2008 Spring Preview
Key Pac 10 Questions Answered
2008 Pac 10 Spring Analysis
What’s the Arizona State coaching staff doing to work on
the team’s biggest problem last year: pass protection?
From Hod Rabino DevilsDigest.com Publisher. For all the
latest in Arizona State Football team coverage, log onto
The pass protection deficiencies were obviously not limited to
the performance of the offensive line. Nonetheless, there's no doubt
that this unit, especially at the tackle position will have to improve
executing schemes that call for more athleticism. 6-5 280 mid-year JC
transfer Tom Njungee from Pasadena (Calif.) City College was brought in
for immediate help, likely at left tackle. 6-4 350 junior Richard
Tuitu'u is the most experienced returning tackle on the team, and late
last season showed some glimpses that he could be a starter. 6-4 310
sophomore Jon Hargis will be moved from the defensive line to provide
competition and 6-6 295-pound redshirt freshman Mike Marcisz will be in the
mix as well.
Additionally coaches will be harping on QB Rudy Carpenter to get rid of
the ball quicker, as well as emphasize pass blocking in the running back
Is QB Justin Roper really going to be the man at Oregon? Which team
is going to show up, the one at the end of the regular season or the one
that rolled in the Sun Bowl?
Steve Summers, eDuck.com
The Oregon Ducks are going to head into spring camp with fewer
questions than one might expect considering losing the two best
players from last year's squad. Why? Mainly because the depth
the Oregon Ducks now enjoy has never been so good, and one of
the key elements of the team that saved the season for many will
be back in the huddle when spring practice begins on April 2nd.
Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart are gone but the blow of
losing the team's two best players is lessened because
quarterback Justin Roper, the surprise of the 74th Brut Sun Bowl
is back plus the Ducks picked up another big, fast running back
from the junior college ranks. LaGarrette Blount, 6-2, 230 is a
back that reminds the Oregon coaching staff of Reuben Droughns.
Blount signed a mid-season transfer letter of intent back in
December and will be on hand when the Ducks go back on the
practice field in April.
Roper made his first career start in the Sun Bowl and
executed Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly's game plan to
perfection. Roper threw a record four touchdowns in the Sun Bowl
and made no critical mistakes. At least for spring football,
Justin Roper will be the No. 1 quarterback. Nate Costa probably
would have been the lead signal caller but suffered a torn MCL
and ACL on his left knee. Likely, Costa will be throwing in the
spring but will be held out of contact drills. Along with Roper
and Costa, true freshmen Darron Thomas, Chris Harper, back
up Cody Kempt and BYU transfer Cade Cooper will also get
practice snaps. Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti hasn't tipped
his hand as to who is the leading candidate for the starting
position in the fall, but Roper and Costa seem to be the
While Oregon must also replace two starting linemen and two wide
receivers, the Duck offense was relatively unscathed by
graduation. Brian Paysinger and Cameron Colvin are gone as
receivers, but both suffered season ending injuries midway
through 2007, and their replacements Jeffery Maehl and Aaron
Pflugrad gained valuable experience at the end of last year.
Rumors continue to circulate that 1st Team Pac-10 center Max
Unger may move to tackle and if so veteran Jeff Kendall will
take his place at center. Several other veteran back ups
including Jacob Hucko, C.E. Kaiser and Jordon Holmes will via
for the remaining opening on the offensive line.
Defensively the Ducks worried some about the defensive line
mainly because two blue-chip defensive tackles did not make it
into school last fall. Combining that with the losses of David
Faaeteete and Jeremy Gibbs due to graduation, the tackle
position will be scrutinized closely in the spring. Senior Cole
Linehan, junior Ra'Shon Harris and sophomore Tonio Celotto and
JC transfer Blake Ferras will get the most work at tackle while
the ends are solid behind senior All-Pac-10 Nick Reed.
Most beat writers that cover the Ducks think that the linebacker
corps going into the spring workouts could be the very best
Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti has ever had at Oregon.
