Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Live, from Universal Studios, it’s Pac-12 media day


FROM UNIVERSAL CITY -- We're seated inside the Gibson Amphitheater, awaiting the beginning of the group interview portion of Pac-12 media day. Since the quotes are going to be plentiful this afternoon, I'll just update this blog post throughout the day with anything that seems interesting enough to print. We'll have plenty of coverage in the paper tomorrow, too. But follow along here -- and on Twitter -- for live updates. Everything will be after the jump.


WSU summary:

-- Leach was asked about the Pac-12 playing nine conference games while other conferences, such as the SEC, still play eight. He said it'd be ideal for things to be more "congruent," but that it would be hard to accomplish because he doesn't think the dust has settled on realignment yet. Leach also said that either every conference should play a conference title game, or none of them should.

-- Jeff Tuel was asked about his health, and -- shocker -- said he's 100 percent. The questioner mistakenly referred to Leach as "Coach Price," an awkward moment that was lightened a bit when Tuel handed the microphone to Leach and said he was handing it over to "Coach Price," as well.

-- Leach said his approach to recruiting, etc. doesn't change much in Pullman compared to Lubbock. As he's said many times before, Leach likes the true "college town" atmosphere in Pullman, and says it's a place that not many people have been to but seem to enjoy once they take a visit.

-- Tuel was asked if he thought there was a change needed from last season in the environment surrounding the football program. He said that while people may have thought that based on their record, he thought Paul Wulff's staff recruited well and that he deserves a tip of the cap for that. But Tuel added that "what this new coaching staff has done with this program, is safe to say something the old coaching staff wouldn’t have done. ... The level of excitement they bring to this university is tremendous."

-- Leach was asked about the hype surrounding the program, and answered the way he always has -- by saying that WSU will simply worry about the things it can control, focus on one game at a time, those kind of things.

 -- Leach said BYU was one of the primary inspirations for his offensive packaging, dating back to his days at Iowa Wesleyan. He made a joke about how it's not that difficult to design a bunch of good plays -- if he handed out sheets of paper to the reporters gathered here, he said, we'd probably come up with something worth using -- but it's much more difficult to package those plays together. BYU did that well, and that's why his own offense draws on some of their principles.

-- Tuel addressed the "eye opening" first couple of weeks under Leach, and how players were forced to take notice and toe the line after Leach dismissed a couple of players for rules violations.

-- Tuel said the most difficult part of learning the offense has been figuring out what to do with the football and when -- the playbook hasn't been a problem, he said, but there is still work to be done in terms of developing a rhythm with his receivers.

-- As expected, Leach was asked a couple of off-the-wall questions from folks in pursuit of an off-the-wall response. First, a fan asked via Twitter which Pac-12 coach Leach would choose to accompany him on a bear-hunting trip. After careful consideration, Leach decided on Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, due to his proximity to the mountains in Salt Lake City. Rich Rodriguez was also a consideration.

-- Leach was then asked which war generals he'd compare to Tuel and Long. Again, after careful consideration, Leach picked Stonewall Jackson for Tuel, and settled on Ulysses S. Grant for Long.

-- Leach was adamant that the Pac-12 has nothing to prove on a national level. Every conference, he said, touts their teams as the best, so he's not particularly concerned with the perception of the Pac-12 outside of the conference.

11:37 -- We were away for a while tending to some other matters, but WSU is about to take the stage. We'll have everything summarized here, in one way or another.

10:23 -- Some highlights from Arizona State's time on the stage:

Coach Todd Graham says he doesn't want to wait too long to name a starting quarterback, because he wants to assign leadership of the offense as early as he can. ASU is heading back to its famed Camp Tontozona this year -- basically just a remote practice location where they used to conduct camp -- and Graham wants a starter named before they come home.

10:04 -- Lots of talk about the tempo of Arizona's offense. Rodriguez said that's been the biggest overall difference in the program since he took over.

Said linebacker Jake Fischer, about practicing against it: "Every practice, it felt like we were playing Oregon. They go very fast, there’s periods where they try to get as many snaps in as possible."

9:55 -- With Arizona on the stage, coach Rich Rodriguez was the first coach asked about the Penn State sanctions. He said pretty much what you'd expect -- that it's a tough situation, but not nearly as tough as what the victims went through. Said it goes beyond football, calling it a "societal issue," something to learn from.

9:42 -- Colorado is on the stage now. Coach Jon Embree said there remains a three-man race for the team's quarterback position. He said he thinks they've upgraded overall talent and team speed. He did note that they have 28 seniors to replace.

9:34 -- Gary Stevenson, the chief executive of Pac-12 media enterprises, announced some programming for football season, including a Football Playbook show on Tuesdays, along with a conference-wide coaches show.

9:12 AM -- Here's the order of appearance today:

9:15 a.m. -- Colorado - Coach Jon Embree, David Bakhtiari (OT), Douglas Rippy (ILB)

9:35 a.m. -- Arizona - Coach Rich Rodriguez, Matt Scott (QB), Jake Fisher (LB)

9:55 a.m.  -- Arizona State - Coach Todd Graham, Cameron Marshall (RB), Brandon Magee (LB)

10:15 a.m. -- Utah - Coach Kyle Whittingham, John White (RB), Star Lotulelei (DT)

10:35 a.m. -- UCLA - Coach Jim Mora, Johnathan Franklin (RB), Tevin McDonald (FS)

10:55 a.m. -- USC - Coach Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley (QB), T.J. McDonald (S)

11:15 a.m. Break

11:25 a.m. -- Washington State - Coach Mike Leach, Jeff Tuel (QB), Travis Long (DE)

11:45 a.m. -- Oregon State - Coach Mike Riley, Markus Wheaton (WR), Jordan Poyer (CB)

12:05 p.m. -- California - Coach Jeff Tedford, Keenan Allen (WR), Marc Anthony (DB)

12:25 p.m. -- Washington - Coach Steve Sarkisian, Keith Price (QB), Desmond Trufant (CB)

12:45 p.m. -- Stanford - Coach David Shaw, Stepfan Taylor (RB), Chase Thomas (OLB)

1:05 p.m. -- Oregon - Coach Chip Kelly, Kenjon Barner (RB), Michael Clay (LB)

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.