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Tag:Ryan Katz
Posted on: January 5, 2011 7:01 pm
 

James Rodgers gets hardship waiver for fifth year

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Oregon State got a boost of good news today when senior James Rodgers -- brother of Jacquizz Rodgers , of course -- was given an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. Rodgers was injured after making a (negated) touchdown catch past Arizona safety Adam Hall in the first half of the OSU-Arizona game; Rodgers' knee buckled as Hall tackled him in the end zone, tearing Rodgers' ACL.

Technically, Rodgers' season-ending injury came during the fifth game of the year, but he had missed the prior game after suffering a concussion on a hit by Boise State safety Will Venables (the helmet-to-helmet hit by Venables would result in a two-quarter suspension), so Rodgers really only played in four of the season's 12 games. That's small enough to meet the NCAA's requirement of 30% games played (yes, there's rounding involved) to grant a medical hardship waiver.

But while Venables' hit was obviously dirty and punished as such, the play that resulted in Rodgers' blown knee would probably be less defensible if it weren't so common. On the fateful play, Rodgers had clearly scored the touchdown and taken several steps in the end zone with Hall on him when Hall finished the tackle, twisting Rodgers' knee past the ACL's tolerance. If that play happens out of bounds, Hall gets flagged and perhaps ejected for unnecessary roughness. And yet, the ball is dead in the end zone after the officials signal a touchdown too, and Hall wasn't trying for a last-gasp strip. It's just common practice to go ahead and get the ball-carrier down in the unlikely event that the ball comes out. Not only is the practice cheap, it's demonstrably dangerous, and with replay being such a part of college football, it wouldn't even work anyway. You're really going to strip a guy 5 steps into the end zone and then expect the ref and replay booth to all think it's a legitimate play? Come on.

Again, it's still technically legal, mainly because it's so widespread, but the fact that someone who has just scored a touchdown can get whacked without any repercussions from the officials seems inconsistent with the rest of the protections afforded to players everywhere else on the field.

At any rate, this is a welcome change of circumstance for Rodgers, who came into the 2010 season as a preseason All-American only to fall off his school-record pace from 2009 even before the injuries. If he can put together a solid senior season with his brother in the backfield, cannon-armed junior Ryan Katz returning as the starting quarterback, and a bevy of experienced receivers coming back, the lousy 2010 campaign will become little more than a distant memory.

Posted on: November 21, 2010 12:26 am
 

What I Learned from the Pac-10 (Nov. 20)

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Only three games in the Pac-10 this week, but we still learned a few things:

1. Stanford deserves a BCS bowl berth. The Cardinal caught a break in catching Cal in the "horrific" week of their solid/horrific yo-yo-routine; after the Bears put together such an impressive performance against Oregon last week, the proper bet regarding their performance this week was the house, on collapse .

But that still shouldn't take anything away from the kind of dominance Jim Harbaugh 's team has shown the past few weeks. The Cardinal simply annihilated Cal from the opening gun, watching Andrew Luck hit 16-of-20 without an interception and even embarrassing a Bear defender on a long run just for kicks ... holding the Bears scoreless through the first three quarters ... scoring on their first eight possessions, every one Luck directed ... leading 45-0. It was the sort of display usually reserved for beatdowns of bottom-rung FCS teams, and it all came in "The Game," Cal's biggest rivalry game of the year, on the road in Berkeley.

Between this performance, the thumping of Arizona two weeks ago, and the 41-0 road whitewashing of Washington three weeks back, it's safe to rank Stanford alongside the likes of Auburn and Boise State as one of the hottest teams in the country and the hottest in the Pac-10 . Assuming they wrap up the season at 11-1, they'll deserve to have a shot at playing in one of the big-money BCS games rather than having to slink off the Holiday Bowl . That may or may not happen -- it'll be helpful if Auburn loses and opens up a slot in the BCS title game for a non-AQ team that will otherwise hog a spot in the Rose Bowl -- but there shouldn't be any "may or may not," not the way the Cardinal are playing.

