The lighting wasn’t great at the Ram Restaurant and Brewery Friday afternoon, but I tried to get as much footage as I could while WR Damore’ea Stringfellow and OL Poasi Moala from Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.), DE Daeshon Hall, who spent two years at Garfield and last season at Lancaster, Texas, LB Caleb Tucker from Ouachita Parish in Monroe, La., DL Andrew Basham from Lynnwood, RB Lavon Coleman from Lompoc, Calif. and DL Elijah Qualls from Casa Grande (Petaluma, Calif.) gave verbal commitments to Washington.
QB Troy Williams from Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) also attended the event.
The first athletes who stands up in the video is Caleb Tucker. The announcement started before I had a chance to start recording.
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UTAH ON THE STAGE — Utah is now on the stage at roughly 10:30 or so. Coach Kyle Whittingham said a key for the season for the Utes is improving on offense, and he noted the team is returning to more spread-option looks than last year when Norm Chow was the offensive coordinator — former Utah QB Brian Johnson is now the team’s OC and is the youngest OC in the country at 25. “If we are going to contend, we have to be more productive on offense than we were last year,” Whittingham said.
ARIZONA STATE NOW ON THE STAGE — At roughly 10:15 a.m. or so. Just walked outside for a few minutes and saw some of the UW contingent doing some radio interviews, including Steve Sarkisian. As noted earlier, sounds like no real personnel news, but we’ll have a chance soon to talk to Sarkisian more in depth.
A storyline for ASU is that it is returning to a long tradition of spending a few days of its training camp at Camp Tontozona.
New coach Todd Graham called the camp “rustic” and noted that no one’s electronics will work well up there, including his cell phone. “What a great blessing that will be for me,” he said.
ARIZONA ON THE STAGE — The Arizona contingent is on the stage with new coach Rich Rodriguez. He related again the story that he had never been in Tucson until his introductory press conference.
Also representing the Wildcats is fifth-year QB Matt Scott, who doesn’t have a lot of experience but did start and lead UA to a 44-14 win over Washington in 2010. He said the faster-pace of Arizona’s practices has him in the best shape of his career.
Former coach Mike Stoops redshirted Scott last year to allow him to be the starter this year. “Best decision that coaching staff made,” Rodriguez said, followed by a quick “thanks, coach” from Scott.
Linebacker Jake Fischer said of Arizona’s new offense that “every practice felt like we were going against Oregon” in the spring. No doubt, that will be a big storyline in the Pac-12 this year is seeing if Rodriguez will have more success with his offense at Arizona than at Michigan.
COLORADO ON THE STAGE — And the big news may be that coach Jon Embree says WR Paul Richardson may be able to play this season after suffering an ACL injury in the spring. “He’s been progressing very rapidly,” Embree said. “I don’t think it’s something that’s out of the question.”
Embree also said Colorado will have a three-person QB battle in the spring, led by Texas transfer Connor Wood, who his listed atop the depth chart, and Kansas transfer Jordan Webb, who will join the team beginning with fall camp.
Also, an interesting observation from CU safety Ray Polk, when asked the difference in the Big 12 and Pac-12. He said the Pac-12 had two or three great receivers per team, compared to one per team in the Big 12.
PAC-12 ENTERPRISES UPDATE — Scott was followed by some comments from Pac-12 Enterprises president Gary Stevenson, who gave a rundown of what will be on the Pac-12 Networks, especially football-related stuff. The games that will be on it early have been announced already. But he also noted a Football Playbook show on Tuesday nights, sort of a whip-around show talking to coaches around the conference.
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY — Pac-12 notes it was exactly a year ago the conference announced its new Networks. Set to finally debut Aug. 15. And no, no word yet on DirectTV, the question I am getting the most these days. The general vibe here is that something will get done but it may not happen until shortly before the season — just the way these negotiations generally go.
SCOTT APPROVES OF NEW PLAYOFF FORMAT — Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott opened the proceedings here with a few comments, including saying that he and the conference are on board with the new playoff format coming in 2014. He called it “a very artful balance” of attempting to institute a playoff while still keeping the traditions of the past.
He also said there will be 44 Pac-12 football games going to a national TV audience this year, apparently the most ever.
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KICKING IT OFF — I’m here at Universal Studios, the site of the Pac-12 Media Day, set to kick off soon.
As I noted on Twitter, UW’s 2012 media guide is out, coinciding with this event. A quick perusal of the roster shows no significant changes — all incoming scholarship players and returning scholarship players are on it, as expected.
One name change — true frosh OL Cory English is now known as Cory Fuavai. And all of the frosh have numbers — Shaq Thompson is No. 7.
Here is info on the media day schedule and how to follow along.