Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll:
1- USC (24)...........240
4- Oregon State.......138
5- Washington State...133
6- Arizona State......131
Here are some notes from Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen as well as quotes from each team/coach.
Notes from Commissioner Tom Hansen:
-Six different conference champions the last six years, competitive race.
-Pleased with the BCS adjusting its formula, superior system to what they had. Oregon in 2001 and USC in 2003 would have been in BCS Championship under new system
-New Bowl added to Pac-10 Partnerships: 6th Place team to Emerald Bowl (formerly the San Francisco Bowl).
-2004 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, 6th place to Emerald Bowl (formerly the San Francisco Bowl) and 7th place to the Silicon Valley Bowl.
-Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award named the Pat Tillman Award, to honor the former ASU linebacker
-46 games on television for Pac-10 schools
Head Coach Buddy Teevens/FS O.J. Atogwe
Teevens: "We are aware of the preseason polls and add that as inspiration to us. The offseason has been productive for us. Guys voluntarily stayed around. The quarterback situation has been dealt with. Trent Edwards had a strong spring for us and will run the offense. It was a disappointing end to the season. The seniors have had the best offseason we've had since I've been there. People are aware of the success the Pac-10 has had, and there is an awful lot of spin off of that for a national reputation. Mark (Bradford) played as a true freshman for us, he was real productive, and his role is expanding. There is tremendous balance in the Pac-10."
Atogwe: "The attitude of the players, and the coaches are reinforcing that attitude, makes us optimistic. It was a tough season. We had a lot of high points, and a couple of low points, that might have taken the heart of some of the players. Its hard to play when your heart is not into the game."
Stoops: "Obviously very excited to be here. It's an exciting time for our program. There are a lot of expectations for us here. This football team has done everything we've asked, and really done a nice job putting themselves in position to excel. We've got a challenge, but we're excited about the challenge. The players have made it easy for me. The players are excited about having some success on the football field. We have to be good enough offensively to showcase our talent. Anytime you want to win at a national level, you have to have a good defense. I agree wholeheartedly that defense wins championship. Anytime you come into a program when you have credibility, the players buy into that. I think they know what they got. I think we have talent, it just wasn't developed at the right rate. I'm probably more optimistic than anyone in this room."
Bell: "I'm really excited (to play for Stoops). Just being around him is making us a better team. They've been very clear with us on what we need to do to win. We had an idea what to expect when Coach Stoops came in, and to prepare ourselves cause we know he is intense."
Head Coach Dirk Koetter/S Riccardo Stewart
Koetter: "We return 14 starters plus our kicker. We were not very deep up front, but the guys we have are pretty good. Kyle Caldwell, if there is a guy who is ready to take that leap and turn it loose, it's him. We made a schematic switch from the nickel defense to the 4-3. We will wear a "PT42" patch on our jersey to honor Pat Tillman, and we will retire his number at our last home game. Our tight end position is by far the deepest its been since I've been there. We want to get into the 2-tight end set, and with the departure of Mike Karney and the arrival of Zach Miller is what's allowing us to go to the 2-tight end system."
Stewart: "Pat Tillman will be in everyones heart. He is someone who gave his all on the football field and on the battlefield. We were real inconsistent last year, but that's over and its time to move on from there. We have 8 seniors returning on defense, and experience makes a big difference. A lot of guys on the team when we went to the Holiday Bowl and guys that were on it when we went 5-7 so we know what it takes to lose and to win."
Gilbertson: "We have some great team chemistry, and we're tighter than we were last year. There is a lot of newness about it. A new university president, a new athletic director. It's a young team. We have 10 seniors. We won't be an experienced team but we will be an excitable team. We have to find a way to find focus. To me it feels like my first year at Washington. Last year I felt like I spent the whole time putting my finger in the dykes. I just want to coach football. We'd been up and down all year. We had a great performance one week, and the next week you wondered who you were watching. I think there's a normalcy now. There will be some changes to the offense. I'm still a proponent of the passing game. Athletically we are a little different at quarterback. In this league you have to score points and you have to throw the football. I picked USC third this year- in the NFC West. I think its good for the conference when you win championships (USC last year, Washington in 1991)."