2. Corvallis is USC's own personal house of horrors. You can't really argue that Oregon State 's Reser Stadium is a "tough place to play," not this year, not after the Beavers got trounced at home by Washington State last week. (Yes, that Washington State. Yes, that actually happened.) But apparently it doesn't matter how welcoming a host OSU might be for anyone else; they are always going to be at maximum hostility for USC .

In 2006, the Trojans were third-ranked and favored to return to the BCS title game for the third time in three years when they went to Corvallis; they turned the ball over four times and lost 33-31, snapping their 27-game Pac-10 winning streak. In 2008, USC had just defeated No. 5 Ohio State 35-3 and were the No. 1 team in the country; Jacquizz Rodgers exploded for 186 yards against one of the best defenses of college football's past decade and the Beavers won 27-21. Obviously the 2010 Trojans can't measure up to the '06 or '08 versions (who finished with a combined record of 23-2), but they had won three of their last four and beaten a good Arizona team on the road just last week. And, you know, Washington State.

No matter. Matt Barkley had his ankle bent into all kinds of incorrect directions ; Mitch Mustain went only 8-of-17 in relief; Rodgers went off for another 128 yards and a score; Beaver QB Ryan Katz recovered from a terrible week against Wazzu to hit 17-of-24 with two touchdowns and no picks; the Trojans lost the turnover battle 0-2 and only gained 255 total yards; and in the end, the Beavers crushed the Trojans 36-7 .

Corvallis: home sweet home to Wazzu, the worst place imaginable for the Trojans. Go figure.

3. UCLA's offense is ... well ... you know. We know the Bruins are struggling with quarterback issues and with a scheme conversion to the pistol that has been, to put it as politely as we possibly can, a work in progress.

But there's a point at which politeness isn't really appropriate anymore, and once you've scored zero points over the final three quarters and netted all of 163 yards (over 61 plays, an unbelievably terrible average gain of 2.67 yards per-play) against a team that entered the game ranked 109th in the FBS in total defense, that point has long since past. We've posted this portrait of UCLA's offense before, and after the stinkbomb the Bruins laid up in Seattle last Thursday, we feel we have no choice but to post it again:



It's a shame, because the Bruin defense -- which hounded Jake Locker into another "that guy is a first-rounder?!?" performance (10/21, 68 yards, 0 TD 1 INT) -- isn't great but is good enough to get UCLA to the postseason they desperately want . The offense, however, will be lucky to drag UCLA past their current four wins.  


Posted on: November 14, 2010 1:36 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 1:37 am
 

What I Learned from the Pac-10 (Nov. 13)

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

1. Oregon can win ugly, too. To be fair to the Ducks, they weren't exactly dominated in their 15-13 win in Berkeley; they outgained Cal by more than 100 yards, held the Bears to 193 yards total and a miserable 2.5 yards per-pass, and only gave up a second touchdown on a Darron Thomas fumble in the end zone.

But they also scored their only first-half touchdown on a Cliff Harris punt return, averaged a stunningly weak 2.9 yards per-carry, eked out the final two-point margin by virtue of their made two-point try and Cal's failed attempt, and could have easily lost if not for Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio short-circuiting his own 24-yard field goal with a stutter-step procedure penalty and missing the subsequent 29-yard try. Every national title contender has to win games when they're not at their best, but Oregon was so far away from their best Saturday night they'd have to send it a postcard.

In the end, it didn't matter, as behind Thomas and a hobbled LaMichael James the Ducks changed philosophies on the fly to a clock-churning, yards-chewing ground-exclusive outfit that ate up the game's final 9:25 on one drive . That kind of versatility could prove to be the difference between a national champion and a slip-up before Glendale ... even if the Ducks would prefer not to have to put it to use again until there's a crystal football awarded to the victor.

2. Washington State should keep Paul Wulff.
Let's be fair: the Cougars' rehabilitation, even after their 31-14 upset-of-the-Pac-10's year against Oregon State today, is progressing verrrrry ... sloooooooowly. One FBS win in 2008, that one over winless Washington. One in 2009, over SMU in overtime. Until today, none in 2010.

