Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Kyle Whittingham talks Game of Thrones tweets, top teams eye the CFP prize
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
Kyle Whittingham does not watch Game of Thrones, the coach clarified when asked about those rogue GoT-themed #AskCoachWhitt Twitter questions. He was baffled, clearly:
"I guess I'm the only person in the country that doesn't follow that show."
Things seemed a bit clearer for him on the football end. Whittingham explained the choice to give sophomore Tyler Huntley the starting quarterback position over senior Troy Williams. Huntley separated himself from Williams as a "true dual threat," Whittingham noted, with impressive mobility, ability to extend the play and poise in the pocket. This does not necessarily mean Williams will be a sideline mainstay.
"We'll need to rely on (Williams). Seldom do you get through the year with one quarterback."
USC's Clay Helton
The Trojans have transitioned swiftly from the hunter to the hunted after their nine-game win streak, including a thrilling Rose Bowl win against Penn State to end the previous season. That's the expectation at USC, Clay Helton said. The team sees heightened expectations as an opportunity in keeping with the program's legacy instead of an obligation.
"It feels good to be back in that position."
Helton is keeping the National Championship game in plain view for his team as a possible goal to reach. "When you look at USC, it's a tradition here," he said. "Something that's expected."
Western Michigan will pose a threat out of the gate, though. A win will have to go through Western Michigan's "three headed monster" – a running back trio made up of Levante Bellamy, Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan – with a young quarterback possibly deferring offensive production.
Washington's Chris Petersen
Chris Petersen is keeping his team's eyes off the National Championship prize.
Last year's Colle Football Playoff semifinal appearance is far in the Huskies' rearview mirror, said Petersen, and the team's focus now is to push a new group through the process, game by game.
UCLA's Jim Mora
The Bruins and Aggies will face off for the sixth time in the programs' history with Texas A&M holding a 3-2 advantage all-time.
First games of the season are fairly unpredictable, noted Jim Mora, despite the familiarity of their opponent. There's added unpredictability on the Aggies end. Their starting quarterback role is up for grabs in a race between Jake Hubenak, Kellen Mond, and Nick Starkel.
Stanford's David Shaw
No surprises here, but the Cardinal had a blast in Australia. Football didn't deprive the team of an opportunity to experience the culture down under, said David Shaw, and he hopes the trip becomes a Pac-12 tradition.
Things went well for his team on the field, too. Bryce Love went off for 180 yards, including a 62-yard burst, on 13 carries with one touchdown in Stanford's 62-7 win over Rice in Sydney.
"A bunch of guys touched the ball and that was really exciting for me."
The Stanford offense tallied 656 yards of total offense to Rice's 241.
Washington State's Mike Leach
The Cougs open their season with five straight home games, starting with their season opener Saturday against Montana State. Mike Leach isn't complaining.
"It's great for folks out here to get in a habit of coming to games."
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
RichRod is feeling good heading into the new season, saying the mood is similar to that of a few years ago when Scooby Wright was bringing a whole lot of potential and energy to the team.
The 'Cats are coming off a 3-9 (1-8 Pac-12), last-place season. A substantial crew of freshman is taking over in Tucson this year. Safeties Scottie Young and Troy Young are two that stand out to Rich Rod.
"He's a true freshman and made an impact from the first practice," Rodriguez said of Scottie Young.
California's Justin Wilcox
The Golden Bears named redshirt sophomore Ross Bowers their starting quarterback for the year. Justin Wilcox will make his coaching debut Saturday against North Carolina.
Oregon State's Gary Andersen
Gary Andersen likes the effort he saw from his team in Week 0 despite a 58-27 loss to Colorado State. The hope is that this team can execute more effectively. Andersen said the offense "did good things," but not enough to win, clearly.
"You have 15 possessions," Andersen said. "And if you have five turnovers you're never going to win."
The Beavers got their feet wet, though, and will get a crack at known Power Five threat Portland State Saturday.
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
The 89th edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown kicks off Friday. Colorado State has a slight advantage this time around, noted Mike MacIntyre, because they had a Week 0 game to rev their engine. The rivalry is always exciting and the Buffs love playing at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
Sophomore quarterback Steven Montez is primed to make the team's quarterback transition smooth. Coach MacIntyre says Montez is in great shape with improved arm strength and a better idea of how to manage the offense.
Arizona State's Todd Graham
Quarterback Manny Wilkins was named the starting quarterback despite tough competition from Alabama transfer Blake Barnett.
"They kept elevating each other, but Manny was the starter so you have to beat him out," Todd Graham said.
Graham said Wilkins – who struggled through an injury last season – demonstrated an ability to operate the offense efficiently.
Oregon's Willie Taggart
Royce Freeman will return to the Ducks for his senior season. New coach Willie Taggart said Freeman is setting an example with his strong work ethic and the running backs are following his lead.