Blog Entry

Five things I believe about the Pac-10

Posted on: July 30, 2009 10:01 pm
 

Reflections on the one-day Pac-10 up do in L.A. ...

Turn it up to (Pac-)10! Nine in the morning, nursing coffee. God, do I have a hangover? No, it’s rock music blaring out of speakers at the podium 30 minutes before the media day is about to begin.

The whole thing is being streamed on the Internet. Fans are allowed to Tweet questions (and have them read to the coaches and players).

Welcome to the brave new world of new Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. The man is bald, in his 40s and has two children but he definitely wants to change the image to the staid league. Next year, Will Ferrell as moderator.

“It’s a new feel, it’s exciting,” Pete Carroll said. “There’s something different going on in the Pac-10.”


Chip Kelly is going to do just fine. Oregon’s new leader went from coach-in-waiting in December to replacing the dean of Pac-10 coaches a couple of months later. The program has transitioned seamlessly.

Not bad for being in Eugene only two seasons. Kelly is what Rich Rodriguez used to be – a spread option guru who runs a power running game.  With Kelly as offensive coordinator Oregon has finished in the top six in rushing each of the last two seasons.

“You can’t paint a spread option with a broad brush,” Kelly said. “You do everything from pass it 60 times a game to run it 60 times a game.”

Plus, Kelly had the line of the day. Sitting next to cornerback Walter Thurmond in front of hundreds of media he said: “First, I’d like you to know that myself and Walter voted for Tim Tebow for first-team All-SEC.”

Pete Carroll really used the M word. When asked about new quarterback Aaron Corp, USC’s coach actually used a vague comparison to Joe Montana.

Corp ascension to No. 1 marks the first time in six years USC has had to have a spring competition to replace a quarterback. The last time it happened was 2003 when some guy named Matt Leinart won the job.

“The guy that I hope Aaron would be like would be what Joe Montana was like,” Carroll said. “Go back to what Joe was like and hear him talk about it in his younger years. He was so resourceful and had great accuracy but always run and kill you with his legs.

“Way back when we first started recruiting Aaron that’s what I wondered. I wondered what Joe Montana would look like in high school.”

Corp is a redshirt sophomore from Villa Park, Calif.  Who has thrown three career passes. He won the job in the spring after not committing a turnover in any of the spring practices or scrimmages.

Something happened to all those arms. The Pac-10 returns five 1,000-yard rushers this season including Heisman candidate Jahvid Best from Cal.

Where have all the quarterbacks gone? It’s one of those cyclical things. Only five starting quarterbacks return (not counting Cal’s Kevin Riley who split time last season).

“I don’t know if you’d call it a smash mouth league but it’s very physical,” Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson said.

Jim Harbaugh is still the funniest coach this side of Mike Leach. In the middle of a serious discussion Thursday, the Stanford coach relayed a story about his dual-sport star Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart could be a possible draft choice in both football and baseball. One day while playing left field at Sunken Diamond, Gerhart heard a voice behind him.

“Toby, Toby it’s me, Coach Harbaugh,” said the coach who was behind the outfield fence. “We had a conversation for about an inning and a half.”

Category: NCAAF
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