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USC's Adoree Jackson (2) bounds through the Arizonad defense during the first quarter of the No. 10 Arizona vs. USC college football game on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

From here on out, every Tuesday I’ll be posting a recap of that week’s Pac-12 coaches conference call, along with quite a bit more posting throughout the week.

This week, I’ll also start a weekly QB round-up where I delve deeper into the conference’s quarterback situation.

Here’s the first round-up on the Pac-12’s second conference call.

AP Top 25 Poll

  • 7. Oregon
  • 8. USC
  • 13. UCLA
  • 22. Arizona
  • 24. Utah
  • Dropped out: Stanford, Arizona State

No. 22 Arizona

  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against UTSA, 42-32
  • Next: Saturday at Nevada

One of the recurring questions throughout Tuesday’s call was about offensive play-calling for the head coaches who call their own plays (David Shaw wasn’t a big fan of this line of questioning, more on that later.) Rodriguez has been doing that for a long time — understandable considering his perception as a visionary in his offensive philosophy, but also credited assistants Rod Smith and Calvin Magee as helping the cause.

“Calvin Magee and Rod Smith and I have been together for so long that we almost finish each other’s sentences.”

I was kind of hoping he’d say sandwiches.

Arizona State

  • Record: 0-1
  • Last: Lost to Texas A&M 38-17
  • Next: Saturday against Cal Poly

Todd Graham insists he doesn’t regret scheduling a non-conference game against a talented team like the Aggies.

“I think we did the right thing by playing that game,” Graham said. “I’d play it again. It’ll make us a better football team….I know playing that game’s going to help us because we start out conference play with USC and UCLA.”

Cal Poly should prove a little easier. Probably.


  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Grambling State 73-14
  • Next: Saturday against San Diego State

Sonny Dykes said quarterback-turned-safety Luke Rubenzer, who had an interception in his defensive debut, “is just a football player.”

“He’s one of those guys, that he did that on offense last year, he made plays when we needed them, and we think we’re going to get the same thing out of him defensively.”

As Jared Goff’s back-up in 2014, Rubenzer had 166 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions with 225 rushing yards and three scores.


  • Record: 0-1
  • Last: Lost to Hawaii 28-20
  • Next: Saturday against Massachusetts

The Buffs lost in a late-night game — at least, stateside it was late, starting after 11 p.m. here — to a Hawaii team led by USC transfer quarterback Max Wittek, who had three touchdowns for the Rainbow Warriors.

“We just made some bonehead mistakes that cost us the game,” Mike MacIntyre said. “We did some things that hurt us and cost the football game.”

Colorado turned the ball over three times and only had 158 passing yards.

No. 7 Oregon

  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Eastern Washington 61-42
  • Next: Saturday at No. 5 Michigan State

Perhaps the biggest news on Tuesday came before the conference call, when an early Vegas line had Oregon has 3.5 point underdogs for Saturday’s game against the Spartans. It’s the first time Oregon is the underdog in 46 games, which is second only to Alabama’s 69 straight weeks as the favorite.

“Well, Michigan State is outstanding,” said Mark Helfrich. “Our first games were similar. Neither team played ideal (after a fast start)…They’ll be motivated by who they are, not who they’re playing.”

Oregon State

  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Weber State 26-7
  • Next: Saturday at Michigan

The Utah Utes got the first crack at Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan. Game two stays in the Pac-12, as the Beavers travel to the Big House for game two of the Harbaugh era.

Andersen is familiar with the territory, having traveled to Ann Arbor last in 2008 as an assistant with Utah. The Utes won that game 25-23.

“I’ve been there twice,” Andersen said. “It’ll be a tremendous crowd, they’ll be excited, and it’s a great place to play. I wouldn’t expect it to be any different than a normal game-day at Michigan, but a normal game day at Michigan is impressive. It’s important for our kids to know they’re walking into a big stadium with a lot of people. But you know what, our kids play in loud places in this conference also, not as many people, but loud is loud. We all need to handle the moment.”