But that hasn't meant it hasn't been progressing at all . After getting totally obliterated on a weekly basis two years ago, the Cougars have been substantially more competitive this season: 42-28 vs. UCLA , 43-23 vs. Oregon, 38-28 vs. Stanford , 20-13 vs. Cal. You could see the game coming where the Cougars put everything together and took down some unsuspecting favorite. And that game came today: quarterback Jeff Tuel had the game of his career, hitting 10-of-15 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown while adding 79 yards in the ground; the rest of a surprisingly productive run game chipped in 142 yards and three touchdowns; and the much-maligned Cougar defense forced three turnovers, hounded Beaver quarterback Ryan Katz into a quiet 12-for-21 performance, and held the Beavers to 261 yards overall. Unexpected as Wazzu's triumph might have been, especially coming in Corvallis, it was no fluke.

So maybe progress has been slow. But it's there. Wulff has Wazzu pointed in the right direction, and after today he deserves at least one more season to see how far in that direction he can go.

(As for the Beavers, well, TCU and Boise would like a refund, please.)

3. Arizona State is the Pac-10's hard-luck team. The Sun Devils have had a couple of games in which they outgained their opponent by wide margins and lost, but today wasn't one of them; visiting Stanford enjoyed a 420-268 yardage advantage. But this is still a team that lost at Wisconsin on a late missed extra point; gave away an excellent shot at a huge upset of Oregon with a flood of turnovers; lost to Oregon State when a late drive ended in an interception; to USC on a late missed field goal. You'd think that eventually Dennis Erickson 's team could buy a break, and when the Devils went up 13-10 late in the third quarter on a Steven Threet touchdown pass, it looked like that break might finally be coming.

But it wasn't: the Cardinal took over on their 15 and went 85 yards to score an Owen Marecic touchdown with just over five minutes remaining. ASU's following drive went nowhere, and Stanford picked up three first downs to ice the game. The Sun Devils have now played the BCS's Nos. 1, 6, and 7 teams and lost by a total of 16 points. But they'll still have to sweep their final two games vs. UCLA and at Arizona just to make a bowl game.

4. This isn't Mike Stoops' breakthrough season, either. Arizona has famously never been to the Rose Bowl, but even if Oregon made clear the Wildcats aren't getting there this year relatively early, Stoops could have still hoped for his first 10-win season and top-20 final ranking -- goals his team looked well on their way to fulfilling after their early-season win over Iowa .

Since then, though, the Wildcats have gone a ho-hum 4-3 with two of those wins over the Washington schools and the latest result a dispiriting 24-21 home loss to USC. The Trojans aren't a bad team by any means, but if the Wildcats want to be taken seriously as Pac-10 contenders, winning home games against their fellow upper-end-of-the-pack rivals (not to mention avoiding getting outrushed 205-51) is a step they'll have to take. Unless Arizona pulls a shocker in Eugene next weekend, eight regular season wins will be the ceiling.

Again.



Posted on: October 18, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 4:37 am
 

Midseason Report: Pac-10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race, and in the Pac-10, that means cleanly separating its top half from its bottom half ... and wondering if anyone can catch Oregon. Here's what's happened so far and what might happen down the stretch.

1. Oregon (6-0, 3-0) - Jeremiwho Masoli? The Ducks missed the memo that the offseason dismissal of their starting quarterback spelled the end of any national title hopes, blazing to six straight wins by an average margin of 38 points. That’s been good enough to make them the consensus No. 1 team in the polls entering the second half of the season, and for Chip Kelly to confirm (again) that no one has a better offensive mind or more talent for coaching dual-threat quarterbacks. First-year starter Darron Thomas has racked up more than 1,400 total yards in leading the Ducks to the current No. 1 ranking in total offense. But even Thomas can go overlooked next to tailback and Heisman candidate LaMichael James , the nation’s No. 1 rusher at 170 yards per-game. The Duck onslaught has overwhelmed every team unlucky enough to face it so far, including previously undefeated Stanford , who gave up 49 points in the final three quarters and lost by three full scores at Autzen. Don’t pencil the Ducks in for a national title bout just yet, though; they were outgained by 226 yards in their only serious road test to date, at Arizona State , and still have to visit three dangerous teams in USC , Cal , and Oregon State . Where the Pac-10 title is concerned, however, it’ll be a shocker if it winds up anywhere but Eugene.

