HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Oregon State, which was picked last in the Pac-12 North by every voter in the preseason media poll, is unlikely to have a memorable season. But for a glorious 20 minutes at Pac-12 Media Days, the Beavers made a lasting impression.
OSU coach Gary Andersen brought punter Nick Porebski in lieu of a defensive player, the only special teams specialist to attend that gathering presumably reserved for the conference’s star players.
Though a startling – and possibly hilarious – admission that Oregon State will punt often enough this year for Porebski to be an impact player, the specialist’s selection has an honest, if grim, logic.
Oregon State ranked last in the Pac-12 in first downs per game by a considerable margin, gaining just 17.6 per game, making the Beavers the only team to fail to move the sticks at least 20 times per contest. OSU actually converted only 31.7 percent of its third-down attempts, meaning it was a rare treat when Porebski could take his helmet back off following a must-convert play.
With the Pac-12’s worst returning offense and no proven offensive threats outside of receiver Victor Bolden, there’s a good chance Porebski will see the field enough to justify his presence in Los Angeles.
Pac-12 will crack down
on untucked jerseys
If anything marred the 2016 football season for the fans of Pac-12 football, which sent a record 10 teams to bowl games, it was the inconsistent and often erroneous officiating, often at critical junctures of close games.
Did the Pac-12 refs probably determine the outcomes of at least some games? Did Christian McCaffrey fumble against Washington State?
On Friday during Pac-12 Media Days, conference director of officiating David Coleman reassured fans and media that the powers that be recognize there’s an issue and will take meaningful steps to correct it.
Actually, the Pac-12 plans to crack down on untucked jerseys, invite more controversial defensive foul calls and continue refusing to correct suspensions issues for erroneous targeting calls.
In terms of performance evaluation, Coleman said that the conference will continue an initiative it started last year to send video explanations of controversial calls and rules to members of the media. He boasted that 76 percent of the conference’s officials participated in postseason play and that Pac-12 officials staffed the national championship game.
Aside from taking on uniform violations, the most significant emphasis Coleman talked about comes courtesy of the NCAA, which considers a sliding ballcarrier, usually a quarterback, to be a “defenseless player,” who should not be tackled, as soon as he begins to slide to avoid a hit, rather than when his slide brings him to the turf.
Mora backs Bradley over allegations at Penn State
UCLA coach Jim Mora said that recent allegations regarding new defensive coordinator Tom Bradley have not sparked an investigation, and threw his support to the assistant coach in the wake of new controversy regarding the sexual abuse that occurred at Penn State.
Last month, a Pennsylvania court unsealed documents that indicate Bradley, a long-time assistant at PSU, was aware of allegations made against Jerry Sandusky, the former PSU defensive coordinator who was convicted on 45 counts of sexual assault.
Bradley has since denied any knowledge of Sandusky’s acts, and Mora said that he believes him.
“Tom is a man of integrity that was heavily vetted, not just by UCLA but by others, as well,” Mora said. “I’ll stand by his statement, and we’ll all stand by Tom and what he didn’t do and what he didn’t know.”
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