Pac-12 Media Days: Quarterbacks dominate day one

The first day of Pac-12 Football Media Days wrapped up on Wednesday at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California, and a common theme among all of the players and coaches who spoke today was the quality of quarterbacks in the conference.

Washington State redshirt junior quarterback Connor Halliday said he doesn’t think the quality of quarterbacks in the conference gets enough press.

“I don’t think it gets enough play nationally, how many good guys we’ve got in this conference,” Halliday said. “We have six or seven guys, maybe, that have a chance to place at the next level and that doesn’t get enough play around the nation.”

Two of those high-quality quarterbacks both play in the same state: Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, who will speak with the media tomorrow, and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. During Wednesday’s media session, Mariota had some high praise for Mannion, who threw for 4,662 yards last season.

ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly received some praise on Wednesday as well. Washington State linebacker Darryl Monroe said that while he was most impressed by Mannion, Kelly also stood out in his mind.

Monroe said it seemed like Kelly made the correct decision on nearly every play when WSU played the Sun Devils last October.

Defensive players at media day on Wednesday spoke about the “year of the quarterback,” what it means to them as defensive players and what they need to do to keep up with the offenses in the conference.

“All of the emphasis is going to be on them,” Oregon linebacker Derrick Malone said.

Once defenses can stop the quarterback, it will become easier and easier for them to handle the offenses in the conference, Malone said. Utah defensive end Nate Orchard said “defense is offense” in the Pac-12, and that creating turnovers and scoring on defense is just as important as the offenses in the conference.

UA was the first team to speak during the conference, and its biggest story line coming in to the media event was the situation at quarterback. The Wildcats don’t yet have a definitive starter, but redshirt junior wide receiver Austin Hill, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, seemed optimistic about the situation.

“As of now, it’s up in the air,” Hill said. “We have a lot of mature quarterbacks.”

He said he has at least three quarterbacks in mind with whom he already has a good relationship.

Pac-12 Football Media Days will wrap up Thursday at Paramount Studios. ASU head coach Todd Graham, along with quarterback Taylor Kelly and offensive lineman Jamil Douglas, will discuss the Sun Devils’ season.

Kelly and Douglas were both at Paramount Studios on Wednesday taking pictures with various media outlets but won’t speak until Thursday.

 

Reach the reporter at wslane@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane