This Week In Pac-10 Football (8/21/01)
Aug. 21, 2001
LET THE GAMES BEGIN: WASHINGTON STATE and ARIZONA jump start the football
season with early games on Thur., Aug. 30. The Cougars host neighborhood rival Idaho while Arizona coach John Mackovic makes his Wildcat debut at San Diego State. CALIFORNIA, OREGON, OREGON STATE, UCLA and USC all also swing into action over Labor Day weekend. ARIZONA STATE, STANFORD and WASHINGTON wait a week to open on Sat., Sept. 8. Here's a look at the opening portion of the schedule (Note: Ranking is the AP[(media] poll first, followed by the ESPN/USA Today [coaches] poll):
Ranking Games - Thu., Aug. 30 Site Time/TV Series/Last Year
--/-- Idaho Martin Stadium (37,600) 7:00 PDT WSU leads 63-17-3
--/-- WASHINGTON ST. Pullman, WA Idaho 38-34
--/-- ARIZONA Qualcomm Stadium (71,400) 7:00 PDT Arizona leads 9-5
--/-- San Diego State San Diego, CA ESPN2 Arizona 17-3
Ranking Games - Sat., Sep. 1 Site Time/TV Series/Last Year
36/46 Illinois Memorial Stadium (75,028) 12:30 PDT Illinois leads 6-1
--/-- CALIFORNIA Berkeley, CA FOX SN Illinois 17-15
--/-- San Jose State L.A. Coliseum (92,000) 3:30 PDT USC leads 2-0
29/34 USC Los Angeles, CA USC 34-24
17/15 UCLA Bryant-Denny Stadium (83,818) 6:45 CDT Series tied 1-1
25/25 Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL ESPN UCLA 35-24
22/23 Wisconsin Autzen Stadium (41,698) 5:00 PDT Wisconsin leads 3-0
7/8 OREGON Eugene, OR ABC Wisconsin 27-23
Ranking Game - Sun., Sep. 2 Site Time/TV Series/Last Meeting
11/12 OREGON STATE Bulldog Stadium (41,031) 6:30 PDT Fresno State leads 6-4
45/41 Fresno State Fresno, CA ESPN Oregon St. 46-23 (1999)
t51/-- ARIZONA STATE - open date - ASU opens vs. San Diego State on Sep. 8 at Tempe
t42/38 STANFORD - open date - Stanford opens vs. Boston College on Sep. 8 at Stanford
15/14 WASHINGTON - open date - Washington opens vs. Michigan on Sep. 8 at Seattle
PAC-10 ON THE WEB: Pac-10 releases, stats, notes, player of the week announcements and
other information can be found online by accessing www.pac-10.org.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED: The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews
with coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half-hour feed airs every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PDT/MST (2:30 p.m. EDT) beginning Sep. 5 through Nov. 21. Coordinates for the feed are Telstar 6, Transponder 9 (C-Band). Trouble numbers: Master Control 310-543-1835 or 310-282-2611 or pager 888-423-0095 or Michelle Lockhart at 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 BOWL ARRANGEMENTS: The Rose Bowl hosts the BCS National Championship Game this
season, thus the Pac-10 Champion will have to finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the final BCS poll to take its accustomed place in Pasadena. If not ranked in the top two, the Pac-10 champ will play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against the champion of the Big 12 Conference. Following is the current Pac-10 bowl lineup.
Bowl Site Matchup Date TV
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl* Tempe Pac-10 champ vs. Big 12 champ Tue., Jan. 1 ABC
Culligan Holiday Bowl San Diego Pac-10 #2 vs. Big 12 #3 Fri., Dec. 28 ESPN
Wells Fargo Sun Bowl El Paso Pac-10 #3 vs. Big Ten #5 Mon., Dec. 31 CBS
Seattle Bowl Seattle Pac-10 #4 vs. ACC #4 Thu., Dec. 27 ESPN
Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas Pac-10 #5 vs. Mountain West #2 Tue., Dec. 25 ABC
*Pac-10 Champion to Rose Bowl if ranked No. 1 or 2 in the final BCS poll.