2. Stanford (5-1, 2-1) - Not many coaches can claim to have done a better job over the past few seasons than Kelly, but Jim Harbaugh might be one of them. His stunning reclamation project in Palo Alto has only picked up speed in 2010 as behind potential No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck (1,538 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 65.7 completion percentage), the Cardinal haven’t missed a beat without departed Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. UCLA was embarrassed 35-0, Notre Dame bludgeoned 37-14. and USC out-shot 37-35. The 73rd-ranked rush defense could stand to find more consistency, but with Arizona and Oregon State both coming to Stanford Stadium, the Cardinal could nonetheless be favored in their final six games. 10 or even 11 wins are within reach ... though with Oregon holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, it'll take some major help to reach Pasadena.

3. Arizona (5-1, 2-1)
- The Pac-10 has the Wildcats to thank for the conference’s most impressive non-league win to-date, the wire-to-wire 34-27 win over otherwise-undefeated No. 13 Iowa . But Arizona hasn’t been nearly as impressive in conference play, escaping Cal 10-9 on a last-minute touchdown, losing at home to Oregon State 29-27, and sleepwalking past hapless Washington State 24-7. Quarterback Nick Foles has been outstanding, completing better than 75 percent of his passes and averaging 267 yards a game. But now Foles is due to miss three weeks with a knee injury, and the ‘Cats haven’t been able to get key senior running back Nic Grigsby (340 yards this season) on track. With road trips to Stanford and Oregon still to come, Mike Stoops will have to recapture the magic of the Iowa game in a hurry to keep the Wildcats a factor in the Pac-10 race.

4. Oregon State (3-3, 2-1) - Give the Beavers this: no one in the country has played a more difficult schedule. There’s no shame in losing competitive games on the road at top-5 outfits like TCU and Boise State, and not a whole lot in being a two-point conversion away from a thrilling win at Washington . But there’s not that much respect in being only .500, either, even with a big road win at Arizona. And with James Rodgers out for the season, it’s worth asking if the Beavers have enough offensive firepower to hang with anyone in their brutal USC-Stanford-Oregon closing stretch. Still, Mike Riley 's teams usually improve as the season progresses, and quarterback Ryan Katz has shown flashes of brilliance (most notably in the 390 yard upset in Tucson). The Beavers will still have their say in how the Pac-10 ultimately plays out. They always do.

5. USC (5-2, 2-2) - Maybe we should include Washington in this space. After all, the Huskies both beat the Trojans at the Coliseum and stand a half-game ahead of USC in the Pac-10 standings. But it’s hard to take a team that’s lost to a flatly terrible BYU squad and Arizona State (at home!) all that seriously. The Trojans, on the other hand, are two field goals -- one Washington’s, one Stanford’s, both on the final play of the game -- away from being undefeated. And the way Matt Barkley is throwing the ball these days (742 yards, 8 touchdowns, no interceptions the last two weeks) and freshman Robert Woods is catching it (19 receptions, 340 yards, 5 touchdowns those same two weeks), it’s safe to call Lane Kiffin ’s team the one in the Pac-10 that no one would want to play. Just ask Cal. Then again: how dangerous can the Trojans really be if Monte Kiffin ’s 90th-ranked defense doesn’t stop allowing the occasional 500-yard game? USC could upset Oregon in L.A. and enter the final week of the season in contention for a championship, or they could be mathematically eliminated in another two weeks. Anything is possible here.

Prediction: Sorry, Ducks fans: the guess here is that Oregon won't become the first Pac-10 team other than USC to advance to the BCS championship game. Even the best offenses can have off-games on the road, and that defense -- which was gouged for 600 yards in Tempe and another 518 against Stanford -- isn't going to be able to take up the slack. Whether at Los Angeles, Berkeley, or Corvallis, Oregon is due to trip up somewhere.

