Pac-12: Anthony Miller

Combine cheat sheets!

February, 22, 2012
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Who doesn't love cheat sheets? They make life so much easier. And the folks at Scouts Inc. have the complete cheat sheet breakdown for the NFL combine.

Here's their look at the offensive side of the ball and how some of the players stack up in various categories.

QUARTERBACKS
  • The quarterbacks are broken down by mental makeup, accuracy, release/arm strength and pocket mobility. In the accuracy category, Stanford's Andrew Luck, Arizona's Nick Foles and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler all rank favorably.
RUNNING BACKS
  • The running backs are broken down by competitiveness, vision/patience, agility/acceleration, power/balance and passing-game skills. Oregon's LaMichael James checks in on the agility/acceleration list and Washington's Chris Polk gets high marks in the passing game.
OFFENSIVE LINE
  • The offensive linemen are broken down by pass protection, run blocking, awareness and toughness. Scouts Inc. further breaks it down by the top three tackles, guards and centers. Not surprising to see USC tackle Matt Kalil and the Stanford pair of Jonathan Martin (tackle) and David DeCastro (guard) on most of the top threes.
WIDE RECEIVERS
  • The wide receivers are broken down by separation skills, ball skills, big-play ability and competitiveness/toughness. Not much of a Pac-12 showing in their breakdowns. Only Arizona's Juron Criner appears in the ball skills category.
TIGHT ENDS
  • The tight ends are broken down by separation skills, ball skills, big-play ability, competitiveness and blocking. Stanford tight end Coby Fleener ranks No. 1 or in the top three of all the categories except for blocking. Cal's Anthony Miller makes an appearance in the blocking category.

Big NFL draft year for the Pac-12

August, 25, 2011
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ESPN.com's NFL draft experts are well into their preseason evaluation of draft eligible players, and there is a lot of early love for the Pac-12, which could produce as many as eight to 10 first-round picks.

Consider this evaluation of the top-three offensive tackles: USC's Matt Kalil, Stanford's Jonathan Martin and Iowa's Riley Reiff. The analysis is based on how each did against former Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed, a second-round selection for the Houston Texans.

Steve Muench rated them like this: 1. Kalil; 2. Reiff; 3. Martin.

Overall, this year's top tackles acquitted themselves nicely against a top-level defensive player in Brooks. That will be noted in their evaluations as the draft process plays out, and these same comparisons could come into play for teams seeking to separate these players on their boards.


Then there are the quarterbacks. Three of the top-four prospects are from the Pac-12: Stanford's Andrew Luck (duh), USC's Matt Barkley and Arizona's Nick Foles.

Luck is No. 1 for mental makeup, second for accuracy, first for release/arm strength and first for pocket mobility. It was a bit surprising that Foles ranked ahead of Barkley for arm strength.

This ranking of running backs is sure to get Oregon and Washington fans nipping at each other (shocker): The Huskies' Chris Polk is the No. 2 running back behind Alabama's Trent Richardson, while the Ducks' LaMichael James is fifth.

(Please wait until the innocent blogger is out of the way before you start brawling).

Three of the top four tight ends and four of the top-seven are from the Pac-12: Stanford's Coby Fleener at No. 2, Oregon's David Paulson at No. 3, USC's Rhett Ellison at No. 4 and California's Anthony Miller at No. 7.

The list of offensive linemen has Kalil and Martin at Nos. 1 and 2. I would encourage Scouts Inc. to break out film of Stanford's David DeCastro: If he's not one of the first three guards off the draft board, well, cut off my legs and call me shorty.

Arizona's Juron Criner is ranked No. 5 among the receivers.

Defense will be up next.

Pac-12 NFL prospects in 2012?

May, 2, 2011
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The 2011 NFL draft is over, which means it's time to look at who the Pac-12's top senior prospects in 2012 likely will be.

First of all, plenty of top non-seniors from the conference might -- or are likely to -- enter the draft, including Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Oregon RB LaMichael James, Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict and USC QB Matt Barkley. Those four range from sure to likely first-round draft picks.