PAC-10 IN THE POLLS: Four Pac-10 teams are ranked in the Top 25 of the pre-season polls
and a total of seven Conference teams receive mention. Following are the preseason rankings of Pac-10 teams in the AP (media) and ESPN/USA Today (coaches) polls:
USA/ Team (2000 record) AP ESPN Oregon (10-2) 7 8 Oregon State (11-1) 11 12 Washington (11-1) 15 14 UCLA (6-6) 17 15 USC (5-7) 29 34 Stanford (5-6) t42 38 Arizona State (6-6) t51 --
MEDIA TAB DUCKS: OREGON has been picked to win the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference football
title in a pre-season poll of West Coast media members that regularly cover the league. It marks the first time ever that the Ducks have been selected to win the league title in the pre-season poll, which began in 1961. Oregon garnered 20 of 33 first-place votes, with UCLA (10) and OREGON STATE (3) also picking up first-place support. Oregon tied for the league title with Washington and Oregon State last year, all compiling 7-1 league marks. The Ducks finished 10-2 overall, concluding the season with a victory over Texas in the Culligan Holiday Bowl. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 18 of 40 previous polls, including two of the last three years. Following are the results of the pre-season media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Oregon (20) . . . . . . . . . . . . 310 2. Oregon State (3) . . . . . . . . 270 3. UCLA (10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 4. Washington . . . . . . . . . . . 228 5. Stanford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 6. USC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 7. Arizona State . . . . . . . . . . 128 8. California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 9. Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 10. Washington State . . . . . . 70
POLL NOTES: Pre-season media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 18 of
40 times, including two of the last three years. . . OREGON has never before been selected to win the Conference title in 40 previous pre-season media polls. The poll began in 1961. Since the Conference became the Pac-10 in 1978, the highest Oregon has been picked to finish is third (1996 and 2000) . . . It also should be noted that in four of the last eight years, the eventual Conference champion was picked to finish in the bottom half of the league in the pre-season media poll. . . . Of all the teams, the pollsters seemed to have the most difficulty predicting how STANFORD will fare this season. The Cardinal was picked to finish as high as second and as low as 10th. . . . Seven different teams have won the Pac-10 title in the last seven years.
SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAMES OF WEEK ONE:
IDAHO at WASHINGTON STATE - Thu., Aug. 30 - 7:00 PDT - The Series: Washington State and
Idaho are old neighborhood rivals that have met 83 times dating back to 1894. Overall, the Cougars hold a commanding 63-17-3 series lead, but the Vandals have won the last two, snapping a 14-game WSU winning streak in the process. . . . Last Year: Idaho scored last in a wild offensive shootout at Martin Stadium to capture a 38-34 upset win. Each team had more than 460 yards total offense and the lead changed hands eight times. WSU QB Jason Gesser passed for 259 yards and two TDs and ran for WSU's final score with 3:01 remaining in the game. But Idaho QB John Welsh matched Gesser by passing for 246 yards and two TDs and running in the winning score with 40 seconds left in the game.
ARIZONA at SAN DIEGO STATE - Thu., Aug. 30 - 7:00 PDT/MST - ESPN2 - The Series: Arizona
and San Diego State have met 14 times dating back to 1931 with the Wildcats leading the series 9-5. Arizona has won the last three with San Diego State last winning in 1979. Only five of the previous games have been at San Diego with the Aztecs holding a 3-2 edge in those contests. . . . Last Year: Arizona and San Diego State met early in the year at Tucson and the Wildcat defense put on a dominating performance in leading UA to a 17-3 win. The Cats allowed the Aztecs just 196 yards total offense (72 rushing, 124 passing) and kept SDSU out of the end zone. The game was still close in the fourth quarter when the Arizona special teams put it away as SS Brandon Nash blocked a punt and WR Andrae Thurman picked it up and raced 34 yards for a touchdown. . . . Coaching Note: San Diego State is coached by Ted Tollner, who led USC to a 26-20-1 record from 1983-86, including a Rose Bowl victory following the 1984 season.
