Friday, 18 October 2013

The 2013 Mid Season All-Pac-12 team

With every team in the Pac-12 having played at least half of its regular season games it is probably a good time to check on the individual players in the conference and honor the players at each position who have risen above their piers. This is not necessarily how the coaches and media would vote for the Pac-12 1st Team but it is how the team should be picked at this point in the season. Behold, the best the Pac-12 has to offer!


QB - Marcus Mariota, Oregon

This was probably the easiest choice as Mariota has emerged nationally as the front runner for the Heisman trophy by accounting for 10.34 yards per pass completion/rush attempt with 28 total touchdowns and no interceptions.

RB - Bishop Sankey, Washington

Sankey is the Pac-12's leading rusher with 921 yards and has also scored 10 rushing touchdowns which puts him second in the conference. His offensive line made him a dud last week but the week before he looked like the only guy who belonged on the field against Oregon.

RB - Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

Carey is behind the pace in all rushing statistics because he missed Arizona's opening game (and Arizona has already had both of its bye weeks) but Carey's per game averages are sublime. Carey might be the most consistent performer in the conference, never rushing for less than 128 yards in a game this season and scoring at least one touchdown in all but one game.

WR - Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Cooks is the best receiver in the Pac-12 by far and has been the most productive pass catcher in all of college football. Cooks leads the Pac-12 with 76 receptions (Gabe Marks is second with 59 and an extra game played), 1176 yards (Paul Richardson is second with 782), and 12 touchdowns (four players are second with six).

WR - Paul Richardson, Colorado

In most other years Richardson would be the run away top receiver in the Pac-12. Richardson is the other receiver in the Pac-12 beside Cooks averaging over 100 receiving yards per game (Richardson has 130.3, third place Josh Huff sits at 89.6). There have been five 200 receiving yard performances in Colorado history and Richardson has produced two of them this season.

TE - Chris Coyle, Arizona State

The tight end position has been a major disappointment in the Pac-12 this season with Colt Lyerla's ugly divorce from Oregon and Austin Seferian-Jenkins struggling, most notably when he dropped an easy catch on third down during Washington's final drive against Stanford. As a result, I'm going off the trail a little bit and taking Coyle who leads Pac-12 tight ends with 302 receiving yards and has produced either a first down or a touchdown on 17 of his 18 receptions.

OT - Tyler Johnstone, Oregon

Mariota has been facing more and more pressure in the past few weeks but it hasn't been coming from his blindside where Johnstone has been playing extremely well. Johnstone has also been key in springing some big run plays to the left side like the 66 yard burst from Thomas Tyner last week.

OT - Andrus Peat, Stanford

David Shaw said Peat "pitched a shutout" in the first two games of the year and he hasn't gotten any worse since. Any time you can force an All-American to move from left tackle to left guard and keep him there, you deserve to be a first team selection.

OG - David Yankey, Stanford

He may have been forced away from left tackle but Yankey has remained a physical presence, giving Stanford an edge to run the ball inside and grind opposing defenses into submission. 

OG - Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA

UCLA's offensive line is failing apart all around Su'a-Filo but he has done everything possible to keep the Bruins intact. Earlier in the year when UCLA was healthy, Su'a-Filo was the biggest difference maker of all clearing big running lines for the UCLA tailbacks and he has done yeoman's work in recent weeks playing both guard and tackle.

C - Hroniss Grassu, Oregon

Grassu has not had a spectacular season and has struggling at times uncorking high snaps but he has made a huge impact as a run blocker specifically when Oregon has had him pull out and act as a lead blocker to spring big plays around the edge. He is not playing as well as he did last year but still no other center in the conference can compare to him.


DL - Scott Crichton, Oregon State

Crichton was as much to blame as anyone for OSU's disastrous loss to Eastern Washington but he deserves as much credit as anyone for the Beavers' turn around. Crichton has 10 tackles for loss in six games since week one.

DL - Tony Washington, Oregon

There was major concern about Oregon's ability to generate a pass rush this season after Dion Jordan graduated and moved on the NFL as a third overall pick in the draft but Washington has quelled those fears and then some. Washington is second in the Pac-12 with 6.5 sacks (for references sack, Jordan's best season was 7.5). Washington has been very hot recently with multiple tackles for loss in four straight games and has been a big time play maker this season with three forced fumbles.

DL - Leonard Williams, USC

The stats may not totally suggest it as Williams has only seven tackles for loss but he has been a disruptive force both against the run and the pass and has been the focal point of USC's defense all season. During the first four weeks of the season when USC was absolutely rolling on defense, Williams was the central reason why the Trojans were successful.

