We were winding our way back from ACC Media Days while our friends and colleagues took in the show in Universal City. Assorted highlights from the daylong Pac-12 media blitz follow. As with most media blitzes, not much was learned, but fun was had.
• This may be all that you are looking for. Longtime readers (and brand-new readers) will know of our fondness for Mike Leach. We have excerpted two of his Q&A answers below, but what you really want to do is watch video of the whole thing, right? Go do that now. For the unconvinced, a Leachian preview:
Q. Coach, what coach in the conference would make the best hunt and go fishing partner for you to go on a trip with?
LEACH: Good question. 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’m not as familiar with ‑‑ let’s see, 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.
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 fairly certain ‑‑ and he’s a tenacious guy. So I think that if you were to go hunting in Utah, Kyle would be the key guy to have around.
Q. Which military leaders or generals would you compare Jeff and Travis to?
LEACH: Jeff and Travis, let me think about this. I’m more of a Civil War guy of the wars, if I were to select wars. Let me think here. You know, I would have to say that Jeff would be a little more like Stonewall Jackson, gets ahold of the play, attacks from different angles. The cavalry is over here, no, we’re here, he’s not afraid to split the force and attack from different angles.
Travis is more of a Ulysses S. Grant guy. He’s in the trenches and if requires bombarding Vicksburg for a month, he’s fully prepared to do it, he’s going to guard the river, going to bombarded them ’till they bust providing he keeps his pads low and we’re going to focus on that, right? And just, according the bombardment will be shorter and just bash, bash, but quieter guy. So, you know, just kind of steady. Quiet, steady persistence, I guess that’s how I would split it up.
You are welcome. Moving on!
• Saints preserve us; we haven’t seen anything yet. So it turns out that Robert Woods wasn’t even healthy for the entire time that he torched the Pac-12 last season. At least, that’s not how Lane Kiffin tells it: “[It] is amazing what he did and when you combine it with the fact that he was at 75 percent the whole season, and now he will be 100 percent and it will be fun to see what he can do in training camp and at full speed.”
• If youth be a defect, it is one that we outgrow only too soon. Kyle Whittingham has every confidence in Brian Johnson, his whippersnapper of an OC: “I see the same qualities and the demeanor in him, I know he hasn’t called a game yet, there are a lot of things that are going to transpire in the future that he’s never been to, but how he relates to the players, his grasp of the offense, the way he called the scrimmages, which is as close to game simulation as you can get, was all very positive.”
• He’s doing football and he’s still alive. It turns out that Dan Hawkins might have been running a loose ship of sorts at Colorado! Jon Embree on flipping the culture at Colorado: “We went through a lot of different things and we’re asking them to do different things that maybe they weren’t asked to do from practice, accountability, being on time, so it was a lot different than maybe when they were used to. … That was difficult and I didn’t get to do as much football as I thought I would have been able to. Having said that this year we have been able to do more football from a coaching standpoint and it’s been good.”
• Refrigerate until 2012. RichRod appreciates the QB leftovers that the previous regime left wrapped for him, especially leftovers that happen to be well-versed in the spread offense. “Best decision the coaching staff made, red shirt Matt Scott last year. We’re happy he’s here with us.”
• Stockpiling is probably not the worst idea, given their history. From the UCLA Q&A, Jim Mora, unfairly excerpted:
Q. Coach, can you talk about the quarterback situation, spring game at the Rose Bowl you had five quarterbacks rotating in and out?
COACH MORA: We’re excited about our quarterback situation.
ASU coach Todd Graham beginning his session now. Eager to see whether he stays for the whole 20 minutes.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 24, 2012
• Please note that he said today. “We’re very, very excited to be here representing ASU today.” — Todd Graham, hopefully without a trace of irony.
• David Shaw’s coachspeak game is ridiculous. Here is every possible sports cliché that one can cram into a single sentence, short of asking his guys to give 100 percent. Regarding the upcoming quarterback battle between young men who are not Andrew Luck: “We crossed that bridge at the meeting and for us whoever wins that job will be the guy who does the job well, executes, gets us to the right protection, gets us to a right run play, that when a guy is open they get him the ball, that’s what that position is going to boil down for us and let our playmakers make plays, which is what we can do.”
• ROLL PACIFIC TAHD. Here is a question Mike Riley was asked, by a real person, which he answered with a straight face: “Coach, you played under Bear Bryant at Alabama. What sort of life lessons did you learn? And do you think Alabama is on a roll for a long time or do you think it’s cyclical?”
• Media Days player MVP: Kenjon Barner. Just check out this pro-style poise:
Q. Kenjon, do you guys seriously sometimes look at the uniforms that come out ‑‑ and I won’t name any teams but you have to wonder if they went too far?
KENJON BARNER: I will be careful when I answer this question.
Asked Kenjon Barner what he thinks about coaches’ hot tub. “I guess if you flirt with leaving for the NFL, you get a hot tub.”
— Lindsay Schnell (@LindsayRae19) July 24, 2012
Interview transcripts courtesy of the Pac-12.