Pac-10 Media; UCLA News

Pac-10 Media Day had all the usual pre-season hype/talk, and we have all it for you. Head Coach Karl Dorrell gives us an update on injured TE Keith Carter. And, in other news, a projected starter on this year's team will be out for the season...

Perhaps the biggest UCLA news of the day didn't come from Pac-10 Media Day.

Starting senior wide receiver Tab Perry will not be eligible this season due to academic issues, it's been learned.  He will more than likely redshirt and return to the team next season. More on the story will be released soon.

Jibril Raymo, the junior saftey/wide receiver, will not be in the football program this season. It has been attributed to personal issues.  He also intends to redshirt and return to the program next season.

At Pac-10 Media Day, Head Coach Karl Dorrell did say there was a possibility that Keith Carter, UCLA's tight end, could be available not only this season, but possibly even for the season opener against Colorado September 6th.

Karl Dorrell indicated Wednesday at Pac-10 Media day that Carter, who fractured and dislocated his right hip last spring, has been recovering nicely and could possibly be ready for the Colorado game. "We're still not sure when he'll be ready, but the doctors believe he'll be ready for the season."

Pac-10 Media Day Notes

With the 2003 College Football season fast approaching, the Pac-10 Coaches and select players converged upon the Sheraton Gateway in Los Angeles for Pac-10 Media Day Wednesday.

Here are notes from each school as well as from Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen.

Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll:

1- USC (10)…………….227
2- Arizona State (9)…….224
3- Washington (4)………198
4- Oregon State (2)………172
5- Oregon…………………139
6- UCLA………………….138
7- Washington State………107
8- California………………..68
9- Stanford………………….57
10- Arizona…………………46

Commissioner Tom Hansen:

-Rose Bowl Tie-Breaker Procedure has now eliminated non-conference schedule and is based on conference records of teams beaten
-Pac-10 Expansion.  Athletic Directors have no interest at this time in expanding the conference, and the Big East/ACC decision has no bearing on the Pac-10 currently.  There is no desire for change amongst the conference AD's.
-Pac-10 Championship Game is not an issue, nor is their interest in one.  Only benefit is the extra income, but the SEC is the only conference that is making a significant amount off of theirs while the MAC and Big 12 are not.
-Pac-10 is still behind the BCS, which is slated until 2006.
-No changes to the Bowl Affiliations.  1st place to Rose Bowl, 2nd place to Holiday Bowl, 3rd place to Sun Bowl, 4th place to Insight Bowl, 5th place to Las Vegas Bowl and 6th place to Silicon Valley Bowl.

California

Head Coach Jeff Tedford/WR Jonathan Makonnen

-Cal began practice on Wednesday.  The Bears face Kansas State in the BCA Classic on August 23 in Kansas City, the first I-A game of the season.

Tedford: "We lost 24 seniors, so our goal is to evaluate our players so we are prepared for the BCA Classic against Kansas State.  We are looking forward to the BCA Classic.  We will take 105 players to the game and it's a good experience to start the season with.  Our QB situation is between Reggie Roberston, Richard Schwartz and Aaron Rodgers."

Makonnen: "We lost a lot of good players, like Kyle Boller and Nnamdi Asomougha.  But we don't think there is a drop off in talent.  We have some good players that can help us now.  We are pretty hyped to play Kansas State.  All three of our QB's have their strong points, but the receivers need to step up and help them.

Stanford

Head Coach Buddy Teevens/WR Luke Powell

Teevens: "Chris Lewis will be the starting QB, but we still have questions to be answered at the QB spot.  We have a number of offensive linemen to replace.  Last year there was a lot of wide eyes, while this spring there seemed to be more focus.  I know that transition is awkward but the players handled it well.  They are getting adjusted and acclimated to what we are doing.  We will tweak a few things in the offense."

Powell: "Last year was real hard on us, we weren't playing well, and Notre Dame was winning.  Too many guys grasped onto something that wasn't there anymore.  We are confident in our offense and I am in Chris.  We came in together, and he has the ability to be an all Pac-10 QB.  Last year was not a good gauge to judge hum by, but he will be better this year.

Arizona

Head Coach John Mackovic/OL Brandon Phillips

-Mackovic immediately started with humor, hiding behind Phillips to "get away from the alumni after me."

Mackovic: "In life we have our ups and downs, and last year was like that.  We changed our defense this year, and we brought in a new coordinator and new offensive coaches.  Nic Costa and Ryan O'Hara are neck and neck for the QB job, and were even steven after spring ball.  There is no clear cut winner in the Pac-10, and I think any team is capable of winning it."

Phillips: Laughing, Phillips responded to the Wildcats being picked last by saying "After the initial shock of not being picked to win it wore off, it is what it is.  Spring practice played a huge role in us getting focused.  The poll has no real validity to it.  We are tough, we have been through a lot, and we will improve on the field.

Oregon

Head Coach Mike Belotti/LB Kevin Mitchell

-Belotti is the dean of the conference coaches, entering his 9th year in the Pac-10.  He also is the only coach in the Pac-10 to have been at his school for more than three seasons.

