Here comes football! Pac-12 held its media day in Los Angeles today. All 12 schools were represented by the head coach and two players. Stanford football had seniors Stepfan Taylor and Chase Thomas take the stage along with Head Coach David Shaw.
There were not a lot of questions for the Cardinal as their segment last nine minutes, less than half the allotted time. Of course the day was running a half hour late so maybe that had something to do with it.
There is not usually a lot of news from these preview days. The biggest “news” offered is a couple of position changes. Trying to replenish the depth at tight end, Shaw said two players have made position changes. “We moved Luke Kaumatule from the defensive end and he will be a true freshman at the tight end position for us. We have moved Jamari Roberts to the tight end position for us.”
Kaumatule is 6-7, 230-pounds. He was originally a four star defensive end from Honolulu. The position change had been rumored so it was not a shock per se, but the first initial announcement. Roberts, a senior wide receiver, was a little more surprising.
Beyond that Shaw answered some of the more typical questions, like will the eventual quarterback feel pressure to be like Andrew Luck?
‘We crossed that bridge in the first meeting,” Shaw responded. “I told those guys there should be no effort to try and be Andrew Luck because they can not do it. So for us, whoever wins that starting job, will be the guy that does the job well, that executes the offense, that gets us in the right protection, that gets us to the right run play, when a guy is open hits him with the ball. That is what that position is going to do for us. Let our playmakers make plays.”
The opening question was Shayne Skov related. Shaw said that Skov has been cleared for all football activity as of last week.
“He is not ready to play football (game) yet,” Shaw said. “But he Is basically ready to do everything in the weight room and everything we will ask him to do on the football field. Coming into training camp we will be very smart (with him).
Asked about what storylines he sees for his team heading into camp, Shaw said there were a lot of them.
“I think we have the most underrated running back in the nation to my left. Back to back one thousand yard season and this will be his third straight. I think we have an unbelievable front seven that has the opportunity to be as good as anyone this year. Chase (Thomas) and bringing Shayne back and the guys that we can put in those positions I think are very good. Derek Mason has done a phenomenal job on the defensive side. Losing the most explosive tight end in college football but brining back maybe the best combination in college football is exciting as well. I think there are a lot of storylines that don’t involve the quarterback position. We will put the pressure on our leadership like Stepfan, we have guys that take this very seriously, who will lead our young guys into the season.”
As for Taylor he said he was not feeling any added pressure coming into the season having to be a leader and fill the Luck void.
“I don’t really feel any extra pressure. As seniors this is our last year, we have to go out there and play our best game every game.”
Thomas was asked about how good he thought the front seven on defense could be.
“I think the front seven coming back is as good as any in the nation. All the linebackers are returning plus Shayne Skov who was our leading tackler the year before. We have two of our three guys in our defensive line. We have Josh Mauro and Henry Anderson who are battling real hard who have got some playing time in the past. We have a lot of experience. It helps having the same defense installed as the last three years so that lets us play it faster and more aggressively, and overall better.”
Media Day is also the time that the Pac-12 releases the media projections for each school. Oregon is the heavy favorite to win the North division with Stanford being picked second. USC was the runaway leader in the South division.
The Bay Area Media day featuring Stanford, Cal and San Jose State will be on Monday. Stanford will open training camp on August 5th.