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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

July 26, 2007 at 11:03 AM

Some notes around the Pac-10

The format here is that a coach and player for every team speaks at the podium for about 15 minutes. They then also conduct a lot of radio and TV interviews (a lot of those standup shots you see during early-season games are done here). Later, there is a lunch where the players and coaches are available for whoever wants to speak with the,.
Here are a few notes from the podium sessions:
PRAISE FOR LOCKER: Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson, in commenting on the strength of the QB position in the conference this year, heaped some lavish praise on UW’s Jake Locker, saying that “to me, coming out of high school, he was as good as I’ve ever seen.”
REUNITED: Erickson was also asked about facing longtime friend Tim Lappano, who stayed at UW as offensive coordinator instead of joining Erickson at ASU.
“Obviously, Tim is one of my closest friends. It’s going to be fun. Our philosophies are very similar offensively so it’s going to be interesting. But I’m going to coach against a lot of guys I’ve worked with and known over how many years.”
CRACKING THEM UP: Erickson was full of one-liners, addressing his vagabond coaching history in his opening comments. “I was looking at the press guide reading my biography and it started to look like an obituary,” he said.
HUSKIES BETTER?: That’s what Oregon coach Mike Bellotti believes. In talking about the conference race, Bellotti said that it’s as strong top-to-bottom as he’s seen, adding that “I believe Stanford and Washington will be much improved over last year.”
DIXON BACK: In one of the real news items that has come out so far, Bellotti said that QB Dennis Dixon will be back in Eugene tomorrow after spending the summer playing minor league baseball. Dixon hadn’t been expected back until Aug. 1 but Bellotti said Dixon made the decision on his own to come back a few days earlier.
A few stories have been written implying that Bellotti wasn’t real happy with Dixon’s decision to play baseball, but Bellotti downplayed that here today. Dixon decided to play baseball after being taken in the fifth round by the Atlanta Braves.
“It was an inopportune time for him in terms of spending time with our team, but I do think he’s a fifth-year senior and he’s back tomorrow and I think he will make up for some lost time,” Bellotti said. “He’ll have all of fall camp.”
Bellotti said Dixon is No. 1 on the depth chart heading into fall camp but that Brady Leaf will also get a chance.
HARBAUGH STAYING MUM: New Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh created some waves a few months ago when he said he’d heard that USC coach Pete Carroll was definitely headed to the NFL after this season. Carroll reacted with some predictable anger.
Asked about that comment here today, Harbaugh smiled and said “that ground has been plowed.”
He then heaped praise on USC, calling them “maybe the best team in college football history. … There is no question in my mind that USC is the best football team in the country and they may be the best team in the history of college football.”
OLD TIMING RETURNED: One of the other things that happens here is that the coaches meet with the Pac-10 coordinator of officiating. This year, that’s a new face, Dave Cutaia, who replaced Verle Sorgen.
The big topic there was the return of the timing rules from 2005. If you remember, last year some of the rules were changed to speed up the game, particularly on change of possessions. The clock would start more quickly on change of possessions and also when the ball was kicked off. Now, it’s back to the old days, with the clock starting when the ball is received on kickoffs and not so quickly after change of possessions.
Every coach here applauded the change, including Tyrone Willingham, who said “it will make the game more exciting” going back to the old rules, in part because it will result in more plays.

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