<
>

Mailbag: Test, new QB, coaches, UT slide?

5/4/2011

Thanks for the questions, all. Let's get started.

Little Stoops in Tallahassee, Fla asked: With my brother coming into town week 3 of the season. What match up's on myside of the ball should I have an advantage on, even tho OU's Offense looks better than last years?

David Ubben: Well, I don't see too many. And either way, Oklahoma will find a way to exploit the places on offense that it has the advantage.

Spoiler alert: If anyone beats Oklahoma this year, it's going to have to put up a ton of points or hope for turnovers. Landry Jones should be better than ever, and he's throwing to a deep corps of receivers, deeper than he's ever had.

The offensive line wasn't fantastic last year, but the only spot that it really struggled was trying to get pushes up front in short-yardage situations against good defenses. On the whole, it was pretty good, and Stoops raved -- unprompted, mind you -- about their progress this spring.

E.J. Manuel is going to have to have a heck of a game if Florida State is going to avenge last year's embarrassment in Norman.


Greg in Texas asked: Which first year coordinator has the most to prove? Which will be most successful?

DU: Most to prove is an interesting question. I'll go with Bryan Harsin at Texas, just because so many people still hate Boise State and don't buy that what the program has done is authentic. Having one of its coaches go off and be successful out from underneath the shadow of Chris Petersen could go a long way for both Harsin and the Boise State program.

As for most successful? In year one, that looks like it'll probably be Todd Monken by a long ways, mostly because of the talent he's inheriting. Success is different than impact, I suppose. He could have the same success that Dana Holgorsen had last year, but I don't think many would consider it the same kind of "impact." Does that matter? Well, that's up to you.

As for long-term success? I'll go with either Josh Heupel or Manny Diaz. Both are on the fast track to becoming head coaches very soon and both are in positions that should be conducive to big-time success.


Emperor Norton in San Francisco asked: In an interview with San Francisco radio station and Niner flagship, KNBR (THE Sports Leader!), Aldon Smith let slip that Niner Coach Jim Harbaugh gave him a 49 question test on football history. Questions included "How wide is the football field and who is Knute Rockne?" I guess Smith passed but what question(s) would you put on such a test?

DU: Yeah, I don't think that's a big deal. Aldon Smith said the field was 50 yards wide. It's 53 1/3. As long as he can see the white lines and understand that if he has the ball, he can't go outside of them, he'll be fine. Not an issue. He also didn't know who Knute Rockne was. Just guessing: He's not the only guy on his team who couldn't place Rockne.

That test isn't any kind of predictor for on-field success. All it is is a tool for a coach to get to know the kind of player he has, and what he needs to do to coach him. Harbaugh's a smart guy. Players will, more often than not, tell a coach what he wants to hear.

I imagine Harbaugh learned a lot by administering that test. Apparently, so did his players.


Chet Anderson in Ames, Iowa asked: What do you see as the realistic best and worse case scenario coming out of Iowa State's QB competition going into the season?

DU: We've seen Jerome Tiller. He didn't look great last year. He's good enough for them to win some games next year and maybe get to a bowl game, but he's not a game-changer.

Steele Jantz? He's still a bit of a wild-card. Best-case scenario: The receivers look completely different this year, Jantz is able to hit them and use his legs to make plays and Iowa State wins 7-8 games.

Worst-case scenario: Iowa State's quarterback position becomes a revolving door with no real optimism for the future. (See: Kansas, 2010)


Adam Penny in Austin, Texas asked: Did the draft prove that the problem at Texas last year was a simple lack of talent.they did not have any first round picks and Baylor had 2. If you look at the 2005 squad almost the entire team is in the NFL

DU: No, not necessarily. On offense, I agree with you, but Texas had three corners drafted, as well as DE Sam Acho. Next year, there should be more Longhorns defenders in the draft. Aaron Williams was pretty close to a first-rounder, too.

People want to point to recruiting rankings, but folks who watched Texas play last year have to be able to see the discrepancy on the two sides of the ball.

Defensively, Texas is still solid, and should have another good year.

Offensively, though? From quarterbacks to running backs to receivers to offensive line, Texas was definitely in the bottom third of the Big 12 in all three last year. Recruiting stars don't equal yards.


Luke in Corpus Christi, Texas asked: Should any of the teams in the Big 12 be calling former NC State QB Russell Wilson? If so which ones?

DU: I don't see it happening. Unlike what we thought in the preseason with Nebraska last year, there aren't any great Big 12 teams in need of a quarterback. Wilson will want to play for a contender. Additionally, he's a North Carolina native and as far as I can tell, has no ties to Texas or any other Big 12 states.