Roughly one week into training camp for Pac-12 teams, several developments stand out amid the routine August machinery.
We’ll separate them into two categories:
Mike Leach discussing his preference for cargo shorts, and everything else.
Here we go …
(We’ll do this again next week, at the midway point of the preseason ramp for most teams.)
Had to include an item on the Wildcats because of their early start — the season opener is Aug. 24, at Hawaii — and the item that grabbed our attention is the play on the edges.
Pass rushers JB Brown, Jalen Harris and Kylan Wilborn have received positive reviews thus far. If August performance carries over, the Wildcats just might offset the loss of defensive anchor PJ Johnson and produce a consistent pass rush.
Wilborn, Brown and Harris, the son of former Arizona star Sean Harris, combined for 8.5 sacks last season.
That number needs to double if the Wildcats hope to compete for the South title.
The Ducks, in desperate need of better play from their wideouts, have lost an important one: Flanker Brenden Schooler will miss at least six weeks — and perhaps eight — after undergoing surgery to repair a broken foot suffered early in camp.
Either way, he won’t be available for Auburn and is unlikely to be full speed for Stanford (if he plays at all).
Schooler had 21 catches last season and was expected to team with Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson and returnee Jaylon Redd to form the starting trio for Justin Herbert.
Schooler is also a dynamo on special teams.
The Ducks’ freshman class features a slew of well-regarded prospects, but this is a significant injury to a key player at what we view as their weakest position.
Starting tailback Joshua Kelley is listed as “day-to-day” with a knee injury, according to reports out of Westwood.
While that seems innocuous enough given this early stage, the news strikes us as potentially significant for the longer term. Kelley rushed for 1,243 yards last season and is expected to carry a running game that must operate efficiently in order to relieve pressure on sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Chip Kelly downplayed the impact of the injury, and he would certainly know best.
But we wonder: How often does a starting tailback sustain a knee injury in camp, then experience no recurrence through the course of a three-month, 200+ carry season?
The Bruins have several options should Kelley be limited during the regular season, including dynamic sophomore Kazmeir Allen.
None of them are 220-pound redshirt seniors who had 27 catches last season and rushed for 289 yards against USC.
(The Bruins are also without inside linebacker Tyree Thompson, at least for the near future.)
The Trojans announced Tuesday that cornerback Chris Steele has been granted immediate eligibility following his transfer from Florida.
This was the presumed outcome — as much as anything can be presumed with the NCAA — and the correct one. Steele’s entry into the transfer portal was reportedly driven by an off-the-field issue in Gainesville.
The 5-star talent, who’s from Southern California, should help the Trojans immediately. They’re replacing both starting cornerbacks (Isaiah Langley and Iman Marshall) and are generally inexperienced across the back line.
(Another USC transfer, all-purpose back Bru McCoy, remains in limbo; his case for eligibility this season seems flimsy.)
The news is a week old but no less significant: Manny Bowen, expected to start at inside linebacker, informed the Utes that he was retiring from football to pursue a business opportunity.
Bowen was a graduate transfer from Penn State.
The Utes are in need of quality linebackers after losing starters Chase Hansen and Cody Barton, who combined for 230 tackles.
Bowen was supposed to fill one of those holes.
Now, the Utes must plug an inexperienced player (Trennan Carlson, Devin Lloyd) into the spot alongside former BYU transfer Francs Bernard.
There might be just one weakness in the Utah defense, but it’s smack in the middle.
Oh, and as for the matter of Mike Leach and his cargo shorts, well, you’ll just have to Google it.