Owen Marecic is the "perfect football player." That was the big news as the Pac-10 ended its three day media blitz with the Pac-10 Media Day.
The event was moved this year to the tradition-soaked field of the Rose Bowl. Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted all of the 10 Pac-10 head coaches and a selected player from each team as well as Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott.
With his time at the microphone, an energetic Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh declared senior Owen Marecic the "perfect" football player. "He is a perfectly-engineered football player." Harbaugh was quick to point out that he was not the perfect student-athlete because Marecic only accomplished a 3.98 grade point average in his last semester. Nobody is perfect.
The other big news was the Coach Harbaugh made it official: Marecic is the starting middle linebacker next to Shayne Skov this season. Marecic will continue his starting role at fullback as well.
"In 30 plus years, I have never seen a player quite like Marecic," Harbaugh gushed. "He does everything right."
One of the big questions is if Marecic indeed plays both ways, how many plays per game would he play? While neither Harbaugh nor Marecic had a specific answer, Harbaugh made the point that Marecic would probably play in total, the same number of plays that, for example, an offensive lineman would play.
According to Harbaugh, last year Marecic played about 38% of the offensive snaps due to formations, specific plays, etc. That would leave plenty of time available for defense. His 38% on offense and 62% on defense could end up just equalling what an offensive lineman would play taking every snap on offense.
Besides, Harbaugh joked, "there are a lot of TV timeouts in college football."
The details on how many snaps Marecic eventually takes are still to be worked out in training camp, but that will clearly be one of the top stories this August.
As for Marecic, he was certainly flattered to hear his head coach say such nice things about him, but he was not going to let it get to his head. "The work never stops, it always increases."
Coach Harbaugh got some laughs at the podium when he was asked about "sustaining" the programs success. Harbaugh grew more emphatic as he shared how much his team despises the words "sustain" or "satisfied" or any other word that does not mean moving forward.
The day started at 9:30am with a
rousing new video from the Pac-10 promoting the season. Commissioner Larry Scott
then addressed the media. That was followed by one coach and one player from
each team. The order of appearance was
The coaches have been on a
whirlwind media blitz that took them to
Erickson brought his 2007
All-American and Lou Groza Award-winning kicker Thomas Weber to represent the
Sun Devils team. It was the first time a kicker was present at Pac-10
media day since Jason Hanson of
Erickson also complimented Toby Gerhart's brother, Garth Gerhart, who will be the starting center for ASU this season and called him the leader of the offensive line. "He won't make as much money as Toby, but he is a real good football player."
Lane Kiffen faced many of the same old questions about USC, sanctions, and the fall-out. He was not allowed to discuss the current issues with Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans because that is actually an open lawsuit.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel made an
interesting comment about Pac-10 expansion. When he was first hired at the
After the podium segments, it was time for lunch, one-on-one interviews and casual chatting with the coaches.
The USC table with Kiffen and quarterback Matt Barkley was the most-crowded and remained that way for what seemed like the entire day. Between being a local school and all the happenings at USC, the Trojans were the big story.
At the Stanford table, coach Harbaugh discussed training camp and many of the position battles. He did declare running back Michael Spanos and wide receiver Warren Reuland out for the season. Each player tore an ACL during spring football.
Running back was of course a hot topic. Harbaugh said up to seven guys could get an opportunity to win the job. Predictably, he leaned towards Jeremy Stewart as the front-runner entering camp, based on experience.
The backup quarterback job will also be an open fight. He backed off his ESPN declaration the day before that Alex Loukas was the back-up. Loukas will play a role, but he will also be competing for a job at safety. Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will both be given a shot to earn the backup title.
At right tackle, Harbaugh said the battle is expected to be between Derek Hall, James McGillicuddy and freshman Cameron Fleming. Harbaugh acknowledged that you don't see many true freshmen seeing time at tackle or quarterback. If none of the above earns the job, they will look at other options.
The event was over by 2:30pm. The coaches and players boarded buses, and the Pac-10 media blitz week was concluded.
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