ILLINOIS at CALIFORNIA - Sat., Sep. 1 - 12:30 PDT - FOX Sports Net - The Series: California
and Illinois have met seven times with the Illini holding a 6-1 series advantage. The Golden Bears' only win in the series came at Champaign in 1974 (31-14). Illinois has won the three previous games played at Berkeley, with the most recent being in 1973. . . . Last Year: No. 19-ranked Illinois hung on for a 17-15 victory at Champaign. California QB Kyle Boller engineered a late touchdown drive, completing his second TD pass of the day to WR Charon Arnold with 1:26 left to play, but a Bear two-point conversion attempt failed and the Illini hung on for the victory. Cal's All-America punter Nick Harris had a remarkable day as nine of his 12 punts were downed inside the Illini 15-yard line, including five inside the 10. . . . Coaching Note: It's a homecoming for Illinois coach Ron Turner, who claims Martinez, Calif., as his hometown. Turner played at Pacific and had a 7-4 mark as head coach at San Jose State in 1992.
UCLA at ALABAMA - Sat, Sep. 1 - 6:45 CDT/4:45 PDT - ESPN - The Series: UCLA and Alabama
have split their only two previous meetings, Alabama winning 36-6 in the 1976 Liberty Bowl and UCLA prevailing 35-24 at home in the Rose Bowl last year. . . . Last Year: UCLA and No. 3-ranked Alabama opened the season at the Rose Bowl and things looked bleak for the Bruins when starting QB Cory Paus was knocked out of the game after the first series. However, UCLA dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and TB DeShaun Foster enjoyed a career day as the Bruins prevailed 35-24. UCLA ran 84 plays from scrimmage with Foster rushing 42 times for 187 yards and three TDs.
WISCONSIN at OREGON - Sat., Sep. 1 - 5:00 PDT - ABC - The Series: Oregon and Wisconsin have
met just three times with the Badgers taking all three. It marks just the second trip to Eugene for Wisconsin, which won 22-10 at Autzen Stadium in 1977. . . . Last Year: Oregon and Wisconsin met at Madison early in the season and the ninth-ranked Badgers edged the Ducks, 27-23, behind an explosive ground game. Wisconsin rushed for 302 yards with TB Michael Bennett doing most of the damage has he went for 290 yards and two TDs. UO QB Joey Harrington passed for 362 yards, but it was not enough to overcome Bennett's heroics.
SAN JOSE STATE at USC - Sat., Sep. 1 - 3:30 PDT - The Series: USC and San Jose State have
met just twice with the Trojans winning both contests in Los Angeles in 1995 (45-7) and 2000 (34-24). . . . Last Year: USC and San Jose State met early in the season in the Trojans' 500th game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. No. 9 USC, plagued by four lost fumbles and special teams difficulties, found itself down 24-12 midway through the fourth quarter before QB Carson Palmer led a late comeback that resulted in 22 unanswered points and a 34-24 Trojan victory. Palmer completed 22 of 38 for a career-high 338 yards and two TDs overall, and was 10-12 for 148 yards in the fourth quarter. Also having big days on offense were TB Sultan McCullough with 21 carries for a career-high 136 yards (6.5) and WR Kareem Kelly with seven catches for 106 yards, including a 61-yard scoring bomb from Palmer. In all, the USC offense piled up 572 yards total offense (234 rushing, 338 passing). The San Jose State passing attack burned the Trojans for 256 yards.
OREGON STATE at FRESNO STATE - Sun., Sep. 2 - 6:30 PDT - ESPN - The Series: Oregon State
and Fresno State have met 10 times with the Bulldogs leading the series 6-4. Fresno State has won all four previous games played at Fresno, most recently in 1994 (24-14). . . . Last Meeting: Coach Dennis Erickson made his home debut for Oregon State against Fresno State in 1999. It proved to be a successful opening as the Beavers rolled up 509 yards total offense (206 rushing, 303 passing) in thumping the Bulldogs 46-23. A couple of now-familiar names led OSU that day as sophomore TB Ken Simonton carried 31 times for 178 yards (5.7) and two scores, and fellow soph QB Jonathan Smith passed for 303 yards and two TDs.
