FoxSports.com had the chance to talk 1-on-1 with a few of the head coaches at Pac-12 Media Day and get their thoughts on a few of the questions surrounding their individual programs as the teams prepare to enter fall camp...
Chip Kelly (Oregon), on how the Ducks will rebuild after losing a few offensive starters: "We've got guys like Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas. Couple people have heard of him, he's not too shabby. Josh Huff is another kid I think is ready to have a breakout year for us. I don't think we're going to lack for playmakers."
Mike Leach (Washington State), on his expectations for his first season in Pullman: "The biggest thing is to improve, get better every day, and develop our skills and do the best we can from one week to the next. This is kind of a day by day business, rather than just a long-term one, because if you're not any good today, you aren't going to develop to be good tomorrow."
Steve Sarkisian (Washington), on the mindset of the Huskies as they enter the fall: "As we've grown as a program the last four years, we're continuing to take the necessary steps to be competing for a conference championship. That's why we're here: to win a Pac-12 Championship and to win a Rose Bowl Championship and I think we're continuing to take the necessary steps to make that happen, and they'll see that this fall."
Mike Riley (Oregon State), on the message he hopes Oregon State fans take from Media Day: "What you'd always like to hope for is optimism, that our fans are really looking forward to watching our team play. We've had some good years, but then we had a couple of down years. We're ready to get back, and I know the fans are ready to get back. Just that optimism, excitement heading into the season, and them kind of earmarking those favorite players they'd like to watch."
Jon Embree (Colorado), on coaching the youngest team in the Pac-12: "You just have to live with the growing pains that you'll go through. There's good talent, it's just a matter of how fast it grows up. The good news is that you'll have it for a while. It's unique that we had 28 seniors leave the program last year, but as we move forward, we hopefully won't go through these growing pains again."
Kyle Whittingham (Utah), on new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson: "He's been ahead of the curve all his life. He signed with us as a sixteen year old senior on Signing Day in 2004. He's mature beyond his years, an extremely intelligent individual. He was a great quarterback for us, and that same mentality, that same demeanor that he played with, he's using as the coordinator of our football team."
Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), on his first season coaching in the Pac-12: "Certainly, any time there is a new coaching staff, there will be some transitional issues, teaching the guys a new system and new terminology, getting the recruiting basis underway, as well, but we're really positive about the future...I'm really anxious to get back on the sidelines and hopefully give a product that our fans will enjoy."
David Shaw (Stanford), on the potential of the incoming freshmen offensive linemen: "Those guys, Kyle Murphy, Joshua Garnett, as well as Andrus Peat, will be right in the thick of it. We're looking for starting roles. Not just contributing roles, but starting positions. If they don't win the starting role but they earn the right to play, we're going to play them. We didn't recruit those guys to sit and watch football games, they can do that at home."
Lane Kiffin (USC), on the buzz surrounding the Trojans' program: "It's an exciting time at USC for our fans and our university, to be in those [BSC National Championship] conversations, especially two years removed from being handed down what a lot of people thought would crush USC. We are excited about that, but that has nothing to do with the upcoming season. The season will be about preparing very well in training camp for a competitive schedule."