We'll be getting started here in a few minutes! First up is UCLA's coach Jim Mora!
<a name='mora'></a>Coach is here!
What was being able to play in the PAC 12 championship bring to this 2013 team?
The experience of playing in that type of game, not winning it, provides motivation to get back to that same spot and win it. We fell short has given our players focus to get back to it and win it.
Coach Mora, how have you been able to use your NFL HC experience to better this program?
All of the kids have the dream of going on to play in the NFL. The fact that I spent time there has allowed me to give them some direction as to what it will take to make it to that level.
What are your expectations for the team this year?
We want to improve every week. We want to play our best at the end of the season. We want to improve our consistency and mental toughness. We want to win the game that we're playing that week.
What is like to play all your home games at the Rose Bowl knowing the goal is to play on it on January 1st?
It's cool. It's an iconic stadium. I've had the good fortune to be a ball boy at a Rose Bowl game and participate as a player in two. When I go on the field, a lot of memories flood back to me. We get great fan support. We don't focus on the end goal of wanting to play in the Rose Bowl game, but stepping there every time, we want to get there to a game that has so much meaning to college football.
Jim..... we fans at UCLA have been used to having a good first year or two under Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel. We've almost always had top 20 recruiting classes under the previous regime as well. Can you please assure us on how this will be different and UCLA won't fall flat on its face over the next couple of years?
Good question. It's about just continuing to keep our eye on the ultimate prize, being a champion and a perpetual winner. Never taking your foot off the gas pedal. Recruiting good students who want to be good football players. Continuity of staff. Having the resources to keep the staff. Maintaining the highest standards in everything that we do, recruiting, academic support. It's a team effort. It takes everyone on campus pulling together every single day.
What has the team learned from let down games last year against Cal & Baylor?
The Cal game and Baylor game were two completely different games. Baylor was just a better team than us. THey were bigger, faster and we had some key injuries. The Cal game is the one that bothers me the most. I felt we should have been more competitive. We lost our focus that day. It was a good lesson for us, a hard learned lesson that every single time you take the field you have to be mentally and physically ready for the game. Two different games.
Has your recent success helped with recruiting in Southern California?
Oh, it's helped. It's really helped. People have their eyes open to UCLA. There is an excitement to what we're doing. The kids who are recruits are open to what we're doing. It's increased our visibility. It's increased the interest. It's been a good thing.
What's the plan with the inexperienced secondary?
Throw into the fire. The only way to gain experience is to go out and play. We have to put pressure on them the first practice. It is an area of concern. You have to grow up fast. We have young guys who need to grow up now. There is talent there, just not experience.
Now that your into year 3.... what has changed in your recruiting? What % of recruits do you visit? How do you delegate recruiting to your assistants? Is it by position or by region? Please share any details you can with us.
We break it up into areas. Coaches have different areas. They don't necessarily recruit their area. The position coach becomes involved in the recruiting of their position. There's an area coach and then a position coach as need be. NCAA rules are very specific to what a head coach can and can't do. Whatever I'm able to do, I do. Recruiting is a constant. Fortunately, the staff is willing to make that committment.
How hard is it to recruit to a school like UCLA with the tougher academic standards?
Absolutely. Our standards are higher. It's a good thing, but also a challenge. For us, it's more than just the academic standards. We have a filter that we like to put our athletes through. We face some challenges that way, but we overcome them.
Coach Mora, can u talk about the intensity of the UCLA -USC rivalry and how both teams being from the same city adds to it?
We're 12 miles apart. Everywhere you go, you're running into people that are either diehard USC or UCLA fans. It's an intense rivalry. LAst year was my first experience with it and it was a fun game to be involved with. The emotion and intensity and the passion that everyone feels about that game makes it special.
Coach, what's something you do in coaching that reminds you of your father? I mean something you two do that's similar.
I've learned a lot and taken a lot from the time I spent in coaching around my dad. Just the passion of the game. The respect. The discipline. Our attention to detail. We're both very, very, very competitive.
Jonathan Franklin was a big part of your offense last year. Are you confident you will be able to fill the void that he is leaving? Will you lean more towards the pass this year?
