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2011 Spring Preview Pac-12 South Positions
Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler
Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 17, 2011


The positions to watch for each Pac-12 South team going into spring practices.


2011 Pac-12 Spring Preview

South Spring Positions
 

Click for each team's spring preview
North California | Oregon | Oregon St | Stanford | Washington | Washington State 
South Arizona | Arizona State | Colorado | UCLA | USC | Utah

2011 Pac-12 Spring Preview  
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Buzz
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Buzz
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Key Positions
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Key Positions   
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Questions 
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Questions    
- Pac-12 Spring Rankings

South

Arizona

The offensive line. Actually, both lines face an overhaul, but the blockers are especially vulnerable. All five starters have left Tucson, including All-Pac-10 C Colin Baxter and LT Adam Grant. Backup Jack Julsing is also gone, further muddling the unit’s depth. In fact, only two returning linemen, Chase Gorham and Kyle Quinn, appeared in more than five games in 2010. Quinn started the Alamo Bowl in place of Baxter, a role he’ll reprise this fall. Inside, Vaughn Dotsy has lettered and Chris Putton worked his way up to second team. Tackle is a riddle that might look to the latest class for answers.

Arizona State

Is this the last stand for head coach Dennis Erickson? After starting so quickly at Arizona State, he’s flat-lined, going 15-21 without a bowl invite over the last three seasons. This season, he’ll have fewer excuses than ever before, coaching a team loaded with returning starters. Assuming Brock Osweiler doesn’t get injured, testing a sudden lack of depth behind center, the Sun Devils will boast experience at every spot on the field. With that many familiar faces, another mediocre season will be tough for Erickson to justify to the administration.

Colorado

Cornerback. The Buffs ranked 110th nationally against the pass when fifth-year seniors Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown were still in Boulder. Now that they’re headed to NFL careers, what happens to the Colorado pass defense, especially as it enters a league known for its quality quarterbacks? Jonathan Hawkins and Arthur Jaffee are returning seniors, but both will get challenge for starting assignments. In particular, Georgia transfer Makiri Pugh is now eligible and sophomore Jered Bell showed enough in limited action as a rookie to be considered a building block of the future.

UCLA

The offensive line. UCLA’s best shot of improving on offense will be to open a few more holes and do a better job of protecting the quarterbacks. That hasn’t happened in years. The promising news is that despite graduations, the Bruins will be getting a much-needed infusion of veteran talent. Sean Sheller was granted a sixth year of eligibility, Jeff Baca returns from academic ineligibility, and Kai Maiava returns from an ankle injury. If they can mesh with the younger kids, the unit has a chance to be better than forecasts.

USC

The secondary. There are plenty of familiar faces from last fall, but even more work that needs to be done in the defensive backfield. Three starters return, and S T.J. McDonald is beginning to look like a sure-fire high draft choice once his amateur days are over. However, the cornerbacks remain a question mark. The team’s best cover guy, Shareece Wright, has run out of eligibility and Nickell Robey is still young and undersized. Someone has to rise up and start making more plays in pass defense this season.

Utah

Cornerback. The offensive backfield bears close scrutiny, but so does the defensive backfield. Last year’s All-Mountain West corners, Brandon Burton and Lamar Chapman, are both headed to NFL, a major concern as the Utes prepare for life in the Pac-12. Conroy Black, for one, is ideally positioned to take full advantage of Burton’s departure. In his third year removed from Fullerton (Calif.) Community College, he’s one of the fastest and most dynamic all-around athletes on campus. After being the first man off the bench, all he needs now are reps.

Click for each team's spring preview
North California | Oregon | Oregon St | Stanford | Washington | Washington State 
South Arizona | Arizona State | Colorado | UCLA | USC | Utah

2011 Pac-12 Spring Preview  
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Buzz
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Buzz
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Attitudes
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Key Positions
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Key Positions   
- 2011 Pac-12 North Spring Questions 
- 2011 Pac-12 South Spring Questions    
- Pac-12 Spring Rankings