Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll:
1- USC (41)……………….240
3- Arizona State...…………192
6- Washington State……….131
7- Oregon State…....………100
Here are notes from each school as well as those from the comments of Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen.
Notes from Commissioner Tom Hansen:
-Two new coaches in Pac-10, Walt Harris at Stanford and Tyrone Willingham at Washington.
-Rose Bowl hosts this seasons' National Championship game.
-If Rose Bowl doesn't include a Pac-10 team, the winner of the conference will play the winner of the Big 12 in the Fiesta Bowl.
-2005 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 the Emerald Bowl.
-Back on television with ABC, Fox Sports Net and TBS.
-Pac-10 will be doing instant replay along with all but two conferences. Every game except two (on Sept. 17th) will utilize instant replay. All bowl games will utilize instant replay.
-Last 11 game season. Beginning in 2006, conference teams will play 12 games and will play all other nine teams in the conference yearly.
Head Coach Mike Stoops/DB Darrell Brooks
Stoops: "We are optimistic about the start of this season. We went through a tailspin in the middle of the season, but bounced back. We had a productive spring and our best out of season conditioning in as long as I can remember. For them to participate and make every workout through the summer really showed a commitment and bond and you can tell we're much more together as a football team. It takes a solid year to build this program. One of our players said, "last year we were trying to build a team, this year we're trying to build a program." The quarterback play in this conference is second to none. I'm excited to get started. Our players report on Wednesday and we start on Thursday. I understand our strengths and weaknesses a whole lot better. When you leave a conference and come into a conference brand new, I think we understand it much better. It takes a whole year to understand it. You can't understand an opponent because you're trying to understand your team. I've switched some of my responsibility so the offense feels some of my presence."
Brooks: "Coach Stoops had that DC mentality and now you can see it translate into a head coach. You can see he has taken this position that he has and matured."
Head Coach Walt Harris/LB Jon Alston
Harris: "I'm excited to have the opportunity to be here this year. Our seniors give us the opportunity to have a good defensive season, but more important great senior leadership. Football is a lot more complicated than people think. It takes time for everyone to get on the same page. It also is a transition period for the players to understand what you're saying. I like the look in our players eyes and I like the leadership we're getting. A Stanford player is someone who worked real hard to be a good student so now we want to get that as a football player. We won't go too long before naming a starter (at quarterback). I think there are a lot of good athletes out here. We're going to try and run the football."
Alston: "We're picked ninth and preseason and you have to win to get respect. We lost a lot of close ones last year that maybe came down to mental toughness. We didn't make plays and its time to make plays. Hopefully the past will not repeat itself."
Head Coach Tyrone Willingham/LB Joe Lobendahn
Willingham: "It's awful nice to be back in the Pac-10 and on the West Coast. Probably a more balanced conference, top to bottom. Our football program is hard at work to be a better football team. When any coach comes in you try to put your handprint on things. Yes we want to develop a championship team. Yes we want to develop championship students. We want that print to be followed. (In terms of taking over Notre Dame in 2002 and UW in 2005). There are some differences in the circumstances. Two totally different environments and two totally different teams. There isn't just one thing that we're trying to cure. They have an unbelievable history at University of Washington and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Lobendahn: "It's no surprise (being picked 10th), we were 1-10 last year. I don't really care about the polls. I just care about Air Force and can't wait for the season to begin. This whole summer, the whole team was here for summer workouts. We were together, building that team unity. My first impression (of Coach Willingham) is ‘this guys serious.' But he's genuine, a role model and has great character. I'm excited to play for him."
Head Coach Bill Doba/LB Will Derting
Doba: "We had a great spring. I think we've had a good summer. If we can stay healthy, we ought to be alright. I think our linebackers are great, but I'm worried about our depth. We lost three of our four secondary. Offensively, we lost two great tackles but I think we did a nice job in the spring of simplifying things. We have a good running back in Jerome Harrison. We have to make sure he stays healthy because we don't have a lot of depth behind him. We also have what we feel is two great tight ends. Josh Swogger earned the job last fall. He's pretty darn tough. Alex Brink came in at the end of the season and did well enough to earn a chance to compete for the job. I told the team, for Christmas I used to buy my wife bowl tickets. Because of you, this year I had to go shopping. I think the 12 game league lets us determine the champion on the field."
Derting: "Right now I'm getting my strength back. Last season I lost a lot of my strength, but my wrist is getting better (after having screws in it much of last season). We like Doba, he doesn't beat around the bush. He's straight up. I like that."
