Hot Sheet: Papadakis dishes on the Cats, Trojans

October 10, 2013 12:00 am

Love him or hate him, Petros Papadakis has a passion for Pac-12 football.

The former USC tailback co-hosts a nationally syndicated radio show with Matt “Money” Smith and serves as a color commentator for both Fox and Fox Sports 1. Papadakis isn’t shy: The pride of San Pedro, Calif., is known for his large personality and desire to share an opinion on all topics.

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  • Love him or hate him, Petros Papadakis has a passion for Pac-12 football.

    The former USC tailback co-hosts a nationally syndicated radio show with Matt “Money” Smith and serves as a color commentator for both Fox and Fox Sports 1. Papadakis isn’t shy: The pride of San Pedro, Calif., is known for his large personality and desire to share an opinion on all topics.

    We talked to Papadakis, who will call tonight’s game with Justin Kutcher and Joel Klatt, about Arizona, USC and tonight’s matchup. Here’s what he said:

    On his impressions of Arizona this season: “My original impression this year is that they are really struggling with their quarterback play. They need more consistency from B.J. Denker at that position. I really wonder if they are going to get it. In my opinion, they have the best running back in the country in Ka’Deem Carey. I think he’s the best by a good margin. But right now it’s easy to key on him because Denker doesn’t have the ability to stretch the field.”

    On Carey: “I watched him as a true freshman and I couldn’t believe how good his feet were. That’s not the type of thing you are coached to do. It’s just something you do naturally. To see that and how hard he was to tackle and the burst of speed he has is something else. I also think he’s the type of back that gets stronger in the fourth quarter. He has all the elements to look for in a great back. He’s tough, he’s fast, he catches the ball; he doesn’t have a weakness.”

    On Rich Rodriguez joining the Pac-12: “I’m really happy for the area and the program. I think they found somebody that’s a great fit for that place. He can put his offense in and recruit the type of players he needs. I’ve always enjoyed Arizona football for what it is. I understand what Dick Tomey did for that area and football. It’s overlooked nationally, but I don’t overlook it. I think in Rich, they have a guy that they can build off of for years. The impact that he’s already having in his second year is impressive. It’s all positive right now for Arizona.”

    On what he likes about USC: “Their entire front seven will play in the NFL. They are always the most talented team in the conference, and that never changes. Now, that doesn’t always mean wins, but they still have that talent. Guys like Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin are freaks. Justin Davis is one of the most exciting running backs I’ve seen in a long time. I would think that every coach that pops in USC tape — their eyes get really big when they watch that tape because of the caliber of talent.”

  • Oct. 27, 2012: What went down: Trailing by 15 points in the third quarter, Arizona came back and shocked No. 10 USC 39-36 in front of 47,822 fans at Arizona Stadium.

    The UA sealed the win when Shaq Richardson and Wayne Capers Jr. swatted away Matt Barkley’s last-second heave in the end zone.

    How it read: The UA’s improbable win over the Trojans made Greg Hansen a believer in Rich

    Rodriguez’s product. He wrote:

    If Arizona’s new football coach has done one thing, it is to make people take notice. Tucsonans have been slow to put down money and fill all the seats—or even stay to the finish—but the Wildcats have become impossible to ignore.

    In its last five games at Arizona Stadium, the UA has averaged 48 points and 571 yards and has won four times. It beat No. 10 USC and No. 18 Oklahoma State, shattered Washington and took No. 18 Oregon State to the final tick of the clock before losing.

    With the football gods as my witness, this team of psyche-scarred leftovers from the Mike Stoops years has become better than anyone could have possibly expected.

    Turning point: Trailing 28-13 late in the third quarter, Arizona scored four straight touchdowns over a span of 12 minutes 24 seconds to take a 39-28 lead. The final score was a seven-yard touchdown pass from Matt Scott to David Richards.

    Stats that matter: USC receiver Marqise Lee set a Pac-12 record with 345 receiving yards on 16 catches. The UA’s Austin Hill was nearly as good, catching 10 passes for 259 yards.

    It’s history: USC lost four of its final five games following a 6-1 start. Arizona fell at UCLA a week later, but finished with an 8-5 mark.

  • It wouldn’t be a stretch to expect a close game tonight. The last six games between USC and the UA have been decided by a touchdown or less.

    During that stretch, UA is 2-4.

