LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock, holding the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
And while their plans for that selection will inevitably begin by scouting star quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State in the Rose Bowl, Mariota admitted he hasn’t been paying much attention to his future employers.
“To be honest, I try not to focus on that,” Mariota said Monday during media day for the College Football Playoff semifinal. “I understand that can become a distraction, especially with the game coming up. I really didn’t want to pay attention to any of that.”
While he is expected to declare for the draft, having graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Oregon one day after winning the 2014 Heisman Trophy, Mariota said he will not make a decision until after the Ducks’ season ends.
“Whenever the last game is, I’ll take a couple days with my family and we’ll kind of hash it out and figure out what’s next,” Mariota said.
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HEALTH CONCERN: Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett has learned more about concussions over the last year than he would have liked.
Trickett’s son, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett, announced last week that he would retire from football after suffering five concussions over the last 14 months.
“I got really educated about it,” the elder Trickett said. “They have really made some advances in this right now with different medications and different eye exercises and stuff. I think we’re all headed medically in the right direction.
“I’ll mess with a shoulder, I’ll mess with a knee or an elbow. I’m not going to mess with the head,” Trickett added.
Clint is going into the family business after getting a taste of coaching during the Mountaineers’ bowl preparations.
“(WVU coach) Dana (Holgorsen) let him coach the quarterbacks when everybody was out recruiting and I think he really kind of took to it and liked it,” Trickett said.
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HOOPS HYPE: It might be the first edition of college football’s Final Four, but two Oregon players can at least draw on their March Madness experiences to prepare.
Receiver Johnathan Loyd and defensive lineman Arik Armstead were members of the Ducks’ 2012-13 basketball team that won the Pac-12 Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16.
“Like the NCAA tournament, you want to survive and advance,” Armstead said.
Loyd joined the football program this season after four successful years on the hardwood, where he was named conference tournament MVP in his hometown of Las Vegas as a junior and averaged 7 points and 4.7 assists in his senior campaign.
While Loyd and Armstead would often talk about football, it was actually redshirt senior receiver Keanon Lowe who prompted Loyd to put on the pads. Lowe was Loyd’s neighbor during his freshman season and they were roommates the following year.
Loyd plans to return to basketball after the Rose Bowl, but would consider overtures from the NFL after averaging 12.2 yards per punt return and catching one touchdown pass.
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BETTER PACE: Tempo gave Florida State’s defensive line fits in the BCS championship game against Auburn last season, but defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. expects the Seminoles to be better prepared this time around against Oregon’s fast pace.
“You expect to have those problems, but it is all about the rotation,” Edwards said. “That’s where we trust and believe in each other, that our second and third-string can come in there and we won’t miss a beat.”
Edwards said he has slimmed down to 278 pounds after ballooning up to “three bills easy” during the season, crediting a better diet and extensive conditioning drills during bowl prep for his weight loss.
Also in his favor are those extra television timeouts during the game that will give Edwards and his teammates more time to catch their breath.
“That’s even better for us,” Edwards said with a grin.
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ON THE RUN: Devon Allen is the reigning NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles, and the Oregon receiver said he plans to compete in the 100 and 200-meter sprints this springs.
But is he the fastest player on his team?
“I have to say yeah — for sure in the 100,” Allen said. “I take pride in being a sprinter. I did that my whole life. I just picked up hurdles just lately.”
Allen, who has 41 receptions for 684 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns, expects to be challenged by the equally speedy Seminoles secondary.
“I do know Ronald Darby of Florida State is going to be the fastest guy I go against all year,” Allen said.