Pac-12 coaches teleconference: Ka'Deem Carey gives Mike MacIntyre headaches
What makes Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre's head spin? Apparently, Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, who last year torched a Buffs team led by Jon Embree for 366 yards and five touchdowns. MacIntyre admitted as much in Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches teleconference, which also included a lot of talk about Oregon State's passing attack and another bit of evidence that Washington State coach Mike Leach really likes Halloween.
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
In 2012, the Colorado Buffaloes allowed Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey to rush for 366 yards, setting a Pac-12 record. With the Wildcats next up on the Buffs' docket, MacIntyre knows that he'll need to, at the least, put his team in position to limit Carey's big plays. “I get a headache watching him on film,” MacIntyre said. “Everybody knows about his cuts, but he is extremely tough and physical. If there's a better running back in America, I'd like to see him.”
Asked what he is seeing in his team that lends evidence to success down the road, MacIntyre said he's “looking for the everyday things.” Outside of the obvious practice improvements and game day preparations, he sees his players going to class, heading to the weight room and recovering with visits to the training room – all are signs the Buffaloes are committed.
MacIntyre realizes that Arizona's passing attack will also be difficult to defend this weekend. He said that the game film has shown just how much a young receiving group has improved thus far into the season. “They can make plays,” MacIntyre said. “They move them around a lot, do a lot of different things with them. They're also very aggressive blockers.”
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
Rodriguez is maybe unique as a coach who doesn't mind releasing weekly injury reports for his team each Thursday. He doesn't think it gives anyone a competitive advantage, and additionally, he doesn't think it's about mind games with the opponent. Rodriguez can't see a coach lying about a player's status. “Coaches are going to be forthright and honest because if you don't, who's going to believe anything you say?” Rodriguez said.
On whether running back Ka'Deem Carey has improved since his sophomore season, Rodriguez said he always understood the offense. “He's a little bit bigger. He's about 10 pounds heavier and he's in great shape,” Rodriguez added.
Through Arizona's last two games, signal-caller B.J. Denker has thrown for 531 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions on a 62-percent completion rate. Arizona's head coach has been clear the team saw Denker's potential in practice, but Rodriguez added that, “Until you do it in a game do you ever really get that type of confidence.”
Oregon State's Mike Riley
Riley on junior receiver Brandin Cooks, who leads the NCAA with 1,176 receiving yards: “I haven't noticed any change in him since the time he arrived on campus that day. We'd known he's a good player for a long time. He did add 10 really good pounds in the offseason. He was 172 a year ago and he's 182 now. I think that strength has helped a lot.”
Oregon State, which faces Stanford this week, has been quite good in pass protection despite struggling to get the run game churning. Riley has been impressed with how quarterback Sean Mannion is quick with getting rid of the ball, whether it be dumping it down or simply throwing it out of bounds. Of course, the offensive line has played well. “I think we've done a really good job of being on the right guy,” Riley said. “Technically, they're doing a pretty good job. We're fighting and scrambling to do that.”
Stanford's David Shaw
Stanford knows this week that it'll be facing an Oregon State defense that has improved drastically since the first three games of the season. “They're really active,” Shaw said. “They gave up some big plays early in the year and you just don't see that anymore.”
On its own defensive side of the ball, the Cardinal wants to work on getting pressure on Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion, who has been working hand-in-hand with receiver Brandin Cooks in making OSU's passing attack a deadly one. “I watched the explosive pass cut-up last night,” Shaw said. “Wow. The quarterback is doing a great job sliding in the pocket, buying time and throwing it deep.”
Shaw credited special teams coordinator Pete Alamar with much of Stanford's success when it comes to field position. While many teams dole out special teams duties to other assistants, Shaw put Alamar's full attention on the special teams unit and likes the results. “I wanted to find someone who can coach the kicker,” Shaw said. “Most kickers have a kicking guru somewhere (else) in the country. It makes all the difference. We've won a lot of games on field position. We've pinned our opponents back.”
Utah Kyle Whittingham
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson suffered an un-specified hand injury as the Utes fell to Arizona last week. The Utes head to USC this Saturday and Whittingham said his quarterback's status is unknown. “We hope to have him,” Whittingham said. “That's to be determined. I'm optimistic. I'm going to say he will play, that's just my guess right now.”
The 35-24 loss to the Wildcats last week was harsh after a big win against Stanford the week prior. Whittingham didn't know why his team fell behind 20-7 before a second-half comeback that was answered by Arizona. “We were flat coming out,” Utah's coach said. “There were really no indication or indicators … for whatever reason we weren't real fired up in that first half.”
Whittingham with a fun word to describe the Pac-12 schedule: “The Pac-12 has become a meatgrinder like the SEC.”
