Pac-12: vacation 2011

While you were on vacation ... WSU

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
6:00
PM ET
The final entry of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Washington State in a sentence
  • Washington State improved in 2010 but it must win games this fall in order for coach Paul Wulff to retain his job for a fifth season.
The big issue
  • It's about both lines: In 2010, the Cougars couldn't run the ball or stop the run, nor could they sack the opposing quarterback or protect their own. If they are going to win games, both lines need to improve dramatically.
Quick hit news
  • Washington State had two coaching staff changes: Chris Tormey replaced Travis Niekamp as linebackers coach (Niekamp became Cougars coordinator of football development); and former UCLA assistant Todd Howard took over the defensive line for Malik Roberson.
  • As pointed out by Spokane Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette about four staff changes over the past 13 months "the four assistants who departed had a total of 17 years full-time experience at Football Championship Subdivision schools; the four replacements have 79 years in the FCS or the National Football League."
  • Wulff is 5-32 over three seasons and 2-25 in conference games, but the Cougars turned in a highly competitive finish in 2010: They lost 20-13 to Cal, beat Oregon State 31-14 and then lost a thriller 35-28 to rival Washington.
  • Line issues? The offensive line has surrendered 147 sacks in three seasons, the worst in the nation over that span.
  • Line issues? The defense has ranked 119th, 117th and 115th against the run over the past three seasons.
  • Backup offensive guard Tyson Pencer left the team to play in his native Canada.
  • Senior cornerback Aire Justin, a part-time starter in 2010, was suspended for the season after failing an NCAA drug test and losing his appeal.
  • Incoming freshmen Brock Lutes and Demetrius Cherry were ruled academically ineligible and will attend junior college.

While you were on vacation... Washington

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
7:00
PM ET
The 11th of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Washington in a sentence
  • While QB Jake Locker is gone, the Huskies feel like they have turned a corner under third-year coach Steve Sarkisian after winning four consecutive games to finish 2010 -- including a Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska -- but a number of young players will need to come through for them to exceed last season's win total.
The big issue
  • While most of the focus will be on new starting quarterback Keith Price, youth on the offensive line and at linebacker might be more worrisome.
Quick hit news
  • Starting cornerback Quinton Richardson suffered a high ankle sprain in preseason camp and is likely to miss the opener against Eastern Washington.
  • Touted redshirt freshman running back Deontae Cooper will miss a second consecutive season due to a knee injury.
  • Washington and Oregon were the only two Pac-12 programs that didn't experience any coaching staff turnover this offseason.
  • Two touted in-state recruits, receiver Kasen Williams and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins have played well in preseason camp and might end up winning starting jobs.
  • JC transfer Antavius Sims and freshmen receiver Marvin Hall and running Kyle Lewis have yet to join the team as they still await approval of the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • More roster attrition: fullback Zach Fogerson and defensive tackle Chris Robinson "retired" due to recurrent injuries. Fullback Kimo Makaula transferred to Idaho State.
  • Husky Stadium will begin a $250 million renovation in November that should be completed in advance of the 2013 season. Washington will play the 2011 Apple Cup against Washington State and all 2012 home games at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks stadium near downtown Seattle.

While you were on vacation... Utah

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
9:00
AM ET
The 10th of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Utah in a sentence

