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Notes on a Scorecard

If this is August, it must be time for college football. . . .

Coaches and athletes from the Palouse to the Southland waxed optimistic at the Pacific 10 Conference media day recently, but the consensus was that Washington is the team to beat in the league and the nation. . . .

“The fact that we don’t play Washington is good for us and it’s good for Washington,” said UCLA Coach Terry Donahue, whose Bruins dealt the Huskies their only conference loss last year and have beaten them three of the past four seasons. . . .

What appears to be wrong with this sentence? Stanford’s first six games are against Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Notre Dame, Cornell and USC. . . .

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Coach Jerry Pettitbone on taking over Oregon State, which has won as many as four games only twice since 1971: “The timing is good. Our facilities have been improved tremendously and the reduction in the number of football scholarships nationwide will create some parity.” . . .

The heaviest player in the history of the University of California--335-pound offensive guard Onesemo Sagapolu--has dropped 20 pounds from last year. . . .

Washington State record-setting kicker Jason Hanson on the narrowing of the goal posts from 23 feet apart to 18: “It means you’ll see a lot less of the risky 50-yard field goals attempted from the hash marks.” . . .

USC reports that its graduation rates are increasing. Only 33% of the football players who began school in 1984 graduated within six years. The rate of those who entered in 1985 was 60% and the rate of those who entered in 1986 is expected to exceed 70%. . . .

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Arizona State Coach Larry Marmie on the new rule restricting athletes to a maximum of 20 hours per week on their sport and requiring a mandatory day off: “I think it’s a good idea for all concerned. Players were spending too much time on football.” . . .

Oregon State’s combination of the wishbone and run-and-shoot, and USC’s switch to more option plays will add variety to a conference that was been operating primarily out of pro sets the past few years. . . .

Terry Donahue on Bruin quarterback Tommy Maddox: “The next step in his development is for him to avoid interceptions. He’s got to go out and not feel that he has to make a great play or a touchdown every time.” . . .

Arizona’s new off-season conditioning program began at 6 a.m. daily. . . .

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“We now have a different sense of how to play football at Cal and how good we might be,” Coach Bruce Snyder said. “When I came to Berkeley four years ago, our self-esteem was terrible. That has turned around. Football is important on our campus.” . . .

Snyder, a former Ram, USC and Oregon assistant, puts Golden Bear running back Russell White in the same company with Eric Dickerson, Charles White, Rickey Bell, Anthony Davis and Ahmad Rashad, who at Oregon was Bobby Moore. . . .

Washington State Coach Mike Price on how playing for three coaches in five years affected the Cougars during a disappointing 1990 season: “It was almost like we had three teams--Coach Price’s guys, Coach (Dennis) Erickson’s guys, and Coach (Jim) Walden’s guys.” . . .

Oregon tight end Jeff Thomason, an honors candidate, received three athletic scholarship offers when he was a senior at Corona del Mar High. Two were for swimming from USC and Arizona, the other for football from Oregon. . . .

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“I’ve never seen so many good football players returning in our conference,” said Larry Smith, who has coached four years at USC and seven at Arizona. “Behind Washington, there should be a real scramble. I would classify our team as a contender.” . . .

Stanford has the most starters returning, 18. USC, Washington State, Arizona and California have the fewest, 12 each. . . .

It was unusual to hear a Stanford coach, Dennis Green, say that the Cardinal needed to improve its long-ball capabilities to be successful. . . .

“Our 280-pound linemen run faster than our 240-pounders did 10 years ago,” Washington Coach Don James said. . . .

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If the magazines are to be believed, a Washington-Michigan match-up in the Rose Bowl could determine the national title in the news-service polls. . . .

“The way we beat each other’s brains out and play tough nonconference schedules makes it difficult for a Pac-10 school to win a national championship,” Arizona Coach Dick Tomey said. “But it’s not impossible.” . . .

Asked how he juggled life as a student, football player, husband, and father, Arizona State cornerback Phillippi Sparks replied, “Carefully.”


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