With the WAC Football Preview (motto: "What happens in Salt Lake, stays in Salt Lake") out of the way, we can finally turn our thoughts toward the start of the college football season. Not that we weren't already anyway.
The media convention was a typical, predictable yakfest between obliging players and coaches and opportunistic media members, but that's not to say that it wasn't without some interesting stories.
Here are some of the highlights:
Ian Johnson = media dreamboat
The most popular player in Salt Lake City was Boise State RB Ian Johnson. The buzz around Johnson wasn't quite at the level of last year's convo, which had extra hype due to the Fiesta Bowl win. Still, he provided plenty of good quotes, and several media outlets were able to cull somewhat original stories from the interviews.
No insurance policy against injury
- Johnson has chosen not to follow the financial footsteps of previous college stars in taking out an insurance policy to protect against a career-ending injury. Here's hoping that US Bank savings account holds up!
- "The secret's out," Johnson said, smiling.
Worst kept secret ever.
- “It’s definitely not as crazy,” Johnson said. “It’s been great because it’s given me time to focus on the couple issues I have — being a great husband and being the best Ian Johnson I can be for the upcoming season.”
- "I'm going to step up and I'm going to put this team on my back," Johnson said Thursday at the WAC football media preview. " I've gotten myself ready to take the hits for a full season and to be a punishing back for a full season. The fact that I have guys biting at my heels, I've got to prove that I am better than them and that they can't just come out and play without us skipping a beat."
- Apparently, he told the coaches he was healthy enough to play. Let the conspiracy theories begin!
"They never asked the question (whether I could play), my number was never called," Ian Johnson said. "I told them at the beginning of the game that I was ready... I try not to show too much emotion. It was a call that was made for the team and if you feel the best way to go is someone else I can be a little angry but I'm going to accept it."
- "One of the things that's probably going to help Ian is the depth that we have at that position," Petersen said. "We don't have to play him every down and hopefully get him to last the season and also to be pushed a little bit by some of these other guys that we have."
Taking the Taylor Tharp approach to QB competition
The Boise State coaches learned their lesson last year about not jumping to conclusions in the search for a starting quarterback.
“It worked for us before to be patient and work this thing out,” Petersen said. If by "worked out," you are referring solely to the New Mexico State game, then yes.
No Jeremy Childs news until August 4, so stop asking!
"I'll still say the same thing (about Childs)," Petersen said. "When we get back, we'll see. If everything checks out when we get back on the fourth, then he's a go. We'll probably put that whole thing to rest on the fourth."
Mike T. Williams not as popular as Ian Johnson
Photographic proof here.
Colin Kaepernick to start at Nevada
"There is no quarterback controversy at the University of Nevada,” said Wolfpack head coach Chris Ault, obviously referring to the fact that Kaepernick could hardly be defined as a "quarterback." According to Ault, the skinny-legged "Kap" has some work to do in order to become a polished product, especially in the "noun" area. “Last year, he was a thrower, not a passer,” Ault said.
Taylor Bennett forgot to transfer his skills
The fate of the Louisiana Tech program rests in the hands of Georgia Tech transfer QB Taylor Bennett. Someone might want to let him know.
Sophomore Ross Jenkins emerged from spring practice as the starting quarterback, with Bennett as the backup. Perhaps the ACC is a lot worse than we anticipated.
SJSU excited about RB, oblivious to expectations
San Jose State, one of several mediocre teams purported to make a push in the WAC this year, received good news when former starter Yonus Davis was granted a sixth year of eligibility...and immediately started printing WAC champion T-shirts.
Holbrook confuses bulking up with Carl's Jr
New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook wanted to add some weight this offseason to be able to absorb the hits he'll take this year. Mission very accomplished.
Holbrook will weigh in at 245 pounds this season. Maybe the motivational Jared Lorenzen wall poster wasn't the best choice.
Utah State embraces idea of depth
Even if the wins don't come this year for Utah State, at least their players will be less tired. The Aggies had little more than 50 players in total last season, but thanks to the recruiting prowess of Brent Guy ("We have XBox!"), Utah State will be able to field a full roster. Not necessarily a good roster, but a full one.
Greg McMackin has not watched the NFL for years
ESPN.com's Graham Watson made the mistake of assuming Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin follows football. Her bad.
GW: So you're going to play DB Ryan Mouton on offense. What went into that decision?
GM: He's so quick. He's got God-given quickness. He's a big playmaker. I just really like him. He's a big-play guy. He ran a kickoff back, he ran a touchdown back on defense, and we can just throw out a screen and let him do his thing.
GW: Is he in the Devin Hester-type mold?
GW: The guy from Chicago? Uh, how about Deion Sanders?
GM: Oh, yeah, like Deion Sanders.