But this list includes only players in their final year of eligibility. And some might rate a bit of a reach as NFL prospects.

Arizona: QB Nick Foles, WR Juron Criner, CB Trevin Wade

Arizona State: CB Omar Bolden, DE James Brooks, C Garth Gerhart

California: S Sean Cattouse, TE Anthony Miller, LB Mychal Kendricks, LB D.J. Holt, OT Mitchell Schwartz, P Bryan Anger

Colorado: OG Ryan Miller, RB Rodney Stewart, DT Conrad Obi, TE Ryan Deehan

Oregon: TE David Paulson, SS Eddie Pleasant, OT Mark Asper, LB Josh Kaddu

Oregon State: S Lance Mitchell, WR James Rodgers, FB-TE Joe Halahuni

Stanford: WR Chris Owusu, TE Coby Fleenor, S Delano Howell

UCLA: S Tony Dye, FB Derrick Coleman, TE Cory Harkey

USC: LB Chris Galippo, DE Armond Armstead, TE Rhett Ellison, RB Marc Tyler

Utah: OT Tony Bergstrom, LB Chaz Walker, OT John Cullen

Washington: DT Alameda Ta'amu, WR Jermaine Kearse, OT Senio Kelemete, K Erik Folk

Washington State: DT Brandon Rankin, OG B.J. Guerra, WR Jared Karstetter

Locker tumbles on Kiper's 'Big Board' (sort of)

September, 22, 2010
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A Pac-10 QB is atop Mel Kiper's "Big Board," but it's no longer Washington's Jake Locker.

It's Stanford's Andrew Luck.

Here's what Kiper has to say about Locker's terrible game vs. Nebraska:
Still, it's hard to ignore the dreadful showing Jake Locker had against Nebraska. While I noted in Stock Watch that the totals were worse than the tape -- Locker was facing a loaded secondary, and was constantly harassed and forced to simply dump the ball -- he's still due for a fall. It's a developmental issue. NFL evaluators still see significant talent, but they are hesitant to take a QB as high as No. 1 overall if they think he needs significant tutoring at the NFL level. They simply can't have the patience because of the tenuous nature of their own jobs. So Locker takes a hit this week.

Kiper therefore drops Locker to No. 4, though he still lists Locker as the No. 1 senior QB.

Also on the Big Board: The UCLA duo of LB Akeem Ayers and S Rahim Moore are rated 18th and 24th, respectively.

Other top Pac-10 seniors:
  • Stanford's Owen Marecic and USC's Stanley Havili rate as the top two fullbacks.
  • USC's Ronald Johnson is the No. 2 receiver.
  • USC's Kristofer O'Dowd is the No. 3 center.
  • Oregon State's Stephen Paea is the No. 2 DT.
  • UCLA's Kia Forbath is the No. 1 kicker. Arizona State's Thomas Weber is No. 3.
  • Arizona State's Trevor Hankins is the No. 2 punter, while Washington State's Reid Forest is No. 5.

As for Pac-10 non-seniors:
  • Luck is the No. 1 QB. Arizona's Nick Foles is No. 4.
  • Kiper lists Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon's LaMichael James and California's Shane Vereen as the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 RBs.
  • Cal's Anthony Miller, Oregon's David Paulson and USC's Rhett Ellison are the Nos. 2, 4 and 5 tight ends.
  • USC's Jurrell Casey is the No. 3 DT. Arizona State's Lawrence Guy is No. 5.
  • USC's Chris Galippo, who doesn't start, rates as the No. 5 inside linebacker.
  • Ayers is the No. 1 OLB. Moore is the No. 1 safety.
  • Washington's Erik Folk is the No. 2 kicker.
  • Cal's Bryan Anger is the No. 1 punter

Frosh WR Allen raising expectations for Cal

September, 8, 2010
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While fans tend to swing with toward wild extremes -- we're awesome! we stink! -- you get a sense that California fans are trying to be measured about what happened last weekend.

Keenan Allen.

