The news the last few days here has been dominated by the TV deal, and we’ll have more of that below. But we’ll start today with an interesting story from today’s Wall Street Journal — yes, not usually the first place we turn — on how Pac-10 teams took steps in the spring to prepare for playing Oregon in the fall.
We touched on this following UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s first press conference of the spring when he said he would be adding a no-huddle period to practice to help prepare for the defense to play against teams such as Oregon. In the WSJ story today, he is quoted as saying:
“We can’t just wait until the week of the game to get our defense prepared for that tempo,” said Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. He said the Huskies will do more no-huddle work in practice to learn how to compete when fatigued. He said he’ll shuffle the lineup earlier to keep players fresher. “We have to get to that level in order to compete with them,” he said.
UW actually did a little bit of that last year, especially up front, and had a little bit of defensive success early on —- Oregon ran 43 plays in the first half last year against UW to Washington’s 37 before matters got away from the UW in the second half, due in part to some special teams failures.
The Huskies should also simply have more depth this year to be able to shuffle more players, especially on the line and in the secondary. And the five-man line approach, featuring “rush end” Josh Shirley, may also be a better fit against Oregon (and teams like Arizona and WSU that run similar offenses).
The WSJ story also quotes UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel saying that he thinks Oregon’s offense will soon be solved, especially by the coaches in the North, who have to now focus on the Ducks more keenly than ever. Oregon coach Chip Kelly, as would be expected, disagrees (and boy, who do UW fans root for in a squabble between those two coaches?) As Neuheisel likes to say, the proof of who is right will be in the pudding. Certainly, an interesting plot to watch as the new Pac-12 debuts this fall.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Bud Withers of our staff has a Q-and-A look at the conference’s new TV deal.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller lists the top returning sack men in the conference (and I figure some UW fans will accuse Miller of overlooking Hau’oli Jamora — be gentle if you do).
— BoDog.com says the early odds are against Jake Locker starting in Tennessee.
— The Orange County Register lists three things that will decide UCLA’s QB derby.
— Wilner also lists his top Pac-12 NFL draft prospects for 2012. Would be no surprise here if Alameda Ta’amu didn’t work his way a lot higher onto such a list by season’s end (and Wilner lists his reasoning for why he didn’t include Chris Polk, though I think the conventional wisdom is that he’s probably pretty close to gone after this season, as well).
— And here is The Big Lead’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft (no Huskies, but interesting nonetheless).
All for now.