DL - Trevor Reilly, Utah

Reilly leads all Pac-12 defensive linemen in total tackles with 58 (Williams is second with 45) and has been a critical focal point in Utah's defense. The Utes have relied heavily on Reilly setting the edge of Utah's defense and containing both running backs and quarterbacks within the offensive tackles. Reilly is not the greatest play maker on defense (although he does have as many tackles for loss as Washington) but his ability to excel in his specific role has been vital to the success of Utah's defense.

LB - Anthony Barr, UCLA

Barr has unquestionably been the best defensive player in the Pac-12. He leads the conference in tackles for loss with 11 and has forced four fumbles. Like Reilly, he makes several huge plays per game setting the edge and blowing up offensive tackles to force ball carriers inside where other Bruins defenders can make tackles but he does it in far more spectacular fashion.

LB - Trent Murphy, Stanford

Murphy has always been a steady performer for Stanford for the past three years but this year he has really emerged as a star. Murphy has 10 tackles for loss (just off Barr's trail) and has done really well to get his hands in passing lanes and tip passes. This led to the two highlights of his season when he snagged a screen pass for a touchdown against Washington State and tipped a pass in the air to create an A.J. Tarpley interception late in the 4th quarter to help preserve Stanford's win over Washington.

LB - Addison Gillam, Colorado

Gillam has been one of the pleasant surprises of the Pac-12 season, emerging as a true freshman and becoming the Pac-12's best middle linebacker. Gillam leads the Pac-12 in tackles per game and has been making big plays all over the field.

DB - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

Ekpre-Olomu hasn't put up the big numbers he had last year when he almost averaged one turnover forced per game but he has been largely unproductive this year because teams are scared to death of throwing his direction. He only has two interceptions but both have been huge as they were both caught in the end zone to kill an opposing scoring chance. Terrance Mitchell has made headlines for Oregon with four interceptions, three pass break ups and seven passes defended but, Mitchell only has those numbers because quarterbacks are throwing his way and avoiding Ekpre-Olomu.

DB - Steven Nelson, Oregon State

Nelson has been the best deep safety in the conference, recording a Pac-12 best five interceptions as well as 10 passes defended and five pass break ups. His big plays have been important as well; his pick-six with under a minute left won the game against San Diego State and he had two key interceptions against Utah that allowed Oregon State to eventually force overtime and win.

DB - Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Arizona

Bondurant has been quiet in recent weeks but he was easily the best defensive play maker in the Pac-12 during the early portion of the season when he had three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in a span of two weeks. He has been a productive tackler for a deep safety averaging six tackles per game and he was credited with three pass breakups against Texas-San Antonio.

DB -Deone Bucannon, Washington State

Bucannon leads the Pac-12 in total tackles with 73 (three players are second with 59, although Gillam is on pace to finish with more over a full 12 game season) and he has already tied a career high with four interceptions. Bucannon's production and veteran leadership has been important leading a young defense.


K - Andy Phillips, Utah

Phillips would have looked a lot more sure in this spot last week before he missed a field goal attempt for the first time this season (and actually missed two, both loomed large in Utah's loss to Arizona). Putting last week aside, Phillips has been clutch hitting the game winning field goal against Utah State and hitting key field goals against BYU and Stanford that forced those teams to attempt to score touchdowns that they were unable to achieve. Phillips has not missed a PAT or get this, an onside kick. Utah has attempted two onside kicks this year and recovered both, the first of which was key in Utah's win over rival Utah State.

P - Sean Covington, UCLA

Covington does not qualify to be among the Pac-12's punting leaders (you need 3.6 punts per game to qualify, Covington has 3.5) but his 42.62 yards per punt average would put him second in the Pac-12. Covington's real value comes in his kickoffs. He splits kickoff duty with Ka'imi Fairbairn but half of Covington's kickoffs have gone for touch backs.

KR - Ty Montgomery, Stanford

There really is no other choice for this besides Montgomery. You could argue that his presence on returns single-handedly swung the Washington game and his 35.17 yards per return average is way ahead of the rest of the conference. There have only been two kickoff return touchdowns by Pac-12 players this year and both belong to Montgomery.

PR - Bralon Addison, Oregon

This was also a very easy choice. In addition to being tied for second in the conference with six touchdown receptions, Addison has also scored twice on punt returns. Both came against Cal and the second was a real beauty when he reversed his field and ran a grand total of over 150 yards, making at least four tacklers miss on the way to the end zone. Addison is averaging 22.3 yards per punt return and if that average holds, it will be the highest in the Pac-10/12 since Maurice Jones Drew averaged 28.47 yards per return in 2005.

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