    Here’s a look at those six games:

    Year Location Score MVP

    2007 USC 20-13, USC USC TE Fred Davis (six catches, 63 yards, one TD)

    2008 UA 17-10, USC USC RB Stafon Johnson (19 carries, 83 yards, one TD)

    2009 USC 21-17, UA UA QB Nick Foles (22 for 40, 239 yards; two passing TDs and one rushing TD)

    2010 UA 24-21, USC USC RB Marc Tyler (31 rushes, 160 yards, one TD)

    2011 USC 48-41, USC USC WR Robert Woods (14 catches, 255 yards, two TDs)

    2012 UA 39-36, UA UA WR Austin Hill (10 catches for 259 yards)

  • The UA won’t play its annual homecoming game until Nov. 9 against UCLA. But if we’re being technical, tonight’s game is the true coming-home showdown — at least for Arizona’s players.

    The UA has 36 players on its roster from Southern California. Here’s a breakdown of the UA’s SoCals:

    • San Diego (6):
    • OL Jacob Alsadek; RB Pierre Cormier; WR Donte’ Cretain; OL T.D. Gross; WR Johnny Jackson; CB Devin Holiday
    • Long Beach (2):
    • RB Terris Jones-Grigsby; S David Price
    • Carson (2):
    • OL Eric Bender-Ramsey; CB
    • Shaq Richardson
    • Moreno Valley (2):
    • RB Daniel Jenkins; WR Terrence Miller
    • Calabasas (1):
    • QB Nick Isham
    • Compton (1):
    • WR Samajie Grant.
    • Corona (1):
    • WR Austin Hill
    • Cypress (1):
    • LS Brian Chacon
    • Encinitas (1):
    • QB Adam Friederichsen
    • Garden Grove (1):
    • DL Kirifi Taula
    • Hawthorne (1):
    • DL Sione Tuihalamaka
    • Inglewood (1):
    • CB Arlandis Hinton
    • Irvine (1):
    • DL Kyle Kelley
    • La Canada Flintridge (1):
    • LB Cole Ramseyer
    • Lakewood (1):
    • QB Jesse Scroggins
    • Los Angeles (1):
    • RB Jared Baker
    • Oak Park (1):
    • DL Luca Bruno
    • Oceanside (1):
    • K/P Jack Flatau
    • Orange (1):
    • S Blake Brady
    • Palmdale (1):
    • WR David Richards
    • Poway (1):
    • CB Derek Babiash
    • San Clemente (1):
    • K/P Bret Miller
    • San Pedro (1):
    • LB Haden Gregory
    • Temecula (1):
    • OL Beau Boyster
    • Torrance (1):
    • QB B.J. Denker
    • Tustin (1):
    • OL Faitele Faafoi
    • Westlake Village (1):
    • WR Aaron Lacombe
    • Woodland Hills (1):
    • CB Shane Wilson
  • The last time USC and Arizona met, the Trojans’ Marqise Lee posted one of the best performances by a wide receiver in college football history. That may sound like hyperbole, but it isn’t.

    The Trojans star caught 16 passes for 345 yards in a nationally televised game at Arizona Stadium. If the rest of the country didn’t know about Lee before that game, they did after his clinic in Tucson.

    The wide receiver is questionable for tonight’s game and indications in the days leading up to the matchup is that he likely won’t suit up. As a junior, Lee will almost certainly declare for the NFL draft after this season, meaning there’s a good chance we’ve seen the last of him. For Arizona fans, this is good news; for college football fans, it stinks.

    We asked a few players and coaches for their thoughts on USC’s superstar:

    Rich Rodriguez: “Marqise Lee is such a special talent. You always have to be aware of where he is lined up, not only in the receiving game, but also in the return game. We didn’t have an answer for him last year. He got open, got involved and we just couldn’t catch up with him. There is no question what type of talent he is because he is one of those rare kids that you have to run your scheme with the awareness of where he is.”

    Cornerback Shaq Richardson: “He was able to get in open space, make people miss and run fast. If he doesn’t play, they would be lacking one of the best receivers in the country, but they still have a lot of talent there. We’re prepared if he is going to play. If he doesn’t, we’ll come out and play hard. If he does, we’ll still come out and play hard. We have to be in his hip pocket and compete heavier than we did last year.”

    Cornerbacks coach David Lockwood: “He’s a great receiver. He’s one of the most talented guys I’ve coached against in all of the places I’ve been. I’ve seen some good ones and played against some good ones. From playing and coaching, in 24 years, he’s one of the best I’ve seen. I was appreciating him during the game last year. He had a record day. It wasn’t hard to figure it out—he was pretty good. There were a couple of times he caught the ball in coverage and just ran away from everybody. He’s in a league of his own.”

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