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Notes from Pac-12 media day

Coaches and athletes are still speaking at Pac-12 media days. I'll update this post with the most interesting tidbits as I hear them.

Arizona State:

Arizona State's new apparel provider showed off the new Sun Devil duds.

Todd Graham's boots were made for talking. The ASU head coach showed up to the podium in cowboy boots adorned with Sun Devils logos, which he somehow attributed to being from Texas.

Graham's session was spent emphasizing how well the team has performed academically, while reiterating his goal of winning a national championship. He said that 70 ASU players are "Scholar Ballers," the coach's term for players that achieve a 3.0 grade-point average or better.

Graham said that star sophomore Kalen Ballage will play on both offense and defense and refused to be made to clarify on which side of the ball he will see more time.

The coach, who has a history of leaving jobs shortly after arriving, has long answered questions about how long he plans to be in Tempe. Graham said that he feels his commitment to the school should be obvious because he's paid off his house and has donated heavily to the school.

However, Jordan Simone let slip that Graham has told the team he has two goal: Win a national title and win a Super Bowl. So, it appears Graham at least has NFL aspirations. Simone graduated from Skyline High in Issaquah and walked-on at Washington State before transferring to ASU. He has since blossomed into an All-Conference player.

Full transcription of Todd Graham's media day remarks.

Oregon State: New coach Gary Andersen talked about his quarterback situation—he does not know who will start, but it will be a freshman. Because freshmen are his only options.

Expectations are low for the Beavers and Andersen didn't really try to raise them, pointing out in his opening statement that the Beavers will have a freshmen under center and only 11 scholarship seniors on the team.

But the Beavers will have preseason All-American Isaac Seumalo, who Andersen said will return after more than a year away from football activities while he recovered from multiple foot surgeries. Seumalo will help pave the way for running back Storm Woods, who Phil Steele put on his preseason All-Pac-12 third team.

Andersen's hire this offseason was a surprise, when the Beavers stole him away from Wisconsin, who he led to the Big-10 Championship Game. He had some interesting remarks when asked about the transition:

"I'm always going to go where I think I can affect kids lives, and at this spot I believe I can do that consistently," he said. "I had great kids at Wisconsin, but any time I'm in a position to compromise what I believe in coaching, that's hard for me to be in the middle of it. When I see an opportunity that I want and I'm told to go there, then I'll go. "

Also, this:

Full transcription of Gary Andersen's media day remarks.

UCLA: Jim Mora let everybody know right off the bat that he doesn't know who will start at quarterback and isn't going to make a decision at media days. After that, the coach, notorious for his starched-shirt persona, actually loosened up quite a bit.

He had great things to say about The Drive, the Pac-12's documentary-style series that went behind-the-scenes with the Bruins in 2014.  Mora was also quite moving  when speaking about the challenge he issued to UCLA fans to support Avery Huffman, the six-year-old daughter of UCLA reporter Brandon Huffman who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The UCLA program is offering access to fans who help fundraise on the Huffmans' behalf, and Brandon Huffman penned a touching letter about receiving the worst news of his life, and you can help the family out here.

The Bruins also apparently refer to defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes as "Kung Fu Panda."

Full transcription of Jim Mora's media day remarks.


Head coach Chris Petersen acknowledged that it would be "awkward" for him to take the Huskies to Boise for their season opener against Boise State, the program that Petersen led to a 92-12 record over eight seasons.

"If I had any inkling whatsoever (when the series was scheduled) I might be sitting here, that'd be the last team of 128 teams (I would want to play)."

However, Petersen added that he believed it would be "selfish" for him to cancel the game.

The Huskies also noted that the players have been watching mixed martial arts fights and have incorporated some of the training principles into their offseason workouts. Petersen also said freshman quarterback Jake Browning is "absolutely in the mix" to start next season.

Full transcription of Todd Graham's media day remarks.

Colorado: Stephane Nembot is a 6-foot-6, 320-pound Cameroonian offensive lineman who speaks 14 languages. Oh, and the future NFL lineman has only played football for five years. So, yeah, he's an impressive guy.

Coach Mike MacIntyre spoke about his high expectations for quarterback Sefo Liufau, who attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma. He also noted that it will be an uphill climb for the Buffaloes, one of only two Pac-12 South teams that aren't ranked in the Amway Coaches Poll.

Full transcription of Mike MacIntyre's media day remarks.

Stanford: Coach David Shaw continued his relentless campaign to spread awareness about the value of a degree from Stanford, even going so far as to say that he supports graduate transfers because, "I have a tough time telling a guy with a Stanford degree what to do.

The Cardinal should be tough in 2015 with Kevin Hogan back and some talented skill players on offense in Barry Ware, Christian McCaffrey, Devon Cajust, Michael Rector and Remound Wright. But Shaw pointed to the depth along the offensive line as his reason for confidence, saying "I think this is the first year in two years we've had competition." Of course, there were few players in the country last year that could have legitimately competed with Andrus Peat for playing time, and he's off to the NFL now.

But Stanford's defense isn't expected to be as fearsome as it has been in recent seasons, but Shaw says he's just fine with that.

"It's great," he said. "I like when people doubt us as opposed to getting pats on the back. I have no problem with that at all because I'm one of those guys that believes, yes, we should have to prove ourselves every year."

Cajuste, Stanford's top receiver, missed the spring game with a hamstring injury, but Shaw says he should be fully healthy for fall camp. "I saw him the other day, he's walking with no limp," Shaw said. "He felt great. He's going to start running straight ahead pretty soon."
Full transcription of David Shaw's media day remarks.

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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