We are a healthy ball club right now. I think the day off each week allows kids to get fresh. —USC head coach Clay Helton
With longer fall camps, most Pac-12 coaches said they’re champing at the bit to get on the football field.
“It was different,” said USC head coach Clay Helton. “Our body clocks felt like we should have played last wee, and I think we’re all itching to go.” While some coaches weren’t fans of the rule changes, which eliminated two-a-days in favor of longer fall camps, Helton said he was persuaded because injuries were reduced.
“The thing I did see the first time through, we are a healthy ball club right now,” he said. “I think the day off each week allows kids to get fresh.”
He said it allowed coaches to better analyze players and how to best utilize them.
“I actually enjoyed it,” he said.
OPENING WEEK OR BYE WEEK
Two Pac-12 teams played last week — Stanford and Oregon State with the Beavers losing to Colorado State and Stanford beating Rice in an unusual venue.
The Cardinal traveled to Australia to take on Rice.
“A lot of things, of course, went our way,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “Combine that with the fact that our guys played well; our guys played hard and they played well.”
He was especially pleased that they were able to get a lot of playing time for freshman and sophomores in the 62-7 win.
“Our senior leadership was as good as we could possibly have,” he said.
As for whether the Pac-12 and NCAA should continue to send college teams to foreign countries to promote the game, Shaw said absolutely.
“It wasn’t too much for our guys,” he said when asked if the trip made preparing for the game difficult. “Our guys had a blast. They loved it. They were able to take in the hospitality; the government of new south wales, the people were unbelievable. They were understanding too that we were preparing for a football game. But we were able to see all the things they wanted us to see, experience their culture. It was just a great week-long trip to Australia I think would be great for this tradition to continue. Hopefully, more teams are open to it.”
Head coach Gary Andersen said that correcting what went wrong in the Beavers’ season opener against Colorado State was a ‘big question.”
It began with offensive deficiencies and ended with holding onto the football.
“We have to run the ball more effectively,” he said. “We did throw the ball better, but nowhere we need to be under those circumstances. Turnovers — you get 15 possessions in a football game and turn it over five times, you’re never going to win.”
There are a number of Utah prep athletes on Oregon State’s roster with Gus Lavaka, Kearns High, a sophomore offensive guard; Noah Togiai, Hunter High, a junior tight end earning starting jobs. Former BYU and Bingham lineman Baker Pritchard will see time as a second-string defensive end.
EXTRA PRESSURE ON UTES
Like most of their Pac-12 counterparts, Utah is playing an FCS opponent in the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Thursday.
“There is a little bit of (pressure) that creeps in it,” Whittingham said. “An everything to lose, nothing to gain situation.” But he cautioned that nearly every season an FCS team upsets a FBS team.