Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

The loss of Curtis Shaw for the season may be one of the most challenging holes for Washington to fill over the next two weeks. The Huskies designed the position around Chris Polk and Curtis Shaw. Polk has moved to TB to take over for an ailing Brandon Johnson which means the two guys the position was meant for are no longer available.

Just guessing here but David Freeman and Jordan Polk sound like a couple of possible answers they may be looking at. Both of those guys have pretty good speed even though Shaw who was a true burner was faster. If you decide to go larger Kavario Middleton and Chancellor Young are looking for playing time. They both would give Locker a couple of bigger targets to look at.

Looking Ahead to Pac Ten Openers

The Pac Ten schedule kicks off on Thursday, August 28 with Oregon State playing at Stanford. This is going to be an interesting contest for both schools. The Cardinal are on the rise and an opening win over the Beavers would get some momentum going. Oregon State on the other hand is out to prove their program is reloading rather than rebuilding. I have to go with the Beavers but like any opener there is likely to be some surprises. This one is going to be a lot closer than people think.

ASU takes on Northern Arizona in their opener and it is exactly the type of shake down exhibition that Dennis Erickson needs to start the season rolling. This one isn't going to be much of a contest.

Arizona opens with Idaho and should be able to put up 50 points on the Vandals with their high powered offense. One of the interesting things to keep an eye on will be the Wildcat defense. If they give up to many points to Idaho it won't bode well for them in conference play.

Michigan State visits California in a big game for both schools. On paper this should be a pretty close game. This game is going to be a tossup with a slight edge to Cal because they are at home. MSU is a veteran team with most of their players coming back on offense and defense. The Bears are replacing a lot of talent but early reviews show that the players that are steeping in are pretty talented. Make no mistake, this is going to a be a big early game.

USC goes on the road to take on Virginia. Al Groh has done a nice job at Virginia and was named ACC coach of the year in 2007. The Trojans are struggling on offense in camp, but the boast the best defense in the country. USC won't need to score many points to beat these guys, but those lack of points will give pundits second thoughts about the Trojans invincibility.

Oklahoma State travels to take on Washington State in Seattle at Qwest Field. WSU is an unknown quantity this year with a new head coach, a rebuilding culture, and a team lacking some serious depth. The Coug's do have some tools on offense, and it will be interesting to see how Rogers does at QB. Oklahoma State is an offensive powerhouse and they should have no problem dominating the Cougar defense all night.

On September 1st Tennessee invades the Rose Bowl to play UCLA in a Monday night tilt. The Bruins are in rebuilding mode right now trying to break in a new QB in time for this big time opener who will play behind an offensive line filled with question marks. Rick Neuheisel loves big games but this is one he would rather pass on. Conventional wisdom says Tennessee should have no problem making a statement against the Bruins.

Pac Ten Alley

Now its time to take a walk down the coast to see what our neighbors are up to.

Oregon unveiled a huge new scoreboard for Autzen Stadium to show the Kenny Wheaton replay again on August 30th

The new scoreboard is up and running as of yesterday. Check out this video on the Register Guards website. This thing is HUGE!

Addicted to Quack responds to Ted Miller's best and worst case scenario for the Ducks in 2008.

In the last couple days, Ted Miller has been running through the best and worst case scenarios for each Pac-10 team. Today, he went over Oregon's. Reading this will get you excited and depressed all at the same time. The thing is, I could see it going either way. We have a very talented team. If the offense clicks, then many good things will happen.

Stanford announced today that Tavita Pritchard the hero of last years USC upset is going to be the starting QB for the opener. Tavita is the nephew of former WSU star Jack Thompson.

Ted Miller has a nice interview with him on his ESPN PAC Ten blog.QB position, they we will be screwed, especially if we can't get momentum early.

Stanford's defense is something to potentially get excited about in 2008.

For a defense that ranked near the bottom of most major Pacific-10 Conference statistics last season and then watched its up-and-coming coordinator leave for Michigan, Stanford seems awfully optimistic it can make stops this fall.

Here is a day eight practice report from Tucson.

The Arizona Wildcats' ninth practice in eight days was uneven early on, but turned competitive during 11-on-11 drills toward the end. Quarterback Willie Tuitama connected with Terrell Reese on a handful of passes, the longest one going for 50 yards. Rob Gronkowski caught a seam pass for about 30 yards. Freshman quarterback Matt Scott worked with the second-team offense again Monday and looked good. He turned the ball over when end D'Aundre Reed stripped him as he scrambled, forcing a fumble.

