Pac-12: Tom Keiser

Eight Pac-10 defenders on Lott Award watch list

April, 15, 2010
Eight Pac-10 defenders are on the watch list for the 2010 Lott Award, which is named after former USC All-American Ronnie Lott.

The award is unique, the release says, "because it represents the first trophy to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player."

The winner, announced in December, receives $25,000 for his school’s general scholarship fund. Three runner-ups each receive $5,000.

Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, members of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation Board of Directors, the Legends Coaches and distinguished alumni of various schools around the nation.

Pac-10 players on the list are:

Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
Tom Keiser, LB, Stanford
Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
Mike Mohamed, LB, California
Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
Malcolm Smith, LB, USC
Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

Three Pac-10 DEs added to Hendricks watch list

September, 23, 2009
Posted by's Ted Miller

Pac-10 defenses are getting some recognition, with the Hendricks Award adding three conference defensive ends to its watch list: UCLA's Korey Bosworth, Stanford's Tom Keiser and Arizona's Brooks Reed.

Already on the watch list were: Arizona State's Dexter Davis, Oregon's Will Tukuafu and Stanford's Erik Lorig,

Still missing: USC's Everson Griffen, California's Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu and Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

Alualu and Griffen, notably, have 2.5 sacks and 2.0 sacks respectively.

Says the press release: "The Mid-Season Watch List, which will remain open to adjustments through our first vote, now includes 40 players. This list will be shortened to include five to six finalists in the final weeks of the season, and the final vote will be concluded on December 7th. The 2009 Hendricks Award winner will be announced December 9th."

A quick look at this week's Pac-10 games

September, 22, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

Lining up this week's action.

No. 6 California (3-0) at Oregon (2-1)

Cal won 26-16 last year. ... The Bears lead the all-time series 39-30-2. ... California owns the Pac-10's longest winning streak at six games. ... Oregon owns the longest winning streak in conference games at three games. ... Cal has won three in a row in the series. ... The Ducks have faced three ranked teams in their first four games. ... Bears running back Jahvid Best scored five rushing TDs against Minnesota, tying the Pac-10's single-game record, and he has seven consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing. ... The Ducks ended Utah's 16-game winning streak on Saturday. The Utes entered the game averaging 509 yards per game, but the Ducks held them to 297 total yards. ... Cal QB Kevin Riley has throw five TD passes with no interceptions. ... Oregon CB Walter Thurmond has scored TDs this year on a punt return and interception return. ... Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in run defense (63.3 yards per game). ... Oregon ranks last in the Pac-10 in passing and total offense.

Arizona State (2-0) at Georgia (2-1)

Georgia leads the series 1-0, winning last year at Arizona State 27-10. ... Georgia outgained the Sun Devils 461 yards to 212 last year. ... The Bulldogs had to replace quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno, who both were first-round NFL draft picks in the spring, with Stafford going No. 1 overall. ... Arizona State has given up just two touchdowns and 17 points in its first two games. ... The Bulldogs had just 257 total yards in their opening loss at Oklahoma State. They had 530 yards Saturday in their win over Arkansas. ... The Sun Devils haven't lost a turnover this season, while picking off six passes.

Arizona (2-1) at Oregon State (2-1)

Oregon State won 19-17 last year. ... The Wildcats lead the all-time series 20-11-1. ... In last year's game, Oregon State kicker Justin Kahut made a 24-yard field goal as time expired to earn the Beavers the road win. ... Quarterback Sean Canfield made his second-consecutive start for the injured Lyle Moevao in that game. Canfield will start against the Wildcats Saturday. ... Arizona announced that Nick Foles will start at quarterback. Matt Scott started the first three games. ... The Wildcats also announced that tight end Rob Gronkowski will have back surgery this week and is out for the season. ... Beavers junior receiver James Rodgers has become just the second player in program history to combine more than 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. ... Wildcats running back Nic Grigsby is sixth in the nation and second in the Pac-10 with 133.33 yards rushing per game. ... Oregon State has lost only one turnover in three games.

No. 24 Washington (2-1, 1-0)) at Stanford (2-1, 1-0)

Stanford won 35-28 last year. ... Washington leads the all-time series 40-35-4. ... Washington's defense didn't allow USC to convert on 10 third-down opportunities in Saturday's 16-13 Huskies upset win. ... Stanford''s sophomore defensive end Tom Keiser had three sacks against San Jose State and he's tied for first in the conference with four sacks and ranks first with six tackles for a loss. ... Huskies quarterback Jake Locker has the most pass attempts in the conference this year -- 105 [Edit note: This total was changed from 63, the number of completions Locker has] -- but he has only thrown one interception. His five TD passes is tied for No. 1 in the conference. ... Locker suffered a season-ending thumb injury while trying to throw a block in last year's game at Husky Stadium. ... Stanford has scored first in every game this year. ... The Huskies are third in the nation in third-down conversion percentage (60.42 percent). ... Stanford's Chris Owusu ranks No. 1 in the nation in kickoff returns. He's averaging 52.8 yards per return and has taken two back for touchdowns, which no one else in the nation has done.