Hopeful. I don't know about confident. It will be hard to replace him. On and off the field. He was a great leader. We have a great group of men that will rally together to try and match his production on the field, but we need guys to step up and be the leader he was off the field.
When you talk about camp you get a twinkle in your eye. Are you excited to head back to San Bernardino?
Very excited. It's what we love to do. Be around our players. Prepare for the season. This time of year, you start to get the itch. I'm excited to get there and be with the players and be the team we want to become.
What do you thinking about PLAYOFFS in College fb? yes PLAYOFFS!!!
I don't have any opinion on it. I haven't studied it. I'm just trying to stay caught up on what we're doing at UCLA. If we have success, that will all take care of itself.
Coach, how great is it to have a QB like Brett Hundley on the roster?
It's a great feeling to have a young man, quality young man like Brett as our QB. He's an outstanding player, but a super kid as well. The one year that he has and what he learned from that will help us down the role. He's an outstanding football player, but an even better human being.
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre will be here at 11 a.m. ET! Get your Buffalo questions in NOW!
We might be getting coach Mac a little early. Looks like he's walking over to our area right now.
<a name='macintyre'></a>Here is coach MacIntyre!
Coach Mac you have a real grind of a schedule. How do you inspire your players to keep fighting through it
Yes, I read that we have the seventh hardest schedule in America. That's why they come to Colorado. They want to play in front of big crowds in tough games. We'll push through every Saturday.
Coach, how big of a difference are we going to see with the offense now that Paul Richardson is healthy?
Richardson is a definite weapon that we will utilize. If he does what we think he can do, then he will help us. We're excited for what he brings to the table for us.
Coach, can you talk about the state of the Colorado-Utah rivalry and how both teams coming into the PAC-12 at the same time may have added to the intensity?
Of course, the close proximity of the two states makes it a natural rival. Having us come into the Pac-12 at the same time adds to it. Being the last game of the year on Thanksgiving week adds to the whole rival week. Adds to the excitement of the game.
HCMM, The thing that has most impressed me is the organization and efficiency with which your staff seems to operate, in practice, preparation and recruiting. Where or whom can you credit with development of this organization?
I worked under some great coaches along the way that I learned from. I was the recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss. Working with Bill Parcells, he's phenomenal at preparing a team for practices. I had to prepare the practice schedules daily. And our staff was all together, coaching staff, recruiting staff, were all together at San Jose State. We've tweaked some of it to improve. Keeping the coaches with me helped us moving forward.
Coach, how do you feel about the O-line, and most importantly, the #2s there, in case the injury bug hasn't left our Buffs yet?
I felt that coming out of spring we have 8 guys that are pretty good players. The good thing is four of them can switch positions. Then we have young guys that can be thrown into the mix. I'm pleased with the OL and their toughness. Our OL coach has done a great job. He has I think 24 years of experience in the Pac-12. We'll run to their strengths.
Coach, Buff Nation is fired up you're at the helm. You seem like a defense first type of coach, which is what our Buffs need. How much improvement do you think we can see on that side of the ball relative to recent past? It seems there's decent speed, size and athleticism.
This spring I saw improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Our DC is a great one. He's been at Notre Dame, Cal. And he did a great job at SJS. We have to tackle better. We have to run to the ball with more abandon. Those are some areas that we have to improve on and have to be better at on Sept. 1 against CSU.
Question for Mike MacIntyre when his chat starts----Coach, you've mentioned similarities between the situation at CU and San Jose State when you took over there. Can you expand on that? Also, what are your expectations for our Buffaloes in your first year?
It's different everywhere, but there are similarities when you go to a situation that hasn't been successful. One of the first things you notice is the young men want to improve, they want to have a winning team and they're hungry, but often times they're more intersted in their own playing time than the team. But I've seen that start to change. That's a process of trusting us as coaches, the kids understanding that it's a team, not individuals. A lot of fall camp will be building a team and bonding. On the field, off the field, in the classroom. It's an all the time thing.
Coach Mac, what are your expectation for the upcoming season? How will you gauge whether or not it was a successful first year in Boulder? Go Buffs!