  • Not only is Utah representing the "non-AQ have-nots" as it becomes a new "AQ have," more than a few folks believe it has the depth and talent to challenge for the Pac-12 South Division crown in Year 1.
The big issue
  • It's always a concern to be completely rebuilding a secondary, but it's an even bigger issue in a conference that's loaded with NFL talent at quarterback.
Quick hit news
  • Quarterback Jordan Wynn has been on a "pitch count" after sitting out spring practices following shoulder surgery. But when he's thrown, he's thrown well, and Wynn and his coaches insist he'll be 100 percent full-go by the start of the season.
  • The offensive line has taken some hits during preseason camp. Starting left guard Sam Brenner is out two weeks with an elbow injury. Vyncent Jones has stepped into his spot with the first-team offense. Backup right tackle Percy Taumoelau is nursing a knee injury of uncertain serverity, while backup left guard Isaac Asiata is out three to four weeks with an ankle injury. Daniel Nielson (concussion) and converted defensive tackle Latu Heimuli (thumb) also are out.
  • The running back competition has been back and forth. John White is presently No. 1 over surprising, surging senior Tauni Vakapuna. Harvey Langi and Thretton Palamo are competing for the No. 3 spot.
  • True freshman Eric Rowe is listed as the co-starter at both safety positions, joining Michael Walker at strong safety and Keith McGill at free safety.
  • Linebacker/defensive end Nai Fotu was suspended after getting a DUI last winter, but it appears he will be reinstated at some point, perhaps the beginning of the season. Fotu missed 2010 with a knee injury but he's started nine games in his career and is certain to see significant action. He's listed as the backup at "stud" linebacker -- behind Brian Blechen -- on the latest depth chart.
  • Defensive back Damian Payne, a redshirt freshman, has left the team to deal with a personal matter.
  • Two incoming offensive linemen Po'u Palelei and Benji Kemoeatu didn't qualify academically.
  • Lots of staff changes in the offseason, including Norm Chow bolting UCLA to take over the offense. With Chow's arrival, 2010 co-offensive coordinators Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick took a step back. Schramm is now the running backs coach and Roderick coaches receivers. Chow is coaching tight ends. Tim Davis took over as offensive line coach. Chad Kauha’aha’a took over the defensive line after John Pease retired.
  • Utah is 8-1 in bowl games since 2001, including a 2-0 mark in BCS bowl games. The Utes have finished ranked in the top 25 five times in the past eight years, including a No. 2 finish in 2008 and No. 4 finish in 2004. In the past eight years, the Utes have averaged 9.9 wins a season.
  • Since the BCS began in 1998, Utah is 22-12 vs. AQ schools, best of any non-AQ program. The Utes have won seven of their past 10 games against Pac-10 teams and are 3-2 in bowl games vs. the old Pac-10.

While you were on vacation... USC

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
11:00
AM ET
The ninth of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

USC in a sentence
  • The Trojans won't be eligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, so the big question is how consistently motivated a team that is talented enough to win 10 games this season will be.
The big issue
  • USC is loaded at the skill positions, with quarterback Matt Barkley leading a young but talented supporting cast, but the season likely swings on the play of the offensive line and linebackers, positions that are both questionable and thin.
Quick hit news
  • Starting defensive tackle Armond Armstead, who missed spring practices due to an undisclosed medical condition, still hasn't been cleared to play but he told reporters he expect to be cleared before the season starts.
  • Starting running back Marc Tyler is on indefinite suspension -- he definitely will sit out the season opener. He was suspended after saying stupid things to a TMZ reporter with a video camera, but his status is even more precarious because he is awaiting a ruling from the school's disciplinary committee on a pair of alcohol-related incidents from last year.
  • Coach Lane Kiffin said over the weekend that junior Curtis McNeal, who was academically ineligible last season, leads the tailback competition.
  • USC's backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins, is out indefinitely after suffering a thumb injury. True freshmen Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are competing to be Barkley's backup.
  • USC has only one new assistant coach: receivers coach Ted Gilmore. He replaced John Morton, who left for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • While the Trojans have 13 starters back, only 39 players on the roster saw action in 2010. 70 players on the 109-man roster have never played a down of college football. Only 14 Trojans have started at least 10 games.
  • For the first time since 2000, USC plays seven home games, including the first three in the Coliseum.
  • There are 35 scholarship players now practicing who didn't participate in spring drills: 23 new recruits and 12 returning players who were out because of injuries. The Trojans presently have 79 scholarship players. They can only sign 15 players this recruiting season because of NCAA sanctions and can have no more than 75 total scholarship players in 2012.
  • USC outscored foes in each of the first three quarters last season but was outscored 118-72 in the fourth quarter.
  • USC is in the process of constructing the $70 million John McKay Center, a 110,000-square foot building that will house the football offices, an academic center, weight room, athletic training room and digital media production.

