Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

As I reported earlier this week the Huskies are actually going to open up a practice to the public, and media this coming weekend. It's a brilliant idea because we are all running out of things to write about because of the Iron Curtain surrounding Montlake. I am all for a little secrecy, but how many times can the beat writers ask about EJ Savannah's grades, and the status of the demoted offensive linemen?

This Saturday's practice will go a long way in determining which freshman are going to play early this season. It is also going to determine a lot of the position battles that are going on throughout the team. Once the team gets into game preparation most of the decisions will be made on who is going to be in the starting lineup to begin the season.

Good reports coming out of practice yesterday which included some heavy scrimmaging. It seems the team responded well with one of the best pre season practices so far over the past three years of the Willingham regime. UW needs to build on that because the team will start concentrating on getting ready for Syracuse starting next week.

Bob Condotta over at the Seattle Times spent some time with Coach Baer talking about turnovers, and how the Huskies must double their turnover ratio this season.

Washington should be a lot better on defense this year with all the talent they have returning. They also are going to be a faster, and more physical defense. That right there should be enough to elevate the level of play and turn things around on that side of the ball. Turnovers were the key in the success that Willingham had in his first year at Notre Dame. The defense carried the offense the entire season. If the Huskies hit harder, run faster, and most importantly catch the ball when it is thrown to them on defense, very good things will happen.

Dan Raley of the PI has a great story on Husky great George Fleming.

It is hard to believe that George is no 69 years old, of course it is hard to believe that I will be 49 this Fall. The UW will honor the the 1961 Rose Bowl team as National Champions this Fall, and George Fleming played a huge part on those great teams of the early 60's.

Husky alum C.J. Wallace sealed a win for the Seattle Seahawks against San Diego in a Sunday night NFL pre-season game, picking off a pass with :08 seconds remaining to give the Hawks a 24-16 victory over the Chargers. C.J. has a very good shot at sticking on the roster.

Pac Ten Alley

Let's take a look at what is going on with our Pac Ten brethren, and our out of conference opponents.

Syracuse is trying to up the intensity as it prepares for it's opener with Washington in two weeks.

Just before practice began, Robinson summoned the Orange for a meeting. Players removed their helmets and circled their coach. All the players took a knee. Robinson spoke to them for about two minutes. He did not raise his voice. He did not pound his fist. He showed no emotion. Media present (i.e., just us Post-Standard guys) could not hear his words, which were clearly private. It's likely Robinson was explaining his unhappiness from the previous day and re-iterating his expectations of work.

Kellen Moore is getting his feet wet at Boise State.

Boise State freshman quarterback Kellen Moore attempted 399 passes his senior year at Prosser (Wash.) High School. On the Broncos’ depth chart, he’s listed as the No. 5 quarterback. Needless to say, it has been a bit of an adjustment for the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder. “He understands it,” Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. “It’s never easy to sit back and watch, but he knows that it takes time. He’ll take it in and learn and he’s the kind of guy that will make the best of the chances he gets.” Moore will redshirt this season with the Broncos, but has already showed he’s a quick learner. During Saturday’s first scrimmage of the fall, he led all passers in quarterback rating (137.05) while completing 5-of-8 attempts for 71 yards.

The Buckeyes are replacing some key elements in their offense.

The last three seasons Ted Ginn Jr. was the constant threat in the Ohio State offensive formula, the namesake of the Shot-Ginn formula which helped propel Troy Smith to the Heisman Trophy last year. With Ginn and Smith now gone to the NFL, the offense is expected to incorporate some Go-Small tactics using the talents of flanker Ray Small in a similar vein this season.
But that new look will be on the shelf, at least for the time being. Small suffered an ankle sprain in the first day of practice on Saturday that likely will keep him off the field for at least a little while, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman confirmed today when speaking with reporters.
He also said freshmen Taurian Washington and Dane Sanzenbacher are among those who are taking up the slack at the position. Washington, from Orchard Lake (St. Mary's), Mich., especially has shown the speed necessary to stretch the field in much the way Ginn did.

Nestor takes a nostalgic look back into the Bruins past on the gridiron.

The date of August 14 will always have a black circle around it for Bruin fans. It was the day, 49 years ago, that 53-year-old Henry "Red" Sanders died, ending the career of the greatest coach in UCLA football history.When Sanders came to UCLA from Vanderbilt in 1949, he turned around a 3-7 team from 1948 into a 6-3 team in 1949, finishing second in the Pacific Coast Conference. Bruin teams under Sanders never finished lower than third in the PCC and won three titles (1953-54-55) in a row, had four second-place finishes and was third twice. His Bruins played in the 1953 and 1955 Rose Bowl games.And, his undefeated 1954 team (9-0) won the 1954 national championship in the UPI poll while Ohio State won in the Associated Press poll. The two teams couldn't meet in the Rose Bowl because of the PCC's "no-repeat" rule of the time.

Joe McKnight just might be the next Reggie Bush, just what the Pac Ten needed to hear.

Sure, I could describe how McKnight zigzagged across the field and around would-be tacklers during his first scrimmage under the bright lights of the Coliseum for a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown last Sunday. Or illustrate how he left All-America linebacker Keith Rivers in his dust after catching a simple flare pass and exploded into end zone with the closest defender nearly 20 yards away during his second day of practice. Yet, somehow it wouldn't quite do him justice.

The Sun Devils are suffering through a rash of pre season injuries.