Head Coach Mike Belotti/RB Terrance Whitehead
Belotti: "We're excited about this season. We have had some changes on the staff. Gary Crowton is on as our new offensive coordinator. Our team has a greater energy right now. It's been the longest drought in terms of Oregon football in quite a while. We were very pleased with spring ball because we were healthy. We had 90 players living in Eugene during the summer. Our team is a veteran team on offense. Kellen Clemmens is a three-year starter at quarterback, Terrance Whitehead is a three-year starter, Demetrius Williams is a senior starter at receiver and Tim Day is a senior starter at tight end. Jordan Kent, a guard on the basketball team, is going to play football this season. We'll see that that means, but he's trying to become the first 3-sport player in the Pac-10 in a long time. Haloti Ngata is a gifted athlete. He could play tight end, he could play offensive lineman, he could play fullback. He could play a lot of positions for us. I look to him to step up a level. He's an excellent athlete."
Whitehead: "I believe we will be more aggressive on offense and try to put up some more points. We're looking forward to September 24th because we haven't gotten to play USC in a couple years and when we did we lost to them."
Head Coach Mike Riley/WR Mike Haas
Riley: "We have an exciting opening game in a new, half of a stadium. It's been a major project at Oregon State. We've had a great home advantage. We've had 28-straight sellouts and I hope it continues to become a major advantage. We lost a ton of very productive players. We lost our all-time leading sacker (Bill Swancutt) our all-time leading passer (Derek Anderson), and our alltime interception leader (Mitch Meeuwsen). We have Matt Moore, who is our #1 right now, Ryan Gunderson who is competing for the starting job. Our whole defensive line has to step up to make up for the plays we'll miss from Bill Swancutt. We've had a number of guys come out and go to the NFL. We're Linebacker U at Oregon State. In our secondary we lose three out of four players, both corners. We have two outstanding specialists.
Haas: " It used to be the best players from our state would go down south or go to Washington, but guys are now staying in-state. Some of our best players, we're all from Oregon. I think we're a better team (than 7th). I think we'll be better than that. I think that's pretty low."
Head Coach Dirk Koetter/WR Derek Hagan
Koetter: "We report Thursday and begin practice on Friday. We have nine starters back on offense. We lose Andrew Walter, but I think Sam Kellar is ready to do the job. We have a new defensive coordinator in Bill Miller, who came over from Florida. He's brought some new things to us. We have a veteran ball club coming back. We open up on Thursday night, September 1st against Temple and it can't get her fast enough. We were so bad at punt coverage last year. Our special teams coach, Tom Osborne, who is one of the most passionate special teams coaches, would even tell me we should go for it on fourth down last year. We were pretty good on special teams but on punt coverage.
Hagan: "We've been working out with Sam the last 2-3 years. He's been working out behind Andrew, and we've always had a lot of confidence in Sam to do the job and get it done.
Head Coach Jeff Tedford/C Marvin Philip
Tedford: "We're very excited about the new faces. We lost 26 guys from last year so there will be a new look. Defensively, we've got some very talented players on defense. Our players worked hard during spring and are eager. You lose a 2,000 yard rusher, you think there might be some concern, but having a guy like Marshawn Lynch makes it easier. I think Marshawn brings some great attributes to the table and we look forward to him being the every down back this year. We expect LaVelle Hawkins and DeSean Jackson to contribute this year. Jackson may be one of the more polished receivers coming out of high school that I've seen. We are fortunate to have had quite a few quarterbacks come in and go to the NFL. We still have to recruit hard to get them (quarterbacks).
Philip: "Anytime you can block for a guy like Marshawn Lynch you are lucky and most of the time I catch myself watching him. But having him in our backfield is great.
Head Coach Pete Carroll/QB Matt Leinart
Carroll: "For us to come around and have so many of the same guys as we've had the past couple years, its fun. I see the challenges differently than I have the past couple of years. We've lost some experience on the defensive side of the ball. I'm hoping we feel comfortable with the spotlight. Last year we had different issues and we found a way to deal with them. Hopefully, the players will feel comfortable and maintain a high level of play.
Leinart: "There's been a lot of hype but everyone on our team knows that's not what I'm about. I'm feeling good about going into camp. Our outlook is that we have a lot of veterans on offense. Defensively, we've got a lot of young guys who've been waiting to show what they have.