Building A Team: Start With The O-Line

Your going to start a brand new football team.  You get to develop your team from the ground up.  Do you start with a QB, RB, LB?  No, you have got to start with the offensive line.  Get yourself an experienced center or a solid left tackle.

Stanford, along with Washington, has been at the bottom of the conference for the last few seasons.  There is optimism on The Farm, partly because of the return and strength of the offensive line. 

Returning three starters, along with the health of RB Anthony Kimble means that the Cardinal may be ready to make some noise in the running game.  With the QB situation still up in the air, the running game is going to have to make some serious strides if Stanford wants to rise to the middle of the Pac.

Stanford offensive linemen expect improvement this season [San Jose Mercury News]

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Running With The Pac: August 22, Freshman Gonna Have An Impact

 ***Isn’t it nice when 18-year old kids are going to play a prominent role with your football team.  That’s an advantage if your a high school coach, a very scary proposition if your a college coach.***

Berekly, CA – California head coach Jeff Tedford named his starter, Kevin Riley will start against Michigan State.  This means that Nate Longshore will be watching from the sideline, at least for the first few games barring injury.

Eugene, OR – Rob Moseley gives us his season predictions for the Ducks.  Rob approached his predictions a little differently, rather than just predicting each game he assigned a value to each game that represented how many times he believes Oregon would win if the teams played 10 times.

Pullman, WA – Washington State receiver Brandon Gibson looks to break all of WSU’s receiving records this season.  Individual records are great, but Gibson prefers winning games.  The Cougs have a chance to surprise some people this season.

Los Angeles, CA – UCLA is preparing for their Labor Day battle with Tennessee by outlining which freshman will play. If your math is correct, 9 true freshman will not redshirt and help the Bruins this season.

Tempe, AZ – Freshman are making an impact with ASU as well, WR Gerell Robinson is catching on and understanding the more complex offense better.  A better name for the “bubble”, how about the Sun Devil Sauna???? No. We don’t think so either.

Oregon QB Costa Injured???

That’s the report out of Oregon.  He may have injured his knee in practice last night.  There is no official word, so we don’t know if it is true, and whether or not it is the same knee that was injured last season.

What we do know is that backup Justin Roper looked good in the scrimmage on Saturday.  He was 7-8 for 155 yards, this is the same guy who lead the Ducks to a blowout victory over South Florida in the Sun Bowl last December. 

With the UW game only 9 days away, it’s looking more and more like Roper will be starting the season against the Dawgs. 

You never know, this may be a blessing for Oregon, although you have to feel bad for Nate Costa.  All the kid wants to do is play, yet his body keeps failing him.

Bellotti Done At Oregon In 2009???

The Ducks were a healthy Dennis Dixon away from the National Championship Game last season, Mike Bellotti has a .619 winning percentage since 2002, and Phil Knight is pumping more money into Oregon athletics than USC boosters were into the Bush family.  How then, can Coaches Hot Seat be predicting that Bellotti is entering his final season in Eugene?

Frankly, we think it’s ridiculous.  You don’t fire a guy who has been at the helm of the program through its’ most successful run ever.  You can’t use the schedule as an excuse, it’s tough every season, with 9 conference games.

Predicting that Oregon is going to lose to a middle-tier Big 10 team is laughable.  Purdue’s RB is likely done and West Lafayette isn’t the most intimidating place to play.  Yes, the Ducks play USC, Arizona State, and California on the road, but they are very capable of stealing one, if not two, of those games. 

Do we expect Oregon to win the Pac-10? No. Do we expect Mike Bellotti to be the coach at Oregon in 2009? Without a doubt.

Pac-10 Projections

Isn’t it the staple of ever blog to predict the upcoming season?  While we don’t fancy ourselves experts, therefore making these predictions meaningless, we do think it’s best to put them out there. 

This way, when were way off, you can ridicule us.  But, if we are even close to right then bragging rights for all of 2009.

So, without any more ramblings, here’s how RWTP believes the 2008 Pac-10 season will shakeout:

1.) USC – Can’t really say anything that hasn’t all ready been said.  The defense will be great, the offense may falter some, but overall they are still the best team in the conference.

2.) Arizona – No, that isn’t a typo.  We didn’t forget the State at the end.  The Wildcats will finish #2 in the conference.  The value of a experienced QB is undervalued sometimes.  This is one of those cases.  Willie Tuitama will lead Arizona to their highest finish in years and give Mike Stoops a contract extension in the desert.

