Pac-12: spring games 042309

Locker stars in Washington's spring game

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
1:06
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Concerns that athletic Washington quarterback Jake Locker won't be able to work within new head coach Steve Sarkisian's pro-style scheme might shortly evaporate.

Locker completed 16 of 18 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies' starters buried the backups, 33-0, in the spring game.

Obviously, a team that went 0-12 last year lacks skilled depth, so Locker was exploiting overmatched players. But Locker's accuracy, a problem the previous two seasons, showed dramatic improvement throughout spring practices.

Running back Chris Polk also made a statement with 95 yards rushing on 12 carries. A marquee 2008 recruit, Polk began last season as the starter before getting hurt and redshirting.

And here's a potentially meaningful quote from linebacker Mason Foster, who had two sacks in the scrimmage, to the Seattle Times.

"Everybody is working three times as hard as before. Everybody wants to play for these coaches and they are coming out and competing every day, whether it's in the weight room or video games at the house. It's just a different mentality."

Lots of good quotes and notes here.

UCLA's offense never got untracked this spring

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
12:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

UCLA's offense has a long ways to go. It could do nothing against the Bruins No. 1 defense during the spring game at the Rose Bowl.

Kevin Prince, the overwhelming leader to be the starting quarterback missed his first six passes, which earned him a biting comment from offensive coordinator Norm Chow, according to the LA Daily news:

"I thought he started real slow. Maybe the whole thing was too big for him. When he came out, I told him, `If this is too big for you, we'll call off the game.' He got mad at me and started playing better."

Prince ended up completing 11 of 24 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception. True freshman Richard Brehaut was 7 of 14 for 47 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Craft, the Bruins starter last fall, missed on all five of his passes.

How bad was the offense? Consider this factoid from the LA Times: "The offense had 50 yards in the first 44 plays, which included three lost fumbles, one interception and three sacks."

Part of that was injuries. The Bruins offense was missing five projected starters -- including its first two centers -- and the line will get a talent injection in the fall. But the defense also deserves credit. It could be one of the best units in the Pac-10 next fall, and tackle Brian Price, who had two sacks in the spring game, is an All-American candidate.

Banged up defense leads Washington State

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
12:29
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Despite having just 22 healthy players on defense, that side of the ball controlled Washington State's spring game. The offense managed just 231 total yards, including 69 yards rushing on 22 carries.

After gaining 189 yards on 25 carries in the first scrimmage, the running game fell silent in the final two, totalling 121 on 40 carries (3.0 yards per tote).

The key for the Cougars heading into the offseason? Getting healthy. A significant number of starters on both sides of the ball were on the sidelines for all or much of the spring.

Sophomore Logwone Mitz, who's competing for carries with Dwight Tardy and James Montgomery, led WSU running backs with 34 yards on six carries, including the longest rush of the day, a 21-yard gain.

With quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, the front-runner to start next fall, sitting out because he's still rehabilitating an injured knee, senior Kevin Lopina and sophomore Dan Wagner mostly relied on short passes. Wagner's 38-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrei Lintz was the biggest play of the day and the only score.

Senior defensive end Kevin Kooyman and junior defensive end Casey Hamlett each recorded sacks for the Cougars, and sophomore Aire Justin had an interception.

USC spring game: This is a rebuilding defense?

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
11:44
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Two things revealed themselves at USC's spring game: Aaron Corp is the clear No. 1 quarterback for a reason heading into the off-season and the defense is not exactly going to stink next fall.

Eleven sacks? Come on!

Corp completed 14 of 23 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown and, again, no interceptions, though he had a couple of dubious tosses. Corp threw one pick over the entirety of spring practices.

Freshman Mat Barkley, who draft guru Mel Kiper already is touting as a future No. 1 overall NFL draft pick, completed 12 of 20 for 124 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

A third interesting sidebar emerging from USC's spring: The tailback position is no more clear and perhaps even more crowded than last year. While injuries limited the lead names on the depth chart from a year ago, Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler turned in impressive springs.

So, for those keeping scoring at home, there's Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford and McNeal and Tyler. And one ball.

Which means Pete Carroll will roll his eyes at me and every other reporter this summer when we write this story again.

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