Washington State (1-2, 0-1) at No. 12 USC (2-1, 0-1)

USC won 69-0 last year. ... USC leads the series 56-8-4. ... In last year's game, the Trojans outgained the Cougars 625 yards to 116. The Cougars only had four first downs vs. 28 for USC. ... USC free safety Taylor Mays sat out of the Washington game, ending a string of 40 consecutive starts. It was the first game he's missed in his entire USC career. He is expected to play Saturday. ... Washington State overcame a 17-0 deficit to beat SMU 30-27 in overtime last weekend. ... The Trojans rank first in the conference in run defense, with opponents averaging just 1.6 yards per rush. The Trojans also haven't yielded a TD pass. ... Washington State is ranked last in the Pac-10 in scoring offense and defense, rushing offense and defense, pass defense and total defense. ... Cougars punter Reid Forrest leads the Pac-10 in punting with a 45.5-yard average.

UCLA is off. It plays at Stanford on Oct. 3.

Pac-10 power rankings

September, 21, 2009
Posted by's Ted Miller

Cal steps to the fore. UCLA and Washington make a big leap. Arizona State could go from No. 9 to the top third if it wins at Georgia on Saturday. Conference games figure to churn things up this weekend.

1. California: Ah, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The Bears, now the Pac-10's only top-10 team, ended a four-game road losing streak with a solid performance against a solid Minnesota team, but a visit to Oregon awaits. The Bears have beaten the Ducks three in a row, including a classic in Autzen Stadium in 2007.

2. USC: The Trojans are looking up in the standings after losing 16-13 at Washington, but we're not prepared to write them off. See, they do this every year -- lose to an unranked Pac-10 foe on the road. Wonder, as in most years, if folks will be calling the Trojans the best team in the nation by season's end? Also curious to see if Trojans are flat -- or furious -- vs. Washington State.

3. UCLA: So the Bruins handled a Tennessee team out for revenge in workmanlike fashion, and Tennessee pushed a homestanding No. 1 Florida squad that was hungry to embarrass the Vols so hard that most folks are calling it a moral victory. Why isn't anyone saying, "Perhaps we should re-evaluate UCLA?" Or, "Why is a 3-0 UCLA squad that has physically dominated two BCS conference foes still not ranked?" (And who voted for 2-1 Nebraska, which has wins over Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State?)

4. Oregon: Chip Kelly took a lot of crud for the debacle at Boise State. Maybe some of it was fair. But what do we say about a team that has yanked itself up by its bootstraps and is finding ways to win, even if those ways and wins aren't exactly beautiful? We say, "Good job." Now all Kelly has to do is beat Cal and all is forgiven among the Ducks faithful.

5. Washington: Want to thank the Huskies fans who didn't trample me -- great photo -- while I was trying to post from the track at Husky Stadium -- a track, by the way, that should be removed when Huskies fans start to pony up cash for a much-needed stadium renovation. You know, so all those marquee recruits who are soon to arrive will have a nice place to play. Oh, and the present Huskies? The 24th ranked Huskies! Stanford is eager to turn your grins upside down this weekend.

6. Oregon State: The Beavers had their chances against Cincinnati. And they may have been jobbed on a no-fumble call. But it's clear they are also working through some issues, particularly on the offensive line. The offense isn't clicking and the defense isn't disruptive. The showdown with Arizona is critical for both team's conference aspirations because they seem to be vying for the same spot of territory in the pecking order.

7. Arizona: The Wildcats offense is going to have to reinvent itself without tight end Rob Gronkowski, and it's unclear how things will go at quarterback because the passing game isn't working. The visit to Oregon State could be telling about the ultimate trajectory this season.

8. Stanford: Defensive end Tom Keiser (three sacks), Chris Owusu (94-yard kick return for a TD) and Toby Gerhart (113 yards rushing) keyed a sloppy (four turnovers) blowout win over San Jose State. Who would have thought that Washington's visit Saturday could feel like such a big game?

9. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are 2-0 and unchallenged. That will change at Georgia. The defense looks up to the test. The question remains the offense.

10. Washington State: The Cougars were dominated statistically by SMU and won in large part because of two long interception returns for touchdowns, but is anyone going to begrudge the Cougs some good fortune? Coming back from a 24-7 third quarter deficit to win 30-27 in overtime shows there's no quit in Pullman.

