Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Coaches encourage voting and focus
Multiple coaches talk about the importance of discussing this election with their players, Stanford and Oregon are geared up for their unofficial North rivalry this weekend, and Gary Andersen reveals he's never tried In-N-Out Burger.
Stanford's David Shaw
It’s election day, something Stanford head coach David Shaw says his players are very aware of. “I’ve been here for a few elections now and it’s fascinating to hear young people so well versed in what’s going on in this country,” says Shaw. “These college students are so much more informed. They know so much more about issues than we did when we were younger.”
Talking football, Shaw says one of the hardest things his team has had to deal with this season is the schedule. His Card had its bye in Week 2, and are in the thick of 11 straight weeks of games. “It’s horrible,” says Shaw, “but we monitor what we can.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s game against Oregon, Shaw is familiar with the rivalry between the two schools that has emerged in the North. “[It started] just before I took over as a head coach,” says Shaw. “They’re always exciting games."
Washington's Chris Petersen
The election was also a hot topic for the Huskies. “We’ve been talking about it for weeks,” says head coach Chris Petersen. “I don’t think they get super excited, but that’s no the point. You do have a choice and you need to make your voice heard.”
Speaking of voices, the Huskies continue to acknowledge the rankings talk surrounding their team, but not let it affect their day-to-day mentality. “Our guys are all about one at a time,” says Petersen. “They completely understand the whole thing . We talk about it, so they know they don’t have to think about it."
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
Colorado takes on the Arizona Wildcats this weekend, a team that has handed the Buffs losses for the past three years. “It’s gonna be a tough situation for us,” says Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre. However, MacIntyre reports his team having “excellent” practices the past few days and says they’re ready to roll.
Another situation the Buffs have had to deal with as of late is handling the targets on their backs after slowing climbing the rankings this season. “We haven’t ever been there before, and now we’re there,” says MacIntyre. “They’re aiming at you more and getting more excited [to play].”
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
Coming off a bye week, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has had plenty of time to emphasize the importance of hard work to his players. He says the focus of the Utes always has been and always will be production. “If you’re not producing as much as the guy competing for your job, you’re not going to play as much as him,” says Whittingham.
Washington State's Mike Leach
The Cougs right now are hot, hot, hot, but Washington State head coach Mike Leach is taking it in stride. “It’s reinforced what we’re doing,” says Leach. “As we improve as a team, we try to raise the focus and intensity level to improve even more.”
This weekend’s home game against Cal is under the lights, and “probably will” (if Leach predicts correctly) sellout. “It’s a great atmosphere,” says Leach. “The night games are even better."
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
The Wildcats still seem to be trying to figure their season out. One player in particular who’s fighting for them is quarterback Anu Solomon, who had been putting a lot of pressure on himself before last week’s game against Washington State.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez says that when that happens with a player, especially a quarterback, it’s important to remind him to “stay within the framework of the offense” and “don’t go silly with it.” Rodriguez hopes that nervousness will fade over the next few weeks, as Solomon is still relatively fresh off an injury that took him out of play for over a month. “He’s getting back to the rhythm he had at the beginning [of the season],” says Rodriguez.
California's Sonny Dykes
California football has had the advantage over Washington State in recent years, but head coach Sonny Dykes knows that what happens in the past doesn’t affect what will happen this weekend. The important thing, he says is being “in the moment on Saturday night.”
When the Golden Bears head to Pullman, they’re looking to do two things: get stops and execute on their own offense. “[Washington State’s] offense is executing about as well as they can execute,” says Dykes.
Oregon's Mark Helfrich
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich is looking forward to this weekend’s game against Stanford, a matchup that has turned into a Pac-12 North rivalry over the years. “There’s been a lot of great moments, controversial moments, and great finishes,” says Helfrich. “Hopefully this next one is the most exciting one for us."
UCLA's Jim Mora
UCLA head coach Jim Mora knows that this season’s record isn’t what he, his players, or his fans wanted it to be. Oftentimes it’s hard to fight through a negative streak, but Mora says his players have stayed resilient.
“The key is consistency,” says Mora. “Whether it’s going really well, or not as well as you’d like, it’s coming out of every game with the same energy, the same enthusiasm, the same focus, and trying to get better every day.”
Dealing with it from a coaching standpoint, Mora says staying resilient is just as important. “It’s important to maintain your poise and your belief in what you’re doing,” he says.
USC's Clay Helton
The Trojans are heading to Seattle this weekend to take on the Huskies and they have one thing on their mind: trying to stop Washington’s offense. “I don’t know if you can all the way stop them,” laughs head coach Clay Helton. “We’re trying to keep Jake [Browning] int he pocket. He’s very dynamic.”
Also on the table was the topic of quarterback Max Browne given clearance for transfer. “He’s such a class act,” says Helton. “I’m very involved in the process."
Arizona State's Todd Graham
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham has some exciting news for Sun Devil fans: “Tim [White] and Manny [Wilkins] are both game-time decisions, but we expect both of them to play.” The Sun Devils have done their fair share of battling injuries this season, so Graham says having these two players back will “help tremendously.”
Other players on his roster that came up were his handful of fifth-year seniors. Now that the season is sliding into its second half, Graham reflected on recruiting these men individually and the impact they have had on the program. “This group is special,” says Graham. “What I’m most proud of is the foundation these guys have made on and off the field."
Oregon State's Gary Andersen
Recruiting was a hot topic today with Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen, who, despite recruiting heavily out of Southern California, has never had In-N-Out Burger.
“We let kids know that they have the opportunity to play early. We’re a young team,” says Andersen. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be, but we understand that we’re in a process. Kids need to understand that with just a couple more pieces we’re there."