*Speaking of the Badgers, they have a pretty good Red Zone weapon to keep an eye on in TE Jacob Pedersen, writes Tom Mulhern.
Not counting a kneel-down they took at the end of the Northwestern game, the Badgers have scored on 56 of their past 57 trips into the red zone over 11 games, with 50 TDs.
The red-zone success starts with a strong running game but having good tight ends is also vital. Pedersen, a sophomore, is quickly developing a nice feel in that area, with three touchdowns in 10 career receptions.
“I do think he’s got some pretty good natural instincts,” OC Paul Chryst said. “When you said ‘feel,’ I think that’s really accurate. He is a guy who does feel things, with good understanding.”
*Enigmatic Arizona WR Juron Criner will not play in tonight's game at Oklahoma State, the Arizona Republic reports.
The Cats will miss the play-making skills of the big WR, although they do have some decent options without him. Texas transfer Dan Buckner is a gifted target, who caught four passes for 38 yards against NAU in the opener. Redshirt freshman Austin Hill who caught a 24-yard TD play in WK 1, is another guy their staff is high on. I was told by a source at U of A Thursday morning that Criner did not make the trip, but is expected to be back in action for the rest of the season.
This week, coach Mike Stoops said Criner had a medical issue but did not go into details and hoped he would play. But Criner's condition did not allow him to travel.
"Our offense, as you can see from a week ago, is not just one player," Stoops said at the start of the week. "Juron has a big-play knack, but we have other players who can make plays."
*Here is a cool story about Oregon asst. Scott Frost, one of the true rising stars in the coaching world, talking about giving back and mentoring.
I was lucky enough to have a great father. Most of these kids we have problems with weren't. And to me, that was a huge motivation to get involved with something like this. Just seeing the guys on my team that didn't have it and the effect it had on them. If you're around it every day like I am, it's amazing to see. I've been involved a lot of my life in mentoring. I did it at Kansas State with Big Brothers Big Sisters. My next coaching job was atUniversity of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. And I was with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Probably the best experience of my life in regards to mentoring has happened at Oregon. I got to Oregon and I decided I wanted to do it again. Went to a guy named James Harris that does great things for our program, that kind of works with outreach programs, and I said I wanted to mentor someone. He suggested I get involved with a group called A Family for Every Child that does basically what Big Brothers Big Sisters does but does it with foster kids.
They set me up with a kid named Chris, who was a sophomore at the time at Willamette High School in Eugene, Ore. Chris is a great kid. I really don't know how he turned out as well as he did. He's been in and out of foster homes his whole life -- five different ones, I think. Love Chris to death. I ended up being a mentor to him for about two years.