While you were on vacation... UCLA

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
5:30
PM ET
The eighth of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

UCLA in a sentence
  • Coach Rick Neuheisel is on the hot seat after a second 4-8 season in three years and a 8-19 mark in conference play, but while expectations are low among the pundits, there is enough talent on this team to reach a bowl game and even contend in the Pac-12 South Division if quarterback play is at least adequate.
The big issue
  • With intriguing talent on defense and talent and depth at running back, it all comes down to the passing game. If the Bruins can effectively throw the football -- and protect their quarterback -- the program will take a major step forward.
Quick hit news
  • Neuheisel cleaned house on his coaching staff, dispatching both coordinators -- Norm Chow on offense and Chuck Bullough on defense -- as well as defensive line coach Todd Howard, receivers coach Reggie Moore and special teams coach Frank Gansz. He hired Mike Johnson to run the offense (and coach receivers) and Joe Tresey to coach the defense. Neuheisel will oversee the quarterbacks. Inoke Breckterfield takes over the defensive line, while Jim Mastro -- hired away from Nevada for his knowledge of the pistol offense -- will coach tight ends/F-backs. Angus McClure takes over special teams.
  • The Bruins picked up a couple of transfers who could help immediately. Junior college transfer offensive lineman Albert Cid could work his way into a starting role, while cornerback Jamie Graham, a former starter at Vanderbilt, should bolster the secondary.
  • The biggest competition of preseason camp is at quarterback, where incumbent starter Kevin Prince is battling Richard Brehaut. Prince is the leader to start, but after sitting out spring practices due to a knee injury, he'll have to win over Johnson and Neuheisel again. True freshman Brett Hundley was in the mix until he tore his meniscus, which will sideline him for the opening weeks of preseason camp.
  • OG Stanley Hasiak left the program after being ruled academically ineligible.
  • Jeff Baca, who could play either guard or tackle, is out until late September with a broken foot. Cornerback cornerback Anthony Jefferson is going to be out at least six weeks after back surgery.
  • Tight end Morrell Presley, cornerback Courtney Viney and defensive end Derrick Bryant each decided to transfer. Presley and Viney are experienced players who were expected to contribute this fall.

While you were on vacation... Stanford

August, 10, 2011
8/10/11
5:30
PM ET
The seventh of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Stanford in a sentence
  • There's not much a team can do to improve on a 12-1 finish and No. 4 final ranking -- perhaps the best season in program history -- but the return of quarterback Andrew Luck and nice talent throughout the depth chart has folks whispering about possibilities even loftier than the Rose Bowl.
The big issue
  • There are holes to fill on the offensive line, but the chief worries are at receiver and the defensive line.
Quick hit news
  • Luck is back, but coach Jim Harbaugh is gone, and he took key members of his staff with him: defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, associate head coach Greg Roman and offensive line coach Tim Drevno. David Shaw was promoted from offensive coordinator to replace Harbaugh, while Pep Hamilton moved up from receivers coach to offensive coordinator. Derek Mason was promoted from secondary coach to co-defensive coordinator with linebackers coach Jason Tarver (Mason will call plays). Mike Bloomgren is the new run-game coordinator/offensive line coach, while Mike Sanford is the new running backs coach. Ron Crook will coach tight ends and offensive tackles.
  • The Cardinal was ranked sixth in the preseason coaches poll, its highest preseason ranking in program history.
  • Receiver is a key question: The returning wideouts combined for just 49 receptions and four touchdowns. The key player is Chris Owusu, a speedster who missed six game due to injury last season.
  • Stanford is, however, stacked at tight end. It will be interesting to see how the depth sorts itself out. Levine Toilolo won the starting job last preseason but then suffered a season-ending knee injury. Coby Fleener ended up winning second-team All-Pac-10 honors, but some thought that Zach Ertz was the best tight end this spring.
  • The Cardinal's final No. 4 ranking was its highest since 1940, when it finished No. 2 after a 10-0 season.
  • While five starters are gone on defense, the top four tacklers are back: linebacker Shayne Skov, outside linebacker Chase Thomas, free safety Michael Thomas and strong safety Delano Howell.
  • Stanford plays seven home games this season -- including a visit from Oregon on Nov. 12 -- and just four conference games on the road. It does not play Utah or Arizona State. So, yes, this is a favorable schedule.