[+] EnlargeKennan Allen
Dave Stephenson/Icon SMICal wide receiver Keenan Allen had a huge game last week against UC Davis.
Sure, any 52-3 win feels good, but UC Davis didn't offer much of a test.

Keenan Allen.

And the Bears have been here before with a fast start. They were an impressive 3-0 last year and ranked sixth in the country before consecutive blowout losses to Oregon and USC stuck a needle in high hopes.

Keenan Allen.

They were 2-0 in 2008 before an inexplicable flop at Maryland. And they were 5-0 and ranked No. 2 in 2007 before a home loss to Oregon State triggered a swoon that included six losses in seven games.

Keenan Allen.

Would you stop it with the Keenan Allen stuff!

No.

"He's pretty special with the ball in his hands," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.

Allen is the 6-foot-3, 195-pound true freshman receiver who caught four passes for 120 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown against UC Davis. He also rushed three times for 38 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown. It doesn't matter who the competition was, Allen's performance was impossible to ignore.

When you consider that most bits of preseason punditry centered on whether quarterback Kevin Riley would break through his senior year, a question that on a deeper level hung on the apparent lack of quality among Cal's receivers, you then can start to see dots connecting that lead toward... what?

Well, hope. And the possibility the Bears are better than the seventh-place spot they were relegated to in the preseason Pac-10 media poll.

Allen's presence means defenses can't gang up on junior Marvin Jones -- and vice versa -- as well as tight end Anthony Miller, so suddenly there are passing game weapons that will stop defenses from solely focusing their attention on running back Shane Vereen. That could be a game-changer for Riley and the Bears offense, which has been wildly inconsistent the past few seasons.

"You've got to be very aware of where they are at all times," Riley said of Allen and Jones.

Colorado, fresh off a surprisingly easy whipping of rival Colorado State, will offer a far stiffer test Saturday than UC Davis, particularly for Allen and Jones. Buffaloes cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown are both returning senior starters who are over 6-feet.

In fact, with 17 returning starters, more than a few folks -- including Phil Steele -- are projecting a Buffaloes turnaround in embattled coach Dan Hawkins fifth year in Boulder.

An added level of intrigue: Either next year or in 2012, Colorado will leave the Big 12 and join the Pac-12. This is a preview of a future conference game.

Riley said Cal has no plans to be terribly welcoming in Strawberry Canyon.

"You definitely want to show them what they're going to come to in the Pac-10, show them what type of conference we are, how we play football," he said. "I feel the Pac-10 gets a bad rap every single year, West Coast football in general. We've just got to show them what Cal football is all about and what the Pac-10's all about. That's all you can really do, and it's exciting because it's kind of a preview."

Hawkins doesn't see things the same way. Coaches often adopt tunnel vision, and what the Buffaloes do this season likely determines whether Hawkins ever coaches a game in the Pac-12.

“I think we just look at it as a game against Cal," he said. "We’re not in that league now. We’re still in the Big 12, so for us it’s not so much that we’re trying to make a big statement in the Big 12. It's that we’re trying to make a statement this weekend in this game.”

Cal fans are hoping for a statement, however. It goes something like this: "There's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Keenan Allen. So y'all be cool. Right on."

Cal starting lineup taking shape

August, 20, 2010
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Good information in this California notebook from Jonathan Okanes.

Okanes notes that coach Jeff Tedford has been more open about revealing the pecking order at competitive positions, which is a great help when practices are closed.

So there is a lot of choice info here:
On offense, [Tedford] said the definitive starters as of right now are QB Kevin Riley, RB Shane Vereen, WR Marvin Jones, WR Keenan Allen, TE Anthony Miller, LT Mitchell Schwartz and C Chris Guarnero. Allen was the only player he quantified with “as of now.”

On defense, Tedford said the only concrete starters are DE Cameron Jordan, ILB Mike Mohamed and OLB Mychal Kendricks.

Tedford also said Giorgio Tavecchio would handle both kickoffs and field goals if the season started today.

