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News from around the Pac-10

By Connor Doyle
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 12, 2002

Arizona (1-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: Utah (2-0)

Head coach John Mackovic said he is weary of the Utes' defense, which utilizes the zone blitz roughly 30 percent of the time. It's a commonly held belief that Utah will be the toughest defense the Wildcats will face this year, especially against the run. This could spell trouble considering RB Clarence Farmer, the Pac-10's leading rusher from a year ago, managed only 29 yards against DI-AA Northern Arizona in the team's season opener The Wildcats offensive line was bolstered this week with the return of center Keoki Fraser and Makoa Freitas, both of whom missed the team's first game against the Lumberjacks.

Arizona State (2-1)
Last week: Beat Central Florida 46-13
This week: San Diego State (0-2)

Head coach Dirk Koetter still hasn't named a starting quarterback, and insists he's going to use both in games until one clearly overtakes the other. Koetter said Chad Christensen, the starter coming into the season, offers more options in terms of mobility, but that Andrew Walter who led the Sun Devils to a second-half comeback against CFU last week has a stronger arm and seems to improve the overall play of the offense ASU running back Hakim Hill was named Pac-10 special teams Player of the Week after returning five kickoffs for 157 total yards last week.

California (2-0)
Last week: Beat New Mexico State 34-13
This week: No. 15 Michigan State (2-0)

The Golden Bears have been the biggest surprise in the conference so far this season with two convincing wins over Baylor and New Mexico State.

But this week's trip to East Lansing will be a little more difficult for Cal, as the Spartans are expecting over 71,000 fans to pack Spartan Stadium So far this season, the Bears have scored 52 points in the first quarter.

No. 13 Oregon (2-0)
Last week: Beat Fresno State 28-24
This week: Idaho (0-2)

While everything's been roses on the Ducks' offense, where Jason Fife has filled in aptly for the since-departed Joey Harrington, all is not well with the Oregon special teams units.

Punting in particular has been a problem, as the Ducks are dead last in the conference in net punting with a 27-yard average.

Oregon State (2-0)
Last week: Beat Temple 35-3
This week: UNLV (1-1)

Head coach Dennis Erickson must be wondering where this was last year. So far this season, the Beavers lead the nation in pass efficiency defense and interceptions, rank third in turnover margin and have allowed the sixth-fewest points. In addition, a touchdown hasn't been scored against the defense. But those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as the team's first two games came against Eastern Kentucky and Temple, who likely aren't going to break any NCAA records this season for scoring.

No. 17 Southern California
Last week: Bye
This week: No. 18 Colorado

The coaching staff received some good news this week when offensive lineman Zach Wilson was cleared to begin practicing. The senior, who strained his left foot in early August, has practiced at both the right guard and right tackle position, and if he's good to go it will alleviate some of the depth problems USC has had on their front line. No word yet if running back Justin Fargas, who missed the opener against Auburn with a strained hamstring, will be ready to go. The Michigan transfer was expected to compete for the starting spot in the backfield this season. Sultan McCullough is still penciled in as the team's starter at tailback.

Stanford (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Boston College 34-27
This week: San Jose State (1-1)

Starting TE Brett Pierce will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in the first quarter of Stanford's loss to BC last week. It's a devastating blow to the Cardinal offense, as Pierce was expected to be one of the top returning tight ends in the conference coming off a season where he caught 19 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Alex Smith will start in his place. Starting guard Greg Schindler is also out for the San Jose State game with a sprained MCL. True freshman Brian Head will start in his place.

No. 23 UCLA (1-0)
Last week: Beat Colorado State 30-19
This week: Oklahoma State (1-1)

Head coach Bob Toledo raised some eyebrows last week when he brought backup freshman QB Drew Olson into the game in the third quarter after starter Cory Paus had just completed five straight passes on the Bruins' first possession of the second half.

Olson led UCLA on a 52-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter that proved to be the winning score for the Bruins.

Toledo said Paus is still the team's starter, but that Olson will still be substituted in if the coach feels it's necessary.

No. 14 Washington (1-1)
Last week: Beat San Jose State 34-10
This week: Bye

Head coach Rick Neuheisel said he's thankful the Huskies have their off-week so early in the season, as he was disappointed in the team's performance against San Jose State.

He said of main concern was the performance of special teams, working on zone coverages in the secondary and diversifying the offensive attack. The defensive work is paramount to the coach, who knows man-to-man coverage won't cut it once conference play begins and unit will have to contend with high-octane passing attacks

WR Reggie Williams was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week after a six catch, 160-yard performance against the Spartans.

No. 10 Washington State (2-0)
Last week: Beat Idaho 49-14
This week: No. 6 Ohio State

Head coach Mike Price said he's not fazed by the team's matchup against Ohio State, and hopes his players follow suit. But he did admit he was a little taken aback by the Buckeyes' diversified play calling on offense and the gaudy numbers they've put up this year, a far cry from the run-heavy Ohio State team of yesteryear Three players remain doubtful for Saturday's game WR Jerome Riley, LB Will Derting and LB Donnie Jackson but the team was bolstered by the return of four players this week, DB Jeremy Bohannon, PK Adam Holiday, OL Sam Lightbody and WR Curtis Nettles.


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