So much for making a quiet, deferential entry onto the roster of Pac-10 football coaches.
Jim Harbaugh, 42, came to a Stanford football program last December, assigned to rename the Cardinal something other than "league's worst program."
At least he has made news. In an innocent comment to CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodds awhile back, Harbaugh said he had heard from "inside the staff" that USC coach Pete Carroll will be with the Trojans only one more season.
Carroll, whose USC team is going to get prominent mention as No. 1 nationally in the fall, was not amused.
"If he's going to make statements like that, he ought to get his information right," Carroll told the Los Angeles Times. "And if he has any questions about it, he should call me."
Harbaugh, the former NFL quarterback, responded resolutely, "We bow to no man here at Stanford University."
Well, at least to those who don't run as fast and hit as ferociously as those at USC. Harbaugh might hope to be the new sheriff in town, but the Trojans will be bent on making him look like Barney Fife when they meet on Oct. 6.
Elsewhere around Pac-10 spring camps, a common theme was the installation of a new offensive coordinator bringing a new or revised scheme. Arizona, UCLA, USC and Oregon all have changes in that role.
Refresher: In 2006, the Wildcats had a rousing three-game November win streak that validated the rebuilding of coach Mike Stoops. But a blowout by Arizona State in the finale meant a 6-6 record and no bowl game.
Spring things: Four new coaches arrived, topped by ex-Texas Tech passing guru Sonny Dykes. 'Cats aren't expected to be quite as all-in as Tech in throwing the ball, however. ... Kasey Dunn, an ex-North Kitsap High and Idaho athlete, and more recently a coach at Washington State, left the staff for Baylor. ... MLB Ronnie Palmer had a strong spring. ... CB Antoine Cason will be on the Playboy All-America team. ... 'Cats list 19 returning starters.
On tap: Arizona will have to build up some capital against Brigham Young, Northern Arizona and New Mexico, because the toughest league games (California, Oregon State, USC, Arizona State) are on the road.
Refresher: An inability to beat the big boys gave ASU a 7-6 record in '06 and cost Dirk Koetter his job. Dennis Erickson takes over and becomes the first coach in league history to pilot three different programs.
Spring things: ASU has five OL starters back and Erickson likes RB Ryan Torain. ... Erickson must re-establish QB Rudy Carpenter after his big sophomore slump. ... Resources appear no problem; an anonymous donor gave $700,000 to the Sun Angel Foundation for the marching band, and season tickets are at their highest renewal rate ever at this stage. ... Backup CB Chad Green has been moved to a California facility after suffering significant head injuries in a car crash. ... Some 5,000 attended the spring game.
On tap: With four straight at home to open, then road games at Stanford and WSU, Devils could be 6-0 hosting Washington on Oct. 13.
Refresher: The closest recent approximation to USC didn't quite get there again, going 10-3 but squashing Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl.
Spring things: With seven offensive starters back, including QB Nate Longshore and maybe the nation's best WR corps, Cal should score on anybody. ... Cal has had a 1,000-yard back in each of coach Jeff Tedford's five years, and that guy in 2007 might be Justin Forsett. ... Bears spent a lot of time throwing the deep ball. ... RB James Montgomery, once a Washington commit, looks like No. 2 to Forsett after he had a 30-yard scoring run in the spring game. ... LBs Zack Follett and Eddie Young had big springs. ... Bears still looking for a CB to replace Daymeion Hughes: possibly Darian Hagan.
On tap: Bears will be primed for Tennessee opener at Cal after Vols blew them out in '06.
Refresher: Following late-season meltdown of QB Dennis Dixon, Ducks lost last four, including 38-8 embarrassment to BYU in Las Vegas Bowl.
Spring things: With offensive guru Gary Crowton off to Louisiana State, Ducks turned to 43-year-old Chip Kelly, offensive coordinator the past eight years at I-AA New Hampshire. ... That seems to mean a no-huddle offense and emphasis on short routes. ... Dixon, who threw 14 interceptions against 12 TDs, seems to be comfortable. ... Tom Osborne, special teams coach known for aggressive recruiting, is back after six years at ASU. ... Ducks need to have TB Jonathan Stewart (a) healthy and (b) getting more touches. One way is on kickoffs, where the Pac-10's 2006 leader (28.1) should get more tries as a result of NCAA legislation moving kicks from the 35 to the 30-yard-line.
On tap: Early toughness — Houston, at Michigan, Fresno State — is offset by having testy ones like Cal, USC, ASU and OSU at home.
Refresher: Beavers engineered astonishing turnaround, going from 2-3 to 10-4, topped by a madcap 39-38 win over Missouri in the Sun Bowl.