Key tidbit there: That's true freshman Keenan Allen at receiver next to Jones, which confirms the scuttlebutt coming out of practices that a number of freshmen are in the mix.

As for defense:
A few days ago, Tedford said Keith Browner was the starter at weakside linebacker. But today he said true freshman Dave Wilkerson is still in the mix there. Tedford also said Kendrick Payne is probably the starter at nose tackle, but it is still competitive with Derrick Hill and Aaron Tipoti in the mix.

Tedford said both corner positions are still up in the air, with Darian Hagan, Steve Williams, Bryant Nnabufie and Marc Anthony competing for the two spots.

Another true freshman in Wilkerson. Payne ahead of Hill is a bit newsy, too, but that's three pretty good nose tackles, which is a key position to keep fresh in a 3-4 defense. As for cornerback, my money is on the first two -- Hagan and Williams -- but it's not like I've seen them practice this month.

John Mackey list includes odd Pac-10 picks

August, 16, 2010
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Four Pac-10 players -- sort of -- are on the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation's best tight end.

Here's the list (you can see the entire watch list here):

Joe Halahuni, Oregon State
Konrad Reuland, Stanford
Kavario Middleton, Washington
Anthony Miller, California

For one, Middleton got kicked off the Huskies. Second, Halahuni plays H-back -- Brady Camp is listed as the Beavers starting tight end. Finally, Reuland has yet to beat out Coby Fleener to be Stanford's starting tight end.

Anyway, it was good of the award to seek a Pac-10 presence for a down position in the conference this year.

The award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 9.

Preseason position reviews: tight end

July, 28, 2010
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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.

Best case-worst case: California

July, 15, 2010
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Fourth in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-10 teams, starting at the bottom and working up from my vote in the Pac-10 media poll.

Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction.

Up next: California

Best case

California fans had seen it before. They were suspicious of a 3-0 start. Even though quarterback Kevin Riley was completing 65 percent of his passes and had thrown only one pick. Even though the defense was averaging three sacks per game. There was a feeling of foreboding heading down to Tucson for a date with unbeaten Arizona.

"I have a foreboding feeling about this," Cal fans tell each other.

And when Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles throws three first-half TD passes to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room at the break, Bears fans feel vindicated in that odd, masochistic way fans often do.

But Riley, off-target early, takes over in the second half, throwing scoring passes to Marvin Jones, Anthony Miller and Shane Vereen. With the Bears down one with two minutes left, he completes 5 of 5 passes for 63 yards, and Giorgio Tavecchio hits the chip-shot field goal for the win.

A Cal fan then writes a 11,000-word essay on The California Golden Blogs, the gist of which is Riley only needs to beat UCLA for the Bear nation to finally believe in him. The Bears beat the Bruins 28-24. Another fan writes that she'll only buy-in if Riley leads the Bears to a win over USC.

Not this time. Riley turns in solid numbers but his defense can't stop Matt Barkley and company: Trojans win 30-24.

The Bears bounce back and beat Arizona State, lose a heartbreaker at Oregon State and whip Washington State. Oregon beats the Bears in overtime after Tavacchio misses a 49-yard field goal for the win in regulation.

"Of course it hurts," Riley tells reporters after the game. "But this is a mentally tough team. We still have plenty to play for, including the Big Game."

Stanford comes to Berkeley talking about revenge for 2009, not to mention that the Cardinal can go to the Rose Bowl if it wins its final two games. But Vereen provides an encore performance from a year ago, rushing for 168 yards a two TDs, and the Bears defense mostly contains Stanford QB Andrew Luck in a 28-24 victory.

Before the Bears take the field against Washington, coach Jeff Tedford rolls 10 televisions into the locker room. He says nothing. He turns on the TVs and walks out. It's highlights of Jake Locker and the Huskies 42-10 beatdown of the Bears in 2009.

Cal wins 40-21, sacking Locker five times.