  • Record: 0-1
  • Last: Lost against Northwestern 16-6
  • Next: Saturday against UCF

David Shaw was rather contentious on Tuesday. Understandablee, though, considering Stanford had one of the more disappointing week ones in the conference, falling to an un-ranked Northwestern team.

It’s not his first rodeo, though.

“Every single game we’ve lost in my four plus years as head coach, I’ve answered the same 4 questions,” Shaw said. “I’m too conservative, we don’t do this, we don’t do that, we don’t do this. When we win, those questions go away. I’m fine. I’m not bitter, I just know the questions that are coming because I’ve been answering them for four years.”


  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Virginia 34-16
  • Next: Saturday at UNLV

If not for stud defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes losing his season to an ACL injury, Jim Mora might have been the happiest man in the Pac-12, particularly after watching his true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen star in his collegiate debut (351 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT).

I’ll talk about Rosen more tomorrow, but I liked this quote he had about depth and its importance, particularly after losing Vanderdoes.

“Any team that has dreams of playing at the highest level has to have depth because you’re going to through the course of the season and have some injuries,” he said. “So you have to have quality guys that can fill that role, and most good teams do have that, that’s why they’re good teams. It’s amazing, you look Ohio State and their quarterback position last year, and that’ll tell you how important quality depth is.”


  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Arkansas State 55-6
  • Next: Saturday against Idaho

Steve Sarkisian expects Adoree’ Jackson (hip) to play against Idaho. Not that he’ll really need to, though. Jackson, listed at corner but also a receiver and kick returner, went down early in Saturday’s game. Still, Sarkisian didn’t make it sound like Jackson would be playing on a limited play count.

“Adoree’ is an unbelieveable competitor,” Sarkisian said. “We obviously monitor him closely every single day and he has a pretty hefty workload. We had a great pitch count for him last game, but we didn’t have to worry about it because he was out after 10 plays or so. We monitor him closely. He’s in amazing shape, he takes care of his body, so we feel good about the plan for him moving forward.”


  • Record: 1-0
  • Last: Won against Michigan 24-17
  • Next: Friday against Utah State

Kyle Whittingham is happy with the way his team handled all the added attention Harbaugh brought to Utah’s opening game against Michigan.

“I think they did a great job,” Whittingham said. “Players did a great job staying focused, not getting distracted, preparing the way we always prepare and I think the guys handled it very well.”

Also, Whittingham mentioned last week that he watched NFL film of Harbaugh’s coaching as well as his time at Stanford. Tuesday, he said the Stanford film was more helpful.

One more tidbit: Whittingham said that previously suspended corner Dominique Hatfield, who was reinstated will “be ready to go when he proves he’s ready to go…we’ve got some new elements to the defense he’s got to learn.”


  • Record: 0-1
  • Last: Lost at Boise State 16-13
  • Next: Saturday against Sacramento State

The long-awaited awkward Chris Petersen-Boise State reunion happened in week one, and the now-Huskies coach is happy to be over with that.

“I’ll tell you, we didn’t really focus on it, the only time we really focused on it was when you guys were all asking about it,” Petersen said. “I don’t think it bothered our players at all. In the long run I’m glad it’s over…it’s nice that it’s behind us. I wish it was behind us where we could’ve got the W, but it was a good college football game.”

Washington State

  • Record: 0-1
  • Last: Lost to (FCS) Portland State 24-17
  • Next: Saturday at Rutgers

Mike Leach, even more so than Shaw, got contentious with some New Jersey reporters — on the Rutgers beat — during Tuesday’s conference call.

Apparently, before last year’s game, Leach called into question the talent of high school football players in the state of New Jersey.

I can speak on this personally….sort of. I’m from New Jersey, and my high school Cherry Hill East was rather awful at football. Not that it’s a reflection of the whole state. Just saying.


Here’s what Leach had to say on the subject after he was pressed on it…

“I did say they were a state with great players, but the point of the matter was I thought that when they came to college they developed quite a lot. I did suggest that is a pretty good place to recruit and I also pointed out that they have a fairly big presence in the NFL. Then, of course, whoever quoted me took that out of context."

Contact the Pac-12 Pundit at zrosenblatt@tucson.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @ZackBlatt.