Friday, July 27, 2007

Take That Les Miles

On Thursday the Pac-10 had its annual football media day in Los Angeles, CA. The most shocking news was that USC was the unanimous pick to finish 1st. It was a grand affair so I figured a synopsis was warranted. Keep in mind I'm not too familiar with a fair number of the coaches. For many of them it was the first time I had heard them behind a microphone.

But first let's start with a commentary on the Pac-10 commissioner, Tom Hansen. I think the guy is still under the impression that radio is the preferred medium of today's fan. A lot of devoted Pac-10 fans wonder why the Pac-10 doesn't get any respect. Well, Hansen is the reason as far as I'm concerned. Take the media day as an example. I spent Wednesday watching the SEC media day on ESPNU and noticed that the Mountain West media day was on CSTV. This had me fired up for the Pac-10 media day but I find out it is only on the Internet. Are you kidding me? I could care less if other conferences have their own TV networks (Mountain West) that should not dictate that I have to watch Pac-10 media day on a computer monitor. The big timers at the Pac-10 need to figure out what the hell is going on, it's 2007. Most fans don't care that the Pac-10 dominates in women's badminton or whatever else they want to brag about. College athletics are about football, so give me more football. Until changes are made in how the Pac-10 distributes its content I find it impossible for anyone outside of the West Coast to give the conference respect. Frankly, I don't blame them either. How legitimate can a conference be if its pride and joy is a media contract with a regional sports network (FSN)? Let's get with the program Hansen. Look for an upcoming post on more Hansen shenanigans.

Some other observations about the media day in general. I missed the first 8 minutes or so (it was only Hansen talking so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise) because I was trying to get the live feed to work on my Mozilla browser. Maybe it was only my computer's version but I had to finally fire up Internet Explorer to get the thing going. Please tell me I am the dumb one and the Pac-10 is smart enough to have the live feed work on other browsers. Also, the camera was set up in the back of the room just above head level. It was great seeing the heads of some people I know (UO Media Services standout Andy McNamara being one) but this is not a high school talent show. Now that I have finished railing on the Pac-10 being run like it's a JV operation let's get to some analysis on each coach. These are presented in the order they appeared. Note: Nearly every coach was asked about Les Miles' comments earlier in the summer.

Tyrone Willingham (Washington): This guy is so boring I was asleep before he even started fielding questions.

Jim Harbaugh (Stanford): I may get in trouble for saying this but I like the guy. He seems like he has high energy and brings a little excitement to The Farm. At the very least I know the lady that was on his arm when I saw him in San Diego in the beginning of June should be able to help with recruiting.

Bill Doba (Washington State): Now I really like this guy. He appears to be an honest and straightforward guy. He knew how to make some jokes and didn't seem like he was being phony. If only he didn't coach in Pullman, WA the closest to hell I have ever been in my life.

Mike Stoops (Arizona): This guy's red tie matched his red face, which was no surprise. He certainly is optimistic about this upcoming season and wants more consistency from his players. Something tells me this has nothing to do with the administration likely wanting the same from him.

Dennis Erickson (Arizona State): He regularly gets ripped on for being a vagabond but I can't knock him too much for that. I did live in 5 states before college and I'm not a terrible person. I did like his jokes and think he could have some success. If he can turn around Oregon State he certainly will be able to make Arizona State a contender before too long.

Mike Bellotti (Oregon): Easily my favorite coach in the conference. He is the dean of coaches in the conference and it's obvious why. Great guy. He gave a rundown of changes in the coaching staff and analyzed both sides of the ball and mentioned the D-line worries him most (couldn't agree with him more). Below are the questions he and Jonathon Stewart were asked, with summarized answers when appropriate.
  1. Dixon playing baseball - not the happiest guy in the world he decided to do it
  2. Going to the Big House - more worried about Houston right now
  3. More Dixon playing baseball
  4. D-line concerns
  5. Brilliance of Stewart - don't forget about Jeremiah Johnson
  6. Stewart's opinion on new OC - cool guy
  7. Erickson's value to Civil War rivalry - doesn't matter who's coaching, it's a rivalry
  8. Competitiveness of Pac-10 - should be a tight race
  9. Les Miles - perception problem around the country that Pac-10 is soft but really isn't
Karl Dorrell (UCLA): Looked sharp and sleek in his suit. Didn't want to talk about his assistant coach getting arrested for the entire time but spent half of his time talking about it. Never heard him talk before but he could not be anymore monotone and boring. Odds of him firing up a team before a game or at halftime are near zero.

Jeff Tedford (California-Berkeley): He was the only coach noticeably bigger than his player (DeSean Jackson). Jackson looked like a high-schooler but you can ask Oregon how good he is. Had to answer questions about Les Miles' comments and rightfully so. It was Cal's meltdown in Knoxville last year that makes everyone think Pac-10 is weak. Would you try showing up for the first half against Tennessee this year Tedford?!

Pete Carroll (USC): I think he was the only coach that took a seat on the left, as the viewer looked at the podium. Not sure if this means anything. This next comment could be a result of me following college football too closely. This was the only coach (except one) that named off a crap load of players and I had heard of every single one of them. Here is the best answer to the Les Miles question. He told the reporters to look at USC's schedule last year and see who the closest games were against. They were against conference opponents since they beat Notre Dame, Arkansas, Nebraska and Michigan by a combined 438 points. By the way, find me a team that has had 4 better non-conference game opponents in the history of college football.

Mike Riley (Oregon State): Riley was not present at the media day. I never heard officially but I would suspect it was due to the unfortunate passing of football staff member Jim Gilstrap. This article on the OSU website mentions his funeral was to be held yesterday.

That's a wrap from Pac-10 media day. Not sure how many people were able to see any of it but I have filled you in with the most important parts.

(Photo from AP.)

No comments: