Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are the 'Rodney Dangerfields' of quarterbacks
David Shaw doesn't think Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan or USC quarterback Cody Kessler get enough respect, so naturally he made a Rodney Dangerfield reference in this week's teleconference call. The Cardinal head coach also discussed a matchup against the Trojans, while Oregon's Mark Helfrich went long on a top-10 showdown between the Ducks and Michigan State Spartans.
Stanford's David Shaw
As Stanford prepares to host USC this week, Shaw doesn't believe his quarterback, Kevin Hogan, nor USC's Cody Kessler, get enough respect. “You're probably looking at two of the Rodney Dangerfields of the quarterbacks,” he quipped.
Last season, then-Washington coach Steve Sarkisian accused Stanford of faking injuries to slow the pace of the game, causing Cardinal coach David Shaw to take exception through the media. Shaw and Sarkisian both said on Tuesday there are no issues between them. “We never talked about it again,” Shaw said. “It's in the past. Our wives are getting to be good friends … there's no animosity whatsoever.”
On whether a big showdown against Sarkisian and the Trojans so early in the season is good or bad: “I don't think either of us would choose this but it's an early test. It doesn't spell the whole, what can happen this entire season.”
USC's Steve Sarkisian
Cody Kessler's 394 yards through the air and four passing touchdowns earned him Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. There was nothing to complain about behind center, especially considering the quarterback was operating in a new system. “Cody I thought played really tough, played gritty, played smart, played with a tremendous amount of leadership. I don't know if we could've asked for more out of him,” Sarkisian said.
On the potential matchup of Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat and USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams: “In our conference, you have that kind of weekly matchup in that way that people are intrigued by, and I'm sure people will be intrigued by that one.”
Oregon's Mark Helfrich
No matter who wins, there's quite a bit of pressure on both Oregon and Michigan State, who clash on Saturday in Eugene. But Helfrich said there tends to be a little more unfair criticism pointed at the Ducks and their spread offense when they lose to more traditional looking football teams like Stanford or the Spartans. “Stanford loses to Utah and it's just an aberration,” he said. “We lose to Stanford and we have to blow everything up and start over.”
On what Spartans quarterback Connor Cook does well: “Great command. Tremendous arm strength. The package of routes they've put together … he's thrown really well. They got a series of play action stuff that he manages really well. They're very stingy in terms of turning the ball over. He's a perfect fit for what they do.”
What's an easy way to take pressure off quarterback Marcus Mariota? “Part of that is how you game plan and kind of put some stuff, quote-on-quote, 'on him' that is rock solid ... get anxiety and juice out of his system off of the bat.”
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
The Utes face a Fresno State team that USC beat 52-13 this weekend. Whittingham said that wasn't indicative of the Bulldogs so much as it was of the Trojans. “ USC's got a good football team,” he said.
Whittingham didn't see it as a positive that quarterback Travis Wilson was making diving plays despite his career-threatening head injuries last year. “I thought his play was outstanding,” the Utah coach said, before adding, “as far as his running, we'd like to see him be a little more judicious.”
The Utes walloped Idaho State 56-14 last week but Whittingham saw one big flaw in giving up 179 rushing yards: “We had a lot of missed assignments. That was a problem through the course of the game.”
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
Colorado fell to rival Colorado State to open the season by losing the fourth quarter, 17-0. The Buffaloes, however, looked quite competitive through the first three quarters. “I definitely want to play a full game and finish the game out,” said MacIntyre, whose team plays UMass this week. “Start out fast like we did and finish it.”
MacIntyre said his defense is most concerned about improving on third down. Being in the right place and then filling the right gaps to stop running lanes was an issue at times. “We make a couple of those and it's a different ball game,” the CU coach said of the loss to CSU.
How does a coach keep his team in the right mindset after a disappointing loss? To MacIntyre, keeping it positive despite disappointing results has been important this week. “They're really down after that game, of course,” MacIntyre said. “They're not going to get much more down. You're going to show them the corrections, show them how to fix it and go on and move on in the best way you can.”
UCLA's Jim Mora
Safe to say UCLA coach Jim Mora isn't satisfied by winning a 28-20 game against Virginia to open the season. The Bruins needed three defensive touchdowns to escape on the road. “I'm concerned about everything. I'm concerned about every position on our team,” Mora said.
