2005 Pac-10 Football Season Kicks Off with Annual Media Day

Aug. 2, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- The 2005 Pac-10 football season officially kicked off Tuesday morning, with more than 200 media members attending the annual football media day event at the Sheraton Gateway LAX.

'It's an exciting season when you start with a two-time national champion and a returning Heisman Trophy winner,' said Commissioner Tom Hansen. 'USC will have to fight for its title again this year, however. We are going to have a very competitive season.'

The Conference will be back on-air as television agreements with ABC, Fox Sports Net and TBS will allow fans to catch Pac-10 matchups on various outlets throughout the duration of the season.

Among the new topics being discussed was the Pac-10's first season using instant replay technology. Certain specific types of officiating decisions will now have the opportunity to be reviewed and corrected, if warranted.

'Indisputable video evidence is what is being adhered to,' said Coordinator of Football Officiating, Verle Sorgen. 'We don't want to stop the game anymore than necessary, but we will allow for certain calls to be reviewed.'

The first non-conference games of the season will be played Thurs., Sept. 1 with Arizona State hosting Temple, Washington State at home against Idaho and a road trip for Oregon, as they head south to take on Houston.

2005 Football Media Day;Los Angeles, Calif.;August 2, 2005

Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops

General Remarks: 'We are optimistic about the start of the season. 100% of our players participated in voluntary workouts this summer, which shows commitment to each other and the program. That's what we need to be successful. We are much more together as a football team this year. Team speed, size and quickness has been improved. It took a solid year to build this program so we are excited to have our players report tomorrow.'

On his role this season as a head coach: 'I felt myself giving a lot of commitment to the defense last year, making sure it was implemented the way we wanted it. But I've switched some of my responsibilities this year so the offense feels my presence and is more aware of what we want to accomplish.'

Wildcats' FS Darrell Brooks

On the difference between coach Stoops last year and now: 'He's spending more time with the offense and giving the defensive staff more opportunity to show their capabilities. He's transformed into more of a head coach and its been great to watch. He's matured with his new position.'

Stanford Head Coach Walt Harris

General Remarks: 'I'm excited to have the opportunity to coach at Stanford. We had a tough season last year. Football is more complicated than people think, there's a lot it takes to get everyone on the same page. There's a contrast in getting your players used to your new system, but I like our leadership and the look in the players' eyes.'

On the new style of play in the Pac-10: 'There are a lot of good athletes in our Conference, along with outstanding coaching. At Stanford we want to run the football and stop the run.'

On how the Pac-10 has changed since he left the first time: 'I left the league in 1977. If I remember right, USC and UCLA were at the top. It's a great league the way it's laid out, especially now that we will play everyone next season. Its very, very competitive with the west coast athletes and great coaching we have out here. It's great to be back.'

Cardinal LB Jon Alston

On being picked to finish ninth this year: 'You don't get respect, until you earn respect. We lost some close games last year, a lot of which came down to mental toughness and lack of belief. We have prepared hard this off-season and thought about those five losses over and over. We will be ready this time, come the fourth quarter.'

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham

General Remarks: 'It's nice to be back in the Pac-10, one of the most exciting conferences in the nation. Our football squad is hard at work in trying to be a better team. When any coach takes over, you try and make your imprint on the program and what you want to do. We expect to build championship men, students and athletes.'

On taking over at Notre Dame and Washington: 'The situations were drastically different. The team I took over at Notre Dame had had some success. At Washington they had a 1-10 last season, so those are two totally different environments and teams. I am trying to create a similar culture as I did at Notre Dame. Washington had some awfully good coaches, but sometimes things have to come together differently. There is not one thing we can come in and cure. Washington has an unbelievable football tradition and that was one of the things that attracted me.'

Huskies' LB Joe Lobendahn

On his first impressions of coach Willingham: 'My first impression in just seeing him on TV was that he was serious so I was intimidated. But when I first met him, he was very genuine. Coach has great character and is a role model to me. I am excited to play for him.'

On being picked to finish tenth in the Pac-10: 'It's no surprise to me, we were 1-10 last season. I don't care about the polls, I'm just ready for the season to begin. This summer our entire team worked out and that was great to have everyone here training, building that team unity.'

Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba

General Remarks: 'We've had a good spring. We competed pretty well and stayed relatively healthy. Our strength, defensively, is our front. All those guys are returning. Our linebackers are great, but I'm worried about our depth there. If the front is good enough to put on pressure, it will help our secondary. Offensively, we have simplified some things. We have an excellent line and tight ends. We will have two quarterbacks battling it out, and hopefully that will be decided soon because I don't want to go into the season with two.'

On the difficulty of having a two-quarterback system: 'It's difficult to give both quarterbacks equal number of reps in practice. I'm a believer in getting kids on and off the field and having two quarterbacks would make practice very long. I just think its difficult to have two and you need to have one guy that is your leader. But the biggest problem is getting both players enough reps.'

Cougars' LB Will Derting

On USC beating Oklahoma and the finesse game in the Pac-10: 'We have competition during the year, but come bowl games we always root for Pac-10 teams. People always say that about the Pac-10, that our linebackers are smaller. But out here we have to stop the run and the pass.'

Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti

General Remarks: 'Our team has great energy right now. We haven't played football in a while, so there is a greater excitement, a greater hunger. We stayed healthy this spring and had a great summer with voluntary workouts. We are a veteran team on offense. The question will be on our offensive line. That group will be tested. On defense, we are blessed with two senior corners who have a ton of experience and are ready to take on the receivers in this Conference.'

On incoming TB Jonathan Stewart: 'He has tremendous speed, strength and explosiveness. I would love to see him step in and play. I hope he can come in and push our players. I think Terrence and Stewart could be the best one-two punch in school history. He is a great young man, a great young athlete who could make an impact this year.'

