The Pac-12's 2013 Football Media day is now behind us. We spent the day sharing the media blitz of Coach Mora, Anthony Barr and Xavier Su'a-Filo at the conference's event in Culver City. But there is still news that we did not get to on Friday.
Before the coaches and player representatives took the stage, the conference announced new rules limiting the amount of contact in practices during the season. "Full Contact" (ie. live tackling) practices can be held twice per week during the season (but not during both sessions of a Two-a-day"). This rule will also apply to Spring Practices, with the 8 full contact practice sessions permitted by the NCAA required to be spread out over the sessions to comply with the rule.
Coach Mora shared some new news in the Eddie Vanderdoes saga. Near the end of the session, Mora noted that Eddie has another appeal upcoming. As shared by Edward Lewis, that final appeal will be heard by the NLI board next week.
"I don't think they'll rule on Monday, but hopefully they'll rule soon to be fair to him," Mora said. "That's all I know."
This is the appeal of his appeal, and as I understand it involves a more through investigation of Eddie's case to have his initial LOI to Notre Dame rescinded, which would allow him to play for UCLA this fall. Per Lewis's story on BSR, Coach Mora also confirmed that Priest Willis is close to enrolling.
The head coach said Willis has been admitted to UCLA, but needs to jump just a few more small hurdles with the NCAA Clearinghouse before he can start playing with the Bruins this season.
"Hopefully in the next day or two he's cleared," Mora said.
Jack Wang reported that in the wake of Dietrich Riley's medical retirement, Stan McKay will move back to Safety from the hybrid mini-backer position, and incoming freshman Jayon Brown might follow along as well.
Jack also has one-on-one interviews with Anthony Barr
and Xavier Su'a Filo
Barr and Coach Mora appeared on the Pac-12 Media Day Podcast (skip to 24:36 for Mora and Barr). Anthony talked about his decision to stay at UCLA for his senior year - perceiving the need to develop more as a player and as a person - and how he feels about Mora and the rest of the coaching staff. Mora talked about his transition from to pros to the college level; how the ability to impact the lives of his players has affected his own career ambitions.
Negotiations between DirecTV and the Pac-12 are still going nowhere. Larry Scott is continuing to urge Pac-12 alumni and fans to pressure and/or switch away from that satellite provider, making the case here for people to leave for one of the companies carrying the network. Ted Miller of ESPN's Pac-12 blog had a more extensive talk with commissioner Scott on Thursday
In other news, Pat Haden gave Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin the
dreaded prized Vote of Confidence. Haden's remarks on Kiffykins:
"In closing, I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year. Here is my answer and will be my answer whenever I am asked: He is not. I am behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent. I have great confidence in him. He's a very hard-working, detail-oriented coach. He's a dynamic play-caller in my estimation, and he's an exceptional recruiter. He knows USC and he knows what it takes to be successful this year ...
I think we can all agree on the awesomeness that is Lane Kiffen as the head coach at Southern Cal. But given that, I was a bit surprised to hear Haden's expression of the team's goal for the season - as shared by Rodger Sherman of Pacific Takes: "...he believes this year's team can compete for a Pac-12 South title."
Considering the conference beat writers picked the trojans to finish 3rd in the South, the aspiration of winning the southern division is not out of place. But I doubt the alumni that are footing Haden's bill are as easy to please. Haden's aims for the season also risk letting down the normally insightful and reliable college football analyst Phil Steele.
I assume that either Steele's employment contract with ESPN required a pre-hire lobotomy or that his wife and children are being held hostage by OJ Simpson. Otherwise there is just no way to explain articles like this one (Insider) where he claims that Southern Cal is a legit national title contender this season. A feeling based in part on the depth of this year's sanction and recruiting-misstep reduced roster, as well as the Khaled Holmes-less O-line being not only better than the Holmes' anchored unit (which might not be difficult, until you recall how that line performed when he was injured), but deeper and more talented than Stanford's squad of road graders.
Considering that I am paying $1 for 3 years of ESPN Insider, I guess that I am getting the quality that I pay for...