LOS ANGELES - Arizona State backup defensive back Jeremy Payton has left the program, coach Dennis Erickson announced on Thursday.
“Jeremy got his degree and wants to move on with his life,” Erickson said at Pac-10 football media day. “We wish him the best.”
In four seasons at ASU — he played in three games in 2004 before medically redshirting — Payton started seven games at safety and also played nickelback. He had five pass breakups and an interception.
During the spring, Payton was competing with Rodney Cox, Max Tabach and Jarrell Holman at the safety spot opposite Troy Nolan. Cox is the starter going into training camp, Erickson said.
Payton’s twin brother, Bryan, a senior safety at Oregon State, recently left the team. The school did not publicly provide a reason for his departure.
With a scholarship freed, Erickson plans to award it to reserve linebacker Anthony Reyes, a senior.
Pac-10 coaches were briefed on the latest clock rules changes designed to shorten games.
Starting this season, a 40-second play clock begins ticking after a play ends, replacing the 25 seconds allowed after officials spotted the ball. If the clock is stopped during the last two minutes of each half, it will remain so until the ball is snapped.
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said that the two changes will likely result in a loss of about four plays per game.
“The new rule takes a lot of the human judgment and error out of the play clock,” Bellotti said.
After helping lead Oklahoma to a national title, Mike Stoops came to Arizona confident that he had the blueprints for big success in the Pac-10.
Four years later, he has a 17-29 record and no bowl appearances. Stoops said that the project has come along slower than he expected.
“All of us as coaches feel that we can change anything, but there are a lot of things you can’t control,” Stoops said. “It’s hard. It’s been a fun learning experience. We have had a lot of great wins the last two years, and our team is competitive. The last thing that comes is the winning mindset.
“We’ve been on the threshold so many times.”
Stoops, whose specialty is defense, suggested that the Pac-10’s offensive systems and talent are tougher to counter than in other conferences.
Last year, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh made his debut at Pac-10 media day memorable by piling praise on Southern California, calling the Trojans “maybe the best team in the history of college football.”
In October, the Cardinal stunned USC, 24-23, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Asked on Thursday if he had more bulletin-board quotes, Harbaugh said, “I didn’t know I was a bulletin-board guy.”