3.)Arizona State – A tough schedule, facing USC, Cal, and Oregon in three straight weeks will leave the Sun Devils in 3rd place.  The game that decides 2nd and3rd will be for the Territorial Cup.  QB Rudy Carpenter will get hurt behind that weak O-line and ASU won’t be able to challenge USC for the conference title.

4.) Oregon – The Ducks have playmakers: WR Jaison Williams, RB Jeremiah Johnson, and RB LeGarrette Blount.  Even though they are breaking in a new QB, an easy nonconference slate gives the Ducks another top tier finish in the Pac.

5.) California – Last year California went from #2 in the nation and National Championship Game hopes to the Armed Forces Bowl and a 7-6 season.  Jahvid Best may be the best running back no ones talking about, but the uncertainty at QB, will it be Kevin Riley or Nate Longshore?, will cause Cal to once again finish near the middle of the conference. 

6.) Oregon State – You can’t lose 8 defensive starters and your 1,000 yard RB and expect to not lose anything in the standings.  The Beavers, who the last two seasons have finished with the best record in conference not named the Trojans, can expect their run defense to suffer.  

7.) UCLA – You don’t want to be a QB at UCLA right now.  They’re dropping faster than USA Basketball opponents.  They have a master coaching staff (Neuheisel, Chow, Walker) but it’s going to take more than one year to make a difference in Westwood.

8.) Washington State – New coach, new offense, new mindset.  The Cougars will be a different team this season.  They will have the mental toughness to finish games, something they severely lacked under Bill Doba.  Will a quick tempo offense and an improved defense, the Cougs will manage to win 4 conference games and finish ahead of the Dawgs and Cardinal.

9.) Washington – People are giving Jake Locker and his young offense to much credit.  With only one receiver on the roster who has caught a pass in a college game, the Husky offense will have a hard time moving the ball against some good defenses in the Pac-10.  The Husky defense is questionable, with 3 new defensive linemen up front.

10.) Stanford – The Cardinal just don’t have the talent to compete right now.  Tavita Pritchard beat USC last year, but will be lucky to win 3 Pac-10 games this season.  They lose both their top WR, but return a decent defense including S Bo McNally.

Roaming With The Pac: August 21, Seven Days ‘Till OSU-Stanford

***Can you believe real, live college football is only one week away?  It feels like Christmas Eve around here.  This means that Michael Phelps has more gold medals in 2008 than we do days until the gridiron.***

Eugene, OR – Who’s gonna be Oregon’s starting QB against Washington? Who knows, but an announcement is expected Friday.

Los Angeles, CA – USC starting QB Mark Sanchez participated in 7-on-7 drills Wednesday. Causing further speculation that he may be able to play August 30 when the Trojans travel to Virginia.  Also ESPN’s Ted Miller sat down with Pete Carroll.  Here is  Part One and Part Two. It’s a good read, so take the time.

Bristol, CT – Former Pac-10 football analyst-turned-play-by-play man Dan Fouts has been signed by CBS to bolster their football coverage team. Fouts was let go by ABC/ESPN last year.

Roaming With The Pac: August 11, Who’s Gonna Play QB?

*Back, fresh, and ready to roll, Pac-10 style.

Pullman, WA – New head coach Paul Wulff gave the Cougars a grade of C+ for their first week of efforts.  While the players may not be picking up the new playbook as fast as the coaches would like, they are definitely getting the hitting part down pat.  A little fire after the play is over, showing that a 10th-place prediction doesn’t mean much in the land of wheat.

Seattle, WA – The University of Washington may soon hire a new Athletic Director.  All we can say is, it’s about damn time.  Having been without a permanent hire since January, the Huskies need to find some stability in their athletic programs.  They currently have a head football coach who knows less about his starting QB’s injury than the kid’s father. Or at least Scott Locker is willing to share the information with the media, while the tight-lipped Willingham prefers to play dumb.  Also, moving over to the Sports Blogging Network in the next week or two is the UW Football Blog.

Corvallis, OR – Oregon State QB Lyle Moevao hooked up with WR Sammie Stroughter for a 70 yd. score in the Beavers scrimmage on Saturday.  With Sean Canfield sitting out, it’s looking more and more like Moevao will be the starter for the opener against Stanford.  Over at Building The Dam, they too, belive that Moevao is looking like a real Pac-10 Quarterback.

