Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Jake Olson takes us through his historic moment
It was an emotional first week of Pac-12 football, from triumphant comebacks with fake spikes to touching moments of sportsmanship and perseverance. Here are some of the coaches' takes on the week and what's to come.
USC's Clay Helton and special guest Jake Olson
Jake Olson was named the Pac-12 Football Special Teams Player of the Week after his historic, touching moment in USC's win over Western Michigan. If you haven't seen it, that's insane. Take a look.
This is anything but a regular PAT.
Jake Olson, blind since age 12, just snapped for the first time in a live game. https://t.co/amyHcFoVue
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 3, 2017
Olson walked through the process that got him on the field for his first snap in a live game, saying he received confirmation the day before from coach Clay Helton that it may happen. As a close game remained in the fourth quarter, Olson felt he his chance might not come.
Steven Carr's 52-yard touchdown scored with minutes to spare in the fourth quarter opened the possibility back up. Coach Helton asked him to get warmed up and ready, and soon he was listening to the in-game announcer say his name, crowd cheering along knowingly.
Olson was moved by the whole thing, but was especially touched by the people who don't care much for USC going out of their way to say how inspired they were. Especially on social media.
Oregon State's Gary Andersen
The Beavers will take on the Minnesota Gophers in Week 2. The defense surrendered 291 rushing yards against Portland State, so all eyes will be on Minnesota's backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks.
"Those two are kids that anyone in the country would like to have on their team."
Oregon's Willie Taggart
Taggart gushed about his first real Autzen experience.
Telling Ashley Adamson: “That was unbelievable. When you hear that motorcycle crank up and run out of the tunnel you hear all those fans and it’s just so special. You understand why everyone talks about Autzen.”
UCLA's Jim Mora
Jim Mora spent all of a few minutes celebrating UCLA's 34-point comeback win over Texas A&M. Basking the the euphoria of one glorious win doesn't do the team any favors, he said. The team has to flush it and focus on its upcoming game against Hawaii quick or the Bruins will get their "butt kicked."
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
The Buffs lost Jim Leavitt and eight starters on defense after a successful 2016 season that shocked the CFB world. Holding rival Colorado State to a field goal upped the team's confidence that the defense can continue the success it had last season.
"Everyone said we didn't have a good defense," Mike MacIntyre said. "But this game gave us a lot of confidence."
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
It's Week 2 and the Utes are getting ready to play a rivalry game. Utah played BYU in the final weeks for years before joining the Pac-12, and Kyle Whittingham notes how different the games feel now that this one comes early on.
"When it was the last game of the year, you know what the team is all about. Early in the year there are so many unknowns. It's a big deal in the state of Utah, the whole state is watching and involved."
Stanford's David Shaw
Stanford and USC get an early crack at conference play. The focus in this one will be on the teams' two emerging running backs. Stanford coach David Shaw said USC's Ronald Jones "reminds you of a Jamaal Charles."
"He's big, physical and can run through tackles and a threat in the backfield." Bryce Love matches Jones' intensity snap by snap.
Washington State's Mike Leach
The Palouse is known to host a weekly air raid, but Mike Leach has two dynamic running backs ready to take the pressure out of Luke Falk's hands. Jamal Morrow is the most efficient RB, Leach said, and James Williams brings explosive power to the backfield.
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
Freshman quarterback Rhett Rodriguez, RichRod's son, got his first game action with four minutes left in Arizona's win against NAU and snuck into the endzone for his first career touchdown. His dad/coach was proud, but remained a coach first.
"You're happy as a coach but you're a proud dad too. He's done a great job. He's a freshman but continues to do well every week."
California's Justin Wilcox
Justin Wilcox said the team is feeling pretty good following their upset win over UNC, but they have a lot to learn.
"We're excited about it. We're by no means a finished product. We have a lot to grow," he said.
Arizona State's Todd Graham
The Sun Devils will take on San Diego State Saturday. ASU is 10-0-1 all time against the Aztecs.
Washington's Chris Petersen
The Huskies took a close win at Rutgers in Week 1. Petersen was not surprised that his team wasn't in mid-2016 form.
"Doesn't surprise me about our team. You don't pick up where you left off, you know that."
"Nothing really surprised us about our team. Rutgers had a different strategy than they had a year before. They went about as slow as they could possibly go so we adjusted at half and went about as fast as we could go."