Our expectation is to win every game we play. I mean that sincerely. Our young men will battle every game. I don't know if we'll win them all or not, but our expectations are to win every game we play.
Coach MacIntyre, with your background being in California the last few years, how will you use that in recruiting?
First of all, we're going to recruit Colorado as hard as we can recruit it. We've been to almost every single school in Colorado. Then California will be our next area. Quite a few of my coaches have recruited in California for 20plus years. Then we'll try to recruit Texas very hard. That's our main areas that we'll hit. We'll go into Arizona also in the Phoenix, Tucson area. Those are some Pac-12 areas.
Coach Mac,Our team seemed to struggle on the basics last year like tackling, blocking, and missed assignments. How much have you had to return to the basics when coaching to ensure proper fundamentals? Do you see this as an issue because it takes precious time away from other necessary drills and team building exercises?Go Buffs!
It's a great question. That's something that we've talked about a lot and talked about this spring. Proper tackling, alignment, assignemnt, leveraging the ball. We'll spend a lot of time on those fundamentals more than just scheme. We have to build that foundation. We're on our way, but we're not there yet. That's a key part of camp.
Coach! Glad you're a Buff! Being a former defensive back yourself, how well has the secondary improved over spring and into the summer? Have they become more physical?
From the beginning of the spring to the end, the secondary made a great jump. How hard they worked this summer, we'll find out on Aug. 6 when we get back. Hopefully they're at a higher level than in the spring. A lot of the guys are young, so hopefully, they'll improve even more and accelerate their performance this fall.
How have you and your family enjoyed Boulder thus far? Have you done any hiking yet? And what do you like most about Boulder?Go Buffs!
Our family has really loved Boulder. I haven't done any hiking yet, but we've been around all of the area and really enjoyed it. The family has fit in well and found a lot of nice places to eat around Pearl Street I know that.
Coach, welcome aboard, how ready are you to beat CSU? I know the alumni have a bad taste in their mouths after last year.
That is definitely a goal of our football team and our staff. The opening game against CSU is an important game for our team and to beat CSU.
Coach, what do you see as your biggest challenge and/or opportunity with this team as you head into fall camp and the start of the season?
One of the biggest challenges is to have each individual on our team believe that they can be successful in every game this year. IT doesn't matter what the other team's helmet is. If we can be successful if we improve. We have to really start focusing in on what we are as a team and as individuals. Not listen to all of the external stuff and media.
Hello Coach. Several teams in the Pac have been implementing up-tempo offenses. I have never understand why no prior coaches at CU have implemented such a style in Boulder with our altitude.I know you will be doing a pistol and spread style offense and have heard we are going up tempo. Can we expect the offense to be as up tempo as say Oregon or Arizona?
We did different tempos at the schools I've been at before. We will do different tempos at Boulder to use the altitude. I agree with you.
What are your goals for the season?
First of all, we set individual goals for each young man. They have goals that they're working towards. Then we set goals for defense, offense, ST. Then each game we play, we have goals for each game. Each game, the goal is to win each game. We have specific details, that each player needs to reach, each coach. Not just win a certain percentage of games.
Coach, is there a particular position grouping you see on the team that stands out as a strength above the rest? And is there a position group that you'd like to shore up a little more than the rest prior to CSU?
I think our receiving corps, we have six or seven guys that can do something different. The combination of them is good. Then we hav 3-4 RBs that can make some plays. Those are two areas where I think can be playmakers for us.
Go Buffs! Come out to practics on Aug. 6!
Thanks coach Mac!
Next up, we've got Arizona State's Todd Graham at 11:30am ET!
<a name='graham'></a>Coach is making his way over here!
Hey coach,What are your expectations for this year? How do you see the team improving from a surprising 2012 campaign?
First of all, our expectations for our program is always going to be to win championships. Pac 12, Rose Bowl, national championship. Last year we laid a great foundation. Discipline, unity and toughness instilled on our team. What we need to do is last year our coaches led our team, this year we need our players to lead the team. That's what we worked hard on. I believe in this team. I believe we have a great opportunity ahead of us.
Coach, How do you plan to win the in state recruiting battle? As an AZ native and devout sun devil it kills me to see top AZ kids go out of state or to that other college down in Tucson.
