Thanks for all the emails this week. I heard from the WVU faithful a whole lot during my visit. It's appreciated. The response from the onslaught of Mountaineer coverage has been overwhelmingly positive. Here's where you can reach me if you have entertaining musings or questions that haven't been asked 72 times.
Zac in Manhattan, Kan., wrote: David why didnt you put K-State in the poll for the big 12's best offense? I mean we have several returners coming back(one of the teams with the most starters returning in the nation) so why no love for KSU? Yeah the offense isn't flashy, but for K-state the goal is win the Time Of Possession battle. I guess I just want to know where we rank offensively in the grand scheme of the Big 12 in your mind.
David Ubben: Well, it might have something to do with the fact that K-State ranked ninth in the Big 12 in total offense, ahead of only Kansas.
Hey, I get it. I've written about it plenty. K-State's offense is the antithesis of every well-earned Big 12 stereotype about offense. The offense is effective. It wins games.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't scare anyone. It might if Collin Klein starts slinging it with the best of them, but offenses like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Baylor/Oklahoma State last year scare the heck out of people. Those guys could hang insane numbers of yards and points. Ultimately, it comes down to that. Excuse me for equating the "best offenses" with the offenses that score the most "points" and gain the most "yards."
It dominated the time of possession stat last year, too. That's aided by snapping the ball with less than 5-10 seconds left on the play clock while others in the Big 12 like to do it with 25-35 seconds left. I'm not that impressed by that stat.
K-State's offense fits what it wants to do and it wins. That's fine. It's not in the conversation as the league's best offense.
Jeremy Dajao in Stafford, Texas, wrote: David,Really insulted you didn't put Tech up there in the which offense will be blah blah blah next year. Really? Baylor? Tech has an awesome returning QB and then Stephens should be back. Why?
DU: I actually heard from a whole lot of Tech fans on this one. Truth be told, Tech would probably be the sixth team on my list. Complain all you want, but don't forget, Tech was sixth in the Big 12 in total offense last year. These are not your father's (or, I guess, older brother's) Red Raiders. Injuries hurt, but I feel pretty confident in both Oklahoma State and Baylor's offenses with new faces. Baylor has one of the league's best receiving corps, and Nick Florence is ready for the spotlight. Just because Tech has returning talent -- and I wouldn't guarantee Stephens just yet -- they're still a little unproven at receiver, especially compared to Baylor. I seem to remember Florence and his running backs doing quite alright against the Red Raiders last season, to the tune of 66 points.
Glark Griswold in Norman, Okla., wrote: The 3-4 is perfect for the Big 12. It puts more speed on the field and creates more confusing blitz packages among many other advantages. OU used a similar set towards the end of 2010 with a lot of success. Why has the 3-4 not made much of an appearance in the Big 12 with the except of West Virginia making the switch this year?
DU: I'll be writing about this in the weeks to come, but more and more teams are experimenting with alignments that mock the 3-4, even if the personnel is far unlike what the 3-4 looks like in the NFL. Those outside linebacker spots are the linchpin. Getting a good pass rush in the Big 12 is huge, and those versatile linebacker spots make it difficult on offensive lines and chipping running backs to know where the additional pressure is going to come from.
It's made more of an appearance than you'd think, but a lot of teams just don't identify themselves as "3-4" defenses.
Cody in Mustang, Okla., wrote: Hey Dubbs, love the blog. Why has Tannehill flown up everybody's draft boards? To me he is overrated especially compared to Weeden. Everyone before the '11-'12 season had switched to liking A&M right before the season over OSU and look what happened. Weeden goes from being that top 20-25 pick to being early-mid second rounder due to whatever Tannehill showed. So I guess my question is what did he do in the pro day that accelerated this, because they sure didn't find anything on film after this past season. Thanks David.
DU: Well, there's no question in my mind that Weeden is currently in another league than Tannehill. I can buy Tannehill's upside, but I don't buy him as a top-10 pick. I can see maybe late first round, but Tannehill could theoretically go as high as No. 3. He's a fine person and his physical skills scream NFL, but his production and decision-making ought to provide plenty of question marks for NFL types.
All those second-half collapses? Tannehill was a turnover machine in some really bad spots, and played a huge part in A&M going from Big 12 title contender to 6-6 disappointment.
I was talking to a lot of folks around the Big 12 about Tannehill, and one coach in the league had this to say on the rise: "I don't get it. If a guy's throwing a lot of INTs, there's a problem." Tannehill tied Oklahoma's Landry Jones for the most with 15 interceptions last season.
Weeden threw 13 interceptions on 81 more attempts, but also completed 11 percent more of his passes and had nearly 1,000 more yards.
Mark Stryker in Houston wrote: Hi David,Just wanted to say thanks for the great WVU football coverage! It was very complimentary (so of course I'm going to like it) AND the message itself is a great introduction to our new Big 12 Family. There's are many reasons that WVU alumni are so rabidly supportive of our alma mater, and you did a great job of describing our physical connection to the picturesque landscape that lives so close to our hearts.I think our new conference compatriots will be pleasantly surprised (at least in terms of ticket sales) at the amount of blue and gold they will see in the stands on game day.Our local alumni association here in Houston has nearly 400 members (nearly 1,200 when you take full family size into account), and we expect nearly everyone to make the trip. Hotel rooms in Austin for the October 6 weekend are nearly sold out. Nearly to a person our members believe that the move to the Big 12 is going to be a huge win the conference and for WVU. Thanks again! All the best, Mark
DU: Much appreciated, WVU. You guys have a gorgeous place to live. Glad you enjoyed the coverage. There's lots more coming.
Very cool tidbit about the hotel rooms in Austin.