Tag:Pac-12
Posted on: March 9, 2011 8:44 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Utah

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Utah, who began spring practice on Tuesday.

What are some of the issues Utah has to figure out before moving to the Pac-12?

When you look at teams going through transition this spring, most are referring to a quarterback change or having to deal with new coaching staff members. At Utah, "transition" is less about who's under center and more about a move to a whole different conference.

"It is a new era for Utah football and you can sense it," head coach Kyle Willingham told reporters after the Utes' first practice. "There is a lot of excitement about it and new challenges."

The move to a new league will come complete with a new offense thanks to distinguished alum and new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Though he ran the Pistol offense while at UCLA with limited success, Chow is known best for producing high scoring offenses with top flight pro-style quarterbacks (see Palmer, Carson at USC and Rivers, Phillip at N.C. State). Last season's starter Jordan Wynn will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, which leaves all the reps to true freshman Tyler Shreve and sophomore Griff Robles. While spring offers the Utes a chance to see what the quarterback of the future looks like, they won't be able to see what the quarterback for next season looks like after Chow all but confirmed that Wynn would start in the fall.

"I told Jordan I'd go to the Heisman one more time and then I'll retire," he told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The backfield is also an area of concern. The team loses two of their leading rushers from last season in Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata. Don't be surprised if early enrollee Harvey Langi makes a big push for playing time after several top programs recruited the big back out of high school. Paving the way in the new pro-style attack will be Boo Anderson, who moves from linebacker to fullback. Three of the five starters on the offensive line are back but there will be battles at both guard spots the Utes will need to lock down before all is said and done.

Oh and one of the best names in college football, wide receiver Shaky Smithson, departs after being a threat in the passing game and special teams. While it might seem like there's a lot of moving parts on offense, there are a few things Willingham doesn't have to worry about. Linebackers Matt Martinez and Chaz Walker return and safety Brian Belchen has bulked up a bit after moving to SAM linebacker. Not a surprise but Willingham thanks Star Lotulelei will be a star at defensive tackle and David Kruger and Derrick Shelby are returning starters at defensive end.

Previous Spring Primers
The front seven should be relatively well equipped for the move for the Pac-12 but the secondary will need to be straightened out over the next month with all four spots up for grabs. You can pencil in junior Conroy Black, who is the fastest player on the team and grabbed an interception last season in a decent amount of playing time. Outside of Black, there's several players who should compete for the other three spots.

Are there a few things the Utes want to get worked out? Yes on both sides of the ball. But that's what spring football is all about, working out the kinks. The coaching staff believes that there's plenty of talent to compete week in and week out in a new conference and there is enough proven talent that will suit up this spring to back that up.

"They've played in big games against the Alabama's and teams so that will be nothing different," Chow told the Tribune. "The challenge will be the week to week competition in the Pac-12. That is different but we'll be ready."

Plenty of things to figure out beforehand though.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 6:07 pm
 

Oregon not only school paying recruiting services

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Offseasons and Oregon just don't seem to go well together. Last year a spate of arrests and the dismissal of Jeremiah Masoli took some of the shine off of the Ducks' Rose Bowl berth, and now the news that the NCAA is looking into Oregon's $25,000 payment to the recruiting service of a man named Will Lyles no doubt has upped the nervousness level in Eugene.

But for clarity's sake regarding the Oregon case, it's worth noting that the (potential) issue isn't Chip Kelly's use of recruiting services; it's the surprisingly large sum paid to Lyles and Lyles' connection to Duckrunning backs LaMichael James and Lache Seatrunk that seems to be in question.

That point was driven home by stories on either side of the country this week, illustrating that plenty of major college football programs are also putting recruiting services to use. One of those is Georgia, who Seth Emerson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports spent just under $40,000 on such services in 2009 and 2010:
The biggest expenditures were to LRS Sports, Inc., a service based in Springfield Ill. LRS states on its web site that it “delivers detailed, up-to-date, state-by-state databases of available high school and junior college athletes in the Southeast" ...

- In August of 2010, Georgia gave $11,000 to Bluechip Athletic Solutions, an Atlanta-based company.

- And also in August of 2010, Georgia paid $4,500 to Elite Scouting Services, which is based in Hollywood, Fla. According to its web site, Elite Scouting Services provides a database of high school players, game film of players and access to scouts.

There’s nothing secret about the associations.