How we use the rivalry as an advantage is to win. That's a must win every year. Obviously, our university and location sells itself. But you must win that game. Local recruiting, we've planted that seed. Over the last 10 years, we've probably not done a good job of developing the youth and fans in the valley. We've reached out to the youth camps to get future Sun Devils. You plant the seeds and then reap the harvest. It's all about the future relationships. Our performance on the field and in the classroom and the community, we'll win those recruits over. It takes time.
Coach Graham, was the lack of dline depth last year a major factor in your 5 defeats and how do you see that changing this year.
The lack in DL depth really hurt us in our rush defense. Therefore, that was the No. 1 contributor in those losses. We felt like we've gotten better along the DL. Therefore, the key focus for us, our No. 1 objective is to get better against the run. We must do better to win a championship. You are correct.
Coach Graham, now that your in year two of installing your coaching philosophy and the players have had a chance to complete the second strength & conditioning offseason which players ( both offense
Training is the foundation of our program. Our strength coordinator and his ability to develop players mentally and physically will determine our success on the football field. Our training through the first year, this spring and summer gives us great confidence because our team has been the best condition it's ever been. We still have to more room to improve, but I am excited by where we are.
Coach Graham, do you think that Junior Onyeali will have a better year not having to be an every down player with the increased dline depth that you have this year.
Junior has great explosiveness and athleticism. He still is working to transition to how we operate and do things. If he continues to improve and to meet our standards, then I look for him to have a very productive year with the increased depth on the DL.
Coach year after year, no matter how strong you are as a team, you always seem to have good QB's. Is that your number 1 recruiting goal year after year?
I think in order to win a championship and consistently compete for titles, the No. 1 factor is to have a QB that's a winner and fits the philosophy of the program. As far as recruiting, QB is the No. 1 priority and the standard is extremely high for what we're looking for.
Hey Coach,How do you prepare the team with 4 straight weeks against top programs? Does your game prep change?
We don't change our game preparation. It's created a sense of urgency with our players. When you look at our first five games, we play Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Stanford and USC. With that challenge comes great opportunity. We don't try to react emotionally to things, we prepare. The first thing is to prepare for the first game. Win that one, go to the next one. I'm excited about the challenge for our schedule. It's a great opportunity for our program.
Coach your predicted to be a real dark horse to rank high in the Pac 12 this year? How do you feel about this prediction? Are you confident you'll be able to make it happen?
The role that we want to play in the conference is to be champions. I don't get too caught up in predictions. You have to earn it on the field. One of the difficult things is sport is to handle success. We had a little bit of success in our first year.
But moving forward in being a program that wins double digit games every year is the key. We have to stay grounded, humble, focused. Most importantly we have to stay healthy. I like where we're positioned in this league right now.
How are you going to prepare for the variety of offenses you face this season?
In all of the years I've been coaching, I don't know that I've ever had a more challenging opportunity in preparing our defense to face the multiple offenses we'll see. To the power running of Stanford, to the fast pace of Oregon, the air raid of Washington State to the spread of UCLA. The diverse offenses in our league is the most challenging in all of football. That's why our program emphasizes defense first.
Coach Graham, What is the difference in the program coming into fall camp in year two compared to year one?
I think the mental maturity of our team. Instead of trying to figure out why we're doing what we're doing, they're buying in and taking it to the next level. They've matured as a team.
Coach Graham, I know you like to blitz but do you think that you will be able to generate better pressure this year with a 4 man rush and possibly generate more coverage sacks. Meaning your back seven has a better understanding of coverage.
We are an attack defense, so we will always pressure and confuse and attack the QB. But as our depth improves and our quality and level of play upfront has improved, we will take less risks.
Coach, how do you feel the community as a whole has embraced you and the direction of the team as a whole?
I spent the first year speaking to over 150 different fan groups and organizations in the valley and around the state. I've been so impressed about the support and the excitement. We simply have to deliver a winner.
I believe Sun Devil Nation will then do their part.
Coach, what are you most looking forward to out of Camp T this year? What is your biggest goal there?
