From 35,000 feet high on my way home, a few notes, quotes and links wrapping up Pac-12 Media Day. …
— Running back Chris Polk was UW’s player representative at Media Day and held court with reporters for a while. Among the topics was his decision last winter to stay at UW. He said he’s never looked back once it was made, comparing it to the decision he made to decommit from USC and come to UW in 2008.
“I was going to believe in that decision and I was going to believe in this decision,” he said.
He has two years of eligibility left, and while speculation has been that he’d likely leave after this year, he said he’ll consider staying through 2012, though he was far from definitive.
“I could look at it like I could come back next year, but I haven’t really thought about that yet,” he said. “If the time comes and I can really assess it like a real decision, I’ll sit down with my family and make it, and if we decide it’s the best thing to leave, I’ll probably leave. But right now, I’m staying in college.” I’d take that as there’s a ways to go before there’s any real finality on this decision in either direction.
Polk also said he weighs 220 pounds. down from the 227 or so he played at near the end of last season. He weighed 220 in the spring and said he has maintained it and feels that will be the best weight for this year.
While he rushed for 1,415 yards last season, Polk has said often he thought he was too big, joking today that “I had more cushion so I don’t get bone bruises, but other than that it wasn’t the best decision (to get to that weight).”
He said he feels like he’s in the best shape he has been entering a camp, noting that in previous years he’s always been recovering from an injury.
“This is actually my first off-season of my college career, first full off-season,” he said. “The last two years I didn’t get spring ball. Now Im actually doing everything, so my body feels way different.”
— As noted earlier, I had a chance to talk with UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel about the status of Marques Tuiasosopo’s job with the Bruins. Tuiasosopo was an assistant strength coach with UW the last two years but left in the off-season for UCLA, hoping to be a graduate assistant, which would allow him to work on the field with the team’s quarterbacks.
However, the NCAA recently tightened the rules on graduate assistants, and since Tuiasosopo had been out of college for 10 years, he had to apply for a waiver — the change is designed to close a loophole in which teams were hiring veteran coaches as GAs. The NCAA wants to save those jobs for those who are recent college graduates. Neuheisel said Tuiasosopo’s attempt to get a waiver was denied.
“The NCAA with the rule would not allow him to be a fulltime graduate assistant, so Marques is going to participate as an intern,” Neuheisel said. “He is basically going to help with our offense. The rules prohibit him actually coaching the position so we’ve got to be careful about doing things the right way. But my commitment to Marques is I’m going to get him involved as fast as I can because he’s a huge talent in this industry.”
Neuheisel said he had pursued Tuiasosopo ever since taking over at UCLA in 2008.
“I’ve been talking to Marques since I got back into college football,” he said. “I called him every year and offered him a chance to come. I’ve got a great affinity for him. I know what he brings to the table and there’s no question in my mind that he is going to be a superstar in this profession.”
Neuheisel said he knows it was tough for Tuiasosopo to leave his alma mater.
“I’m sure it was difficult,” he said. “But it wasn’t a spite to anybody, he just saw it as an opportunity and he and his young family come down to southern California, he’s got family down here as well. I think he just saw it as a step in the direction of trying to build a career for himself.”
NOW, A FEW LINKS. …
— The LA Times leads off its notebook with an item on Polk.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has lots of stuff from around the conference.
— Finally, here’s some video of UW’s podium session:
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