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Pac-12 notes: USC corner’s injury story being questioned

First Published Aug 26 2014 04:59PM      Last Updated Aug 26 2014 10:19 pm

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) USC Trojans safety Josh Shaw (6) intercepts the ball past Utah Utes offensive linesman Jeremiah Tofaeono (76) and Utah Utes wide receiver Geoff Norwood (16) during the first half game at the The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday October 26, 2013. USC is winning the game 16-3.

The heart-warming story of USC cornerback Josh Shaw injuring himself while saving his nephew from drowning barely lasted a day before coming under scrutiny.

Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian acknowledged Tuesday morning that the football program had gotten several calls "questioning the validity" of Shaw's narrative of how he sprained both his ankles, thus putting himself on the shelf for the start of USC's season.

Shaw, a senior and team captain,

was the subject of a Monday USC release describing how he jumped from an upper-floor balcony while trying to help his nephew

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, who can't swim, out of a pool at a family gathering in Palmdale, Calif.. Sarkisian said Shaw has been consistent in his account since informing the team about his injury, but that the program is trying to learn all it can about the incident.

"He's been a kid of very high character for us, a team leader, elected team captain," he said in a Pac-12 conference call. "I had no reason not to believe him. Now, we did receive some calls that question the validity of his story. We're vetting. We're doing our due diligence on that as we speak."

ASU coach wants playoff expansion •

Todd Graham said he may be old fashioned, but he would sure love to see each of the Power 5 conferences send its conference champion to the College Football Playoff.

Wait .. four teams ... five conferences. That doesn't quite add up, does it?

There is an answer, however, he said. Make the pool a little larger, he said, saying he "would love to see it expand to eight."

Barring that, Graham does have an idea of which conferences should see its champions make the playoff: the SEC and the Pac-12.

The SEC has been a dominant force in the last decade, winning seven of the last eight national title games. The Pac-12 has been much less of a factor in recent BCS history, with Oregon only going once in the same time frame. But the depth of the Pac-12 makes it an underappreciated league, Graham said.

"The way our league works, it's very difficult in our league to go undefeated, as it is in the SEC," he said. "We beat each other up. I can't imagine a team winning a Pac-12 championship with the caliber of teams we have here and not being in that four-team playoff.

Arizona going with freshman QB •

Amid a conference that has so many experienced and high-profile quarterbacks, here's a new name to remember: Anu Solomon.

That's

the redshirt freshman who will start under center when Arizona takes on UNLV

in its season opener this week. The Wildcats announced this week that Solomon had won the fall camp position battle and has earned the right to at least start the season as the team's go-to gunner. He's the first freshman to start at quarterback since Arizona joined the Pac-12.

Coach Rich Rodriguez said he's not going to be overly nitpicky of every mistake Solomon makes as long as he doesn't make the big ones, namely turnovers. But he's seen enough from his rookie to feel comfortable handing over the reins.

"He's a cool customer," Rodriguez said. "He's hard to get rattled. I'm sure he'll get rattled on Friday night, but I'm excited to see what he can do."

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon

 

 

 

 

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