Ranking the Pac-10 defensive ends

August, 28, 2009
Posted by's Ted Miller

Only Oregon State and USC are replacing both defensive ends. Both, however, have strong traditions at the position, and the Trojans Everson Griffen has started five games and has recorded 11.5 career sacks. California, Arizona and Washington have both starters back. UCLA also does, but Reginald Stokes is out with a knee injury; he may have lost his starting job in any event.

Lots of good players and NFL draft picks here. The competition for first-team All-Pac-10 honors will be intense this fall.

California: The Bears welcome back both starters from their 3-4 defense, Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan, and both have All-Pac-10 potential.
Arizona: Juniors Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore combined for 15 sacks last year and both backups, D'Aundre Reed -- who started four games and had 2.5 sacks in 2008 -- and Apaiata Tuihalamaka are back.
USC: Yeah, yeah, the Trojans must replace both starting ends. Yeah, yeah, Armond Armstead got hurt. But the ends have been outstanding in practices, with Griffen looking poised for a breakout and Wes Horton, Malik Jackson and Nick Perry also ready for star turns.
UCLA: Senior Korey Bosworth had 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2008, while sophomore Datone Jones looks like a budding star.
Stanford: Tom Keiser had six sacks last year and earned freshman All-American honors while Erik Lorig has started 20 career games. Tom McAndrew provides experienced depth.
Oregon: Will Tukuafu had 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss last year. Kenny Rowe has looked good in camp
Arizona State: Dexter Davis had 11 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season. This ranking takes into account that James Brooks has been suspended for three games. Dean DeLeone, a junior college transfer, and sophomore Jamaar Jarrett will step in for Brooks.
Oregon State: Ben Terry and Kevin Frahm have looked good in practice and past performances by unproven Beaver ends through the years are reasons for optimism, but the lack of experience forces an observer to take a wait-and-see attitude.
Washington: Daniel Te'o Nesheim was second-team All-Pac-10 in 2008 after posting eight of the defense's 16 sacks in 2008. Senior Darrion Jones returns at the other end and youngsters Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson have potential.
Washington State: The Cougars only had 16 sacks in 13 games last year. Kevin Kooyman had a good off-season in the weight room, but youngsters and newcomers, such as Travis Long and Casey Hamlett, will need to step up.

Stanford spring football wrap-up

May, 8, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

Stanford Cardinal
2008 overall record: 5-7

2008 conference record: 4-5

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 8, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

RB Toby Gerhart, OT Chris Marinelli, FB-LB Owen Marecic, DE Tom Keiser, FS Bo McNally, NT Ekom Udofia

Key losses

C Alex Fletcher, OT Ben Muth, DE Pannel Egboh, LB Pat Maynor, CB Wopamo Osaisai

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Toby Gerhert* (1,136)
Passing: Tavita Pritchard* (1,633)
Receiving: Ryan Whalen* (508)
Tackles: Bo McNally* (76)
Sacks: Tom Keiser* (6)
Interceptions: Bo McNally (4)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sep. 5 at Washington State
Sep. 12 at Wake Forest
Sep. 19 San Jose State
Sep. 26 Washington
Oct. 3 UCLA
Oct. 10 at Oregon State
Oct. 17 at Arizona
Oct. 24 Arizona State
Nov. 7 Oregon
Nov. 14 at USC
Nov. 21 California
Nov. 28 Notre Dame

1. Luck of the Cardinal: While coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't say after spring practices ended that Andrew Luck will be Stanford's starting quarterback at Washington State on Sept. 5, all signs point to the talented redshirt freshman besting 19-game starter Tavita Pritchard in their competition. Luck was brilliant in the spring game and barring any dramatic fall-off -- or injury -- he'll be the guy running the Cardinal offense.

2. Two-way can work: Players like Owen Marecic (fullback and middle linebacker), Michael Thomas (cornerback and receiver), Richard Sherman (cornerback and receiver) and Alex Debniak (linebacker and running back) -- among others, potentially -- likely will see playing time on both sides of the ball. That's one way to address depth issues and to get the best athletes on the field as much as possible.

3. Howell shores up secondary: Sophomore Delano Howell was switched from running back to strong safety to give the secondary some much-needed athleticism, and the move was widely viewed as a success as Howell proved himself a physical player as well as a guy who can move. He almost immediately ascended to the first-team defense.

Fall questions

1. Can they run? Last year, Stanford became one of the Pac-10's most physical running teams with a tough-guy offensive line and 237-pound running back Tony Gerhart. But Gerhart might sign a pro baseball contract and two key starters are gone from that line. The depth behind Gerhart is questionable, and the line took a hit when talented but star-crossed offensive tackle Allen Smith re-injured the knee that kept him out in 2008.