Continue to improve the unity of our football team, through our time in Camp. To improve our execution and fundamentals. STAY HEALTHY.
Coach, you've done an outstanding job in your first year and excited for many more. What's the one thing that surprised you the most when you first arrived on campus.
I appreciate the complement. It means a lot. The thing that I was the most surprised about is the quality of young men we have in our program. Obviously, there were some discipline issues, but the vast majority of our players embraced the philosophy that we believe in.
Coach, you've lived in the Phoenix area for a year and a half now. What do you like most about living in the Valley of the Sun Devils?
Absolutely love living in the Valley. 320 plus days of sunshine. Bring on the heat. Don't like the cold.
I want our fans to know how much I appreciate your support. We're going to work hard to put a product on the field that represents class and character. I need you to make Sun Devil Stadium the best home field advantage in all of the country. Let's get ready to play some football. We have one goal: win championships. Go Devils!
<a name='kiffin'></a>Next up is USC's coach Lane Kiffin at noon ET!
I see coach Kiffin coming over to us right now!
This question is for coach Lane Kiffin. What will this years offense look like with a first year starter at quarter back and with so many talented skill players around him.
A lot of the QB's success will have to do with how we play around him. Whoever our QB is, it will be critical that the supporting cast helps him out.
Coach Kiffin, with USC being a target for everyone you play not matter the records of either team, how has a coach do you have to keep the players motivated to play at their top level week in and week out?
You're exactly right, regardless of our ranking, SC is always a big target for people. I've seen us be unranked before and we lose a game and the other team storms the field. We have to worry about ourselves, take it one game at a time and improve as the season goes on.
Coach how intense is the USC-UCLA rivalry and how much does that game impact recruiting?
It's a great rivalry, a lot of great tradition. Coach Mora and his staff have done a great job of bringing UCLA back. The game is always exciting and meaningful, especially because the alumni is so close to each other with both schools in LA.
Coach Kiffin. First and foremost, Fight On! Second, how improved has the defense looked since switching to the 5-2?
I think we had a great spring. There was some transition involved. The players seemed to like it and I look forward to the fall.
This question is for coach Lane Kiffin. With such a turbulent season last year and with so much off the field distractions, what kind of identity will you implement with this team?
We need to play better football this year, by saying that I mean we need to make it harder for teams to beat us and not beat ourselves like last year.
Coach - from a depth perspective - what area of the team concerns you most and which one concerns you least.
I feel like our front seven on defense is going to play really well. But we must continue to develop every player on our roster through the fall.
How good can the O-Line be this year? And does that change the play calling
It's been a big emphasis over the spring. We'll be going into the fall with development there. The OL will be extremely critical to our success in run and pass game.
Coach Kiffin - how have the new coaches adjusted to their roles and what improvements have you seen since them joining?
I think any time you have change, it's exciting to have new people come in. It's a great fresh start for position players as well.
Who is leading the QB battle in your mind?
I think we have three really good QBs who can all run our offense. It will be an exciting competition this fall.
Coach Kiffin, how has the PAC 12 network impacted your program?
I think the Pac-12 Network has been great for our entire athletic department, all of our sports, male and female.
Hey Coach! What do you do on your free/down time? Whats the last movie you saw? Fight On!
I don't do many things. Between being the head coach at USC and a father of three young children, not a whole lot of time left.
Coach, will we see more play calls for our talented tight ends. It seems to me that this would be a great way to build confidence in our young qbs? Fight on Trojans!
We do need to do a good job of utilizing our TEs. They are very talented, not only in the pass game, but the run game.
Coach Kiffin Fight On! Last year the team was rated no 1 going into preseason, this year they might just be in top 25. How do you keep the players motivated with all the negative press?
I think any time you play at USC, you're going to be extremely motivated because you are around great players and there have been great players in the program.
Who is going to call the plays this seasn ?
We have a great offensive staff that will have a lot of input in our offense. We look forward to a great season together as a staff.
How are the freshman coming along
We're fortunate to have seven mid-year enrollees that were added to our roster immediately and have done a great job. As far as the others, we are not allowed to work with them, so we don't know yet.
Which players in the Pac-12 keep you up at night?
