Pac-12 football coaches teleconference: Coaches discuss parity within the conference, Shaw talks #HeismanLove campaign
Coaches talk parity within the Pac-12, David Shaw is getting active in the #HeismanLove campaign and Jim Mora recalls Brett Hundley's leadership skills as the former Bruin gets ready to take over for a superstar in the NFL.
Arizona State's Todd Graham
The Sun Devils toppled an undefeated Huskies team at home and coach Todd Graham couldn't hide his smile as the final seconds wound down.
"We celebrated in the locker room for about 30 minutes then I was back upstairs watching Utah film."
The upset was just one of many that went down this weekend in the Pac-12. In this case, as with most, the upsetter simply outplayed the ranked teams. The Sun Devils straight up beat the Huskies, said Graham.
"They didn't have one turnover and we beat them... All due respect to Washington, I don't think there was anything lucky about that, we beat them."
Washington's Chris Petersen
The Huskies lost their first game of the season, 13-7, to Arizona State in the Tempe desert.
The ineffective offensive play threw coach Chris Petersen for a loop.
"Haven't coached many games where we played like that on offense...You hold a team to 13 points you should be able to win. We just didn't play good enough on the other side of the ball."
California's Justin Wilcox
Cal paralyzed an undefeated Washington State team. This week, the defense--without Devante Downs, this time--will get a crack at the resurgent Arizona Wildcats and Khalil Tate.
"He's obviously a really dynamic player, almost 900 yards of offense in past couple weeks," Justin Wilcox said."We know he can throw the ball so it's about playing with good discipline. The fact that he can run the ball like he can throw it and throw it to the right people...it looks like he's making good decisions and in the run game making good decisions, he's just a dynamic guy."
Washington State's Mike Leach
The Cougs' first loss was one of the worst losses this conference has seen thus far. WSU failed to score a touchdown against Cal in Berkeley.
UCLA's Jim Mora
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is out for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. Former Bruin Brett Hundley is the next man up in Green Bay, and his former coach Jim Mora expressed the utmost confidence in his former QB's leadership skills.
"Before Brett ever started a game he was voted a captain," Mora said. "He was a guy that kind of took charge. His very first play as a starter was a 78-yard touchdown run."
Mora also had something to say about parity within the conference.
"Pac-12 is the most competitive conference top to bottom," he said. "Seems so this year more than it was in the past."
"We eat each other, we gobble each other up, every game is just a complete battle for survival."
Mora agrees that the level of talent in the conference makes a College Football Playoff appearance less likely as conference play continues.
"There's no gimmes in this league, there's no teams you can look at and say 'oh we should win even if we don't play our best,'...This conference is much more like the NFL where every game is just a complete battle."
Stanford's David Shaw
Penn State phenom Saquon Barkley holds a narrow lead over Bryce Love in this week's round of Heisman Watch talk. Love is narrowing in, though, and coach David Shaw and Stanford have decided to do what they can to give him an extra push.
The department started going full throttle with the campaign this week, launching the #HeismanLove hashtag and updating Love's qualifications on this page.
"There are things we will do," Shaw said. "I will be involved and I'm not running any campaigns, necessarily, but I will be involved in the process and make sure that what we do befits Stanford and befits Bryce."
This year's Heisman race looks to be coming down to these two names--two running backs in what some have called the year of the quarterback.
Shaw noted that quarterbacks are probably more fun to talk about, but as the year goes on teams are running the ball more and backs start to shine.
"Quarterback play has been good, but hasn't been stellar across the nation," he said. "I think the running backs have been as dynamic and as consistent."
Shaw also spoke to the increasing parity in the Pac-12, a conference that now features no undefeated teams. Shaw says it's near impossible for Pac-12 teams to remain perfect. Other conferences have bye weeks sandwhiched by non-conference play, while Pac-12 teams must hopscotch across the west in back-to-back weeks.
"There are no upsets in our Conference. What's unique in our conference, don't care who doesn't like what I say, we play 5-6-7 conference games in a row."
Oregon's Willie Taggart
The Ducks lost a lopsided one at Stanford this weekend, the offense looking out of sorts without Justin Herbert calling the shots.
But coach Willie Taggart knows the weapons to put together a high-scoring game are still in the Ducks' arsenal.
"This is the same offense that scored 28 points in the second half of the Cal game, since then we've only scored 17 points. It's not that we can't do it, we just have to execute." Taggart said the first step is to keep his offense in front of the sticks, limit penalties and "take care of the football, that's the one thing that's been killing us is the turnovers."
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez
Khalil Tate put together 378 total yards of offense in Arizona's win over UCLA this week, earning him a second-straight Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week award.
Tate's dynamic abilities weren't a one-game fluke, and coach Rich Rodriguez can't say he saw it coming.
"We've seen some things in practice but he's run faster in games," he said. "We thought he was fast but he's been running even faster. Sometimes we can judge how some people will play in a game, but his open field speed hasn't been a surprise, but better than we thought."
Tate will get a new challenge facing a tough Cal defense that forced Washington State to seven turnovers and zero touchdowns.
"They did such a great job against a very good WSU team, ball in zone they were right on it, in man coverage they did good job covering wide outs. They mixed it up and did a good job of mixing it up and it's very impressive how they created those turnovers."
Oregon State's Cory Hall
Cory Hall led his team to a tough 36-33 loss to Colorado in his first game. The Beavs get a bye to prepare for a tough matchup against Stanford.
Utah's Kyle Whittingham
The Utes also came short of a victory against USC this weekend for their second loss of the season.
"There's a lot of good football teams in the Pac-12. I think that leads to competitive and close games," said Coach Kyle Whittingham. "I don't know how else to put it other than there's a lot of pretty good football teams in this league."
USC's Clay Helton
The Trojans will face Notre Dame in yet another college football classic.
"We know that this is an important game not only for our football team but for our fans and the university," coach Clay Helton said. "The tradition behind it is one of the great things about being a player and a coach."
The 13th-ranked Fighting Irish have a bit of an advantage over an 11th-ranked USC team, though, with a bye week preceding the highly anticipated match up. The Trojans are in the middle of a 12-week grind.
"I try not to worry about things I can't control," Helton said. "We happen to have 12 weeks in a row and they just happen to have a bye."
Colorado's Mike MacIntyre
The Buffs edged Oregon State by three this past weekend, which was just one of many nail-biters that spoke to the conference's parity this year, coach Mike MacIntyre said.
"Anybody can beat anybody on any given Saturday," he said. "I know that sounds cliche, but there's so many good quarterbacks in our league and good coaches in our league that it makes it tough on Saturday to get a W, especially playing on the road in our league."
"We're definitely going to have teams with losses in our league," MacIntyre added. "You play each other every year, you know each other's tendencies...You're more familiar, a lot of the kids know each other. They've gone up against each other, so there's a competitive edge to that."