OREGON STATE TB KEN SIMONTON ON THE PAC-10 CAREER CHARTS
1. 6,245 Charles White, USC, 1976-792. 4,810 Marcus Allen, USC, 1978-813. 4,169 Darrin Nelson, Stanford, 1977-814. 4,106 Napoleon Kaufman, Washington, 1991-945. 4,073 Ken Simonton, Oregon State, 1998-
4. 360 Max Zendejas, Arizona, 1982-855. 330 Skip Hicks, UCLA, 1993-976. 320 Charles White, USC, 1976-797. 317 Quin Rodriguez, USC, 1987-908. 314 Anthony Davis, USC, 1972-749. 312 Ken Simonton, Oregon State, 1998-
NEW COACHES: Three new head coaches will prowl the Pac-10 sidelines this year, the
largest turnover in the head coaching ranks since 1992. John Mackovic takes over at Arizona, but is no newcomer at the post in the college ranks, having served 13 years as head coach at Texas, Illinois and Wake Forest. Mackovic was the Wildcats' offensive coordinator from 1973-76. . . . Up the road at Tempe, Dirk Koetter takes the reins at Arizona State. Koetter comes off a very successful (26-10) three-year stint as head coach at Boise State. He served as offensive coordinator at Oregon for two years (1996-97) prior to taking over at Boise. The third newcomer is Pete Carroll at USC. Carroll has built most of his reputation off 16 years in the NFL, including stints as head coach of the New England Patriots and New York Jets. However, he got his start in the college ranks with 10 years as an assistant prior to embarking on his pro postings.
FOOTBALL/HOOPS: The Pac-10 last year became just the second conference in history to have
three teams ranked in the Top 10 in the final AP poll and have three teams reach the 'Elite Eight' of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in the same academic year. Washington, Oregon State and Oregon pulled off the football rankings, and Arizona, Stanford and USC reached the 'Elite Eight' of the NCAA tourney last season. The SEC (1986) is the only other conference to ever achieve this rare double.
RETURNING STARTERS: The Pac-10 will have a distinctly veteran feel to it as a total of 151
starters are back for another season of action. That's out of a possible 240 (including kicking specialists), which comes out to 62.9% of last year's starters returning. That is a bit above the normal returnee rate. Stanford and Washington State lead the way with 18 starters back, followed by California and UCLA with 17. Interestingly, the three teams that shared the Pac-10 title last year return the fewest starters. Oregon State has just 10 starters returning, while Oregon and Washington check in with 12 back. The 'average' Pac-10 team returns 15 starters--7 on offense, 6.5 on defense and 1.5 kickers.
MISSING YOU IN 2001: The Pac-10 scheduling format calls for eight Conference games--four
home and four away--which means each institution misses one other league foe. Following are the Pac-10 'misses for 2001:
Longest overall winning streak - 8 games - Washington
Longest Conference-game winning streak - 7 games - Washington
Longest home winning streak - 20 games - Oregon
Longest road winning streak - 3 games - Oregon State and Washington
HOME WINNING STREAKS--CURRENT:
35 Florida State
HOME WINNING STREAKS--ALL-TIME PAC-10:
26 California, 1919-23
20 Oregon, 1997-2000
20 USC, 1927-29
CLOSE FINISHES/OVERTIME GAMES: To say close games were the rule in the Pac-10 last year
is an understatement. In 40 Conference games, 22 were decided by seven or fewer points, 24 by eight or fewer. Every Pac-10 team except Oregon State and Washington was involved in an overtime game last year, with Arizona State and Washington State playing in three such contests each. The Sun Devils established a NCAA record by playing in three consecutive overtime contests. There were a record seven Conference games to go into overtime last season, including two double overtime and two triple overtime games.
