By 750 THE GAME STAFF
The Bald Faced Truth goes where the stories go. Which led John Canzano down to Las Vegas for Pac-12 media day.
Canzano caught up with numerous coaches and players, including seven of the starting quarterbacks in the conference. Here’s the biggest takeaways from each of the QBs from Pac-12 media day.
Caleb Williams – USC
Even though the Trojans won the Pac-12 regular season championship, a lot was still left on the bone for the Heisman Trophy winner. A 47-24 loss to Utah in the conference title game kept USC from reaching the CFP. USC fans may always think, what if? Williams got hurt in the title game, but says he is ready for this season.
“I can’t wait to say the least,” he told Canzano. “Back healthy. Running faster. Lifting heavier. More mobile. I can’t wait. It’s going to be fun.”
Before the Bo Nix injury, the Ducks and Trojans were on the fast track to meet in Vegas for the Pac-12 title. Ducks fans wanted their team to get a chance to shut down the Heisman winner. Williams wanted a chance to face Oregon, too.
“The feeling was mutual,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Oregon hosts USC on November 11th.
Michael Penix Jr – Washington
The surprise of the conference last season was the Washington Huskies and their quarterback, Michael Penix, Jr. The transfer from Indiana was second in the nation in total yards, leading the Huskies to an 11-2 record. NIL seems to help keep athletes in school for another year, but Penix said that had nothing to do with why he stayed in Seattle.
“It wasn’t even about NIL at all. It was about unfished business,” he told Canzano. “We had goals to win a Pac-12 championship and we didn’t even get there. And being in this system for another year with this group of guys is going to be special.”
Bo Nix – Oregon
Had Bo Nix not gotten hurt in the loss to Washington, the Oregon Ducks may have been heading to Las Vegas and the Pac-12 championship.
Nix is healthy now, and says that he learned a few things about himself while he was forced to play with limited mobility.
“I learned I can make any throw from the pocket. Now that it’s in the bag. I just got to figure out when to use it. At the same time, you’re mobile and that’s one of your strengths when you use that. So I just got out there with feel and whatever I feel. I let loose.”
The receivers the Ducks have is one of the best groups in the nation. Nix knows this offense could be scary led by his skill positions.
“As a quarterback it’s the biggest blessing. Once you get those guys and the running backs going – we got really good skill position players.”
Cam Rising – Utah
Utah is the back-to-back Pac-12 champion. One of the biggest reasons is because of their quarterback, Cam Rising. The leader of the Utes said that last season’s championship over USC was special because he never expected something like that could happen.
“It’s unreal. To go back-to-back like that is crazy. I never really expected that, but happy to come back to Vegas in December and do it again this year.”
Cameron Ward – Washington State
Cameron Ward had some really good stretches and some puzzling stretches last season. But overall, it was a good season for the transfer from Incarnate Word. Ward is a quick learner though. And one thing he learned outside of Pullman, was that Cam Rising and Utah is the team to beat.
“He’s the standard of the Pac-12,” Ward told Canzano of Rising. “He has back-to-back championship rings. Until he gets dethroned, Utah is the standard of the Pac-12. They play hard, physical football. Cam Rising is the leader of that team. Until you beat them, you can’t talk bad about them.”
Listen to the interview with Cam Ward at the 1:04:30 mark of the podcast below.
Jayden de Laura – Arizona
For de Laura, everybody wanted questions answered for his issues off the field. De Laura was charged with second-degree sexual assault in juvenile court and later pleaded guilty, per court documents obtained by Hawaii News Now. The parties involved began a mediation process last December and reached settlements for undisclosed amounts.
Fans want to know can they root for this guy based on his character.
“If you really knew me, I have a lot of females in my family. The family member I love most is my mom,” said de Laura. “I got a lot of girl cousins. I got a lot of nieces. I got a lot of aunties and those were the females that raised me. Those were the ones who raised me my whole life. I have coaches who have daughters who believe and trust me. I look at any female I’m around that I have a connection to, that’s like my sister.”
Shedeur Sanders – Colorado
All the talk around the college football landscape usually has Boulder involved. Shedeur Sanders is transferring from Jackson State and will be the quarterback for the Buffaloes. In his interview with Canzano, Sanders came across as disinterested. But he did say that his mindset is never one of losing and when Canzano brought up a hypothetical of Colorado losing games, Sanders had none of it.
“I can’t even fathom that (losing). I can’t even picture that. There’s too much that went in for that to be it. So I don’t think hypothetically in that regard.”
Listen to all the interviews with the quarterbacks by checking out the Bald Faced Truth Podcasts wherever you find podcasts. Catch the live edition of the Bald Faced Truth weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.