PAC-10 FOOTBALL

Beavers' Rodgers OK with league's QB emphasis

2010-07-31T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:17:36Z Beavers' Rodgers OK with league's QB emphasisPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 31, 2010 12:00 am  • 

PASADENA, Calif. - The Pac-10 publicity push took to the air toward ESPN's studios this week, armed with four quarterbacks - and no Jacquizz Rodgers.

Oregon State's junior running back might be the conference's best hope for a Heisman Trophy, but he didn't fit into what was undoubtedly a measured media attack.

When the nation thinks of the Pac-10, it probably conjures quarterbacks and high-flying attacks, a notion that USC's Matt Barkley, Washington's Jake Locker, Stanford's Andrew Luck and the Arizona Wildcats' Nick Foles were happy to continue.

"I feel like, even though we've got the highly decorated quarterbacks, we've also got great running backs," Rodgers said. "In order to get the passing game going, you have to have a great running game."

But Rodgers said he wasn't offended when he was left out of the travel plan. He was at his parents' house in Texas.

"That would have messed up my trip," he said. "I went back home, trying to relax before the season."

With training camps starting next week, here's a look at Rodgers, and what he means for the Beavers' Pac-10 hopes:

He'll start close to home. Rodgers and his star wide receiver brother, James, will start the season not too far from their hometown of Richmond, Texas. The Beavers will visit TCU on Sept. 4 and Fort Worth, 250 miles away, is considerably closer to Richmond than Corvallis, at about 1,800.

"It's going to be great to play in front of a lot of family and friends who haven't seen me play since high school," he said. "For me, it's about going into that first game and starting the season on the right note."

He's a star. Rodgers, who averaged 110.8 rushing yards per game last season, will be asked to do more of the same this year. He is already Oregon State's fifth-best rusher, all time, with 2,693 career yards. He needs 1,169 this year to vault into second place.

Only three active players - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray and Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs - have more career touchdowns than Rodgers, who has 32.

"I don't know about anybody else's expectations," Rodgers said. "I know the work I put in through the entire off-season. My confidence is great, that I'm getting the success. It's finally paying off."

He'll carry the load. The Beavers' biggest question mark this season is at quarterback, where sophomore Ryan Katz will take over for the graduated Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao.

"He has a wonderful arm," OSU coach Mike Riley said of Katz. "He can throw all the passes. He is pretty much unflappable, so I don't think he'll be intimidated by anything.

"The transition always provides a mystery. Jacquizz and the guys are going to have to give Ryan a lot of support, but he's going to be good."

Rodgers, who has rushed for 100-plus yards 14 times, said he is ready to help.

"We got a lot of returning starters and playmakers on both side of the ball," Rodgers said. "That's going to help Ryan Katz out a lot, having my brother help out at receiver."

He wants more. In 2008, OSU played Oregon in the Civil War game for a chance at the Rose Bowl. But the Beavers lost.

Last season, the Beavers were again one Civil War win away from reaching Pasadena. However, the Ducks beat the Beavers to win the conference title.

Rodgers said he wants another chance to play for the Pac-10 championship. The Beavers will need him if they want to get there.

"I feel like it was so big last year," he said, "because both teams had the opportunity to fight for everything that was on the line. That's what made the game so big."

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