The Alamo Bowl picks Cal over Stanford. The opponent? Texas. A Cal fan writes a 58,345-word essay on TCGB about how the Bears got screwed out of the Rose Bowl in 2004 because of old-school Texas politicking. A Texas fan shows up and demonstrates that, mathematically, the changes in the poll votes had little to no affect. Bears fans are irritated but respect the math skills and everyone becomes great friends.

"Who cares?" Riley says about the 2004 controversy. He then throws three TD passes in a 28-20 win. Cal finished 10-3 and ranked 10th.

Worst case

When California quarterback Kevin Riley threw six touchdown passes in victories over UC Davis and Colorado, it looked like the senior had finally arrived. His three interceptions in an upset loss at Nevada brought that theory into question. As a result, there was a feeling of foreboding heading down to Tucson for a date with unbeaten Arizona.

"I have a foreboding feeling about this," Cal fans tell each other.

Feelings justified. Arizona beats the Bears 28-17. A win over UCLA is followed by a blowout loss at USC. A win over Arizona State is followed by a loss at Oregon State. The Bears barely squeak by at Washington State.

Bears fans rant about the inconsistency. That shortly will be solved. Cal is uniformly bad while losing its final three games to Oregon, Stanford and Washington.

The 5-7 finish is Jeff Tedford's first losing season.

"We're going to have to take a long look at everything we do," Tedford says.

Stanford beats Iowa in the Rose Bowl and finishes ranked fifth in the country. Coach Jim Harbaugh wins National Coach of the Year and signs a long-term contract extension.

"We've only just begun," Harbaugh says. "Prometheus has brought fire down the mountain and we have become mighty men. But we only will be happy when we live among the Olympians."

Six who should be in the post-season top 25

July, 7, 2010
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We ranked the top-25 players in the Pac-10. We noted six who just missed. Now we've got six who are good bets to be on a post-season top 25. And some honorable mentions.
  1. Shareece Wright, CB, USC: Former defensive coordinator Nick Holt said Wright, who was academically ineligible in 2009, was the best cover corner he'd coached at USC. Wright is a good bet for first-team All-Pac-10, but he's got to get on the field and perform.
  2. Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford: Already getting preseason All-American honors as a kick returner, the speedy Owusu could break through as a deep-threat receiver this fall.
  3. Ronald Johnson, WR, USC: One of the conference's best deep threats, he missed half of last season with a broken collarbone and it took a while for him to rediscover his form. Looked like he did just that during spring practices.
  4. John Boyett, S, Oregon: Stepping in when T.J. Ward went down, he became the first freshman to lead the Ducks in tackles since the defensive records were first consistently recorded in 1969. Should be an all-conference threat a sophomore.
  5. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon: A clutch playmaker, he ranked 10th in receptions and 10th in receiving yards per game in the conference in 2009, but those numbers figure to go up as he looks like the go-to receiver for a team that might throw more in 2010.
  6. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: He was good as a redshirt freshman. He could be dominating as a sophomore. In fact, any of the four returning starters on the Cardinal line is a threat for all-conference honors.
Honorable mention: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona; Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State; Anthony Miller, TE, California; Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon; Gabe Miller, DE, Oregon State; Sione Fua, DT, Stanford; Datone Jones, DE, UCLA; Allen Bradford, RB, USC; Senio Kelemete, OT, Washington; Travis Long, DE, Washington State.

Pac-10 deep & thin: Stocked and depleted positions

June, 1, 2010
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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.

Pac-10 Q&A: California coach Jeff Tedford, part II

March, 17, 2010
3/17/10
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Part II of a Q&A with California coach Jeff Tedford.

Read Part I here.

The offense as a whole has a lot of guys back: Where do you expect to see the most improvement this spring?

Jeff Tedford: We have some guys back but are still young in certain areas. We really have only two receivers who've had any significant game time: Marvin Jones and Jeremy Ross. Besides that, we're very, very young there. Our depth at tight end is very young after Anthony Miller. Our fullback is completely new and our tailbacks, after Shane [Vereen], all those guys are new. [Sophomore Covaughn DeBoskie] played a little bit but after him you have [sophomore Isi Sofele] and you have Dasarte Yarnway, who was hurt all last year and Trajuan Briggs who came in as a mid-year transfer as a freshman. So we're young. That's an issue for us. On the offensive line, some guys need to step up and get in the rotation as well. So I don't think of us as real experienced. I know we have a couple people back but we are not deep with experience.