On QB Kellen Clemens and the new offense: 'It's been a smooth transition. This has been the third or fourth offensive coordinator that Kellen has played under, which is very hard. It has put Kellen back in more of his natural state, more in the shotgun, with freedom and flexibility in the pocket. The biggest thing we wanted to improve upon last year was in sacks, that was very detrimental to our success. We are not holding the ball as long this season, which makes it better for everyone. I think he will have the best year of his career.'

Ducks' RB Terrence Whitehead

On playing USC: 'Everyone is very excited to play USC. We haven't played them in a couple years, it will be a big game. When we did play them three years ago, we lost so there is a lot of excitement around the 24th of September.'

UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell

General Remarks: 'UCLA is ready to make that next step. For the first time in two years, we have depth and a great core in this program. We have competition in all positions and that helps any program. There is no complacency and we expect great things for this season. We are anxious to get started.'

On the specifics of this season: 'The more specific things are to have a level of competition across the board. I think that is key for the success of our program, knowing that jobs are at stake. There are a lot of positions on our defense where our younger players are anxious to play and are continually outworking each other to get out there. Our secondary has been an overhauled position. People are trying to find a spot to be earned.'

On the success that USC is having: 'USC is off and doing great things across town. But like any competitive person, you are looking to do great things yourself. If anything, this inspires me to be that much better at what I do. When you are on top, its a great feeling. We've been there before and we will get there again.'

Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley

General Remarks: 'We are looking forward to a lot of good things at Oregon State this year. We are opening in at least half of a new stadium. It's a big, big deal. A lot of people have stepped up to get this project done. In terms of our team, we have a transfer at quarterback and this is a major factor. We have a very productive receivers group, but we need to have a good fall with our quarterback. We will continue to play good defense. We are linebacker U at Oregon State, with a lot of good athletes coming out of this position.'

On the Oregon-Oregon State rivalry: 'I've been involved in Alabama-Auburn and the UCLA-USC rivalries, and the Civil War is one of the great ones. In our state, you are on one side of the fence or the other. I think the home team has won the past ten years, they have held that advantage, but we will try to break through that this year.'

Beavers' WR Mike Haas

On Pac-10 defenses and respect: 'The defense does get a little shortchanged. Guys get drafted every year out of our schools. We are a passing league, but people don't understand how good our defenses are in the Pac-10.'

On whether or not USC is beatable: 'No one is invincible, everyone is beatable. They lost players, just like everybody else. There are teams in the Conference that can knock them off and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.'

Arizona State Head Coach Dirk Koetter

General Remarks: 'We have nine starters back on offense. Obviously, replacing Andrew Walter is a big question but we have a quarterback in Sam Keller who is ready to do the job. All of our specialists are coming back, so we do have a veteran club. We have had some injuries, but the good news is that our backups have gotten some experience. We are excited to open the season, it can't get here fast enough.'

On special teams play: 'Our special teams are pretty good, but we were horrible at punt coverage last year. We did a very poor job of covering the kicks. If you break it down, most of your tackles are made by gunners on punts and we lost our best gunner so that hurt us. This has been a huge emphasis for us this year and we will get it turned around.'

Sun Devils' WR Derek Hagan

On new QB Keller: 'We've been working out with Sam the past two, three years. Andrew taught Sam a lot of things and we've always had confidence in him. He is anxious to get out there and show everyone he can get the job done.'

California Head Coach Jeff Tedford

General Remarks: 'We have a lot of new faces this year because we lost 26 guys. We have a lot of young talent, balanced with good senior leadership. Defensively, we have many talented players and offensively, we expect our receivers to play a major part in our offense early. Everyone is eager to step up and get the job done. I'm a 100% confident we have the talent to get things done, now its just a matter of gaining the experience.'

On whether or not quarterbacks are coming to him now: 'We are fortunate to have had a number of quarterbacks go on and be first-round draft picks. We have some guys come to us, but we still have to recruit very hard to get the top quarterbacks.'

Bears' C Marvin Philip

On blocking for Marshawn Lynch: 'Anytime you get to block for someone like Marshawn, you are lucky and most of the time I catch myself watching him. But having him in our backfield is great.'

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll

General Remarks: 'For us to come around and have so many of the same guys as we've had these past couple years, its fun and I'm as pumped up as I've ever been. I see the challenges differently than I have the past couple years. We've lost some terrific experience on the defensive side of the ball. I'm hoping we feel comfortable with the spotlight. A year ago we had different issues and we found a way to deal with them so hopefully the players will feel comfortable in this environment and maintain a high level of play.'

On losing so many defensive players: 'Without question, replacing some of the experience we have lost on the defensive side of the ball, is our biggest issue. Scheme-wise we will do things to help out some of our guys who are not as experienced. I look forward to the challenge. You have to face your losses and deal with them as well as you can.'

Trojans' QB Matt Leinart

On his outlook this season: 'I won the Heisman last year, but that was then. There has been a lot of hype but everyone on our team knows that that's not what I'm about. I'm feeling really good about going into camp tomorrow. Our outlook on the season is that we have a lot of veterans on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively we have a lot of young guys who have been waiting to show what they have. I feel like I've been out for forever and I'm anxious to get out with the guys and do what I love.'

On Norm Chow leaving: 'Coach Chow had a great opportunity to go to the NFL and take his ability to the highest level. I wasn't upset when he left, but you develop a comfort level with your coaches, we had a personal relationship too. I was happy for him. The good thing about this year is that the coaches are younger and we can relate to them really well. These guys are younger, fiery and they want us to do well. I saw that in spring ball, we didn't miss a beat. I'm excited to get out there and start playing for these new coaches.'

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