Bluechip touts its association with a couple dozen schools, including Georgia.
The second? Washington, who the Seattle Times reported distributed a little less than $40,000 itself this past year to nine different services. As with Georgia, those services are making no secret of their association with the Huskies. And neither school reportedly has drawn any interest from the Ncaa. (Not for that reason, anyway, where the Bulldogs are concerned .)

So maybe the Ducks are, in fact, in trouble. But if so, it'll be because they worked with the wrong service for the wrong reasons, not for simply employing a recruiting service to begin with.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Cal to debut white helmets?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's those wacky neighbors to the Pac-12's north (both of them in that neck of the woods, actually) that have the reputation for uniform hijinks, but Cal's exactly never been shy about coming up with some wild variations of their own. Unless of course you think this look from last year's Oregon showdown says "simple, understated":



In any case, the Bears appear to be at it again. Via California Golden Blogs , this is a new white helmet that could debut as early as Cal's opener against Fresno State in San Francisco:


Per a student account at UniWatch , players have confirmed that the helmets will be a "one-time thing" worn on the road at some point this season.

But what will Cal wear with them? The white helmets won't do much (read: will be a total retinal trainwreck) for the Bears' all-yellow or all-blue looks, and pairing them with white jerseys and dark pants would look weirdly asymmetrical, too. Eye on College Football sees two workable options for the new headgear: 1. with white pants and a dark jersey 2. an all-white look like this one as modeled by Desean Jackson .

If the student account is any indication, the Bears may be leaning towards the latter, a potential "Storm Trooper look." Lots of school bands already play the "Imperial March " as a musical cue for their defense; if Cal's doesn't already, we suggest they break out their John Williams score sheets and get to practicing.

HT: DocSat .

Posted on: March 8, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Washington State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Washington State, who began spring practice on Monday.

Spring practice question: Do the Cougars have enough to get out of the cellar?

Spring is always the time of the year where hope springs eternal; everyone's undefeated, everyone's building for the future. Such is the case on the Palouse, where - for the first time in awhile - there's a bit of hope.

Although Paul Wulff's first three years (5-32 overall) were nothing to write home about, a strong finish at the end of last season and a few underrated recruiting classes have the Cougars' head coach feeling very optimistic.

"We want to start where we left off in the fall," Wulff told reporters after Monday's practice. "I think we came out pretty sharp in a lot of ways, there was some rust but there was more familiarity with the coaches and the system."

A key cog (or Coug, I guess) that is returning is quarterback Jeff Tuel. A two year starter already, he threw for over 2,700 yards and 18 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. Tuel tossed four touchdowns in a ten point loss to Stanford and finished the season on a high note with 3 touchdown passes and nearly 300 yards in the Apple Cup. In case he gets injured (which has been known to happen at Washington State), senior and former starter Marshall Lobbestael is a capable replacement.

Catching Tuel's spirals is one of the more talented receiving groups in the Pac-12. Freshman All-American Marquess Wilson and honorable mention All-Pac-10 wide out Jared Karstetter lead the way. Also in the mix are Gino Simone and Isiah Barton, as well as freshmen Kristoff Williams and Bobby Ratliff. It's no stretch to say that the Cougars have more returning at wide out than many of the teams in the country, let alone the Pac-12.

Previous Spring Primers
There's several players who will contribute to the ground game as well. Senior running back Logwone Mitz will likely emerge the starter but redshirt freshman Rickey Galvin has impressed when's he able to get on the field after breaking his arm in the opener last year.

"Playmaking ability, speed, quickness," Tuel told Cougfan.com about Galvin. "He just makes things happen, really a playmaker."

There are areas of concern that Wazzu hopes to work out before the end of spring. The offensive line only has to replace only one starter but the four returnees were part of a group that gave up 51 sacks last year. Allowing time for Tuel to throw the ball will be a key factor on if the Cougars can exceed their win total from the past three seasons and - dare we say it - consider going to a bowl game in 2011.

Defensively, two starters at defensive end are out for the spring while the defensive tackle spots are wide open thanks to departures and injuries. Four starters return in the secondary which will comfort Wulff, who's main focus will be on straightening out the line.

Bottom line though? The Cougars have some talent and are aiming much higher than just getting out of the conference cellar they've resided in the past the past two seasons. There's still a few areas of concern but things are looking up on the Palouse in 2011. With Jeff Tuel and company leading the way this spring, there's more than just hope though.