SIDE NOTE: Someone asked about Matt Tuiasosopo, and what his development will be in Washington's offense. Gilbertson replied "Well, I think he is going to make a good right fielder. If you didn't know, Matt signed with the Mariners. We can do a lot of things at Washington, but we can't compete with 2.1 million. But if he cant hit the curveball, he can always come back home."
Barnes: "Once you put on the purple and gold, you're not playing for yourself. You're playing for guys like Warren Moon, Sonny Sixkiller, Steve Emtman. I don't want to fail and we're playing for the guys before who bled and sweat for this team. I don't want to embarrass the guys before me and the guys I'm playing with.
Riley: "We're going through a process that no one ever wants to with Justin Williams passing away in a car accident. It's a tough time for us. Its hard to put in perspective and be excited. He was a fine, fine person. I feel excited about our team and look forward to it, yet we have some questions about it. Losing Steven Jackson, and losing James Newson. It's a great opportunity for the young people in our program to step forward. We'll be good on defense, and our cornerbacks will both be back. Offensively, it's great to return our quarterback. There is nothing more important than having experience there. Steven Jackson was a great runner and a great leader, and any time you lose a person of that caliber and character, it's a loss. But for the development of our team, it's a great opportunity for our young guys. I am all for going to LSU, and for our program to step out and play someone like that. They will not see a tougher environment than LSU, and we'll see a very good football team too."
Anderson: " I went down to Peyton Manning's camp and worked out down there this summer. It was good getting to talk with some other quarterbacks I didn't know. We worked out with Cris Carter and some other receivers from the SEC."
Tedford: "Our guys are real excited to report and get started. We're very honored with where we have been picked in the Pac-10 (2nd), but it will mean more with how we finish than where we are picked. Injuries, we are back to 100 percent. Our main focus with injuries was our offensive line. We had three offensive linemen nursing shoulder injuries. To my knowledge, they are all back 100 percent. I think our players believe and trust in our system, and through positive reinforcement, that really helps us. Two freshamn we feel have a chance to compete right away are Marshawn Lynch and Philip Mbakogu."
McArthur: "We're very grateful that everyone is watching us and giving us respect. But at the same time, we try to remain focus and not pay attention to the hype. We have to go out each game focused."
Head Coach Mike Belotti/OL Adam Snyder
Belotti: "We are looking to improve the consistency of our program. We have to replace 7 starters on defense. We have 9 returning starters on offense. This team will be supplemented by an excellent recruiting class. I am expecting a breakout year from Kellen Clemmens. I thought the last third of the season, he played as well as any quarterback in the conference. He has earned the confidence not just of the coaches but of his teammates. Haloti Ngata is back, he's running and took part of all of the non-contact part of the drills. I would say half of the 24 guys coming in will have a chance to make the two-deep. I hesitate to name names, but Cameron Colvin is a great, great wide receiver and has great respect from the players. I do think a couple of defensive linemen will play for us. I think a couple of offensive linemen will play for us. Aaron Klovas, was a highly rated guy. I think someone at linebacker and in the secondary will play. I am excited for this group to come in."
Snyder: "We learned after Michigan you have to play every game and focus on every game and stay level headed. We got real excited after beating Michigan and got too overconfident."
Doba: "We had a great spring and I thought the kids were very motivated. I really don't coach very much, I hire good people. When I was with Coach Price as his defensive coordinator, he came to one meeting a week. He didn't interfere or second guess, he knew what we were doing. I like the defensive group. We need to find a defensive tackle and a cornerback. Offensively, we need someone to emerge at left guard. Our wide receiver group is young but talented. We are really inexperienced, but the running game is going to help us. We were really down after losing the Apple Cup, but beating Texas really lifted our spirits. What we focused on is teaching the kids not to hope to win, but to expect to win."
Abdullah: "We lost 9 defensive starters, but the guys that will be coming in to play for them are not guys who haven't played here before. If you asked them, I bet they could locate Pullman on the map, so they'll be o.k."
Head Coach Pete Carroll/QB Matt Leinart
Carroll: "We're excited about this upcoming year, especially after last year. I look forward to the opener with Virginia Tech. Our focus has to be just right at the beginning of the year."
Leinart: "I think just like Auburn last year, to play a good team like Virginia Tech is going to prepare us. We're looking forward to it."
COMING THURSDAY: Dorrell & Olson meet with the press in the General Q&A time