UCLA's biggest issue against the Cavaliers was protecting quarterback Brett Hundley, who made the most out of the performance but found himself being hit often and scrambling more than the Bruins would like. “Sometimes it was the offensive line. Sometimes it was the back. Sometimes it was the receiver. Sometimes it was the quarterback. It was never one thing,” Mora said.
Washington State's Mike Leach
WSU travels to Nevada to face a defense that might be capable of containing Connor Halliday and his receiving group. “I think they have a lot of older kids. The other thing is I think they have quick ends and lots of guys that run around well. I think other than (giving up) big plays. they played well (last week) against Southern Utah,” Leach said.
Leach had a killer quote when he was asked about the Pac-12 quarterbacks and how the group might be viewed a few years down the road. “When you get into this era stuff, you know, the memory and the mind will play tricks on you a little bit,” Leach said, adding that the conference is indeed very talented at the position. “It's like if you go out and catch a fish, the thing gets bigger and bigger the more you remember it. I think that's going to happen to quarterbacks in this conference.”
On the Cougars' loss to Rutgers: “I also think we could have thrown more stuff at them. I think we got to the point where we were doing the same thing over and over again.”
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
Arizona's cornerback depth is a concern with true freshman Cam Denson backing up one position, the inexperienced Jarvis McCall starting opposite Jonathan McKnight and not much behind them. “Devin Holiday who has been battling some injuries … he's getting healthier. That's a big key for us. Once Devin is healthy, which I think he's healthy now, we got a little more depth,” Rodriguez said.
The Wildcats face UTSA on Thursday and the Roadrunners have their attention. UTSA beat Houston handily last week. “Obviously looking at the Houston score and watching film has got our attention, too,” Rodriguez said. “It wasn't just a big win, it was a big win on the road in a hostile environment.”
RichRod wasn't too excited about the record-breaking yardage totals his Arizona squad put up in a win against UNLV. “Sometimes you get a lot of yards because you get really bad field position. Our execution was OK, but it wasn't as crisp as it should've been early,” Rodriguez said.
California's Sonny Dykes
The Golden Bears didn't need to search too long for bulletin board material to prep for their season-opening win over Northwestern – or the next game against Sacramento State. “We're two weeks out from being labeled the worst Power Five football team in the country. I pointed that out to the guys,” Dykes said. “We're still one week away from being that team.”
Dykes praised the play of linebacker Jalen Jefferson, who recorded 16 tackles against Northwestern. “He's a different player than he was a year ago,” the Cal coach said. “Physically stronger and bigger. He's triggering much faster. He recognized plays, ran to the football well. He made a couple big plays.”
Despite a few small miscues, Dykes wasn't too concerned over the effort from his defense. “We dropped an interception. You know, we let them sustain some drives late in the ballgame but we made them earn everything they got,” he said.
Washington's Chris Petersen
A 17-16 win against Hawai'i seemed underwhelming from a national perspective, but Chris Petersen said he still liked how his team responded to some adversity in the first game of the year. “I think our team did a nice job of kind of staying positive and hanging together,” Petersen said, adding that he thinks the UW players learned not to get caught up in outside expectations. “That was not an easy game for us, in a lot of ways.”
Quarterback Cyler Miles is expected to make the start for Washington after being suspended for the first game of the year for his involvement in off-the-field assaults that didn't lead to charges. “He's done everything he's been asked. I sure hope he's learned,” Petersen said. “Skillset, we'll see. I think he commands the field pretty well. It's always different in the game than it is in practice.”
Arizona State's Todd Graham
Graham liked what he saw from a defensive unit hit by graduation. He especially was impressed by freshman defensive back Armand Perry, freshman linebacker D.J. Calhoun and freshman defensive lineman Tashon Smallwood. “We dominated a team we should dominate,” he said.
The Sun Devils should be well rested for a game against New Mexico. Against the wishes of Graham's assistants, he pulled most of his starters after a half.
Oregon State's Mike Riley
Finishing drives was among the Beavers' issues in a 29-14 win against Portland State. “We have to run the ball better. We have to be more efficient. We had a couple penalties that took us out of opportunities," Riley said.
Oregon State heads to Hawaii to face the same difficult task Washington dealt with a week prior. Oddly enough, the talk about Hawaii revolved around punter Scott Harding, who caused problems for the Huskies with his awkward screwball punts. “This is a good looking football team with an active quarterback who makes plays – and the most unique punter I've seen in my life,” Riley said.