There's some talent.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:59 am
 

Arizona St. RB Lewis back after shooting

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

For Arizona State all-purpose running back Deantre Lewis, it would have been nice if his story heading into the Sun Devils' spring practice was how he was going to build on a promising freshman season in which he ran for 539 yards and added an additional 370 yards receiving.

But it's not, because Lewis is the player who made headlines in February for being shot in the buttocks on a trip home to Norco, Calif., one of several less-than-positive developments for the Sun Devils this offseason. There's some good news, though: head coach Dennis Erickson said yesterday that Lewis shouldn't miss any time this spring despite the incident:
"Well, this time yesterday he was out running, doing some stuff. Our trainers feel like he'll be ready for spring football. His health is fine. It's just a mentally scary thing for a guy. He's fortunate, being shot is bad enough, but he knows that it could have been a lot worse."
That's no doubt true, doubly so when spring football will give him the earliest possible opportunity to put the shooting behind him*. And if the Sun Devils are going to build on their buzz-by-default in the fledgling Pac-12 South (even without quarterback Steven Threet), a key cog like Lewis will have to do just that sooner rather than later.

*Yes, the pun is intended. Sorry.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:29 am
 

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Highly touted defensive tackle Brandon Willis has made more headlines than most of the Class of 2010, and he has yet to play a snap. Multiple media outlets, including the Los Angeles Daily News and InsideCarolina.com, are reporting that the Tar Heel transfer has been given his release from UCLA, and will be returning to North Carolina.

“My grandmother (is very ill),” Willis told Inside Carolina on Monday. “So everybody is trying to get as close as possible to be near her. “I wouldn’t go to any other school except for UNC, because I have a good relationship with Coach Butch Davis.”

Willis originally was a verbal commitment to Tennessee with plans to enroll in January 2010. But when Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern California, Davis and Co. convinced Willis his place would be at UNC. However, his father's unemployment situation forced a move to California - and prompted the hasty transfer to UCLA.

Now, with his grandmother in poor health, the entire family plans to relocate back to the Carolinas. When his father's employment forced the move to UCLA, Willis left North Carolina on good terms with Butch Davis. Now, that relationship will pay off in another talented body on the defensive line.

Willis is applying for an NCAA waiver to allow him to play right away, due to the circumstantial situation. Whether the waiver is granted or not, Willis plans to enroll back into UNC for the first summer session in May.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 3/7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • A couple of high-profile teams snagged their first commitments for 2012 last week, both looking west to California. Notre Dame secured a pledge from Fresno cornerback Tee Shepard, who boasted 27 offers from a who's who of schools around the country. A little closer to the coast, Boise State has a rare early commitment in the person of Elk Grove cornerback Marcus Rios. But Rios's coach says the commitment won't keep some higher-profile Pac-12 schools from coming after him later in the year.
  • Just days later, the Irish got their second commitment , Vandalia (Ohio) tackle Taylor Decker. Decker made his decision just a week after receiving his offer, saying "It's just where I wanted to go."
  • Lorenzo Mauldin, his options narrowed after South Carolina oversigned and asked him to grayshirt, could wind up at Louisville whether he qualifies as part of the 2011 class or not. 
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: March 5, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Oregon complying with NCAA request

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following a report on Thursday that Oregon had paid nearly $30,000 to two different scouting services, including $25,000 to Will Lyles, the NCAA requested documents from the school related to the services acquired. On Friday evening, the school released a statement saying it would compy with the NCAA's request.
The University of Oregon contacted the Pacific-10 Conference Friday morning regarding scouting services that specialize in the identification of potential student-athletes, according to the Ducks' Director of Athletics Rob Mullens Friday.
As a result, the athletics department has been asked by the NCAA to provide documents related to the purchase of services provided by scouting agencies contracted by the school's football program.
Mullens said the athletics department first called the Pac-10 office Friday morning and the NCAA contacted the University's compliance office to request the documents later that same day.
"We have been asked to provide a series of documents by the NCAA and intend to fully cooperate," Mullens said. "I reiterate that it is our belief that the purchase of such services is within the allowable NCAA guidelines."
Of course, what the NCAA is interested in is the purpose of the money the school paid Lyles, not the practice of using recruiting services. Schools use them all the time to help find talent that may have slipped beneath the radar, but the NCAA is more interested in the role Lyles may have played in bringing running back Lache Seastrunk to Oregon.

Lyles has a mentoring relationship with Seastrunk, and he was also tied to LaMichael James. Two running backs from the state of Texas who ended up going to Oregon.
 
 
 
 
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