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March 29, 2009

Roundtable: Pac-10 spring story lines to watch

At the College Football Roundtable, we ask each member of the coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in the sport.

Today's question: Everyone knows about USC's quarterback situation. Other than that, what story will you follow the most in the Pac-10 this spring?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
The rebuilding of Arizona State's offense figures to be intriguing. Like USC, the Sun Devils have quarterback issues with the departure of Rudy Carpenter. Three players with limited or no experience will vie to become Carpenter's successor. But the process will require much more than finding a new quarterback. There have been suggestions that the Sun Devils may incorporate elements of the spread in hopes of becoming more productive. They need to be more productive after failing to score more than 20 points in half their games last season.

Tom Dienhart's answer:
What word best sums up UCLA's recent quarterbacking? Woof. It has been a mess the past three seasons. Incumbent Kevin Craft is back, but he is anything but a lock for the job. Who will press him? The top challenger may be redshirt freshman Kevin Prince, who may have the strongest arm of all the quarterbacks. Chris Forcier returns for his sophomore season looking to become a consistent competitor. True freshman Richard Brehaut is a wild card after graduating early and arriving for spring drills. If he shows potential, Brehaut could be a factor. There's also senior Osaar Rasshan, who has some skills, and redshirt freshman Nick Crissman, who is behind the others after enduring a shoulder injury last season. Regardless of who wins the job, the quarterback would benefit from improved line play, which has been another sore spot in recent years. The bottom line: Rick Neuheisel still has lots of work to do with this offense as he enters his second year in Westwood.

David Fox's answer:
I want to see what happens with Washington quarterback Jake Locker. This guy would be a Heisman contender if he played on a respectable team. Instead, he's stuck at Washington. The guy has no supporting cast to speak of and now he has a coach whose style may not be a good fit for the so-called Tim Tebow of the West. Locker hasn't complained despite all the turmoil in Seattle. He even expressed interest in playing as a safety when a broken thumb ended his season at quarterback last year. Locker is one of the most fun players in the country to watch, but not much has gone in his favor at Washington. I'd like to see how Locker responds to all of this and how new coach Steve Sarkisian uses his quarterback when spring practice begins.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
The quarterback situation at California is intriguing. Cal has a lot of talent and looks to be the only team in the Pac-10 that has a legit chance at dethroning USC, but that will only happen if coach Jeff Tedford can find a good quarterback. Kevin Riley was the starter for most of last season, but he didn't play well. And if he can't do the job this spring, Cal will have trouble finishing second in the league this fall. Yes, finding some new linebackers is important, but the top priority for the Golden Bears this spring is finding out if there is a winning quarterback on the roster.

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