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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

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September 16, 2014 at 6:22 PM

What they were saying on the Pac-12 teleconference . . .

Snippets from Pac-12 football coaches on Tuesday’s teleconference:

Arizona

Coach Rich Rodriguez has apparently unearthed a plum in freshman running back Nick Wilson, who has run for 449 yards already.

“We thought he was special when we recruited him,” said Rodriguez of the 5-10, 199-pound Fresno product. “He had kind of a quiet confidence about him. I think most pleasing for us, we knew the first two weeks in camp how quickly he was picking up the system, not only the run game, but the passing game. He’s way advanced mentally than most freshmen would be at the position.”

Arizona State

Todd Graham said of Taylor Kelly’s replacement, fourth-year junior Mike Bercovici, “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike. We felt in camp and through spring, we had one of the best 1-2 quarterback combinations in the country. He’s got a tremendously strong throwing arm and he’s a tremendously smart guy. All he has to do is come in and execute the offense and take care of the football.”

California

In what should be an early, telling sign, the Bears go to Tucson this week to play Arizona, and quarterback Anu Solomon.

“I’ve been impressed with him,” said Sonny Dykes, the Bear coach. “He’s played in a couple of tight ball games, and it seems to me, when the game gets tight, he plays better.”

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September 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Neuheisel, Thompson and Adams: My thoughts exactly . . .

The Pac-12 announced Monday morning its football players of the week, chosen for the second straight year by media members covering the league, and they’re UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel, Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson and, for special teams play, UCLA’s Ishmael Adams. That matched my ballot. Neuheisel, son of former coach Rick Neuheisel, came off the bench…

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September 14, 2014 at 12:21 AM

An interesting, but also alarming, day for the conference

What loomed as one of the sleepiest weekends of the Pac-12 football season instead turned into something a little more riveting. But in the end, it was not a great day for the league. Jerry Neuheisel’s relief pitching for UCLA made for a great story — he’s the son of Rick Neuheisel, the ex-Washington coach and…

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September 11, 2014 at 8:09 PM

Pac-12 picks, week 3

Still struggling with 2014 picks. But I’m reminded that Kyle Seager struggled to begin the season, too. It’s a yawner of a week, not only in the Pac-12 but nationally. Wyoming (plus 43) at Oregon — Good grief, an 11 a.m. game? When fans complained about night starts, they probably didn’t bargain for this. Cowboys have won…

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September 10, 2014 at 1:59 PM

The weekly Pac-12 Prankings . . .

Wherein we take a stern, serious, traditional look at the state of football in the league: 1. Oregon (2-0) … Missing Lyerla’s leadership, but still doing OK 2. USC (2-0) . . . Sark promises to summon only USC president to sideline 3. Arizona State (2-0) . . . Foster best D.J. in league since legendary Husky coach 4….

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September 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Snippets from Tuesday’s Pac-12 coaches conference call . . .

Tuesday marked the football season’s third Pac-12 conference call. Some highlights: Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez’ team this week hosts Nevada, which probably got the Wildcats’ attention with its 24-13 win over Washington State last week. “They just did an outstanding job of taking away some things Washington State wanted to do, and controlling the game with their defense,”…

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September 9, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Among the issues for the Cougars: The zebras

Washington State has variously faced several problems in its first two games, both losses — surprisingly leaky defense against Rutgers; spotty (at best) offense against Nevada; the key, killer turnover. The Cougars are wading through a four-game losing streak, in which they’ve had chances to win all four games, starting with last year’s Apple Cup. They…

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September 8, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Mariota, Williams and Heidari honored by Pac-12

In the media balloting (that’s the way it’s done, for the second straight year) for Pac-12 players of the week, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (offense) and USC’s Leonard Williams (defense) and Andre Heidari (special teams) took the latest honors. Mariota was marvelous (318 yards passing, three touchdowns) leading Oregon’s comeback to swamp Michigan State, Williams had 11…

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