Well we don't have to play De'Anthony the next two years. I'm sure he'll be gone after this year anyway. The conference has a lot of good players. It's a strong conference.
Coach how have you used last season to motivate your players to fight back and make your way back to the Championship?
I think kids today in this generation move on quickly in general, good or bad. Our kids moved on from last season a long time ago and are excited about this season.
How concerned are you with the CB position? Is keeping Shaw at S a sign you're not that concerned?
We do not have a lot of game experience at that position, but we are excited about the players that are there and look forward to working with them in camp next month
Will a pac 12 team finally dethrone the sec this year and win the national championship
I think so much goes into winnning a national championship. So many things have to go right and then that final day you need even more to go right. To win a title, everything has to go right, some in your control, some out.
Thanks coach Kiffin!
<a name='rodriguez'></a>Next up, we'll have Arizona's coach Rich Rodriguez at 12:30 p.m. ET!
<a name='rodriguez'></a>Coach RichRod is here!
Coach Rodriguez:I know every game is important, but is there a particular game that you see as the "measuring stick" for what direction the team will go this year?
The game that always has extra importance is the ASU game, but that's at the end of the year. I think you learn about the team in the first game and the first conference game. In Sept. we'll figure somethings out.
For Rich Rodriguez. Coming off a bowl win and losing your starting qb, how is the staff going to develop a new first year starter now having multiple NFL worthy qbs.
That's one of our key issues in camp, is we hope to find one and two guys that we can win with at QB. We're not concerned with it, but we are aware of that position has to develop quickly in the month of August.
Hey coach I'm a big fan of the Hard Edge videos you guys put out. What was the inspiration behind them and can we expect to see more?
The original idea was for the staff to dress up in Cowboys outfits and send it out to recruits and say the possee is coming to get them. But we did one with the players too. It was a lot of fun for us. There should be some more with outtakes and all that.
Coach Rodriguez, how intense is the Arizona- ASU game and how does it compare to some of the other rivalry games you have been involved in?
I've fortunate to be in some big ones. OSU-Michigan, WVU-Virginia. This one is just as intense as those. It's in the same division, same conference, same state. The staffs know each other, the players do too. It's intense as you can imagine.
With Slavin gone and Hill hurt, Who steps up? Johnny Jackson?
Some of the young guys that red shirted last year. They've got great opportunities to play. Some of the freshmen coming in. Some of the veterans like Jackson, they have to have big August camps for us to prove they can be every day players.
With your unique offense, what are the three attributes that your ideal QB would have?
I've said this a lot of times. Our QBs have to be like a PG that can shoot the three. He has to be able to distribute it to the right guys when necessary but then take it himself. We don't want a game manager. We want to move the chains. We put a lot on them, a lot of pressure, but we've been fortunate to always have a good one there.
Biggest chance for improvement defensively?
All of it. It's pretty obvious. We have to improve across the board. We need more pressure on the QBs. We need to get a bette job of getting three and outs. We played too many plays on defense. It wasn't because of our offense, it was because we couldn't get those big stops.
Hey Coach! Have you moved in to your new digs yet? How does the new facility look?
We moved in Monday. It's fantastic. I think our players are excited about it. Our staff it. From a functional standpoint, we have everything we need there. That will help our program.
Is there a team from another conference that you consider a team you would most like to play in an out of conference matchup?
With our nine game league schedule, we're always going to have a pretty compelling schedule. I think it's neat to play a school from a different conference that runs a different style. A team that runs a slow pace, two back offense and compare and contrast when we play each other.
Is there one thing that you think football fans in general "worry" about too much? Recruiting? Inexperience? Uniforms?
Not really. I think there is probably too much expectations or disappointment, either way, on recruiting. Because someone is ranked high or too low. I think you should evaluate the class about two years after they're on campus.
Rich Rod, Long time UA supporter and avid football fan. Do you expect the new facility to bring in a larger recruiting class for future UA football
I think it shows a level of committment that all players want to see from a facility standpoint but also the program. When we recruit a guy, you're coming into an elite program you're going to walk into the building and see that.
What are you most excited about this upcoming season?
