Tuesday marks the weekly Pac-12 football coaches call. Here are some nuts and bolts from the call (you can find plenty of Washington and WSU elsewhere on the website and in the paper):
‘Zona coach Rich Rodriguez said of the 66-10 loss at UCLA: “We thought we had a pretty good week of practice. It was normal; we didn’t sense anything off-kilter. Certainly when the game started, things snowballed on us. We didn’t play well in any phase to even give us a chance. There was no spark.”
QB Matt Scott is questionable this week to play against Colorado after an apparent concussion at UCLA, and the replacement would be B.J. Denker, a JC transfer who has played only sparingly in five games as a backup.
Todd Graham’s team has fallen from 5-1 to 5-4 and now must travel to USC. “Even with three tough losses in a row, we’ve had no bad body language, no negativity, guys are fighting and scratching until the last play,” he says. “Guys are encouraging and being positive, and that’s kind of what I believe in. I feel really good about the buy-in.”
As if Allen Bridgford, a 6-3, 220-pound junior quarterback who figures to make his first start Saturday, didn’t have enough to worry about, he told Bay Area writers Sunday night that last week he didn’t take any snaps with the first unit. It’s typical for the starter to get perhaps two-thirds of the snaps with the first team and the backup to get the other third with the starting unit. And oh yeah, the start is against Oregon.
“Zach (Maynard, the previous starting QB, now injured) takes the 1s, (Allen) gets the 2s,” said Jeff Tedford. “That’s always the way it goes. He’s always very well prepared.”
Bridgford has completed only 35.4 percent of his 48 throws at Cal, including 4 of 16 this year. Maynard sustained a knee injury against Washington.
Jon Embree says DT Will Pericak, who has two sacks, has been “playing great. He’s a kid we’re definitely going to miss.”
On Election Day, Embree said the act of voting is something dear to his heart: “It was something my grandmother was adamant about. As an African-American woman, she didn’t get to vote for awhile. It was a sore subject for her. You can’t complain if you don’t vote.”
Chip Kelly didn’t begrudge his defense, even as that touted unit allowed 51 points as the Ducks were piling up 62 in their key game in LA. “Gotta give credit to USC,” he said. “A lot of time we were close in coverage and Matt Barkley put the ball where it needed to be.” Then there was Marqise Lee (whom Stanford’s David Shaw said on this same call is the best college receiver he’s seen since Randy Moss), who, said Kelly, “on one play, he ran over our cornerback and by our safety. Hats off to Marqise Lee.”
CB Jordan Poyer may make it back for the key Stanford game this week, and Mike Riley says he’s happy he made the gamble to hold Poyer (knee) out of the Arizona State game. “He thought he was ready and wanted to play,” Riley said. “I worried about not having him, but we made a good decision, and it looks like he’s heading to play this week.”
David Shaw reviewed the progression that has allowed RS freshman Kevin Hogan to wrest the starting job from Josh Nunes: “Early on, in spring and in training camp, he was not necessarily involved in our quarterback battle. But he showed such athletic ability and arm strength that he played his way into that competition. As we got closer to the season, I don’t think he had the majority of our concepts, protections and run checks completely locked in mentally; it just takes awhile. But throughout the season, it started to sink in and he started to anticipate what was going on. As we went through the bye week going into the Washington game (Sept. 27), he was playing extremely well in practice. Every week, we were going to continue to grow Kevin’s package to the point where he got his first extended action at Colorado (last week).”
Jim Mora returns to Pullman Saturday night, and he’s pretty sure it’s the first time since Washington State’s famous upset of Washington in 1982, his junior year at the UW “when Chuck (Nelson) missed that field goal and they tore down the goal posts. I think they kept us out of the Rose Bowl two straight years.”
Mora put in a good word for beleaguered WSU coach Mike Leach, saying he spent time with him at Pac-12 media day in July: “What a great guy, well-spoken, very smart and very thoughtful.”
Lane Kiffin made an interesting observation on his role directing the offense: “When we play Oregon, I make a conscious effort not to try to get involved with what’s going on on the other side of the ball. Over the years, I’ve done that with high-powered offenses and end up screwing myself up. So I stay focused on what we can do to score on the next series.” He took care of his end, but the Trojans collapsed defensively, allowing Oregon a school-record 730 yards.