This will be a recurring post as an easy to digest way of looking at the Sun Devils' health, and it'll be a lot easier now that Dirk Koetter and his no-injury-info-policy are in Jax-Vegas. Listed in order of importance:Luis Vazquez, DE: High ankle sprain, out 2-4 weeks. Troy Nolan, S: Shoulder strain, currently practicing (non-contact). Saia Falahola, backup DT: partial triceps tear, out for the first four games.Tranell Morant, backup DL: Knee (cartilege tear), out 2 months.Eric Tanner, backup DL: bruised knee bone, out for one week.Omar Bolden, CB: sprained ankle, day to day. Jeremy Payton, S/CB: sprained ankle, day to day. Brandon Smith, WR: sprained ankle, day to day.

Malcolm in the middle at Oregon?

As a kid, John Bacon dabbled in chess. Nothing, Bacon said, approaches the brainpower required to play middle linebacker for the UO football team. As Bacon nears his debut as the replacement for 2006 team MVP Blair Phillips on Sept. 1 against Houston in Autzen Stadium, comparisons between the two are inevitably being made. It's been noted that Bacon is nearly the same size as Phillips, and a step faster - maybe two steps, UO coach Mike Bellotti offered.

The Mildcats pick their second string QB.

University of Arizona senior quarterback Kris Heavner was named the back up quarterback on Tuesday. Heavner, who has 14 career starts dating back to John Mackovic’s tenure, ran with the Wildcats second-team unit in scrimmage work on Tuesday. “Kris has played well and it looks like he will hold that position unless something changes in the next scrimmage,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “Kris has played exceptionally well. I think his release has gotten better. He understands the concepts of what we are doing offensively. He has done a nice job.”

The Stanford offense takes a hit.

For the second time in less than a year, a starting Stanford fullback has had to retire from football because of a medical issue. Emeka Nnoli announced Sunday that he will not play again because of avascular necrosis in both hips. The senior was advised by Stanford's medical personnel to stop playing after seeing a specialist Friday. "It's an unfortunate situation, because I was looking forward to having a big season," Nnoli said in a statement. "The coaches were high on me after spring ball and going into summer workouts. This thing was lingering in the back of my mind, and I just wanted to get it checked out. I didn't think it was going to be as big of a deal as it was."

OSU has suffered some serious attrition this Fall.

OSU standout WR Sammie Stroughter remains out of practice, and as every Beaver fan will tell you, they're starting to get worried. Some fans claim to have inside tips that say that Sammie is back in town and could be playing as early as tomorrow, some are taking the pessimistic route and others retain hope. As for me, I agree with this guy-- leave the kid alone. It's a big deal so it deserves a mention, but as far as trying to tell you why he's gone, where he is, etc.-- it's not necessary. We can only trust Sammie in knowing that he's a good kid, and that he'll get everything worked out and be back at practice in a few days.

Cal is close to picking it's backup QB.

Right now the race between Kyle Reed and Kevin Riley is too close to call, but Coach Jeff Tedford said he will name a No. 2 quarterback after Cal's scrimmage Thursday. Reed and Riley are locked in a competitive battle to back up incumbent starter Nate Longshore. They were listed as co-No. 2s on the depth chart after spring practice. "It's still very competitive," Tedford said. "Physically, they both do a very nice job. It really comes down to which guy is going to be able to run the show the best and handle the things that we're asking them to do."

WSU is confident they can beat the Vandals.

Brink hits Gibson deep on a PRETTY deep ball. Not sure why the Idaho fans in the stands are cheering, but you get the idea. Hmm, you can almost hear Bob and Jim right now:"One back and 4 wide receivers in the formation, Brink takes the snap and gives to Tardy, NO, he's going to throw. Sets up, throws the home run ball down the left side, got a man out there it's GIBSON with the catch and HE'S GONE, 30, 20, 10, 5, TOUCHDOWN WASHINGTON STATE!"

WSU like Arizona State is starting to be decimated by injury.

A total of 21 players are on the WSU injury list, with 11 of them in the "out indefinitely" category.

Hawaii is having a good camp as they start there quest for a BCS berth.

"Hawaii is the perfect place for me," Grice-Mullen says, ticking off the reasons: a quarterback like Colt Brennan "who throws with pinpoint accuracy," and a second star receiver, Davone Bess, to draw some of the defense's attention.The slot receiver in the Warriors' high-powered, four-receiver attack, Grice-Mullen has caught 131 passes for 1,998 yards with 23 touchdowns in 22 games.


prrbrr said...

Hie, on ASU I believe Rudy Burgess is also on crutches right now, but not sure why. It looks to me like DE has stepped up the intensity in practice with that many injuries right now. Can you say toughen up a talented but historically soft team in a hurry, I still think ASU will, besides us, be the surprise team in PAC10 this year, and a contender next year.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Erickson is old school. He is a Northwest football coach, and most old school Northwest football coaches come in and beat the team up in the first year to see who survives, and who they can run off so they can accelerate rebuilding the team. Jim Owens is the guy that started that tradition in the late 50's at Washington, and don't think for a minute that his influence still isn't being felt in the way to rebuild a program.

Health Insurance Expert said...

I don't know how well they will do this year. I know they have talent, but it usually takes some time to change the culture even for Erickson. I do agree he will have them contending next year.

hairofthedawg said...

Although I agree with the approach, I never saw Erickson as a hard nosed coach, based mainly on what happened in Miami. Talk about an out-of-control program...that doesn't really jibe with what you're saying.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Erickson is very hard nosed on the field. The field is all that has mattered in the past with Erickson. Most of the problems of course took place off the field. Erickson wins at this level because he develops a lot of toughness to go along with the X's, and O's.