It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Football
They know what they're doing at the PAC-10. Media day started with a coach and selected player from each school in the league. Toward the end of the line-up were Coach Neuheisel and Brigham Harwell from UCLA. Neuheisel's first question from the press concerned USC. Neuheisel had fun with it.
At the end of the line-up were Coach Pete Carroll and Brian Cushing. Very few questions were targeted at the UCLA rivalry, and unlike Neuheisel, Carroll doesn't appear to care about the rivalry so much as he cares about winning each and every week. In a nutshell, it felt like Neuheisel wanted to serve notice that there's a new coach in town. It also felt like Carroll didn't put much stock into it. Winning every week is his major concern.
Pete Carroll was fired up, and excited about the team in front of him and the possibilities of the future. Brian Cushing represented himself and the university well.
USC head coach Pete Carroll, right, listens as strong linebacker Brian Cushing speaks during a news conference for Pac-10 football media day Thursday, July 24, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Jake Locker Expectations
Coach Ty Willingham (Washington) looks forward to the season and what young quarterback Jake Locker will bring to the team. Locker is going to be a strong quarterback for years to come. Said Willingham, "There is no one on our team who works harder than Jake... He is humble but hungry and he has the potential to be very special."
Staying Away from the Hot Seat
Jim Harbaugh (Stanford) stayed away from controversial remarks but did comment about their victory over the Trojans last season. He said, "On beating USC last season: It was a great thrill winning down at the Coliseum. That being said, that is water under the bridge. 2008 is a whole new dynamic, new culture, new team of guys." One may recall, Harbaugh was a bit feisty last summer when referencing Pete Carroll and the Trojans.
No Expectations, High Potential
Two Quarterback System?
Jeff Tedford (California) likes his quarterbacks, saying, "We feel like we are in a great situation with a our quarterbacks. Nate (Longshore) has played in a lot of games and won a lot of games for us. Kevin Riley had a couple of opportunities last season and played well. It's going to be very competitive going into fall camp. We will pick a starter the first week of the season and it might take both of them."
Mike Stoops (Arizona) said, "Developing a team to win consistently takes a unique group of players. I feel like we have some of those ingredients this year, including a senior quarterback and 10 starters back offensively who will be able to put some points on the board. This is the best group of offensive players we have had since I've been here."
A Somber Reminder
Mike Bellotti (Oregon) remarked, "It's exciting to be back for the 2008 football season, despite the fact that we are mourning Todd Doxey. He will be forever with us in our hearts. Our players are committed to honoring his memory."
New Coach on the Block
Rick Neuheisel happy to be in attendance shared, "Needless to say I am elated to be here. It is a thrill to be back in college football and back at my alma mater. UCLA is a great place, it was great to me and I look forward to helping rekindle a rich football tradition."
Coach Mike Reilly (Oregon State) has his work cut out for himself, saying, "We have a lot of shoes to fill. Defensively, we lose virtually everyone in the front seven. The offensive line going into camp is an unknown. The running back situation will be entering new territory without Yvenson Bernard, one of the finest players I've ever coached, but we have good candidates there."
Liking His Carpenter
Dennis Erickson (Arizona State) was high on his journeyman quarterback, Rudy Carpenter, saying, "It's a pleasure to be here and to have a guy like Rudy [Carpenter] who has been around the program a long time. When you talk about a Sun Devil, you talk about Rudy."
Taking on Cushing in the Hallway
Pete Carroll, ever enthusiastic served notice, "It seems like it's the first time for us. We have tremendous challenges and a schedule that will give us an opportunity to do everything in college football. Every game is a championship game for us, so here we go. There is great anticipation and a I look forward to doing something special. There is a changing of the guard. I'm really proud to be part of this team, we don't start camp until August 5 and Cush (Brian Cushing) and I are going to go one-on-one in the hallway to get pumped up."
Ain't it Good to be Back Home Again?
Another season is upon us, camps start in a little over a week or so, and college football will fill the air, the airwaves and Saturday afternoons. It's going to be an exciting season, and the PAC-10 has so much to look forward to.
Luncheon Thoughts by Pete Carroll
After the question and answer period, lunch was served and coaches and their players sat at a table answering questions. It was vintage Carroll, spreading his philosophy and ideas to anyone who would listen. Carroll, ever enthusiastic to answer questions and speak about the Trojans, didn't bother to eat lunch. He answered any and every question posed to him instead. Stayed tuned as we will bring you Coach Carroll's insights shortly...