) and TB Kahlil Bell (ankle)? Well, Paulsen's replacement Ryan Moya didn't look like a lightweight after leading the Bruins with seven receptions for 65 yards against the Vols -- including the go-ahead 3-yard TD pass with 27 seconds left -- but Paulsen's absence hurts the viability of two-TE sets. With Everett out a few weeks, junior Terrence Austin steps in. He caught five passes for 37 yards against the Vols. Sophomore Dominique Johnson and freshman Taylor Embree both played well against Tennessee, so there's encouraging depth there. And at TB, Raymond Carter jumps to the first team, but count on Rick Neuheisel tapping into his talented freshman class, including Aundre Dean.

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