Spring things: QBs Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao battled inconclusively. Canfield has some '06 experience. ... With 15 starters back, including five seniors on the defensive front, four returning OLs, TB Yvenson Bernard and WR-KR Sammie Stroughter, OSU could be best of the rest behind USC. ... Coach Mike Riley signed a new deal that guarantees him between $850,000 to $1.1 million through 2012 with the novel provision that each bowl bid extends the pact by a year. ... Beavers will have new Nike uniforms, heavy on the shoulder trim.
On tap: OSU continues recent trend of Thursday-night games early with two — against Utah and Cincinnati. Toughest Pac-10 games are on the road.
Refresher: After an awful 1-11 season — the sole victory was the 20-3 stunner at Washington — Cardinal offed Walt Harris and turned to Harbaugh, who was 29-6 at I-AA San Diego.
Spring things: Cardinal, last in most key categories on both sides of the ball, had miles to climb. Harbaugh promised "the toughest spring ball in the history of spring ball" in previewing drills with the San Francisco Chronicle. ... Crippled at receiver last season, Cardinal got back Evan Moore and Mark Bradford after injuries. ... QB T.C. Ostrander, who actually threw more passes last year than third-round NFL draft pick Trent Edwards (but completed just 46 percent) has the starter's job. Tavita Pritchard, Clover Park High product, is No. 3. ... Stanford could return as many as 17 starters, not necessarily good news.
On tap: Cardinal jumps in quicker than anybody in the league, hosting UCLA to open and playing three Pac-10 games in September.
Refresher: A three-game November winning streak, including a benchmark victory over USC, was tempered in the Emerald Bowl as the fourth-place Bruins (7-6) got flattened by Florida State, 44-27.
Spring things: Ben Olson won the QB job over Pat Cowan. ... Cowan replaced an injured Olson last year and threw twice as many passes, but completed only 52 percent to Olson's 64. ... Bruins' oft-revolving coaching door continued in the offseason, with Nebraska (and ex-Raiders) QBs coach Jay Norvell arriving to coordinate the offense. ... In two other assistant changes, OL coach Bob Connelly (formerly at WSU and Alabama) is on board, and uber-recruiter Eric Scott takes over for ex-UW wideout D.J. McCarthy as WRs coach. ... K Kai Forbath, replacing All-American Justin Medlock, had a poor spring. ... Bruins have 10 starters back on each side of the ball.
On tap: Bruins host UW's conference opener at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 22.
Refresher: Trojans (11-2) won their fifth straight Pac-10 title and dominated Michigan in the Rose Bowl to finish fourth in national rankings.
Spring things: In a year when they were considered vulnerable, Trojans still led the league in total defense (295 yards a game), and could be one of the all-time dominating units in '07, a prospect coach Pete Carroll isn't minimizing. Says Carroll, "This is a very, very fast, athletic, smart, tough bunch of guys with an attitude." ... USC has a ridiculously loaded backfield, swollen by the return of oft-injured Hershel Dennis, expected to get a sixth year of eligibility. ... QB John David Booty (29-9 TD-pick ratio in '06) will get early mention as a Heisman candidate. ... With Lane Kiffin off to Raiders, Steve Sarkisian will call plays from the sideline. ... PK David Buehler tries to replace reliable Mario Danelo (26 of 28 FGs in two years), who fell to his death off a cliff in nearby San Pedro in January.
On tap: Season-ticket holders are no doubt lukewarm about a home schedule of Idaho, WSU, Stanford, Arizona, OSU and UCLA.
Refresher: Huskies (5-7) were an early surprise, struggled through a long dry spell after QB Isaiah Stanback got hurt, then closed with an upset Apple Cup win.
Spring things: RS freshman QB Jake Locker was named No. 1 entering the session in something of a surprise move. Carl Bonnell closed ground with a strong spring game. ... WR Marcel Reece looked more fit and had three TDs in the spring game. ... OLB E.J. Savannah took a starting job over Chris Stevens. ... P Jared Ballman struggled and Huskies could backslide there after loss of Sean Douglas. ... A 12-member committee including ex-coach Don James began studying long-range renovation plans for Husky Stadium.
On tap: One of the most daunting schedules in UW history. After the Sept. 8-15 Boise State-Ohio State challenge comes a UCLA-USC-Arizona State opening to the Pac-10.
Refresher: Cougars (6-6) had a memorable season evaporate into a downer with three straight losses, failing to play in a bowl game for the third straight year.
Spring things: Major cause for alarm is at CB, where Cougars could start two players who haven't yet been on campus, not a good thing in the Pac-10. ... DT is also a concern, with old injuries to A'i Ahmu (foot) and Aaron Johnson (back) posing question marks entering fall. ... WR Brandon Gibson had a terrific spring and could be an adequate replacement for third-round NFL pick Jason Hill. ... With assistant Kelly Skipper gone, WSU divided special-teams responsibilities and must upgrade KO and PR units, each of which were last in the Pac-10.
On tap: Much will be known about Cougars after a September in which they go to Wisconsin, USC and Arizona.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org