It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2018, Athlon asked coaches in the Pac-12 to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
Pac-12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018
"There’s a lot of similarities between Texas A&M and Arizona. Kevin Sumlin was a great hire. You assume from Day 1 he’s been able to build a relationship with Khalil Tate, who really is a special talent, where Tate can believe in Sumlin’s track record of maximizing dual-threat quarterbacks."
"I don’t think Arizona will look like a team with a new coaching staff this fall. Most of their offensive talent is back; Sumlin can work with a lot of the concepts Rich (Rodriguez) used. Tate looked more aware of the offense as the year went on. I think he might run less with Sumlin and Noel Mazzone, at least by design, but he’ll be able to freelance. The running back (J.J. Taylor) is really explosive. This is a staff unafraid of creating a superstar and building around him."
"Keeping (defensive coordinator) Marcel Yates was interesting. It could be a short-term play to keep the roster and this year’s recruiting intact."
"I thought Kylan Wilborn was one of the best defensive players in our league last year. He kind of came out of nowhere. Those are the best kind of recruits. You see the potential, and then it develops into something completely out of the ordinary. He’s not the biggest guy. But he’s got such a quick first step, he’s hard to block. They better get some help for him, because they couldn’t tackle anyone last year. It was YAC (yards after catch/contact) for days last year against them."
"At Arizona, you can either go to L.A. or Texas to fill out recruiting, and obviously they can sell in Texas. Sumlin will be able to go as far east as Dallas and compete for talent. Can’t remember a time when Arizona could do that."
"Considering all that program was going through, to be able to hire a guy with a proven track record of recruiting and winning is huge. If you’re Kevin Sumlin, you can just as easily sit out and sit on your money from Texas A&M and not jump into the mess someone else created. But I also think Kevin looked at the roster and looked at Khalil Tate, and said, yeah, I can work with this."
"Khalil Tate is as close to what Rich had with Pat White at West Virginia as you can get. At this point in their careers, Pat was a more comfortable thrower. But Khalil is such a threat in the run game; if he gets to the second level, strike up the band. The more he improves in the passing game – where I can see Kevin making a significant impact on him, like he did with Johnny Manziel, who was raw when he got him – the more dangerous Arizona can be."
"Offense will not be a problem there. They’re going to make a lot of us in this league look bad. But measure that against their one-man defense, and you see why Tate can only do so much."
"We don’t know what to expect from Herm Edwards. I don’t think it’s as crazy as Arizona State and the media have made their ‘plan’ sound — coaching is coaching — but there’s a lot of questions. You replace Todd Graham, who was struggling but also gave that program a floor of going to bowls, with an unknown in Edwards. That’s a high-risk move."