Eugene, OR – Big love for Oregon DB (what position does he really play? Safety? Rover? We don’t know, but want to.) Patrick Chung who Sporting News says might be the best defensive player in the country! It seems everybody in the conference is having QB problems, but Oregon’s QBs looked decent in their scrimmage Saturday.  It’s only 19 more days until the hated Huskies arrive in Eugene.

Los Angeles, CAHuge turnout for USC’s practice last night. 1,000 people came to watch the QB battle because Mark Sanchez went and hurt his knee.  USC is also having some trouble getting all their recruits into school because of that damn NCAA Clearing House.

Los Angeles, CA – With UCLA starter Ben Olson getting hurt and subsequently being out eight weeks, the QB race is suddenly wide open again.  The coaches want to have a starter in place in exactly two weeks, so we’ll see who decides to take the reigns. 

Tuscon, AZ – No problems at QB for Arizona, where backup Matt Scott is getting all the work with the #2 offense. While they may be set at QB, their starting RB got ejected from practice for taking a swing at a teammate.  There’s good violence after the whistle, then there’s this.

Tempe, AZ – The nomadic Ryan McFoy may have finally found his place on the field, as a linebacker.  It has to be tough getting moved around like that, although forgetting your thigh pads will get you noticed.

Berekley, CA – After a week of practice and three days in pads, injuries at California are starting to add up.  It’s good to hear that RB Jahvid Best is finally returning to full health, something that Cal will need if it wants to finish near the top of the conference.

Palo Alto, CA – With a new defensive coordinator, the Cardinal defense returns 11 players who made starts last season and hope to improve on last year’s ninth-worst Pac-10 defense.  In recruiting news, Stanford has offered a scholarship to Joe Montana’s son.  Nick Montana is currently a junior who is competing for the starting QB job at Oaks Christian High.

Video Time: Washington State

Thought we would share some of the great videos we found out there on the old internet.  First, up this awesome video from the 2001 Cougar football team.  First saw this video on the WSU Football Blog.

The opening introduction by Keith Jackson is classic.  If you’ve never been to Pullman, then you don’t know how really out there it is.  This was a Cougar team that beat USC in OT on a field goal and was coached by Mike Price.  Enjoy the video, and Cougar fans, relive those memories with a smile on your faces.

Roaming With The Pac: August 5

*A daily look at what’s happening in the world of college football, west coast-style.

Ted Miller visited Arizona State’s practice and had some notes for us.  Looks like the depth issue at WR may not be as dire as first thought. [Ted Miller’s Blog]

In his usual quick-hitting format, Scott Wolf tells us USC OL Daniel Campbell will not be attending USC, but rather he is enrolled at Hargreaves Military Academy in Virginia. [Scott Wolf]

Lots of good notes from the Husky’s first practice today from Bob Condotta.  Noteably, Jake Locker looked more accurate, the coaches were fired up, and suspended LB E.J. Savannah was watching practice.  Eat this coverage up Husky fans because starting tomorrow the media only gets to watch the firts 25 minutes of practice. [Bob Condotta]

Rudy Carpenter: Crybaby or Competitor?

“But I also think I’m an easy target since I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I get mad and fiery and do things quarterbacks don’t do. But I just want to win. I think it gets misconstrued that I’m a crybaby when I’m just competitive.”

First impression of Arizona State’s QB Rudy Carpenter: Relax.  The guy always seems to be pumping his fist, screaming, or generally, just acting annoying.  But, does that make him a jackass or just a really emotional player?

When you aren’t an Arizona State fan he looks like a jackass.  The kind of guy you want to get his head taken off by a safety on a delayed blitz.  From this article, he may just be a guy who really wants to win.  There is two ways to show your competitiveness.  One, is to act like Carpenter, you scream and gesture at the other team or slams his helmet to the turf after a bad play.  Two, is more like Brett Favre (since no one is talking about him these days), you show emotion, pump your fist, high-five but you do it with your teammates, not directed at the opponent. 

As a sports fan, we want our players acting in the second manner.  Nothing good can come from antagonizing the opposition, expect maybe a desire to drill you into last Saturday.  And if you slam your helmet, you better be sure you don’t make a teammate think your showing him up in public.  In Carpenter’s case, a receiver drops a pass and Rudy screams at him.  Does that help?  Does that make Carpenter a good or bad teammate?  

So, is he a crybaby you deserves to be pummeled, or is he a competitor showing his emotions? 

ASU’s Carpenter aims to shake reputation, build on legacy [East Valley Tribune]