GEOGRAPHY: In 2000, three Pacific Northwest teams finished 1-2-3 in the Conference
standings for the first time since 1941. Washington, Oregon State and Oregon finished a combined 32-4 last year, with three of the four losses coming against each other.
RANKINGS: Three Pac-10 teams finished ranked in the Top 10 in the final polls following
the 2000 season. The AP listed Washington (11-1) No. 3, Oregon State (11-1) No. 4 and Oregon (10-2) No. 7. It was the first time since 1984 that the Pac-10 had three teams ranked in the final Top 10 and the first time ever that two ended up ranked in the Top 5.
BOWLING: Those three teams achieved their rankings in part to rousing season-ending bowl
wins. The Pac-10 concluded the year with two BCS bowl victories as Washington topped Purdue in the Rose Bowl (34-24) and Oregon State hammered Notre Dame in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (41-9). Oregon preceded those by besting Texas in the Culligan Holiday Bowl (35-30) to give the Pac-10 three bowl victories against teams ranked in the top 15.
AWARDS: Four of the 30 quarterbacks on the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award 'watch
list' are Pac-10ers--Kyle Boller of California, Joey Harrington of Oregon, Carson Palmer of USC and Jonathan Smith of Oregon State. . . . On the Lou Groza Award 'watch list,' five of the 30 kickers are from the Pac-10--John Anderson of Washington, Mike Barth of Arizona State, Ryan Cesca of Oregon State, Chris Griffith of UCLA and Sean Keel of Arizona.
CONFERENCE: The Pac-10 has sent seven different teams to the Rose Bowl the last seven
years. . . . The Conference finished 2000 with a splendid 26-10 (.722) record against non-conference opposition. Of the Conference's 10 losses outside the league, five came against teams ranked in the Top 25. In all, the Pac-10 had a remarkable 8-5 record vs. Top 25 teams and posted four victories against teams ranked in the Top 5. . . . Home field advantage? In 40 Conference games last year, home teams had a losing record at 19-21. . . . A total of 11 first-team All-Pac-10 performers return this season, plus another 15 who were voted second team All-Conference by league coaches. . . . Eight Pac-10 teams return its starting quarterback this season with only Arizona and Washington needing to break in new signalcallers. . . . As for runners, every rusher that finished among the league's top 10 last year is back, led by three 1,000-yard tailbacks--Oregon State's Ken Simonton (1,474), Oregon's Maurice Morris (1,106) and USC's Sultan McCullough (1,163). . . . Commissioner Tom Hansen has been selected by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame to receive this year's Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes individuals whose efforts and activities have made a significant impact on amateur football and contributed to the advancement and betterment of the game. The award will be presented at the Foundation's Awards Luncheon on December 11, 2001, in New York.
ARIZONA, Larry Mac Duff returns to Arizona as defensive coordinator after a stint with the
New York Giants. Mac Duff was instrumental in developing the Wildcat's double-eagle flex defense in the 1990s. His famed 'Desert Swarm' ranked in the nation's top 10 in total defense from 1992-96. . . . WR Malosi Leonard on coach John Mackovic's offense: 'A lot of these guys have never been a part of a passing offense--I know I never have. To have the ball thrown to us so many times is a great challenge, and we can't wait.' . . . And Mackovic on center Steven Grace: 'I have not had a college center better than hs (Grace) is. He is strong, smart and he finishes his block. He is a great player.'
ARIZONA STATE: As head coach at Boise State last year, Dirk Koetter directed a program that
led the nation in scoring offense, was second in total offense and fourth in passing offense. Koetter will act as his own offensive coordinator as the Sun Devils install his high-flying offense. . . . ASU also has installed a new attacking defense characterized by movement. I utilizes an unusual 4-2-5 alignment that employs three safties. . . . New ASU Athletics Director Gene Smith earned three varsity letters as a defensive end at Notre Dame and was a member of the 1973 national championship team. . . . ASU's Sun Devil Stadium will host the Pac-10 Champion in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the conclusion of this season, unless the Pac-10 champ manages a No. 1 or 2 spot in the final BCS ranking, in which case its off to the Rose Bowl for a shot at the national championship.
