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Washington quarterback suspended for opener

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Washington's Cyler Miles is suspended for Aug. 30 opener at Hawaii
Oregon is a strong pick to win Pac-12 North
Oregon State looks for more balance at receiver

Washington quarterback Cyler Miles has been suspended for the Huskies' Aug. 30 opener at Hawaii.

A sophomore considered the heir apparent to Keith Price as the Huskies' starter, Miles was also suspended for spring practice but was reinstated to the program in May.

"I thought it was appropriate that he was going to miss the first game as well," first-year Huskies Coach Chris Petersen said Thursday, at the second of two Pac-12 Conference football media days at Paramount Studios.

Miles and former Huskies receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow reportedly were involved in two Feb. 2 assaults on the Washington campus after the Super Bowl. Miles was not charged; Stringfellow pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault and transferred out of Washington.

Sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams, from Harbor City Narbonne High, will compete to start the opener.

Oh yeah, them

For the fourth year in a row, Oregon was the media's choice to finish first in the Pac-12's North Division. The Ducks received 37 of 39 first-place votes.

The other two votes went to the team that actually won the North Division the last two seasons — Stanford.

Informed that Oregon was once again the preseason favorite, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan grinned and shrugged. "I don't think anybody pays attention to that," he said, "and I don't think Oregon pays attention to that."

Catching on

Brandin Cooks is out, Victor Bolden and Richard Mullaney are in. And surely most important for the Oregon State football offense, quarterback Sean Mannion is back.

Mannion passed for 4,439 yards and 37 touchdowns last season, eclipsing 400 yards passing in five games. Mullaney also has plenty of experience. He caught 52 passes last season, three for touchdowns. But Bolden, a sophomore who played at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos High, caught only six passes.

They are expected to be Mannion's main targets now that Cook, who caught 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, became the 20th player chosen in the NFL draft.

Mannion said he would miss Cooks but is looking forward to spreading his passes around. "It will be different for us, that's for sure," he said. "It will be different in that we'll have a much more balanced group."

And stepping up

Nelson Spruce is another receiver moving to the forefront.

With Paul Richardson gone to the Seattle Seahawks after leading Colorado in catches last season, Spruce is expected to emerge as the Buffaloes' top receiver.

Spruce, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior who played at Westlake High, had 55 receptions last season, four for touchdowns.

"I feel like I've done pretty well, but these next two years I'm stepping into a bigger role," he said. "I feel like to be really happy with my career I need to take it to the next level."

Second to none?

Marcus Mariota of Oregon was the choice as the quarterback on the Pac-12's all-conference team last season. But can you name the second-team quarterback?

Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley of UCLA? Passing yardage and total offense leader Mannion of Oregon State? Wrong and wrong.

It was Arizona State's Taylor Kelly, who always seems to be flying under the radar — and doesn't seem to mind.

"It makes me stay humble," he said. "There's a chip on my shoulder to outwork everyone else. … I see myself as the best in the conference. That's all that matters."

Kelly, a redshirt senior, has passed for more than 3,000 yards in each of his two seasons as the Sun Devils' full-time starter.

A little more Mora

Jim Mora has a UCLA-best 19 wins in his first two seasons as coach of the Bruins. Put that together with his NFL experience and it's no surprise Mora's name came up in connection with several job openings after last season.

He's not looking to move. "I love it here, and I don't want to go anywhere," Mora said. "It's home now. I want to see us build something special."

Mora said his commitment to UCLA is tied into his commitment to his players.

"We go recruit these kids, go into their homes and talk to their parents, and we ask them to commit to us," Mora said. "We sit in our meeting rooms and talk to our kids about being selfless and sacrifice and putting a team first. Then you see coaches, when the first opportunity comes up to take off and better their situation, they run and do it and leave these kids behind with these, to me, empty lessons. And that's not who I want to be."

Another reason for his loyalty is that UCLA hired him at a low point.

"Let's not kid anybody," Mora said. "I wasn't the most popular hire in the history of college sports, I can promise you that."

gary.klein@latimes.com

everett.cook@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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