But they won't trip up twice, which means that they'll still be able to settle for a second straight Pac-10 championship and Rose Bowl berth. Stanford will crack double-digit wins, but it won't be enough, and perhaps maybe not even enough to push the race into the season's final week.

Everyone else? Three conference losses at the minimum, though USC will end the season with a ton of momentum and the consensus honor of being the league's third-best team.



Posted on: October 17, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 11:31 pm
 

Can Oregon make the BCS Championship Game?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Certainly, one of the teams that got the best news tonight is Oregon, ranked second in the initial BCS rankings. While there's only so much that can be read into these rankings with six games of play remaining, of course, the fact remains that as of right now Oregon is projected to go to Glendale to play for the BCS Championship.

So, those six games. There's no such thing as an automatic win in college football these days, but the Ducks should be heavily favored in the majority of these contests.

October 21, vs. UCLA: UCLA is of the most schizophrenic teams in the country, blowing out Houston and Texas but getting crushed by Stanford and a truly mediocre California. Still, even with the Bruins playing at their best, it's hard to imagine they can put up enough points to keep pace with the Oregon offense.

October 30, at USC: If there's any team left on Oregon's schedule that has the sheer talent to run with the Ducks for 60 minutes, it's likely USC. Lane Kiffin's team, led by emerging star Matt Barkley, is young and lacking in depth, but still explosively athletic. If Oregon's really a championship team, it'll handle the Trojans.

November 6 vs. Washington: Anyone think Jake Locker can lead the Huskies to eight touchdowns against Oregon's defense? Because the Ducks are probably putting up at least a 50-spot on the Washington defense.  

November 13 at California: It's a road game, which means the Ducks have no business looking past the Bears. They probably won't, and on paper, they'll probably win by about five or six touchdowns here. But you never know -- there's no such thing as a safe road game anymore. We'll see if the game on paper resembles the game on the field.

November 26 vs. Arizona: Here's another potential roadblock for the Ducks; Arizona quarterback (and the Pac-10's leading passer up until his knee injury) Nick Foles should be healthy by the time this game rolls around, and Arizona is one of the few teams that has an offense that might keep pace with the Ducks. Might. 

December 4, at Oregon State: Oregon State QB Ryan Katz is developing as a passer game by game, but the Beavers surely miss wideout James Rodgers, lost for the year with an awful knee injury. But that Oregon State defense doesn't have the horses or the discipline to keep Oregon down, so even though this is a rivalry game and anything can happen -- especially with a BCS championship at stake -- this is a probable win.

So yes, Oregon's road to an unbeaten record is relatively safe. Now, there's another question of whether Oregon can stave off Oklahoma and Auburn if they both go unbeaten, too. But that's a question the BCS will be tasked with answering, isn't it?

Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:14 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Oh, right, USC. That team with an embarrassment of riches. Them. It's easy (and not altogether unwise) to forget sometimes based on their on-field "exploits," but the USC Trojans still have a ton of talent. They don't have a ton of experience and they're with a brand-new coach, but still: these guys have some innate physical advantages. Take Matt Barkley, for example. The 5-star recruit had a rough freshman campaign last season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks, but, y'know, he's still a former 5-star recruit. And he flashed that talent in a big way today with a 25-37, 352 yard, five-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Cal in a 48-14 whipping. Even with the reserves seeing plenty of garbage time, the Trojans still racked up 32 first downs, 602 total yards, and 5.9 yards per rush. And this is against a Cal defense that held UCLA to seven points and Arizona to 10 in their two prior games (yes, 52 to Nevada prior to that, but hey). USC isn't allowed to go to a bowl, and its scholarship restrictions are going to sting for years, but every now and then these Trojans are going to lay waste to mediocre opponents. This was one of those weeks.

