Pac-12 football: Seen & heard at Media Day

2013-07-27T00:00:00Z Pac-12 football: Seen & heard at Media DayDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Leach Lounge

Washington State's Mike Leach was the first coach to talk at Friday's Pac-12 media day, and as usual, he was brilliant.

Leach talked about everything from football and Geronimo to zombies. He did it all in his vintage deadpan, humorous way.

Our five favorite quotes:

  • "Books almost go a little beyond even the confines of, say, a marriage. You write a book, that's there forever. There is no divorcing a book, you know? You go through the sentence, should we put the first part last, the last part first? Was this clear?"- On penning his current book on Geronimo
  • "That is why they have football and it's why football was invented and it's one of the greatest American games there is."- On the fact that South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney's hit against Michigan running back Vincent Smith last year would now be deemed illegal
  • "So when the Geronimo book comes out, everybody needs to buy a copy and you ought to buy a couple of extra in case you lose the first one." - On his book, again
  • "If somebody is a zombie or corpse, I'm the head zombie or corpse." - On his 2012 statement that some of his seniors went through the season zombie-like
  • "All right. Any questions?" - Leach's response when asked for an opening statement

Harrington on UA

We were able to steal a couple minutes of Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington's time on Friday.

The former Oregon quarterback said he felt the UA was a sleeper in the Pac-12 South Division and thinks the Wildcats will be improved from coach Rich Rodriguez's first season.

The biggest reason? Harrington thinks the UA's defense will be better this year.

"Defensively, they were not fantastic last year," Harrington said, smiling. "But, the experience those players gained, you cannot discount the experience they now have. They will be much improved defensively. The reality is UCLA is probably the class of the South, but that doesn't mean they can't stumble and a team like Arizona, ASU or USC can't come in and make a splash."

Harrington also raved about UA running back Ka'Deem Carey.

"He's completely underrated," Harrington said. "He did not get enough attention last year. Matt Scott was a great player, but I can't think of any quarterback out there that would not love to have a guy like Ka'Deem Carey in their backfield.

"He's the type of running back that can change the fortunes of a team."

He said it

"None."

UA coach Rich Rodriguez, when asked a Facebook-submitted question from an ASU fan on how much he thinks about last year's Territorial Cup loss.

Tweet of the day

"@Paulscheer hey me and my teammate @papa_yank are around for PAC 12 media day. Just saw and missed you walk by, could we grab a picture" - Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov(@ShayneSkov11), tweeting to Paul Scheer, one of the stars of The League on FX. Scheer was spotted at the Sony Studios on Friday. Sadly, Skov didn't get a response. Maybe next time.

I say Rich, you say Rod

One of the final interviews Rodriguez did on Friday was with the "Petros and Money Show" on 570-AM in Los Angeles.

Petros Papadakis, known for his outgoing, loud personality gave Rodriguez a very warm welcome before the coach stepped on stage to do his interview.

"Coming up next, we'll be joined by Arizona's Rich Rodriguez," said Papadakis, before launching into a mini cheer for the UA coach. "I say Rich, you say Rod. Rich-Rod. Rich-Rod."

This went on for a few more times and - for what it's worth - Rodriguez seemed to enjoy it. He joined in on the chant, throwing his arms up above his head and smiling.

The big number

23

Lane Kiffin and USC players Marqise Lee and Hayes Pullard answered questions for 23 minutes on the Sony Studios stage, by far the longest of any of the teams.

Love for Mariota

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was one of the 24 players in attendance on Friday. He easily received the highest praise from various coaches - including his own.

Mariota passed for 2,677 yards last season and 32 touchdowns and added 752 yards and five scores on the ground in 2012.

Stanford coach David Shaw called Mariota probably the most complete quarterback in the nation.

Mariota's coach, Mark Helfrich, didn't hold back when he was asked about his signal-caller.

"As far as ratio and numbers, this guy is the best quarterback in the country," Helfrich said. "But he doesn't care about how many passing yards he has. He cares what it says before and after the hyphen in the team record, and that's how we operate."

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Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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