Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Coaches weigh in on late start times, Pac-12 defenses
Pac-12 coaches share their thoughts on late kickoff times and the different defensive talents they'll go up against this season around the conference in Tuesday's weekly football coaches teleconference call.
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
When it comes to recruiting, Coach MacIntyre brings a different point of view.
"I look for multi-sport athletes. If they play 2-3 sports, not living in the weight room all the time, learning different skills, have different kinds of coaching...athleticism and ability for growth.
"If there's two guys and one plays one sport and one plays three sports, I'm gonna take the one that plays three sports...And it always works out."
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
There's been a lot of talk lately on late start times on the West Coast, and while it's not always ideal – Whittingham says that after road games his team sometimes gets home at 5 a.m. – he's gotten his team adjusted.
"We're used to it. We're in a pretty good routine for these late kickoffs...there's nothing you can do about it."
Stanford's David Shaw
Shaw echoed Whittingham's thoughts on late start times, and that's not the only thing the two coaches have in common. Both recruit heavily from the state of Utah, and Shaw credits defensive coordinator Lance Anderson for bringing those players to the Bay Area.
"The work that Lance Anderson has done, recruiting that state even before he came to Stanford. There are a lot of ideas that are matching – really good football, really good teams, really good schools academically – a lot of aspirations both in football and beyond the sport of football.
With Anderson, I think it's two-fold...his history in the state and the number of people that he's met, but it's also talking people through how the mission works and can work here at Stanford."
Washington State's Mike Leach and Luke Falk
The Cougar defense was perhaps the biggest factor in the upset win on Friday night over then-No. 5 USC, and Mike Leach credits his defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
"I think he's done an extremely good job. We've continued to grow and elevate around the defense. I think some of it is, we had a lot of young guys that started last year and I think they've continued to get better."
Falk has been impressed with the defense since camp.
"I think Coach Grinch does a great job of firing those guys up...They were tough to play against in fall camp, I'm glad to see them doing it to a team other than us."
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
As the Wildcats gear up to take on Colorado over the weekend, RichRod knows they'll need to be on alert to face running back Phillip Lindsay.
"Without question, I think he's one of the most valuable players in the Pac-12....You've got to do a great job of knowing where he is, certainly if you've got him man to man, but you've got to do a great job also wrapping up because he'll run through a lot of tackles."
The Wildcats also dealt with some adversity this week, with a number of players on their roster being from Las Vegas. Rodriguez says his guys are doing ok.
"This was such a tragic event, and certainly they had concerns...it just breaks your heart and certainly our prayers go out to all the victims. But our guys from Vegas were nervous at first, but mostly people that were there were probably tourists that were probably just there for the concert."
Cal's Justin Wilcox
Coming off a tough road loss to Oregon, the Golden Bears head to face an undefeated Washington team. Wilcox knows it'll be a tough matchup as he returns to Seattle.
"They're very well-rounded in every phase of the game – offense, defense, special teams. They've got really good players, very physical on both fronts...they've got great skill. You look at the quarterback position and how efficient he is. So, really challenging and that's exactly what you want. You want an opportunity to play against teams like this and we have to focus on is our preparation leading up to the game."
USC's Clay Helton
After facing the Washington State defense last Friday, Helton was really impressed, especially with one guy – Hercules Mata'afa.
"He's really one of the first kids that we've had this year where you had to game plan and you had to know where he was at all times...I think he does a tremendous job, even though he's not the biggest kid...he has a knack of being able to put his pads under yours as a defender with the same foot, same shoulder technique that really penetrates in the backfield.
It doesn't matter whether it's on defense or even on special teams. He was a nightmare for us on field goal protection."
Helton also hinted that he wouldn't mind facing the Cougars again – in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
"I hope we get a chance to play them again."
Washington's Chris Petersen
Petersen told Sports Illustrated that he's not pleased with the late start times, but insists that he's not as upset as people think.
"It's not like, all of a sudden this came to a big head and it's like, 'what's going on here?'
I think it's just typical media. They don't have anything else to write about so they make it headlines and all that stuff. I mean, it's nothing different, it's been going on since I've been here and everybody feels the same way."
Arizona State's Todd Graham
The Sun Devils are on a bye this week, but that doesn't mean they're sitting back. Despite a 2-3 record so far, Graham says that the Pac-12 South is up for grabs.
"We've got to get better fundamentally and not give up big plays in the run game...I got great confidence that we've got a good team.
In this league, anybody can beat anybody on a given week. In conference play, you look at the South, and I think there's only one team that's undefeated. Everybody else has a loss. We haven't played anybody in the South yet, so you've got to go and compete every week."
Oregon's Willie Taggart
The Ducks might have lost Royce Freeman early in the last game, but Kani Benoit stepped up big in Freeman's absence, rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Taggart wasn't surprised.
"It was great. It wasn't anything surprising or anything like that because that's just how Kani's been since I've been here. He's all about competing, he's all about showing what he's capable of doing. He always tells me, 'All I need is a chance coach, and I'll show you' and every opportunity he's gotten since I've been here he's taken advantage of.
"It wasn't surprising. It's what we expected out of Kani, and we expect for him to continue to help us."
Oregon State's Gary Andersen
As the Beavers prepare to take on USC this week, Andersen knows that he has to gear up to face linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who leads the nation in pass deflections at his position.
"He's very active, he's used within the scheme very well, there's no doubt about it. He's a talented player and he's surrounded by talented players...if you get an offensive lineman on him, hopefully they're not able to get his hands up and we can keep his hands down so he can't get those balls knocked out of there."