ESPN 700 Interviews

PAC-12 Media Days-Break Down, Wrap Up

Your ESPN 700 Sports guys, yours truly, Riles and OC getting a jump on the upcoming season with some of

RIles, TK, OC with Lineart

that coveted “facetime” with all the head coaches in the PAC-12, stars from all dozen teams and many other enlightened analysts from the PAC-12 Network.

Heisman Hopefuls

Booker

Of course the “Home of the Utes” fav is clearly Sr RB Devontae Booker. The Sacramento native will hand out his own brand of Cali Capital punishment in the way he pounds those who seek to bring him down. Running behind a veteran OLine (J.J. Dielman, Isaac Asiata and Siaosi Aiono, et al) Booker expects to pile up numbers north of the 1,512 rushing (more than 130 yards/gm in PAC-12) yards last season.  He expects to set a new single season rushing record and Booker’s eyes lit up when I brought up an obvious new wrinkle that should add to his crazy numbers.  Why not increase Booker’s touches while reducing the big hits he takes?   Utah’s Co-Offensive Coordinators Aaron Roderick and Jim Harding want to see QB Travis Wilson’s completion percentage rise (60.7% last season not close to good enough)  and here’s a simple solution.  Dial up more screens, check downs, swing and flat passes, maybe the occasional wheel route like the way the NFL’s Seahawks get “Beast Mode” isolated in areas where he can really do damage but shouldn’t be exposed to damaging hits. Booker’s ability to catch it and carry it out of the backfield (43 receptions, 306 yards, 7.2 yds per catch with 2 td last season)  should be exploited and NFL scouts are likely to add “dangerous out of the backfield” to Booker’s skill-set.

USC QB Cody Kessler is the latest “Man of Troy” to enter a season as a Heisman Trophy fav.

Cody Kessler

Just take a look at Kessler’s crazy-fat stats from last season and you’ll see why he rolls into this season ‘hanging ten’ on his USC wave. 39 TDs just 5 picks with a completion percentage right at 70%.  Room for improvement? Yep! Really?  Trojans’ 2nd year head coach Steve Sarkisian (who knows all about huge stats from his days leading LaVell Edwards’ video game offenses at BYU) wants Kessler and that talented offensive group to finish games with their foot jamming hard on the gas.  “Cody’s got to be better! We’ve got to be better!  For his part Kessler knows he must play his best FB against the best teams on USC’s schedule. That’s at Arizona St on Sept. 26, at Notre Dame on Oct. 17, right back the next Saturday (10/24)  hunting revenge against Utah in the Coliseum then the late November hammers.  At Oregon Nov 21, UCLA Nov 28.

Cool Kyle

Last year’s breakthrough (best in short PAC-12 history) 9-4 season took foot-pounds of pressure off Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.

coach whitt

A return to the world of the ranked, sweeping the LA schools (USC, UCLA) and a roll to another bowl game and another postseason win all has helped cool Kyle’s jets.   Winning in the PAC-12 restores order for any program. Then stellar recruiting stocks Utah’s shelves for the near future with 2’s and 3’s necessary to compete at this level.  Speaking of competition, Coach Whit loves himself some shoes and doesn’t mind talking about it.  As long as he doesn’t bring the subject up.

 

 

Like these sweet Under Armor “Tom Brady”  something or other model number. They stole the “coaches shoes show” at Warner Bros Studios. Kyle was quick to detail just how comfortable they are! AND “So light…can hardly tell I’m wearing ’em.” Someone (might’ve been me) made a stupid joke about the Brady model coming in several different inflation levels, all of them below the legal limit!

My endgame impression was Cal’s emerging QB Jared Goff.

Jared Goff

The big arm behind the  “Bear Raid” passing attack that’s breathing life into the Golden Bears football program. Goff could very well be the first quarterback taken in next April’s NFL Draft, but he was the  LAST player brought  by our ESPN700 interview tent at these 2015 PAC-12 Football Media Days.  Jared looked like he’d been tortured by some unruly media members but as he approached I appealed to the street-tough competitor in him.  “Dig deep Jared!..I know you have one more in you.  You can do this!”

While my plea really didn’t appear to resonate, Jared Goff did indeed dig deep.  Can’t remember exactly what he said to us, something about being blessed with GOD-given physical tools and the mind to understand how to make those work.

Good enough for us!  I’m kinda pulling for the CalBears now that I’ve seen Goff put it all on the line.  There’s also the “Fork’s Up Kid”  Arizona State Sun Devils QB Mike Berkovici.  Great sense of humor, his story reflects relentless effort and as they say these days “…Kid can really spin it!…”

Spin it!?  Was that referencing what must have been the maddening degrees of individual, team and conference promotion they all were doing? You know, ‘talking the talk’?   Or just saying that he can really throw the football?

I know it’s definitely one of those two.

 

 

 


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