While you were on vacation ... Oregon State

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
7:00
PM ET
The fifth of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Oregon State in a sentence
  • The Beavers have critical questions -- both lines, injury issues, etc. -- that make it difficult to say whether they will end their bowl-less run at just one season.
The big issue
  • While a 100 percent healthy return of receiver James Rodgers would pack a positive punch, it's really all about the lines: The Beavers must fill big holes on the their defensive line, while the offensive line, which welcomes back four starters, needs to improve significantly.
Quick hit news
  • The early camp news on Rodgers, who underwent two surgical procedures on his right knee, is mostly good. He's practicing in a limited fashion. When he could return to full-contact work and just how much he'll look like his old self when he does remains to be seen.
  • Others players who missed spring practices due to injury include quarterback Ryan Katz (wrist), receiver Jordan Bishop (ankle), tight end Joe Halahuni (shoulder) and running back Jordan Jenkins (shoulder). Katz, Bishop and Jenkins were practicing at full speed, while Halahuni is expected to miss at least the first two games, including the visit to Wisconsin.
  • The status of starting DT Castro Masaniai, arrested in May after getting into a fight with his girlfriend, remains unclear. He's not yet practicing and he has a court appearance Thursday.
  • Another potential starting defensive lineman, Dominic Glover, had some academic issues, but he assured the local beat writers Wednesday that they will be cleared up by by next week.
  • Oregon State hired two new assistant coaches, but the bigger news was the firing of linebackers coach Greg Newhouse, who had been at Oregon State for 14 years. Chris Brasfield was hired as running backs coach and Brent Brennan was hired to coach receivers. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker will coach linebackers next fall. He supervised the safeties last season. Cornerbacks coach Keith Heyward will now be in charge of the entire secondary.
  • Linebacker Michael Bibbee and safety Dax Dilbeck quit the team. Both were reserve players not expected to start.
  • Oregon State played seven ranked teams in 2010 -- five of which were in the top 10 when they faced the Beavers. They will play just three teams ranked in the preseason coaches poll this fall, but all three -- Wisconsin, Stanford and Oregon -- are ranked in the top-10. They also play Arizona State, which is ranked in ESPN.com's preseason power rankings, as well as Utah and BYU.

While you were on vacation ... Oregon

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
4:57
PM ET
The four of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Oregon in a sentence
  • It's been a long offseason for Oregon-- Cliff Harris speeding, Kiko Alonso arrested, Willie Lyles and NCAA investigation -- but that doesn't change the fact that the Ducks are not only the favorites to win their third consecutive Pac-12 title, they also are national title contenders.
The big issue
  • If you bracket off the off-field issues as a potential distraction, the Ducks' biggest issue is restocking an offense that lost key players at receiver and on the offensive line.
Quick hit news
  • The big news this offseason is the NCAA's investigation into scout/street agent Willie Lyles, what role he played in running back Lache Seastrunk ending up at Oregon and what the Ducks expected for the $25,000 they paid him. It's important to note Oregon has not yet received an official notice of inquiry from the NCAA -- which announces the specifics of an investigation -- so no one really knows when we are going to gain some clarity on this mess. It seems doubtful anything final would happen before the BCS national title game, if that becomes an issue.
  • Kelly has yet to announce the fates of two suspended starters, cornerback Harris and linebacker Alonso, though Harris is definitely out of the LSU game.
  • Backup tight end Brandon Williams decided to retire from football because of chronic injuries, the school announced.
  • The Ducks were ranked No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, their highest preseason ranking in team history.
  • Every member of the Ducks 23-man 2011 recruiting class has qualified academically.
  • Reserve defensive end Anthony Anderson apparently has quit the team.
  • Oregon has just 14 seniors on its roster -- nine are listed as starters on the depth chart.

