Some observations from Day 1 of Pac-12 Media Days in Hollywood on Thursday.
1. Mike Leach is still the most interesting man in college football
Sorry, Jim Harbaugh, but Leach continues to hold this crown in CFB.
We were lucky to get 10 minutes with Leach, entering his fifth season as head coach Washington State, for The ’10 West’ Podcast.
For nine of those minutes, we discussed Leach’s recent trip to Cuba where he was blown away by the people, the architecture and the 1950 style cars that are ‘everywhere down there.’
2. Kyle Whittingham loves classic rock
Whittingham, who’s led Utah to eight straight bowl games since taking over as head coach, still looks like he could play today.
A former WAC Defensive Player of the Year at BYU, Whittingham said that, to him, no good music exists after 1979.
He listed AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Kansas, Steely Dan and Lnyrd Skynyrd as some of his favorites.
3. Stanford is FINALLY getting some respect
Early Thursday, the Cardinal were named preseason Pac-12 favorites for the first time in the 56 years of the media poll.
With plenty of talent returning, led by all-purpose phenom back Christian McCaffrey, from the squad that stomped Iowa in last season’s Rose Bowl, it will be interesting to see if Stanford lives up to the hype.
With USC, UCLA, Notre Dame and Oregon on all the roster, it won’t be easy going for the Cardinal but if anyone can make it happen, it’s coach David Shaw.
4. Adoree’ Jackson has much love for track
Jackson, the triple-threat star for USC, recently wrapped up his track season, finishing 10th at the NCAA Championships … just missing out on a chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Jackson, a two-time All-American long jumper, said that people don’t realize how much he loves track and that he hopes to get a chance at the next Olympics.
Jackson praised his USC coaches for letting him miss seven months of football activities to chase his Olympic dream and can’t wait to resume activities on the gridiron.
5. Zach Banner is large … and smart as a whip
Banner, the 6-foot-9, 360 pound offensive tackle for the Trojans, holds the title as USC’s biggest player.
A former Trojans basketball player to boot, Banner, following our routine podcast chat, took some time to preach for understanding between the police and society.
It’s an extremely powerful speech, one which will debut during our Pac-12 Media Days podcast next week.