USC's Ed Orgeron
Utah's stifling interior defense will prove challenging against a USC Trojans squad that likes to run it up the gut with a rotation of big, physical running backs. “These guys are very well coached, they're hard-nosed,” Orgeron said. “We have to do a great job of winning one-on-one battles. We had several penalties (last week) on the offensive line, which we need to eliminate.”
On USC's loss to Notre Dame last week: “I really feel we came back yesterday with a good attitude. We put the last game behind us.”
Washington State's Mike Leach
Leach's Cougars have a bye this week but return to action on Oct. 31 against Arizona State. Leach dismissed that a Thursday game is all that different – the weekly schedule simply moves up two days – but did admit it would be exciting to play on Halloween. By the way, Leach is quite the fan of Hitchcock.
WSU quarterback Connor Halliday set numerous NCAA records by throwing the ball 89 times for 557 yards this week in a 62-38 loss to Oregon. In the teleconference, Leach was asked how to judge passer efficiency ratings in college football, and the coach wondered aloud if anyone knew exactly what information was part of the rating formula. “How do you calculate it?” he asked the caller, who admitted he didn't know.
Arizona State's Todd Graham
Well into the conference schedule and with a bye week following a tough stretch in the last six games, Graham said his Sun Devils will use a break until Halloween to rest. “We're going to take the hitting off of them,” he said of the upcoming week. “I thought our starters only playing a half against Colorado really helped us against Washington.”
Graham said his individual focus lies more on the defensive side of the ball because of how many different looks Pac-12 offenses give the rest of the league – playing with different defensive schemes in different weeks is a necessity. “One of the reasons why I'm so heavily involved here is what's going to determine your fate as a coach in this conference is the defense,” Graham said. "You're playing Stanford one week and then Washington State the next; your personnel is going to be different.”
On so-called “Devilbacker” Carl Bradford: “He's as dynamic as a player – as far as explosive power and speed – to weigh 250 pounds I've ever been around. He's really smart.”
Cal's Sonny Dykes
The Golden Bears won't have an easy week at Washington. The Huskies are coming off a surprisingly one-sided loss to Arizona State, which was competitive for a half before things went south for UW. “If you look at that game, I think Arizona State kicked four field goals early,” Dykes said. “(The Huskies) competed hard, did a good job stopping them. They're a talented team … (that just) hit a rough stretch in the schedule.”
Cal's Bear Raid offense is one of many nuanced and relatively up-tempo offenses in college football, and Dykes pointed out the trend actually began in the Texas high school system rather than in the collegiate game. He pointed to current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Baylor's Art Briles as some pioneers in the up-tempo offenses now part of the college game. “All these guys were doing this 10-12 years ago in Texas,” Dykes said.
Washington's Steve Sarkisian
The Huskies disappointed in a game against ASU that would have settled things in Seattle after tough losses to Stanford and Oregon. So how are they responding? “I don't know if angry is the right word,” Sarkisian said. “I think they were surprised they didn't go out and perform the way we're capable of performing. We've done some soul-searching the last 48 hours and looked ourselves in the mirror, but we're ready to go.”
Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has 17 catches for 205 yards this season, but UW hasn't gotten him the ball as much as Sarkisian would like. That said, the Washington coach believes Seferian-Jenkins is a better all-around player compared to last season despite being “a little bit out of sync, a little bit out of sorts. It hasn't been without trying,” Sarkisian said.
Oregon's Mark Helfrich
UCLA visits Eugene, Ore., after falling to Stanford last week, and linebacker Anthony Barr will, as usual, be the key defensive presence for the Bruins. Helfrich sees Barr as a threat to his offense. “He's phenomenal, and the thing is, he's not the only one,” the Ducks coach said. “I think they play six guys at linebacker who are like that.”
Big-play threat De'Anthony Thomas is expected back for Oregon this week, but asked if he had a decision to make regarding where Thomas is used – running backs Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall have been fine in Thomas' place – Helfrich played coy. Thomas could be used at receiver, but the wideouts have also been playing well. “We've had a lot of receivers step up and play really well on the perimeter,” Helfrich said.
On Oregon's receivers blocking on run plays: “Those guys take a ton of pride in all that. I think that's a big sign of toughness when your wideouts block really well.”
UCLA's Jim Mora
Mora was asked if he foresaw linebacker Anthony Barr improving to become the dominating presence and midseason All-American he is today. In short, the answer is no. “If I had told you I'd have anticipated that, I'd be lying through my teeth,” Mora said.
On if freshmen come to college more prepared nowadays: “We start seven of 'em. That's a lot. For us, we're going to play the best players, the guys who give us the best chance to win. Right now, that's some freshmen.”
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