CALIFORNIA: Al Borges takes over as offensive coordinator after a successful stint at UCLA
in the same capacity. The Bruins averaged 31.9 points per game during the his five year run at Westwood. The Bears look for QB Kyle Boller to blossom under Borges. . . . Cal had fourth-quarter leads against the Pac-10's three top teams last year--Washington, Oregon and Oregon State--only to lose all three. . . . TB Joe Igber, who rushed for 901 yards as a sophomore last year, believes in changing his uniform number every year. He wore No. 29 as a freshman, No. 6 as a soph last year and is set to appear this year as No. 30.
OREGON: Coach Mike Bellotti is one victory shy of his 50th win as Duck head coach. . . .
Oregon enters the season with a 20-game home winning streak intact. That ties for the second-longest home winning streak in Conference history, trailing only California's 26 straight from 1919-23. It also is the second-longest current home winning streak in the nation behind 35 by Florida State. Included in the Ducks' streak are 13 straight Conference game home wins, a Pac-10 record. . . . All-name team favorite Wesly Mallard is back at linebacker for the Ducks. . . . QB Joey Harrington is 14-2 as a starter. . . . Ducks were picked to with the league in the annual Pac-10 pre-season media poll for the first time ever. The poll started in 1961.
OREGON STATE: TB Ken Simonton is the Conference's most decorated returning player. The
first-team All-America pick is looking to become the first player in league history, and just the fifth in NCAA history, to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons. Simonton already stands in fifth place on the Pac-10 career rushing chart with 4,073 yards. Simonton placed ninth in Heisman Trophy voting last season and is the top returning vote-getter. . . . The Beavers come off their first 11-win season. . . . OSU led the Pac-10 in 2000 in both total offense (415.9) and total defense (314.4), a nice combination. . . . Beavers enter the season with a seven-game winning streak and a nine-game home winning streak. Plus, OSU has a 13-game non-conference regular season winning streak going. The Beavers have not lost a regular season non-conference game since 1996. . . . Sports Illustrated tabbed the Beavers No. 1 in the nation in its college football preview issue. . . . QB Jonathan Smith is 18-6 the last two seasons and is looking to become the first quarterback to lead the Beavers to three consecutive bowl games.
STANFORD: The Cardinal was 5-3 and averaged 29.8 points per game with Randy Fasani at QB
last year and was 0-3 with 7.6 points per game when he missed games with injuries. Fasani is among the nine starters Stanford returns on offense. However, the Stanford staff is still seeking a 'big play' threat to add some explosiveness to the offense. . . . On defense, the Cardinal have seven starters back, but face the task of replacing team leaders DT Willie Howard and OLB Riall Johnson. . . . Among the many reasons Stanford fans like coach Tyrone Willingham is the fact that he has knocked off California in the Big Game in all six of his seasons as head coach.
UCLA: No Pac-10 team returns any more defensive starters than the eight coming back for
the Bruins. In addition, UCLA regains the services of All-Pac-10 DE Kenyon Coleman, who was touted for national honors before going down with a knee injury early last season. . . . UCLA has won its last three season-openers. Bruins also have won 10 of last 14 games vs. ranked opponents, including four of the last six. . . . UCLA's opener vs. Alabama will be first time the Bruin football team has played in the state of Alabama. . . . 2001 marks UCLA's 20th season of playing home games in the Rose Bowl, which will serve as the site of the BCS National Championship game this season. 'We're looking forward to playing at home on January 3rd,' says Bruin TB DeShaun Foster.
USC: TB Sultan McCullough rushed for 1,163 yards last season, most for a Trojan since 1990.