To see if our guys can continue to progress from last year in our first fall to this year. To see if the mindset and culture that continues to progress like it did a year ago.
Do you think Ka'deem can have as big or a bigger year this year with Quinn gone? and how does preseason Heisman talks affect a player? Good? Bad?
He was the most productive back in the country last year. You'd like to think he'll have another year like that, but it's hard to get 1900 yards rushing. But we also think Jenkins could have a big year. We're fortunate to have two big backs.
How often do you think about getting Arizona to its first Rose Bowl?
That's the first thing I think about and the last thing I think about going to bed.
How do you control the hype around Kadeem Carey and keep him grounded? Do you plan on using Jenkins as a 3rd down back or just to give Carey a break a few times a game?
That's just the way we coach him. The way we go about our every day business, we have ways to keep him humble. He's always worked hard. He's there in meetings. Coach does a great job with him on a day to day basis making sure he stays hungry.
How important is strength and conditioning in year 2? Is it more about the schemes and plays at this point?
That was the one area that we had to make great strides in. Even though we've made great strides, we have some work to do. Our guys needed to understand how you train as an elite athlete. It's been a process, but so far they've gotten better.
Hey Coach Can we expect for the tight end to be a player this year?
We don't have a lot of numbers, but I'm psyched because we have a lot of athleticism there. All three of them can play both inside as a traditional TE or split out wide. They'll give us a lot of flexibilty with their skill sets.
How do you get your players to play with the Hard Edge mentality while also ensuring they don't cross the line and rack up penalty yards?
You just have to coach them up on the intensity. The Hard Edge should be an every day thing. But playing smart should be an every day thing. It's not that hard to separate it, because the whistle blows. The intensity and hard edge that we want to be known for has to be an every day thing.
Do you read what sports writers say about the program?
Not much really. We can try to use it as motivation, if the team isn't looked highly upon. But if you're on a practice field or in the middle of a game, none of that matters. You're just out there competing.
Hey Coach...so happy to have you in Tucson! Talk about what it is like to coach in a college town like Tucson and the passion, spirit, and involvement of the community. How important is that to the overall success of the program and the university?
I love it. Tucson is a great college town. The community is really behind the entire university. There is a lot of interest in what our student athletes are doing. It's a great university.
Whats been the biggest surprise for you since being named the head coach at the University of Arizona?
I haven't had a whole lot of major surprises. Maybe the lack of size on the team, the lack of strength we had. We've try to rectify that. But there's nothing that I've seen that we can't fix.
What efforts do you make to get former players involved in the program?
We have alumni weekend every spring and invite them to that. There's a golf outing and the spring game that they're invited to. We have an open door policy if a former player wants to come back or to practice or talk to the coaches. All of the former players have been supportive since I took the job.
Hey Coach, we've seen programs with challenges in the Pac 12 like Stanford, evolve in to an elite program consistantly near the top. What will it take for Arizona to make this leap?
It's pretty simple. In a borad sense, it's to recruit the right guys and develop them better than anybody in the country. That's our job as coaches.
All the Wildcat fans, I appreciate your interest. I hope you can come and check us out. Pass the word on to the Wildcat Nation that we love your support.
Next up is Utah's coach Kyle Whittingham!
He should be here in just a few more minutes, since he's running ahead of schedule!
<a name='whittingham'></a>Here comes coach Whittingham!
what do you expect Dennis Erickson will bring to the table?
Some fresh ideas offensively. Obviously a great background and knowledge of the game. A great sounding board for me as a coach. He has a great wealth of knowledge for me to draw from.
What is the most important position group that needs to step up this year to have a successful season?
CB. We're essentially starting over at that position. We have a lot of talent, but no experience.
How do you view social media? good or bad?
I think if we handle it the right way, which our guys usually do, it's a positive. We have strict guidelines what they can discuss there. By and large our guys are responsible with what they put out there.
Coach Whittingham - There are rumors of new uniforms. Will the Utes have new uniforms this year? Any new variations from last year? Throw backs?
We may have something up our sleeve as far as a new look. You'll just have to wait and see.
This question is for Coach Whittingham. What are your thoughts on the new targeting rule? Fair for replay to determine a player didn't 'target' yet still have the penalty enforced?
