The 2015 season isn't far away; we can see the light at the end of the offseason tunnel already. It's time for a quick Pac-12 knowledge refresher.
Here's how we do this. Every day features a new position group. We provide three categories and place each conference team accordingly: "Great shape," "Good shape" and "We'll see."
Today we turn our attention to the quarterbacks. We’ll start in the North and hit the South later today.
Cal: If there is a preseason watch list for top quarterback, player of the year or offensive player of the year, you can bet that Jared Goff is on it. Already the owner of 19 school records, Goff threw 35 touchdowns to just seven interceptions last year while completing 62.1 percent of his throws for 3,973 yards. As rival coach David Shaw told me, “he’s a budding superstar.” Behind him is a ton of inexperience, save quarterback-turned-safety Luke Rubenzer, who is still officially listed as “QB/S” on the roster.
Stanford: Kevin Hogan isn’t going to put up the sorts of numbers as Goff or some of the other spread offense quarterbacks in the league. But anytime you return a quarterback who has started 32 games and is 24-8, you’re in great shape. He finished 2014 on a very strong note -- perhaps stronger than any quarterback in the conference. And with budding playmakers around him like Christian McCaffrey and a trio of tight ends, Hogan should have a very solid season.
Washington State: The Cougars aren’t with empty cupboards in the quarterback department. Though they say goodbye to record-setting Connor Halliday, they were able to lean on Luke Falk later in the season when Halliday went down with an injury. In Halliday’s stead, Falk completed 156 of 243 passes for 1,859 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Peyton Bender did enough in the spring to keep Mike Leach from naming Falk his guy. And we know Leach can play fast and loose with his quarterbacks. Still, Falk has enough on film to indicate he can drive this quarterback-driven offense -- should he get the call.
Oregon: We could easily place Oregon in the “Good shape” category by virtue of the weapons Oregon’s new quarterback has around him. But then Oregon fans wouldn’t have anything to complain about. The question is whether Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams will ever enter this quarterback competition. If he does, he’ll push Marcus Mariota’s understudy, Jeff Lockie, who knows the playbook, but is short on big-game experience. Whoever wins the job commands one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. We just don’t know who that will be yet. Hence, we’ll see.
Oregon State: Whichever way Gary Andersen goes at quarterback, he’s going to be starting a rookie. No one on the roster has thrown a collegiate pass. Seth Collins and Nick Mitchell separated themselves in spring ball, with Collins making some athletic plays that drew Ooooos and Ahhhhssss during the spring game. But Andersen said Mitchell kept pace. Marcus McMaryion did enough to stay in the hunt for No. 2, but the inexperience at the position is still a concern.
Washington: The Huskies are another team short on experience at the position. And with the official retirement of Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist is the only quarterback on the roster with FBS experience. Redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels pushed Lindquist in the spring, and true freshman Jake Browning is considered the future of the program. There is a lot of rebuilding happening right now in Seattle. And quarterback is just one of several question marks surrounding the Huskies.