2. Jake Locker is here, and not a moment too soon. Washington QB Jake Locker, the much-ballyhooed freshman of three years ago, is a senior now, and whether through lousy luck with injuries, insufficient surrounding talent, or poor play of his own, he hasn't really lived up to his high expectations for any sustained amount of time. Again, not completely his fault, but it's true. To Locker's credit, he's kept his head down and stayed at the task of improving this whole time, and he was rewarded today with a five-touchdown performance in Washington's 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State. Locker made some gorgeous throws today, and the memories of his ghastly 4-20 performance against Nebraska just four weeks ago seemed much further away today. Locker wasn't perfect, and his fourth-quarter fumble in Beaver territory killed the Huskies' most promising shot at a game-winning score in regulation, but still: five touchdowns. 

3. Meanwhile, bravery and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. After seeing his team match Washington's touchdown in the second overtime, Oregon State coach Mike Riley made the commendable decision to go for the win right then and there, to tell his team that victory was only three yards away. Curiously, though, Riley declined to dial the number of Jacquizz Rodgers, who had played like a man possessed up to that point with 189 total yards and four touchdowns up to that point -- including three rushing scores from within six yards. No, Riley called on his sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who tried to connect with tight end Joe Halahuni on the conversion. The ball slipped through Halahuni's hands before falling harmlessly incomplete, and that was that. Now, going for two was a bold, mansome decision, but not giving the ball to Rodgers even if the defense was expecting it (much as they had for the entire game thus far) doesn't put Oregon State in the best position to succeed, and for that Oregon State now has a loss instead of a win.

4. Is Matt Scott better than last season? We're about to find out. There wasn't a whole lot to take away from each team's performance in Arizona's 24-7 win over Washington State; the Huskies are improving but still not very good, but we already knew that. The real news is that Arizona's star QB Nick Foles injured his knee after getting rolled into early in the second quarter. Early indications are that it's a dislocated kneecap, which sounds far worse than it is; Matt Barkley suffered the same injury last season, and he was practicing after a week or two. Mike Stoops told reporters he expected Foles to miss two to three weeks. If true, that's rough news for the Wildcats, who will face Washington, UCLA, and Stanford in their next three games. Backup Matt Scott came in for Foles, but he's the guy who was benched for Foles after three games last season for ineffective play. He sure didn't do much for Arizona against Washington State, and there's no guarantee he can put up points against some of the Pac-10's better defenses. For the sake of everybody on the Wildcats, let's hope Scott can put together some good games in Foles's absence, because it's incredibly disheartening to see a team's shot at a conference crown go south on account of one key injury.

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Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:30 pm
 

Boise State safety Venable suspended for one half

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When Boise State kicks off their conference season against powerhouse (cough) New Mexico State this weekend, they'll be doing so without one of their leaders on defense. Winston Venable, a senior safety, was suspended one half by WAC commissioner Karl Benson after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers. From Benson:

"After reviewing this play, it was determined that a flagrant personal foul should have been called by the game officials which would have resulted in the player being ejected" said WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Rodgers, who wasn't even the ball-carrier on the play (it was a quarterback scramble by Ryan Katz), suffered a concussion and appeared to lose consciousness briefly.

The WAC was planning on suspending Venable for a game before a Boise State appeal cut the punishment in half. The Broncos obviously don't need to have Venable in their secondary to beat NMSU; heck, they could throw head coach Chris Peterson back there and still win by 30. But preparation and routine are important in football, and it'll be easier for Venable to stay in the proper mindset for the season if he's going through practice and preparing to actually be on the field come Saturday -- even if the game could be such a blowout that the rest of the starters will be ordered to sit at the half.

To the larger point, though, it's nice to see a commissioner's office take some proactive steps to combat this sort of thing. Venable's hit didn't make a lot of sense from a football perspective; he didn't try to shed the block, he just decided to initiate the inevitable contact rather than absorb it, and he laid a hellacious hit on Rodgers. Of course, while he was doing that, Katz was staying on his feet and picking up the first down. Tactically, it was a dumb decision, and it ended up being a pretty dangerous one too. Football's got to start actively avoiding that style of play; it's not "dirty" in the normal sense of the word, but it leads to enough brain injury -- on both sides and both immediate and cumulative -- that it's in everybody's best interests to stop such play.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com