While you were on vacation ... Colorado

August, 4, 2011
8/04/11
7:30
PM ET
The fourth of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Colorado in a sentence
  • The Buffaloes, who haven't posted a winning record since 2005, start their first season of Pac-12 play picked at the bottom of the South Division. But they won two out of their final three games in 2010 and have enough talent to be immediately competitive in the conference.
The big issue
  • While team speed in general is a problem, it's most glaring in a secondary that was rotten last season, despite the presence of a pair of senior cornerbacks who became early-round NFL draft choices.
Quick hit news
  • New head coach Jon Embree retained two members of fired former coach Dan Hawkins' staff: linebackers coach Brian Cabral and Darian Hagan, who switched from running backs coach to recruiting coordinator. You can read about all Embree's staff changes here.
  • Colorado opens at Hawaii. The Buffaloes have lost 17 consecutive road games, last winning away from Boulder on Oct. 27, 2007 at Texas Tech.
  • The Buffaloes play 13 consecutive weeks with no byes, and their nonconference schedule includes Hawaii, Colorado State, California and a trip to Ohio State. No, the schedule isn't easy.
  • The game with Cal doesn't count in the Pac-12 standings. It was a previously scheduled nonconference game that the programs opted to go ahead and play.
  • Colorado is healthy, consider this note from the Boulder Daily Camera: "The only player listed as questionable for the first session is offensive lineman Blake Behrens, who recently aggravated a biceps muscle injury. It's a far cry from the 23 players listed on the injury report for the spring game. Many of those players were either hurt during spring drills or recovering from surgeries after last season ended."
  • Players who missed spring practices who are returning from injuries include safety Anthony Perkins, cornerback Parker Orms -- both projected starters -- and running back Brian Lockridge, Rodney Stewart's backup.
  • The Buffs picked up two transfers from Georgia who are eligible this season: defensive back Makiri Pugh and receiver Logan Gray.
  • Five players left the team in the offseason, including defensive end Forrest West, who had 5.5 sacks last season but transferred to N.C. State. Further, senior center Mike Iltis, a returning starter, opted not to play this season.
  • Incoming freshman center Alex Kelley will grayshirt -- join the team in January -- after he broke his ankle this summer. Incoming freshman running back Rashad Hall didn't academically qualify.
  • Two senior walk-ons have been put on scholarship: DL David Golberg and DT Tony Poremba. Also put on scholarship was sophomore snapper Ryan Iverson.
  • Four players were late additions to the 2011 recruiting class: WR Tyler McCulloch, WR Austin Vincent, ATH D.D. Goodson and C Brad Cotner.

While you were on vacation ... California

August, 3, 2011
8/03/11
7:13
PM ET
The third of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

California in a sentence
  • The Bears suffered through their first losing season in nine years under coach Jeff Tedford in 2010, and some fans who once celebrated Tedford are growing restless as they grumble that the program might have reached a plateau under his leadership.
The big issue
  • While there are holes to fill on both sides of the ball, the Bears only have one big issue: quarterback play. If the Cal gets solid quarterback play, it will exceed expectations.
Quick hit news
  • Because Memorial Stadium is undergoing renovations, Cal will play its "home" games at AT&T Park this fall. It will practice on Witter Rugby Field.
  • Just like Oregon, Cal also employed controversial "scout" Willie Lyles' recruiting services. Tedford was asked at media day if he was worried about the NCAA looking into his program's relationship with Lyles: "I'm not concerned one bit," he said.
  • The Bears had significant staff turnover in the offseason: Andy Ludwig was replaced at offensive coordinator by Jim Michalczik -- a Bears assistant during Tedford's glory days -- who also will take over the offensive line for Steve Marshall, who was hired at Colorado. Marcus Arroyo takes over at QBs coach, which was Ludwig's job. Tedford, by the way, will call offensive plays and help with the quarterbacks. Also, another former Bears assistant, Eric Kiesau, is back to coach receivers after the departure of Kevin Daft. On defense, Ashley Ambrose replaced Al Simmons in the secondary. Finally, Mike Blasquez replaced John Krasinski as the strength coach.
  • Tedford announced after spring practices that Zach Maynard had won the quarterback competition with Allen Bridgford and Brock Mansion. While Maynard still has to perform, the new competition is for the backup job with Bridgford and Mansion. That's not a small matter, considering Maynard, a transfer from Buffalo, is unproven against Pac-12 competition.
  • While Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Dasarte Yarnway and Trajuan Briggs each appear ready to return to practice after missing spring with injuries, the Bears have issues at running back. The good news is touted incoming freshman Brendan Bigelow is ready to practice after suffering two major knee injuries, including one that ended his senior year of high school football.
  • But Bigelow is just one member of a touted recruiting class, from which the Bears expect a handful to contribute immediately on both sides of the ball, but particularly at running back, cornerback and on the D-line.
  • DB Josh Hill, who missed spring due to academic issues, is back with the team.
  • The only major injury news is backup TE Spencer Ladner, who won't be available at the beginning of preseason camp because he's still recovering from a knee injury.
  • Cal plays two Thursday games (at Oregon on Oct. 6; USC on Oct. 13) and a Friday game (at Arizona State on Nov. 25).

