Spring Football: Each Pac-12 Team's No. 1 Priority

The most important on-field issue facing each Pac-12 football team this spring.


There's a completely new defensive coaching staff, led by coordinator Marcel Yates, and with that a change in spring ball philosophy for Arizona. Head coach Rich Rodriguez is stressing fundamentals as the players learn how to tackle, where to place their hands, and more. There's less scheme and more getting down to the basics as Rodriguez hopes that Arizona becomes more fundamentally sound. Every position on defense is open and even though spring ball is being handled differently, there is plenty of competition. - Jason Scheer, Wildcat Authority

Arizona State

Coaching turnover is the predominant topic of discussion among Arizona State fans this off-season, an inevitability following the departures of more than half of the team's staff in a six-month period. The change is likely to be most significantly felt on offense, where former coordinator Mike Norvell has left to take the head coaching job at Memphis and been replaced by former Southern Miss offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey. The Sun Devils will not be dramatically overhauling the offense, but Lindsey and fellow staff newcomer Jay Norvell, the primary play-caller last season at Texas, will be putting their imprint on it. Defensively, the Sun Devils also have two new staffers, and will be working to address their national-worst passing defense with an infusion of new talent in the form of two highly regarded mid-year junior college transfers in the secondary, Maurice Chandler and J'Marcus Rhodes. - Chris Karpman, Sun Devil Source


The good for Cal this spring: The Bears brought in nine early-enrollees, including quarterback Max Gilliam, home-run slot threat Melquise Stovall and a potential replacement for longtime starting right guard Jordan Rigsbee in JuCo transfer Dwayne Wallace. The bad? The Bears lost NFL-bound quarterback Jared Goff, tailback Daniel Lasco, and Cal's six most veteran and productive receivers. There are some options waiting in the wings for new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who, along with head coach Sonny Dykes, would like to decide on a starting quarterback by the end of spring ball, with the contenders being 2015 backup Chase Forrest, 2014 backup QB-turned-safety-turned-quarterback-again Luke Rubenzer, freshman Ross Bowers and Gilliam. - Ryan Gorcey, Bear Territory


The Buffs lost three-year starter Sefo Liufau to a foot injury in November. Liufau still has a redshirt year available, so he could sit out the 2016 season while he recovers. In the meantime, Davis Webb, a two-year starter at Texas Tech, transferred to Colorado and is immediately eligible, so he could be a stopgap until Liufau is ready, but he won’t play in spring because he’s yet to graduate from Texas Tech, which he’ll do in spring. So that leaves Cade Apsay, who took over for the Buffs when Liufau was sidelined, as the main quarterback this spring for the Buffs, in what could be a crucial year for Mike MacIntyre, who is now in his fourth year at Colorado and still has yet to have a winning season. - Brandon Huffman, Scout


The Oregon defense under coordinator Brady Hoke will be the talk of Eugene this spring. The Ducks will return a well-armed and formidable offense. But can Hoke, the former headman at Michigan, turn the Ducks into the "aggressive and chaotic" defensive unit he wants this season? After their team gave up 37.5 ppg and 485.3 ypg in 2015, Duck fans everywhere hope to see big improvement in 2016 on the defensive side of the ball. - Steve Summers, eDuck.com

Oregon State

If going winless in the Pac-12 wasn’t bad enough, Oregon State lost two quarterbacks who started in 2015, Seth Collins and Nick Mitchell to transfers and defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake to the head coaching job at BYU. So the Beavers need a quarterback to step up and their new defensive coordinator, Kevin Clune, to right the ship of the Beavers defense. Gary Andersen has a proven track record at stops at Utah State and Wisconsin, but his reclamation project at Oregon State is the most work. - Brandon Huffman, Scout


Yes, there is a wide open quarterback battle raging between Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst, but arguably the most pressing question to answer this spring is: Can Stanford reload in the trenches? The offensive line for the Cardinal has been the envy of the Pac-12, but there are more question marks than exclamation points for the unit that'll be opening holes for Christian McCaffrey.


Utah fans will get to know a team this spring that is unrecognizable from last year's 10-3 squad. New quarterback, new running back, new receivers and a new defensive coordinator. Former Washington quarterback Troy Williams is the leading candidate to take the No. 1 job. - Ute Sports Report


Since the end of the season, UCLA's coaches have touted they're revamping both the offensive and defensive schemes, so that's the big curiosity for spring practice. The offense will add to its arsenal more of a pro-style look. It doesn't mean the spread will be completely abandoned, but new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, who is the running backs coach, will undoubtedly incorporate more of a power running game. On defense, the word is that UCLA will convert to more of a 4-3 to defend against the Stanfords of the world. It's basically Jim Mora's Operation Bigger and Tougher, on both sides of the ball. - Tracy Pierson, Bruin Report Online


There's a new coach — well, from two-time interim coach to head coach, this at least is Clay Helton's first spring in charge. And a new quarterback in Max Browne — probably — after the former No. 1 overall prospect in the nation has been in waiting for three years. And there's a new coaching staff with just two holdovers, although three more who had been here before. It's get-acquainted time at USC for a new/old staff and a new/old quarterback. - Dan Weber, USCFootball.com


Can Jake Browning keep it rolling? As a true freshman, Browning threw for nearly 3,000 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. How big will the jump be from year one to year two in Chris Petersen's system? If he makes big strides, it could mean a lot for the Huskies' offense, especially paired with fellow freshman Myles Gaskin at tailback, who had 1,300 yard rushing for UW in 2015. - Chris Fetters, Dawgman

Washington State

The offensive line spring storyline at Washington State isn’t just about replacing the left side. As important as that is, it's also critical to establish quality depth, especially at tackle. Andre Dillard and Cody O’Connell are the leading candidates for the starting left tackle and left guard spots. But WSU also needs some “corner turners” from a group that includes Cedric Bigge-Duren, Noah Osur-Myers, Carlos Freeman, B.J. Salmonson, Davis Perrot and Amosa Sakaria. - Barry Bolton, Cougfan


Scout CFB Top Stories