Besides the obvious starters, who do you expect to step up on offense with a much bigger role than in 2009?

JT: Spencer Ladner at tight end is a guy who should do that. Brian Schwenke played as a true freshman last year on the offensive line. He's competing for a starting spot. Dominic Galas also on the offensive line. Our fullbacks are all new -- Will Kapp, Eric Stevens and John Tyndall. The receiving corps, we're going to have to rely on some guys who are coming in. Some of the recruits coming in who are going to have to be in the rotation. It would be nice to see Michael Calvin step up at receiver and be healthy. He's a guy who's been injured every year. Alex Lagemann continues to grow and develop [at receiver]. But we're going to have to count on some young guys at that position.

Were you surprised when defensive coordinator Bob Gregory left to become an assistant at Boise State?

JT: I was, yeah, I was surprised. I think it was a personal decision, about the time in his life with his kids and his family. It was a move to have some more time with his family. I was not expecting that. But everything happens for a reason. I think it's probably working out great for Bob, I'm sure he's happy where he is. And I think we really landed on our feet with Clancy [Pendergast]. He's been a great addition to our staff. I think everybody is happy about it.

What will be different with Pendergast running the defense?

JT: We're probably going to pressure the passer a little bit more. That was one thing we didn't do a great job last year was pressure the passer, which kind of lends to 111th-ranked in pass defense. You've got to disrupt the timing of the passing game. So to get more pressure on the passer will be key. That's going to be the obvious thing.

Give me some new names you expect to break through on defense this spring.

JT: Guys like linebacker Chris Little, noseguard Kendrick Payne, linebacker J.P. Hurrell, [defensive backs] Alex Logan and Steve Williams and Vachel Samuels and Chris Moncrease -- all those guys are back-end players I think are going to do a nice job. Deandre Coleman on the defensive line, Keni Kaufusi on the defensive line. Those guys are redshirts from last year who are really good players. We're really anxious to see those guys play.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan has a lot of potential: What does he need to do to fulfill that potential?

JT: To be able to cut him loose and get him one-on-one at times. I think he gets double-teamed quite a bit in a three-man rush with eight dropping and three rushing. I think if you can get Cam one-on-one, he will be much more effective. But I think his maturity -- his physical and mental maturity -- has been something that has been a work in progress. I think he is poised for a very good season.

It's likely you won't get as much preseason attention this fall: Do you think your team may benefit from operating under the radar? Do you think they might be motivated by some not seeing themselves at the top of the conference?

JT: Yeah, I do. I think that would be just fine -- for us to earn where we need to be and not just go off of on-paper stuff. That's going to be the mindset here. We're going to do everything we can everyday to reach our full potential, whatever that potential may be. We've got a lot of work to do. I think it will be motivating for us to strive to be at the top of the conference and not have all the press clippings. There's so many things out there and so many people patting you on your back and expectations that I think us just flying under the radar and saying, 'OK prove it.' That type of thing will be good. And we'll see where we go from there.

Pac-10 all-bowl team

January, 12, 2010
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The Pac-10 bowl season didn't go well, but that doesn't mean you don't make an all-bowl team.

You may notice a lot of USC and UCLA players. You might remember that the LA schools posted the conference's only two wins.

OFFENSE

QB Matt Barkley, USC: Barkley completed 27 of 37 throws for 350 yards with two touchdowns against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl. He also had two interceptions.

RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford: Against an Oklahoma defense ganging up on him, he rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries in a Sun Bowl loss.

RB Stanley Havili, USC: He only rushed for 2 yards, but he also he caught six passes for 83 yards with two touchdowns.

WR Damian Williams, USC: He caught 12 passes for a season-high 189 yards.