Belotti: "Last year we didn't do a good job finishing games, or the season.  We need to get better as an offense.  We are replacing Keenan Howry, Onterrio Smith and George Wrighster.  Our QB situation is not a QB Controversy but a QB Competition, between Jason Fife and Kellen Clemenns.  Our offensive line returns everyone, like Dan Weaver, and our defensive line, led by Igor Olshansky, should be strong.  We are inexperienced at tailback.

Mitchell:  "Last year was not our best year, but we need to put it behind us.  We didn't know how to patch things up when the season went wrong.  We started great, 6-0, but the bottom fell out.  This year, we have more focus and a great spring to come off.

Washington

Head Coach Keith Gilbertson/QB Cody Pickett

-Gilbertson addressed the media a day after being named as the permanent coach of the Huskies, and seemed real comfortable, shooting the breeze with writers he was familiar with when he was at Cal.

Gilbertson: "This has been a strange process.  I enjoyed working with Coach Neuheisel.  I am sad for Rick, but at the same time, we need to move on and get ready for Ohio State.  I had an invaluable experience at Cal, and I think it will help me here at Washington.  I was ready to jump back to the NFL, but I didn't want to leave Cody and Reggie (Williams) yet.  Now I am here to stay.  I learned at Cal that I need to have thicker skin with some things."

Pickett: "It was a bad situation for the team.  Coach Neuheisel was a great coach and we all enjoyed him.  But we pulled together and realized that if we had to have a new coach, it would be Coach Gilbertson.  The only real rallying point is that for a lot of us, its our last go around in football, so we want to win.

Oregon State

Head Coach Mike Riley/LB Richard Siegler

-Watching Mike Riley during the press conference, it was hard to fathom him as the new UCLA coach, sitting next to Craig Bragg, talking about the upcoming UCLA season. 

Riley: "I'm excited to be back.  It's not often you get to come back to a place that you left.  I am proud of what these guys have done the last few years.  I never really resolved leaving Oregon State, but I never regretted it.  I just feel like I fit better at the college level.  We get going next week, and we are looking forward to it.  Our #1 and #2 goals were to get to know our team."

Siegler: "We were kind of down when Coach Erickson left, but we were excited for him to pursue his dreams.  The administration did a great job in hiring Coach Riley.  He is a legend around here."

UCLA

Head Coach Karl Dorrell/WR Craig Bragg

(This is just from the press conference.  We have more notes from Coach Dorrell and a 1-on-1 interview with Craig Bragg that will be up later this week  One more note: Craig Bragg looked pretty uncomfortable in a suit, and a few of the beat writers commented on it to him, and he claims he wears a suit every year to the banquet). 

Dorrell: "I'm happy to be back in the Pac-10.  Its been an overwhelming experience, but its great to be back and representing the university I went to school at.  The fans and alums have been supportive.  There's been a honeymoon period, but now people instead of saying "Welcome back" are saying "Karl, you gotta win,' and they are right.  Everything we've asked of the players, they have done.  We had a good spring, and we hope that carries into the fall."

Bragg: "The attitude is the biggest difference.  We got up earlier then we ever have to prepare for the season.  We're going into a huge season prepared, but realizing we have to be focused for every game.  We need to be prepared for the next game, and the game after that."

Arizona State

Head Coach Dirk Koetter/QB Andrew Walter

Koetter:  "It definitely is a better atmosphere this year, than last year.  We are excited to be picked so high, and it's a tribute to the players and coaches we have.  The conference race is wide open, and several teams have a chance to win it all.  A year ago, Andrew probably wondered what the heck was going on, but now we have a set QB situation for the first time since we have been here."

Walter:  "Losing Terrell (Suggs) and Shaun (McDonald) made us think, 'what if they came back,' but its out of our hands and I am pretty confident in the team we have now.  Like Coach says, we probably won't have one player catch 87 balls, but we could have 4-5 guys catch like 30-40 balls.  Its good to be recognized and have people know what we can do."

USC

Head Coach Pete Carroll/WR Keary Colbert

Carroll: "It's been a tremendous off-season.  It feels like we're starting over in some ways.  This football team has big shoes to fill and we're excited about the challenge.  We have a number of huge games coming up, and we'll take them as they come.  We have some key elements of our team that we have to uncover and determine who the best players are."

Colbert: "Matt Leinert is still learning and compared to Carson, Carson had a lot more experience.  But Matt, or whomever will be the guy, we'll get there.  We'll just have to wait and see."

Washington State

Head Coach Bill Doba/QB Matt Kegel

Doba: "We have some talent still here.  It's tough to replace a legend like Jason Gesser, but we are very confident in Matt Kegel.  He knows our offense and has taken over the reigns of the leadership.  We had some games last year that were close that we won, and some that were close that we lost.  You have to be lucky sometimes.  (On Mike Price), I lost no respect for him.  He is a strong person and the guys are pulling for him."

Kegel: "I've been around for four years, and its my show now and the coaches believed in me enough.  Replacing Jason can be very hard, but if I can help us score as many points as possible and put us in position to win, then I'm doing my job.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming year."


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