Sophomore Casey Matthews will be healthy and redshirt freshman
Terrence Pritchett, who was very impressive in the fall will be
playing along side senior Jerome Boyd. Redshirts Brandon Hanna
and Terrell Turner also will be in the mix. The defensive
secondary continues to be a strength as free safety Matt Harper
was the sole loss. He will be replaced by veteran Marvin Johnson
who was outstanding last year on special teams. True freshman
John Boyett, who was the Northern California Player of the Year
out of Napa High School in 2007 enrolled for winter term and
will be on hand for the spring workouts to compete for the
Last season, Aliotti could be easily riled if someone refereed
to his defense as "bend-but-don't-break." Aliotti likes to think
of his charges as a shut down defense. This spring observers
should get to see first hand if that is going to be the case or
Special teams will still feature kicker Matt Evensen and punter
Josh Syria, so there won't be much mystery in those departments.
The Ducks should pick up where they left off at the Sun Bowl --
a powerful offense capable of putting up big numbers and a
strong defense. Bellotti's staff spent the recruiting season
going across the country for talent and six newcomers from the
2008 recruiting class will be enrolled in school and working out
during the spring.
Is the Oregon State quarterback play going
to be more consistent and better?
Dan Norz, BeaverFootball.com
There is eerie trend of quarterbacks in a Mike Riley coached system
to throw interceptions and touchdowns at a one to one if not two to one
rate. Derek Anderson did it in 2003, Matt Moore in 2005 and most
recently Sean Canfield in 2007.
But, once the quarterback settles in, they are
downright deadly as Anderson showed in 2004 and Moore displayed in 2006
as they reversed the ratio throwing two touchdowns for every
One of the big questions heading into Oregon
State’s spring session is will the quarterback play be more consistent
and better? If we look at history, the answer is yes, but unfortunately
the picture is not crystal clear as Sean Canfield recovers from a
shoulder injury and Lyle Moevao, although undefeated, has started just
Canfield injured his shoulder against USC in
November, played briefly in December against Maryland in the Emerald
Bowl and had surgery on his left shoulder, his throwing shoulder, in
January. He will sit out spring practice and hopes to be throwing at
full strength by June or July.
Weather the Beavers are more consistent at
quarterback or not depends on how Canfield recovers. Will he be afraid
to get hit? Will he be able to throw an accurate deep ball? Will he be
tentative to run? All those questions and more won’t be answered until
Moevao will start out spring and fall camp as the
starter. He is more mobile than Canfield which the coaches like but that
mobility has a cost as he fumbled three times in four games. He is tough
in the pocket and took care of the ball when he tossed it throwing just
two interceptions in his four starts.
He can make the difficult out throws, but will
need to improve on his deep ball as the offense is limited to big pass
plays with him in the game. Moevao’s intangible is his positive,
energetic personality that the other players latch onto and feed off of,
a great quality of a leader.
Moevao has the smarts, athletic skills and the
attitude to succeed in the Pac-10. Once he gets the experience, he will
become a consistent quarterback.
better is Jake Locker going to be as a passer? Does he have the players
around him at Washington to succeed?
From Chris Fetters, Northwest Recruiting
Analyst - Scout.com,
Editor-in-Chief - Dawgman.com
Jake is actually taking part in a camp to get him
back in step with some of the fundamentals that he didn't have to
work on in high school, considering they ran wing-t at Ferndale.
He's 'going back to school', so to speak. Here's an article I
wrote on the camp and what he's been doing.
As far as receivers go, the biggest problem with
the receivers last year was their inconsistency in getting open and
providing targets for Jake. This fall's crop is only going to
include two scholarship players coming back with any catches from
2007 (D'Andre Goodwin and Curtis Shaw), but has arguably the best
receiver class to ever come to UW - and that's saying something,
considering Reggie Williams and Charles Frederick were two of the
top three receivers in the 2001 class. Anthony Boyles, Devin
Aguilar, Chris Polk, Jordan Polk, Cody Bruns and Jermaine Kearse
could all see considerable playing time, and they are all known for
their hands and play-making abilities. And Goodwin, Shaw and Jordan
Polk are all sub-4.5 guys, and the others aren't far off. So in a
nutshell - next year's WR class is extremely green, but as loaded
with potential as UW has ever been.