Stanford head coach David Shaw left no room for ambiguity when addressing his former player, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, and allegations of bullying from current Miami Dolphins teammate Richie Incognito.
"I'll cut right to the chase, and you can print it," Shaw said on Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches teleconference call. "Linking what happened in Miami with Stanford is moronic."
Martin left the Dolphins last week. Reports surfaced that Incognito led in hazing of the former Cardinal standout that went far beyond any pranks. The Dolphins organization suspended Incognito after threatening and racially charged voicemails from Incognito to Martin were revealed.
Himself a Stanford alum, Shaw was adamant in his defense of the university's academic reputation having no role in Martin's treatment. The third-year Cardinal head coach cited the program's recent success preparing players for the professional ranks.
Stanford's recent football alumni include Richard Sherman, Coby Fleener, David DeCastro and Andrew Luck. The current roster features future pros like linebacker Shayne Skov, defensive end Trent Murphy and safety Ed Reynolds.
"We’re going to keep pumping guys into the NFL," Shaw said. "I'm looking forward to the time Jonathan Martin returns and continues to play and continues to develop."
Shaw's point has undeniable merit. Aside from the volume of pro-caliber players coming out of a top-tier academic university's program like Stanford, the Cardinal are also forerunners in a rise of such institutions in the college ranks.
Stanford, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Northwestern finished 2012 ranked in the final polls. The Cardinal are in the hunt for another BCS berth—their third straight—and Tulane, Rice and Duke are all bowl eligible.
Nevertheless, Bleacher Report NFL reporter Mike Freeman tweeted on Tuesday that an archaic mindset persists in locker rooms.
One thing I continue to hear from both players and coaches, and it saddens me: academically smart players are considered soft players.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) November 5, 2013
An especially bright spotlight has been shined on bullying recently, and a positive of this ugly chapter in Miami is the discussion now extends to the sports world. There are plenty of teams and coaches who already took a stance against it.
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said, "I hate [bullying]."
"If we hear about any of that, we try to nip it in the bud," Riley said. "I want every player, whether he’s a star player or walk-on, to feel good about being part of the team."
Is 40 Too Low for Oregon to Score Against Stanford?
Junior Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas said in a video on GoDucks.com that the Ducks offense is capable of scoring 40 points in Thursday's highly anticipated showdown with Stanford.
Some might misinterpret what Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich pointed out is "confidence in his teammates," as whiteboard material. Shaw doesn't see it that way.
"I don’t have an issue with that. He’s a confident young man, and they’ve [scored at least 40 all season]," he said. "I'm just glad he only said 40."
Oregon is averaging 55.6 points per game, second in the nation. Of course, Stanford held the Ducks to just 14 in their meeting a year ago.
Todd Graham Talks Steve Patterson and Blocking Distractions
Its destiny in the Pac-12 South is something the Arizona State football team can control.
As Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham said, "you can't control the things you can't control," and among those are rumors.
The University of Texas announced the hiring of Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson Tuesday, as reported by ESPN.com. Naturally, the elephant sure to find its way into the Sun Devils locker room is speculation of Graham following suit.
"I think the world of Steve," Graham said. "He's a tremendous reason why I came here."
He cited his connection to Patterson when the latter worked for the NFL's Houston Texans, and Graham was at Rice. Graham helped the Owls snap a four-decade bowl game drought in 2006, before leaving for Tulsa.
Graham called Patterson "instrumental" in bringing the coach over from Pittsburgh, where Graham left after just one season and with some controversy. His abbreviated tenure and abrupt departure generated a deluge of criticism.
A similar volume of speculation seems likely now, with the Sun Devils preparing for their stretch run and pursuit of the Pac-12 championship.
"Every week, it's something different," Graham said, pointing to his team's matchup this Saturday with Utah. Dennis Erickson, the man Graham replaced at Arizona State, is in his first year as co-offensive coordinator for the Utes.
"All I'm focused [on] is Arizona State," Graham said.
Travis Wilson is Back for Utah; Morgan Breslin is Out for USC
Two big injury reports shared on Tuesday's teleconference call were Utah sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson is "back 100 percent" for the Utes' game against Arizona State.
Wilson injured his throwing hand in Utah's Week 8 loss at Arizona, and was removed early from its Week 9 defeat at USC.
As for USC, the Trojans travel to Cal with senior outside linebacker Morgan Breslin still sidelined with a hip injury.
Trojans interim head coach Ed Orgeron lamented Breslin's absence.
"He's an outstanding young man," Orgeron said. "We miss him on the field.
"[Breslin]'s playmaking ability, his work ethic...everything he’s about exemplifies Trojan football," he added.
The injury has limited to Breslin to six appearances on the season.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.