Response to Pac-12 developments on and off the sphere …
1. One rent, three groups
Oregon stuffed its defensive coordinator emptiness this week and created a ripple impact via the North within the course of.
The Geese employed Tim DeRuyter, the previous co-architect of Cal’s defensive turnaround and one of many prime defensive coaches within the convention.
It’s a stellar rent for Mario Cristobal — one which meets the bar set by Oregon’s earlier coordinator, Andy Avalos, who left lately to turn out to be the pinnacle coach at Boise State.
Think about DeRuyter’s work in Berkeley, the place he mixed with head coach Justin Wilcox to orchestrate a dramatic turnaround:
— The yr earlier than they took over, Cal allowed 6.7 yards-per-play, good for No. 122 nationally.
— Of their first season (2017), that determine dropped to five.8 yards per play (No. 80 nationally).
— Of their second season, the Bears allowed simply 4.6 yards per play — tops within the Pac-12 and No. 9 nationally.
From No. 122 to No. 9 in two years, with DeRuyter calling the performs.
With DeRuyter and Joe Moorhead, the Geese possess a coordinator tandem that ranks with any within the convention, simply as they did with Avalos and Moorhead.
2. The affect beneath
Not solely did Oregon fortify its defensive workers with DeRuyter, it weakened a North rival.
And never simply any North rival however the one which does a greater job than any of flummoxing the Geese.
Oregon averaged 35.4 factors per recreation in 2019 however scored simply 17 towards Cal.
Final season, the Geese averaged 31.3 factors however, once more, managed simply 17 towards the Bears.
Wilcox and DeRuyter had Oregon found out.
Now, the Berkeley braintrust has been weakened.
The monetary phrases of DeRuyter’s deal haven’t been disclosed, however right here’s what we all know:
DeRuyter made $400,000 at Cal this season (with out pandemic reductions), in response to the USA Right this moment wage database.
Avalos made $815,000 at Oregon (per USAT).
Regardless of the ultimate quantity, it is going to represent a big increase for DeRuyter … and a promotion.
He was employed by Wilcox in 2017 because the defensive coordinator and retained the title for 3 seasons.
However in 2020, DeRuyter grew to become co-coordinator together with Peter Sirmon, who oh-by-the-way was handed the play-calling obligations.
You may see why DeRuyter was open to different gives.
The Geese neatly swooped in and took coach from a division peer.
Now it’s as much as Wilcox to fill a big void.
3. The affect above
The repercussions of the DeRuyter rent don’t essentially finish in Berkeley — at the least in a theoretical sense.
The Geese additionally raised the bar for his or her chief adversary: Washington, which is recent off a workers change of its personal.
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, among the finest within the west, is heading to Texas to work for Steve Sarkisian and maybe acquire a 50 p.c increase over the $1 million (approx) he was making in Seattle.
(Washington spent $5.1 million on its teaching workers final season, in comparison with $6.3 million for Texas — and we assume Sarkisian can have much more money at his disposal … maybe as a lot as $7 million.
(It’s one other instance of the useful resource drawback Pac-12 applications face when richer colleges come knocking for prime coaches.)
On account of Kwiatkowski’s exit, second-year coach Jimmy Lake had a excessive bar to clear along with his coordinator rent earlier than Oregon stuffed its emptiness with a first-rate coach.
It’s a double whammy for the Huskies, at the least till Lake makes his transfer.
Besides we’re unsure there’s an equal of DeRuyter out there for UW.
4. Utah mines the portal
We’re months away from finalized rosters, with lots of of gamers shifting via the switch portal this offseason.
Out of necessity, Utah has been energetic.
From the appears to be like of it, Utah has been profitable, too.
The Utes completed 2020 with three consecutive wins and had the framework for a first-rate depth chart subsequent season, save for 2 positions.
They wanted a No. 1 tailback following Ty Jordan’s dying and at the least one candidate to compete for the beginning quarterback spot.
(Week One starter Cameron Rising is recovering from shoulder surgical procedure; Jake Bentley, who changed Rising because the starter, is transferring; and touted rookie Peter Costelli is, nicely, a rookie.)
It seems each hurdles have been cleared.
The Utes landed two quarterbacks to compete with Rising: Ja’Quiden Jackson from Texas and Charlie Brewer from Baylor.
Jackson is a freshman whereas Brewer threw for nearly 10,000 yards as a multi-year starter for the Bears.
The Utes additionally grabbed two doable beginning tailbacks in T.J. Pledger, who rushed for 100+ yards in two video games for Oklahoma this season, and Chris Curry, who arrives in Salt Lake Metropolis from his backup function at LSU.
Our guess is that quartet from the portal, in some mixture, will produce Utah’s beginning quarterback and tailback.
If the outcomes match their resumes, the Utes ought to be in place to problem for the South title.
Every thing else is in place.
5. Warning from afar
In what may very well be thought of a slender however notable victory over COVID, the Pac-12 has performed 9 of the ten basketball video games up to now this weekend. And the the lone cancellation got here as the results of a false optimistic check throughout the USC program.
Saturday evening introduced a warning flare, all the best way from Ann Arbor.
Michigan introduced that every one of its winter sports activities are shutting down for 2 weeks due to optimistic check for coronavirus.
However not the COVID-19 we’ve come to know and hate.
As an alternative, the shutdown reportedly comes because of 5 optimistic checks for the B.1.1.7 pressure — the UK model that’s believed to be 50 p.c extra transmissible than the strains circulating within the U.S. for the previous yr.
Well being authorities all over the place will undoubtedly (and understandably) take a cautious method to the brand new pressure.
On the west coast, the quantity of warning may double what we see elsewhere.
It’s straightforward to ascertain the B.1.1.7 pressure ultimately infiltrating Pac-12 applications and inflicting state and county well being departments to impose multi-week pauses.
That would affect the Pac-12 common season and maybe the match, which is at present scheduled to start March 10 in Las Vegas.
And it would have an effect on the NCAA match, which has a March 18 begin date throughout the Indianapolis bubble.
In different phrases, the potential for main disruption throughout the sport — and even perhaps for Might Insanity — stays excessive.
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