Pac 12 Notebook

Pac-12 notebook: Conference's teams all have major Qs at QB position

2013-08-28T00:00:00Z 2013-08-28T22:51:06Z Pac-12 notebook: Conference's teams all have major Qs at QB positionBy Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

There was one common theme during Tuesday’s first Pac-12 coaches’ teleconference.

All 12 head coaches were asked about their quarterback situation. A few schools, like Oregon, UCLA, Stanford and ASU have nothing to worry about if their starters stay healthy.

But the majority of the teams in the league still have questions at the marquee position on the football field. Even though they may have picked a starter, that doesn’t mean they’re set.

Here’s a school-by-school rundown of the quarterback situation at each school, minus the UA.

Arizona State

The Sun Devils are one of the few Pac-12 programs with a known commodity at quarterback. Junior Taylor Kelly is back after a 2012 season in which he threw for 3,039 yards, 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Kelly improved as the season went on and threw for eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the team’s final three games of the year. He also had just 18 incomplete passes during that stretch.

California

First-year coach and former UA assistant Sonny Dykes wasted no time naming a starter during fall camp. On Aug. 16, Dykes gave control of the offense to true freshman Jared Goff.

Goff was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and chose Cal over Boise State and Washington State.

“Any time you have a starting quarterback, everyone is more comfortable,” Dykes said. “Skill players can get on the same page and you have time to develop a relationship between the center and quarterback.”

Colorado

The Buffaloes just settled their quarterback competition this week when coach Mike MacIntyre named Texas transfer Connor Wood as the starter.

Wood played in seven games for Colorado last season, making one start. He went 21 for 42 on the season for 265 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. He transferred to Colorado after his freshman season at Texas, where he redshirted.

“Connor Wood had a really good fall,” MacIntyre said.

Oregon

The Ducks are one of the only teams in the league in a better situation at QB than ASU.

Sophomore Marcus Mariota is back after a freshman season that saw him throw for 2,677 yards and run for 752 yard. He accounted for 37 total touchdowns, and if coach Mark Helfrich is right, Mariota will be even better this season.

“We expect great things from him,” Helfrich said. “We want Marcus 2.0. He’s a better leader, he’s faster, stronger, all the things that go into being a great quarterback and team leader.”

Oregon State

Sean Mannion beat out Cody Vaz for the starting job this week.

Mannion has made 18 career starts for the Beavers. After a strong start to the season last year, Mannion suffered a knee injury that gave way to Vaz.

Vaz played in seven games and threw for 1,480 yards and 11 TDs.

Mannion threw for 2,446 yards and 15 TDs in nine games. His best game of the season came against Arizona, where he threw for 433 yards and three TDs.

Stanford

Coach David Shaw didn’t have to worry about a QB competition this fall thanks to Kevin Hogan.

Hogan took over for Josh Nunes after eight games last season and flourished at the end of the season. He finished the year with 1,096 yards with nine touchdowns and three picks.

Hogan has Andrew Luck-type size at 6-feet-4-inches and 220 pounds.

UCLA

Like Arizona State, Oregon and Stanford, the Bruins are in good shape at QB and didn’t have to worry about any controversy at the position this fall.

Brett Hundley had a breakout season last year as a redshirt freshman. Hundley threw for 3,745 yards and 29 TDs and could be even better this season.

USC

USC boss Lane Kiffin has yet to name a starter.

The coach said both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek will play Thursday night when the Trojans open against Hawaii.

Kiffin said he’s not worried about not having one guy yet and said it’s a compliment to Kessler’s and Wittek’s performance in fall camp.

“They have both performed so well,” Kiffin said. “I see it as a positive that we have two guys.”

Utah

Travis Wilson won the job last year as a freshman midway through the season. He played in 12 games and threw for 1,311 yards and seven touchdowns.

Wilson kept the job in fall camp and will open the year as the starter.

“He has seven starts under his belt, and hopefully it’s a big step forward for him as a sophomore,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Washington

Keith Price will start as a senior and try to regain the form of his sophomore season. In 2011, Price threw for 33 touchdowns and 3,063 yards. But last season, Price just threw for just 19 TDs and 2,728 yards.

Washington State

Connor Halliday will start the year as the full-time starter after splitting reps last season with Jeff Tuel.

Halliday won the job during fall camp and coach Mike Leach said the junior from Spokane, Wash., should benefit from a stronger offensive line this season.

Halliday’s best game was against UCLA, when he threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

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