WR Damola Adeniji, Oregon State: He caught seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the Beavers' Las Vegas Bowl loss to BYU.

TE Anthony Miller, California: He led Cal with five receptions for 55 yards in the Poinsettia Bowl loss to Utah.

OL Chris Marinelli, Stanford: The offense was without its starting quarterback, but Gerhart gained 133 yards and the Sooners only had one sack.

OL Mike Tepper, California: Cal's pass protection wasn't great against Utah, but running back Shane Vereen finished with 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

OL Charles Brown, USC: The Trojans didn't run terribly well vs. Boston College, but they only yielded one sack and gave Barkley plenty of time to throw.

OL Jake Dean, UCLA: He was thrust into the starting lineup after starting center after Kai Maiava was ruled academically ineligible, and the Bruins yielded only one sack vs. Temple.

OL Chase Beeler, Stanford: See Marinelli.

K Kai Forbath, UCLA: He kicked field goals of 40 and 42 yards.

DEFENSE

DE Kenny Rowe, Oregon: He set a Rose Bowl and Oregon bowl record with three sacks in a losing effort against Ohio State.

DT Jurrell Casey, USC: Casey had five tackles, a sack and a 22-yard return of a fumble.

DT Brian Price, UCLA: Price started slowly vs. Temple but he dominated the second half and finished with five tackles, with one coming for a loss.

DE Tyson Alualu, California: Alualu had five tackles, with 1.5 coming for a loss.

LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA: Ayers led the Bruins with nine tackles, two for a loss, and his leaping interception at the Temple 2-yard line, which he returned for a TD, was the play of the Pac-10 bowl season.

LB Kyle Bosworth, UCLA: He finished with seven tackles and 1.5 sacks.

LB Eddie Young, California: Young had seven tackles and returned an interception 31 yards for a TD.

CB Shareece Wright, USC: In his first game back after academic ineligibility, Wright grabbed a key interception.

CB Alterraun Verner, UCLA: Verner had seven tackles, two for a loss, and a pass breakup.

S Rahim Moore, UCLA: Moore had four tackles and an interception.

S Taylor Mays, USC: Mays had five tackles for a Trojans defense that shut down Boston College in the second half.

P David Green, Stanford: He averaged 44 yards on six punts, three of which were downed inside the Sooners' 20-yard line.

Pac-10 lunch links: Big, bad Gerhart is mellow dude

November, 18, 2009
11/18/09
2:30
PM ET
Money ain't got no owners, only spenders.

Pac-10 lunch links: Is the USC dynasty over?

November, 5, 2009
11/05/09
2:30
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Think about Montana. I can't. Think about Madrid. I can't. Think about a cool drink of water. All right. That's what it will be like. Like a cool drink of water. You're a liar. It will just be nothing. That's all it will be. Just nothing.
  • Arizona receiver Delashaun Dean has had an injury-riddled season but he feels better now.
  • Arizona State quarterback Samson Szakacsy -- formerly No. 3 behind Danny Sullivan and Brock Osweiler -- could see more action over the coming weeks.
  • More on California losing its starting tight end, Anthony Miller, for at least this weekend vs. Oregon State. Quarterback Kevin Riley is playing well.
  • Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has overcome a lot to be where he is today, including a time when he was on the wrong side of the law. This Oregon fan also knows suffering.
  • Oregon State's secondary wants to prove its doubters wrong.
  • Ten reasons why Stanford beats Oregon. And it might surprise you how strong a case is made by Jon Wilner.
  • UCLA's injury list got longer on Wednesday. And things are thin at cornerback.
  • USC's offense will try to get back on track at Arizona State. Is it time throw dirt on USC's dynastic run through the Pac-10 and all of college football? The short answer is "no." The longer answer is, "Child, please, that's just crazy talk."
  • More on the Jake Locker watch, but the guess here is the Washington quarterback will play at UCLA. Special teams play hasn't been special.
  • It hasn't been a great season at Washington State, but this young man is living a dream.

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