2. Can they run II? For Stanford to push into the top half of the conference, it's got to get faster across the board, but particularly in the secondary and at receiver. The need for speed inspired some of the spring position changes, and the touted incoming freshmen should inject some speed. But will it be enough...

3. ...To end the eight-year itch? Stanford hasn't been to a bowl game since 2001, when Tyrone Willingham was the coach many moons ago. But with 17 starters back from a team that finished 5-7 and lost three games by a touchdown or less, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Of course, such a breakthrough might renew talk about Harbaugh becoming a hot head-coaching candidate.

Sack men: Where things stand at defensive end

March, 10, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

The Pac-10 spring position reviews conclude with the defensive ends, the guys who get after the quarterback. Or are supposed to.

Even with four of the top five conference leaders in sacks gone, this is a fairly solid position across the board. The only team that raises a rebuilding red flag is Oregon State, which lost twin sackmasters Victor Butler and Slade Norris.

Of course, Washington and Washington State both produced only 16 sacks in 2008, tied for worst in the conference and among the fewest in the nation.

Great shape

  • California: Cal welcomes back underrated end Tyson Alualu, second-team All-Pac-10 in 2008, and rising star Cameron Jordan, a junior. They combined for 22 tackles for loss last year in the Bears' 3-4 defense. There's also solid, young depth behind them in sophomore Trevor Guyton and junior Keith Browner.
  • Arizona: Juniors Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore combined for 15 sacks last year and both backups, D'Aundre Reed -- who started four games and had 2.5 sacks in 2008 -- and Apaiata Tuihalamaka are back.

Good shape

  • Arizona State: Dexter Davis had 11 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season. James Brooks, Jamaar Jarrett, Jamarr Robinson and 25-year-old newcomer Dean DeLeone will battle it out to replace Luis Vasquez and provide depth.
  • Stanford: Tom Keiser had six sacks last year and earned freshman All-American honors while Erik Lorig has started 20 career games. Tom McAndrew provides experienced depth.
  • UCLA: Senior Korey Bosworth had 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2008, while junior Reginald Stokes started five of the final seven games last year. He will be challenged by sophomore Datone Jones.
  • Oregon: Sackmaster Nick Reed is gone, but that at least means Will Tukuafu might finally get some credit. He had 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss last year. Competition will be hot to replace Reed, with juniors Brandon Bair, Zac Clark and Kenny Rowe in the running.
  • USC: Sure, both Kyle Moore and Clay Matthews are gone, but how many teams in the nation do you think would trade defensive ends with the Trojans? Everson Griffen, who had 4.5 sacks last year, is a true talent as a pass rusher, but he needs to be more consistent. Sophomore Malik Jackson and freshmen Wes Horton and Nick Perry each have huge upside.
  • Washington: The Huskies sneak in here mostly because of second-team All-Pac-10 end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a high-motor senior who had eight of the team's 16 sacks in 2008. Senior Darrion Jones returns at the other end and youngsters like Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson showed flashes of promise.

We'll see

  • Oregon State: The Beavers also had to replace both starting defensive ends last season, but this year the backups don't arrive with 19.5 sacks split between them like Victor Butler and Slade Norris did. Sophomore Kevin Frahm and senior Ben Terry split two sacks between themselves in 2008.
  • Washington State: Matt Mullennix is gone, but Kevin Kooyman is back as is Andy Mattingly, but he might end up as an outside linebacker. But, really, the Cougars only had 16 sacks last year (in 13 games). Youngsters and newcomers will need to step up.

Stanford 14, UCLA 6: Halftime reflections

October, 18, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

Stanford obviously isn't afraid of running right at UCLA, see 130 yards rushing in the first half.

But one wonders if the Cardinal might need more out of its passing game than two completions for 19 yards -- 18 of which came on a single pass from Tavita Pritchard that set up the Cardinal's second touchdown of the half.

On the Bruins side of things, it's not hard to see the problem: two turnovers from quarterback Kevin Craft.

First, Craft was intercepted on a second-and-9 pass from the Stanford 12-yard line, killing a great scoring opportunity.

Second, Craft fumbled on a sack from Tom Keiser on the Bruins 29, which set up Stanford's second TD.

But he bounced back strong, leading the Bruins on a 77-yard drive for a field goal as time expired in the first half.

Craft has previously demonstrated resiliency, recall his second-half brilliance against Tennessee after four first-half interceptions.

But at some point you'd think coach Rick Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow would like to see four consistent quarters from him.



Thursday, 9/25
Saturday, 9/27