Teams Refreshed and Ready to Play Football
The beauty of college football, or all sports for that matter, there’s always a new season full of high hopes and renewed enthusiasm. And with that new season, there’s always optimism for a championship run. Today was no different at the 2012 Pac-12 football media day where coaches and players from the conference met in Los Angeles at the Gibson Amphitheater inside of Universal Studios to proclaim their excitement and renewed vigor about the upcoming season.
And while the twelve head coaches and twenty four featured players professed their enthusiasm about the new season, the local and national media had already proclaimed the USC Trojans as Pac-12 champions in the pre-season media poll. Of course, Chip Kelly and his Oregon Ducks were chosen as Pac-12 North Champions, but they were tabbed to lose to the Trojans in the conference championship game on Friday November 30th. No reason to play the season right?
When asked about the media poll and the Trojans pre-season #1 ranking, senior quarterback Matt Barkley towed the company line. “It doesn’t mean anything, and any high ranking, any preseason poll, that opportunity to play for a game, it’s not going to win any games or score any points.” said Barkley.
“We’re one week at a time and trying to be 1-0 that week.”
One of the biggest talking points at Tuesday’s conference presser was the addition of the four new head football coaches. Joining the Pac-12 conference in 2012 is Todd Graham with Arizona State, Rich Rodriguez with the Arizona Wildcats, Jim Mora at UCLA and the always quirky Mike Leach now coaching at Washington State. Of course the one comedic moment of media day came when a reporter asked Leach who of the Pac-12 coaches would he rather go hunting and fishing with. As only he can, Leach quipped “let’s think about that carefully because we don’t want to get this one wrong. Rich Rodriguez has spent a lot
of time in West Virginia so potential rub-off there. I have it down to a playoff, Rich, and Kyle Whittingham is definitely a good one. Colorado, I’m not so sure what his hunting skills are.” said Leach. I’m going to give the nod to Kyle. He’s sandwiched between a bunch of mountains, surrounded by them, and he’s been there for a while and he’s a tenacious guy.” Leach was certainly a comedic relief in an otherwise mundane media day press conference.
As for the Ducks, Kelly was on and off the Gibson Amphitheater stage as fast as he runs his high octane offense. Kelly, along with RB Kenjon Barner and LB Michael Clay faced the full house of national and local media for less than 10 minutes. Not a lot of new information was gleaned from Tuesday’s Q & A session. The primary topic of conversation revolving around the 2012 Ducks was the departure of RB LaMichael James and the emergence of senior tailback Kenjon Barner. When asked about the pressure of following James, Barner was quick to respond. “I’ve been in this position before, quite a few times throughout my
career” said Barner. ”In Oregon when my name is called upon, yeah, it will be called upon more often now but it’s nothing new. So not too much pressure at all.”
Sophomore sensation RB / WR De’Anthony Thomas was also the topic of conversation among the media members. When asked how much more Thomas can add to the 2012 Ducks, Kelly responded “hopefully a lot! There are some things — and these guys will tell you that he’s done in practice that you kinda just go “wow” said Kelly. ”I think the only thing we won’t do is let him throw because I’ve seen him throw. Right, Kenjon? And I don’t know if he has the arm to throw but maybe as a kick returner, punt returner, but our job
as coaches is knowing when you have a guy as talented as him. You’ve got to find ways to get him
The Ducks open fall football camp on Monday August 6th. More of the 2012 Pac-12 football media day to come!