It's very difficult for the officials to make that call. Any time you try to judge intent, that adds another level of difficulty of decision. I wish we would review those plays after the game, rather than in the heat of the battle, when we can take the time to review them.
Coach Whitt, a lot of us fans are grumbling about the defense. What changes or level of talent can we expect to see this year to make us love the D this year?
There is no question that last year we were not as good on defense that we need to be or have been. Our inability to create takeaways and in the red zone are two areas where we are usually good at but last year were no where near good enough. We've worked hard in the offseason to address those areas.
The state of Utah has seen a large surge in D1 prospects. What does Utah have to do to make sure these recruits stay home and play for the Utes?
We've been doing a good job already of putting a fence around the state. We've done a good job of keeping the talent from going elsewhere. Instate recruiting is always our top priority.
Coach Whittingham, how is the rivalry with Colorado growing and how intense has it gotten since you both have joined the PAC 12?
It's a work in progress. It takes a while for a rivalry to become of age. It's not something you can manufacture. It has to happen naturally. I think we're heading in the right direction as far as establishing it as a rivalry.
What effect does having a new football facility have of recruiting?
We hope it will have a dramatic effect. In this day and age, recruits are very excited about facilities and buildings, etc. We're excited to recruit to that building going forward and should provide a big advantage for us.
Hi Coach Whitt, (Make them quit) - What has been your biggest surprise in moving into the PAC12?
No real surprises. I knew what we were getting into in that each week was going to be a big challenge. Depth was probably the biggest issue going in, which we've done a good job of addressing in our last two recruiting classes. It's still a work in progress, but we've closed the gap. Size and speed in the Pac-12 is something that we've been working to level the playing field on.
Coach, how has the PAC 12 network helped your program?
Recruiting is all about exposure and the Pac-12 Network essentially gives any recruit that we're on the opportunity to watch us every week. It's great to go into homes and ensure parents that they can watch us week in, week out. Overall it's been a big plus.
Who do you believe is the biggest foe for this upcoming year?
We play a lot of good teams on the schedule this year. Based on last year, you'd have to look at Oregon, Stanford as far as teams from the North. USC and UCLA are always tough. The Pac-12 Conference is very challenging and really every week is going to be a test for your football team.
Hello, Coach.You recently said that "4-3 defense is becoming a dinosaur, it's extinct"Are there any plans to run a more current system? 3-3-5 perhaps?
No 3-3-5 plans at this point in time. As far as whole sale commitment. We've dabbled in that in the past. But more of a base 4-2 scheme is what we've gravitated toward.
We have been picked to finish 5th in the south... how do you keep morale and motivation high for the players?
I've never paid much attention to preseason publications or predictions. I think it's fun for the fans and starts to generate interest for the upcoming season, but we don't put much stock in it.
key win to lead to claim the south?
Consistent QB play. Solid play on the offensive line. And getting back to the defense that we're used to at Utah.
How does Tenny Palepoi compare to Star Lotulelei?
Very favorably. He's not quite as big as Star, but he's an excellent football player and should be one of the best interior linemen in the Pac-12 this year.
How is Travis Wilson progressing?
He had a great offseason both physically and mentally. He's added size and strength to his frame. He spent countless hours in the film room studying not only his play, but the overall offensive scheme. It was very evident in the spring that he worked hard. We expect him to be a leader for us this fall.
Coach Whitt, regarding the new facility, will it be open to the public or is an open-house planned/scheduled?
There is an open house on Aug. 15, however, I'm not sure if it's going to be available to the general public or not. Stay tuned for details.
What was the motive behind moving Brian Blechen from SS to LB?
Brian is 225 pounds. We're looking to upgrade the athleticism of the defense overall and sliding the players forward helps us to accomplish that goal.
We appreciate your support. You've been great. We're excited for you to watch us this fall. Special shoutout to the MUSS and the gameday atmosphere you provide. Our team really rallies with you behind us. Looking forward to the season!
Thanks to everyone for joining our Day 2 Pac-12 Coaches Chat! Thanks to all of the Pac-12 schools and their coaches for the last two days. It's been a lot of fun!