With a 10.17 100 meters to his credit, McCullough is considered the fastest Trojan football player ever. He was the Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash in 1999. . . . USC's 1,843 rushing yards as a team were the most for Troy since 1991. . . . QB Carson Palmer is just 19 completions from moving into third place on SC career completion list behind Rob Johnson and Rodney Peete. His 5,159 career passing yards is the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year. . . . Palmer needs to stay healthy as no other QB on the Trojan roster has ever thrown a pass in college.
WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter the season with the longest overall winning streak and
longest Conference-game winning streak among Pac-10 teams. UW has won its last eight straight overall and seven straight in Conference play. . . . Husky tailbacks last year averaged 5.8 yards per rush and scored 18 touchdowns. . . . Last season, Washington won seven games by less than a touchdown. Huskies also won seven games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter. . . . Huskies are inexperienced on the offensive line. Only C Kyle Benn, who has started 22 straight games, has any starting experience. . . . Washington has moved Paul Arnold from running back to wide receiver, where he looks like a potential star. He caught five passes for 108 yards and a TD in the Husky Spring Game.
WASHINGTON STATE: Mike Price is the current 'dean' among Pac-10 head football coaches as
he enters his 13th year at the helm of the Cougars. . . . OT Sam Lightbody goes 6-foot-9 and 300 pounds. . . . LB Kyle Stiffarm also checks in with a colorful name for the Cougs. . . . Mike Bush, who led the Cougar basketball team in scoring with a 15.9-point average has joined the football team. The 6-foot-6 Bush presents an imposing target at wide receiver. . . . FS Lamont Thompson, tied for the WSU career record for interceptions with 14, returns for his senior season after sitting out a year with an injured neck. . . . WSU had a 4-7 campaign last year, but three of the losses came in overtime. All were Conference games. . . . Coach Price is calling this year's offensive line the best in his 13 years at WSU. . . . WSU named receivers coach Mike Levenseller offensive coordinator. . . . Nine starters are back on offense for WSU.
QUOTING THE COACHES AT PAC-10 FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY:
John Mackovic, Arizona: 'I'm excited to be back. The opportunity at the University of
Arizona was not one that I had anticipated. But when the opportunity did present itself, I knew immediately that it was the right fit.'
Dirk Koetter, Arizona State: 'When you're a new coach, you have a honeymoon period, and
everyone's treated me so well. I am very impressed with our players and the buy-in factor with what we've tried to get done. Nobody has higher expectations for this program and that starts right here with me.'
Tom Holmoe, California: 'We're going into a really big year for the Cal Bears this season.
It's a darn good team I'm going into the season with. The time is now for this program, this administration and this coach.'
Mike Bellotti, Oregon: 'The pre-season prediction (No. 1 in the Pac-10 media poll), I
definitely hope it comes true. Our players certainly understand that we have to go out and earn that every week. Offensively, I think we have a chance to be a very special team.'
Dennis Erickson, Oregon State: 'It's an exciting time for all of us. We have a lot of
talent coming back, starting with (TB) Ken Simonton. The young guns will have to step up in our program, too. We've got key leadership. The parity in this league is unbelievable.'
Tyrone Willingham, Stanford: 'I liken it to a NASCAR race. There are a lot of good teams
in the Conference and we're hoping to let some of those teams pull us along, and hopefully when the race is done, we can finish near the front.'
Bob Toledo, UCLA: 'Looking at last season, nine of our 11 games were decided by seven points,
so we could have had a great season. The team that's come back is probably the most experienced that I've had, so I feel very good about our team from that standpoint.'
Pete Carroll, USC: 'What has guided us and directed our work since we arrived at USC is
this coming together as a team. I'm very excited about the offensive side of the ball, especially Coach Norm Chow and the experience he brings to the team.'
Rick Neuheisel, Washington: 'We are thrilled with the way things went last season, so
now we have the challenge of finding a way to be in the race again in November. The party line is we're going to be a great team eventually. Our job is to make eventually come in a hurry.'
Mike Price, Washington State: 'Winning is fun and the Cougs need to start having some fun
again. We have the best offensive line, the most talented and the strongest, since I've been at Washington State. We'll be able to run the football this year.'