Of course...just my luck, Media Day takes place on one of my busiest days of the month so I have some catching up to do. Laughing Stock had a nice rundown earlier today.
It looks like there were some interesting moments that went on at media day today so lets get to it.
Officiating was front and center right out of the gate. It appeared early on that a number of the new rule changes and how they would be enforced did not inspire a lot of confidence particularly with Pete Carroll.
More specific and no longer allowed:
- No Horse Collar tackles - it will be called as a penalty every time this year.
- A face mask is a face mask - 15 yard penalty no matter what
- Field Goals can and will be reviewed by the replay officials
- Targeting a player could earn the offending player an ejection
That last one caused a lot discussion as it is clear that it could be interpreted differently from crew to crew. Dan Weber gives us the rundown.
Officiating Coordinator Cutaia shows a vicious hit, but clearly not dirty, of a punt receiver.
He says the clip shows a play where the officials could consider "ejection.''
Pete Carroll nearly is ejected from his seat at how unfair that would be to the player. A majority, maybe all nine other Pac-10 coaches, seem to agree.
Cutaia does not. This rule will cause more problems than it will solve if Thursday's discussion is any guide.
"This stuff just happens,'' Carroll said. "There was no intent . . . This is not an ejectable event. You guys just don't understand.''
And they don't agree.
Carroll really is unhappy that the connection between "ejection'' and "targeting'' has been made.
And you don't have to hit the ball-carrier with your helmet to target him. An elbow, shoulder, whatever, will do.
I can see why Pete Carroll is not happy, USC defenders have been hitting opposing players hard and they have gotten a lot of attention over it. Be it Maualuga's hit on Cowan or Wright's hit on Locker SC defenders have been known for punishing hits. The subjective nature of these and other calls also came up in discussions and Pete Carroll once again asked what gives?
Pete Carroll had just asked Officiating Coordinator David Cutaia the question: "How can we lead the league for the fourth straight year in opponents' fewest yards penalized?
Cutaia shook his head. No answer.
"You ask him,'' Carroll said.
So we did.
"All I can tell you is we look at every play in every game, including USC's, '' Cutaia said. "And we think they're mostly called correctly.''
And yes, Cutaia said, "We have had this discussion before (with USC).''
And "We have no explanation.''
Why am I not surprised...these guys still haven't learned from the Oregon/Oklahoma debacle a couple of years ago. The Pac-10 will continue to be the laughing stock when it comes to officiating until they are more accountable for their actions on the field.
Speaking of rules the antiquated rules regarding home jerseys will once again prevent USC and ucla from having the visiting team wear their their home jersey's because the visiting team lose a time out in BOTH halves.
Had it just been in the first half, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said he would have called a time-out immediately to even the playing field. But losing one in the second half is too risky, he said, although he wishes the schools could get an exemption so there could be a red vs. blue game."My guess is it will be turned down," Neuheisel said. "But it should be that way."
It's too bad that the powers that be can't see how something so simple could do so much for this rivalry.
As for who said what well lets take a look.
Mike Bellotti opened his remarks with a tribute to recently passed Oregon Player Tood Doxey.
“It’s exciting to be back for the 2008 football season, despite the fact that we are mourning Todd Doxey. He will be forever with us in our hearts. Our players are committed to honoring his memory. With that said, we are excited about opening our season against Washington because it’s a Pac-10 game, it gets our team’s attention, it’s on TV and we have three weeks to prepare for Jake Locker, one of the best players in the Conference.
Dennis Erickson had some interesting comments about gaining national prominence.
On Georgia coming to Tempe:"If we want to get national prominence we've got to play games like that. I'd like to play a game like that once a year -- all at home. To me, it puts you on a national stage against a great conference. Obviously, they are one of the better teams in the conference. It's a huge game in Tempe.
Of course everyone wanted to see what Jim Harbaugh said after last years comments about USC an pete Crroll especially after their upste of SC but he wouldn't take the bait.
Last year, Jim Harbaugh made a splash as Stanford's new coach when he proclaimed USC to be perhaps the best team in college history. Asked if he had any more bulletin board material for this year, Harbaugh said: ``Have I had any bulletin board fodder? I didn't know I was a bulletin board guy.''
I will address Slick Rick and Pete Carroll's day at the podium in separate posts later.