Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott had a whirlwind day Saturday as he visited Arizona State which was hosting Washington then attended the Arizona-Utah game.
Scott met with media members before kickoff and defended officiating in the Pac-12, insisting it has gotten better although there have been several controversial calls in recent weeks.
Among the gaffes was a blown call at the ASU-Wisconsin game that ultimately led to a reprimand of the officiating crew, a debatable replay review at the end of the Stanford-Washington game and several odd calls in the Utah-UCLA game.
Scott acknowledged all the questionable rulings, noting he didn’t want officiating to ever make news, but nevertheless felt officiating was making progress.
“Mistakes are regrettable, but officiating as a whole is improving from what it was a few years ago,” he said.
Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson said returning to the state of Arizona as a member of Utah’s staff was nothing special to him.
Erickson, who still has a residence in Phoenix, joked that he was probably considered an enemy at ASU where he coached from 2007-11 before he was fired and Arizona. Erickson has ties to Arizona’s coaching staff as well. The Wildcats’ offensive line coach, Jim Michalczik, started his coaching career with Erickson as a defensive graduate assistant at Miami in 1990-91.
Utah coaches took the opportunity of the road game to watch Sabino High beat Cholla 56-10 Friday. Sabino tight end Matt Bushman (6-5, 205), who recently committed to BYU, has an offer from the Utes as does offensive lineman Andrew Mike (6-7, 285).
Missing in action
Utah’s injured players Brian Blechen, Westlee Tonga, Jake Murphy and Jacoby Hale did not make the trip to Tucson. Also missing from the game was Arizona’s leading tackler Jared Tevis due to a knee injury.
Tevis, who has 36 tackles, was replaced by sophomore Will Parks. It was Parks’ first career start.
Utah was well represented on Phil Steele’s midseason All-Pac-12 team which was released this week. Defender Trevor Reilly, kicker Andy Phillips and punter Tom Hackett were all first-team selections.