Darian Hagan is making an impression early in camp for California.

It's better late than never, and Darian Hagan appears to have figured out that much. A much-heralded recruit coming into Cal, Hagan may not have progressed as quickly as some would have wished. But his camp performance thus far suggests he could soon erase those sentiments, according to defensive coordinator Bob Gregory. Following Friday's practice, Gregory gave an update regarding the second cornerback slot. "I think Chris Conte is doing OK. I think Darian Hagan, right now after five days, is playing as good as he has played since he's been here, so that's really, really good to see," he said.

The Oregon State blog has been burning some gas and rubber going between Portland and Corvallis.

Building the DamNation, in our continuing effort to serve you in the best way possible, we bring you the finest practice reports money can't buy. We have searched and searched and driven from Portland to Corvallis a few times for your reading enjoyment.

USC's offense is sputtering in practice, but part of the reason is they are squaring off against the #1 defense in the country.

The running game was nearly non-existent and offense had a rough day against the defense, although the QBs looked poised. Aaron Corp started the scrimmage with the first team but Pete Carroll said it was merely his turn and not a sign of who replaces Mark Sanchez. The blocking needs to improve in the next scrimmage.

ASU needs to improve their offensive line in 2008 if they want to got to the next level.

Fifty-five last season was the number of sacks that ASU allowed in 13 games, a school record that brought no joy. Sun Devils fans probably can't read that sentence without grimacing. Fifty-five is painful. Fifty-five is the difference between the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27, and the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Fifty-five is motivation.

Is it time to push the panic button at UCLA?

So on the second day after Ben Olson went down at Spaulding the Bruins had a sluggish day on offense (or a dominating one on defense from another pov). The sloppy offensive performance (to start the Monday of second week of Fall practice) led to Neuheisel making a comment about being “concerned” about offense, which set off immediate concern trolling by local reporters who seemed to be pouncing for the opportunity to hit the panic button.

Eyewitness report from Pullman.

That's right Crimson Nation, Cougar football is BACK. This morning the boys put on full pads for the first time this season and got after it. Having learned from my mistakes I made sure I had plenty of juice for my camera and came away with some good images of the morning's action on Rogers Field. There was a lot to see, so today I promise less jibber-jabber from yours truly, and more pictures of your 2008 Washington State Cougars in action.

BYU concentrates on the backups in scrimmage.

With several of BYU's offensive stars laying low, it didn't take long for their backups to break loose in Saturday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Junior tight end Andrew George, redshirt freshman running back J.J. DiLuigi and true freshman wide receiver O'Neill Chambers shone in BYU's first full contact work of fall camp. Electing to keep starters like junior tight end Dennis Pitta, sophomore running back Harvey Unga and junior wide receiver Austin Collie on the sideline, the BYU coaches took a look at some talented second-unit players.

The Oklahoma offensive line will be one of the nations best in 2008.

Oklahoma’s offensive line has the three things that all coaches want that particular unit to have – size, strength and depth. The starting five are all seniors and stand tall with Loadholt (6-8/337), Robinson (6-5/335), Cooper (6-3/290), Walker (6-3/284) and Braxton (6-6/304). That is an average of (6-5/310) just in case you were wondering.

The Domer Sports Report reflects on the rebuilding process.

It seems idiotic to even imply that Notre Dame could be the biggest surprise team in 2008 but the statement alone makes everyone realize how far it is the Irish have fallen. One year ago they were coming off of back-to-back BCS appearances and seemed primed for the spotlight for years to come once again. However, 3 wins and 9 losses later they enter 2008 looking to gain back some of the respect that was lost on the national level a year ago.


kendvanpool said...

I think you give Virginia too much credit against USC. They are supposed to totally blow this year. Scary blow. Some experts have picked them to be last in the ACC behind Duke. Ya Duke. USC should have a cake walk on that one.

John Berkowitz said...

I probably do, but I like their coach. USC is having problems on offense, but they are better than the defensive dominated Husky squad that finished #2 to BYU in 1984.

kendvanpool said...

Tru tru. I live out here in VA and the Cavs news gets worse and worse every day. Aside from pac-10 teams they are my second team (cal definitly comes before them). It is amazing how bad the news is. Two of the linemen were caught stealing beers at a gay club a couple weeks ago. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have my bad boys with Ak's in rap videos.

However that discribes half of the team at Maryland they just don't get busted.

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