Tuesday mornings this time of year bring a conference call with all 10 Pac-10 coaches.
League play begins Thursday night with Northern Arizona at Arizona State and Eastern Washington at Oregon State.
The rest of the league gets going Saturday, highlighted by the first intraconference game (Stanford at Oregon) and three visits to the Southeastern Conference (California at Tennessee, USC at Arkansas and WSU at Auburn).
Some highlights from today’s conference call:
ARIZONA STATE coach Dirk Koetter said sophomore quarterback Rudy Carpenter retains the respect of his teammates even after Koetter’s depth chart flip-flop was followed by senior Sam Keller leaving the program. The concern, Koetter said, was farther down the depth chart, where true freshman Danny Sullivan is now the top reserve. "To have a true freshman backing up isn’t the ideal situation," Koetter said. "But we’re not the only team in the country in that boat."
OREGON coach Mike Bellotti said he hopes starting the season with a conference game – Stanford – will make his players "more serious" about opening with a win. Junior Dennis Dixon will start at quarterback, but No. 2 Brady Leaf will see time. Bellotti termed his receiver situation only "OK," but singled out junior Garren Strong.
ARIZONA coach Mike Stoops said consecutive top-20 national recruiting classes have built the Wildcats’ depth and camp competition. He said that in his second season sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama shows "better decision-making, understanding, seeing field, everything’s slowed down and he’s comfortable in what he’s doing."
OREGON STATE coach Mike Riley said play in camp indicates that quarterback Matt Moore "has made progress" in avoiding interceptions after throwing a league-high 19 last season. Riley said most of Moore’s interceptions last season were due to bad decisions, not bad accuracy.
USC coach Pete Carroll said the freshman-dominated competition at tailback remains wide open "and will be until someone gives us a reason to say it’s settled."
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said sophomore quarterback Ben Olson is ahead of where departed quarterback Drew Olson was at a similar stage of his career. Part of the credit, he said, goes to the added maturity that came from participating in a church mission.