While you were on vacation... Arizona State

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
6:18
PM ET
The second of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Arizona State in a sentence
  • The Sun Devils have a lot of guys back and should be in the mix for the inaugural Pac-12 South Division crown, and that's good because after three sub-par seasons coach Dennis Erickson needs a breakthrough.
The big issue
  • The offseason wasn't good to Arizona State, which saw a handful of starters and/or key contributors either suffer injuries or leave the team for various reasons, so the question is whether or not these roster hits will damage the team's once-lofty prospects.
Quick hit news
  • Here are the players the Sun Devils thought they would have back in 2011 but won't: QB Steven Threet (retired due to recurrent concussions), QB Samson Szakacsy (left team), DT Lawrence Guy (entered NFL draft), CB Omar Bolden (knee), WR T.J. Simpson (knee), DE James Brooks (left team) and RB Deantre Lewis (gunshot wound).
  • The Sun Devils had one staff change: defensive line coach Grady Stretz left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was replaced by Scott Brown, who coached at Colorado State the past three years and was at Duke the previous 12.
  • Arizona State heads into its 99th season of football with a new pitchfork logo and new uniforms.
  • The Sun Devils led the Pac-10 in run defense the previous two seasons.
  • While many young players will play, the "we're young" excuse won't apply this year. The Sun Devils have 28 seniors playing their final season.
  • Coordinators Noel Mazzone (offense) and Craig Bray (defense) have a combined 68 yards coaching experience -- 36 for Bray, 32 for Mazzone. That makes them the third most experienced coordinator duo in the nation behind DC Norm Parker (44 years) and OC Ken O'Keefe (36 years) at Iowa and DC Jim Heacock (39) and OC Jim Bollman (33) at Ohio State.

While you were on vacation... Arizona

August, 1, 2011
8/01/11
4:51
PM ET
The first of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Arizona in a sentence
  • The Wildcats are hoping to ride quarterback Nick Foles and a deep crew of receivers -- topped by Juron Criner -- to redemption after losing their final five games in 2010 after a 7-1 start.
The big issue
  • While replacing three productive defensive ends -- including multi-year starters Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore -- is a big deal, even more critical is replacing all five starting offensive linemen from 2010.
Quick hit news
  • Knee injuries were epidemic for the Wildcats this offseason. Two defensive starters -- safety Adam Hall and linebacker Jake Fischer -- suffered knee injuries during spring practices, while backup running back Greg Nwoko and defensive tackle Willie Mobley also went down.
  • Criner's status seemed questionable at one point this summer amid reports he might miss the season because of personal issues. That apparently is no longer a concern, as coach Mike Stoops said at Pac-12 media day, "Juron just had some personal and family issues with his mother that he had to attend to."
  • The Wildcats are perilously thin at linebacker, and not only because of Fischer's knee injury. Two backups from 2010, R.J. Young and Trevor Erno, quit the team, and Kyle Benson was ruled academically ineligible. JC transfer David Lopez is listed No. 1 on the preseason depth chart at Fischer's strongside spot, while walk-on Bilal Muhammed is listed as the backup at the other two spots. Lopez was headed to FCS program Portland State before he signed in June. It's very likely at least one of the incoming freshmen -- Rob Hankins, Hank Hobson and Domonique Petties -- will see action (though Petties is still working through some NCAA Clearinghouse issues, which could cut into his camp preparation).
  • Both No. 1 offensive tackles, Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele are redshirt freshmen. On the plus side for the future, no member of the offensive line 2-deep is a senior.
  • The Wildcats had a number of staff changes during the offseason: On the offensive line, Robert Anae replaced Bill Bedenbaugh, who left for West Virginia, and Seth Littrell moved up from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator; Co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Greg Brown and defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo left for Colorado; Tim Kish moved up from co-defensive coordinator to defensive coordinator, Joe Salave'a became the defensive line coach and Ryan Walters took over the secondary, but only after Duane Akina changed his mind and returned to Texas.

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