July 26, 2007

Pac-10 notes: UCLA assistant placed on leave

Following the recent arrest of UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Scott, Bruins head coach Karl Dorrell announced that he has placed Scott on administrative leave.

"I have decided to place Eric on administrative leave while the matter is being investigated," Dorrell announced Thursday at the Pac-10 Media Day. "We will continue to gather information regarding the case and will make a determination on Eric's status at the appropriate time.

"Eric is the kind of young man, given his background, that knows his purpose in life is to help kids. He has helped so many kids over the last seven years graduate at Crenshaw and go on to college."

This is not the first run-in with the law for Scott. He has had two prior convictions come to light during the investigation, one for disturbing the peace and another for carrying a concealed weapon.

"I knew he had some rough spots growing up," Dorrell added. "Coming from his inner-city neighborhood he lost three brothers to violence. So yes, I knew he had some issues in his background.

"When you look at the big picture with Eric Scott, given the positive impact he had on young people in high school, the fine work that he did as an intern in our office last year and the fact that he was a UCLA graduate, we felt that the hiring of Eric was giving a good young man a chance to make a career for himself."

While charges are expected to be dropped, the potential impact of this arrest is far-reaching. Scott has helped the Bruins land six players rated four-star prospects this recruiting season, all of which are from the Los Angeles area. The first year coach has earned early pledges from Aaron Hester, Jerry Johnson, Uona Kavienga, L.A Nike camp running back MVP Milton Knox, Rahim Moore, and Antwon Moutra.

Oregon State mourns loss

Absent from the days events was Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. The seventh year coach of the Beavers did not make the trip from Corvallis so he could be at the funeral of longtime friend and Beavers staff member, Jim Gilstrap.

Gilstrap passed away last Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis following complications due to cancer.

In a statement released by the university Riley said of his longtime friend, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gilstrap family; we have suffered a great loss. Jim was one of the most incredible human beings I have ever been around. His commitment to the program and well-being of the student-athletes will be sorely missed. This is a very emotional time for all of us; it won't be the same without Jim around the building and team."

Prior to his appointment to Coordinator of Support Services last season, Gilstrap was an offensive line coach as well as running back coach at Oregon State and is credited with helping Yvenson Bernard improve as a player.

Bernard remembered Gilstrap with fond memories. "He was my first-year coach and really helped me a lot. He was such a great coach and a great man, we will miss him.

"We knew he was battling cancer, but this is a shock. It is crazy."

In his 42 years of coaching, Gilstrap split 28 years of college football experience between 11 schools. He also spent 12 years in the Canadian Football League and two seasons with San Antonio of the World League of American Football.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and four daughters.

Hoping history does not repeat itself

Washington State quarterback Alex Brink is doing everything he can to make sure history does not repeat itself. The 2006 Pac-10 second team QB opens the 2007 on the road against a top non-conference opponent.

"Last year (when we went to Auburn) we got caught up in the whole experience. We had stars in our eyes." Brink explained.

"They were throwing beer cans at our bus, there were a ton of fans and it affected us. I certainly didn't play a good game."

Coming off a season in which Brink threw for 2,899 yards, he hopes last year's experience will help the Cougars when they open at Big Ten power Wisconsin.

"It helped us through the season and I think it will help us this year at Wisconsin," the senior said.

"They are a great team, with great fans, but we won't get caught in the pageantry like we did last year.

"We will be ready, and we know what to expect now."

Mirror Images

On August 31, Washington coach Tyrone Willingham will look across the field and see Greg Robinson at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. He will also see a team in a familiar situation.

"They (Syracuse) are in a similar spot as we are," remarked Willingham. "They lost a lot of leadership on defense, they lost their quarterback, and they had to suffer through some injuries.

"We are excited to go out there and get the season started. It will be a tough game that starts a tough stretch of games for our football team, but we will be ready to go. I know they will be, too."

Greyson Gunheim, the teams returning leader in sacks (six) and tackles for a loss (14), echoed the sentiments of his coach, "We are excited to go out there and prove how hard we've been working this summer."

The game could be a springboard to success for one of the two teams. Willingham and Robinson are a combined 12-34 in their two seasons at their respective schools.

Rick Kimbrell of BruinBlitz.com contributed to this report.


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