Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Friday, March 12, 2010
Mailbag: More Leach, defensive resurgence, early recruiting

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

John in Lubbock, Texas wants to know about Mike Leach’s recently surfaced rants: How common do you believe that language and a thorough chewing out, such as what Mike Leach is shown giving his players in recent videos, is at the College football level?

David Ubben: In short: pretty common. I don’t think he said anything that most coaches across the country haven’t said at one point in their careers. The “God squad” comments might have been the most questionable, but it wasn’t necessarily belittling them. As for not cussing, in the locker room or elsewhere, there’s a reason why the Turner Gill story I linked today is a story. Most coaches do it. Ten minutes on a practice field will tell you that. If video of coaches’ postgame speeches were frequently made available, I guarantee there would be plenty that were way more offensive than anything Leach said in his.

Josh in Tampa asks: David, with spring practice beginning, if you had to go to a single Big 12 Spring game this year, where would you go, and why?

David Ubben: Probably either Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. I’m really interested to see what both offenses look like full-speed and how they’ve changed from the year before. They’ll probably look pretty similar right now, but I’d love to get a close look at both.

Max in Nacogdoches, Texas asks: Hey David, what's your take on the Texas Wide Recieiver situation - is there any one guy you see establishing himself as a number one option for Gilbert?

David Ubben: The Longhorns don’t need someone to catch 116 balls for almost 1,500 yards like Jordan Shipley did, and frankly, none of them will. What they need is for a couple guys to just be consistent and not go without a catch for long stretches. Losing Dan Buckner hurts them, but I think if James Kirkendoll can channel some of his midseason play for all of next season, they’ll be in good shape. Same deal with Malcolm Williams and Marquise Goodwin.

That said, the situation seems perfect for ESPNU 150 member and the nation’s No. 20 recruit, Darius White, to step in and have an immediate impact.

Jack in Stillwater, Okla. asks: The 2009 season saw a vast improvement of defenses across the conference. Do you expect to see more of the same in 2010, or do you think the Big 12 will return to the "first to 50" mentality it had in 2008?

David Ubben: I think we’ll still see a lot of good defense in 2010. That starts at the top. Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska could all be among college football’s great defenses again this season. But the teams who aren’t, like Texas A&M and Kansas last year, won’t be able to just outscore teams. So, while there might be some Big Ten-inspired 10-7 and 13-10 games, we might still get some 49-39 games like the Lone Star Showdown last year.

Bobby in Corpus Christi, Texas asks: t.u. is nearly done with their 2011 class. Is this the smartest way of going about recruiting? In my opinion it would make more sense to see how a recruits senior season plays out then offer. What do you think?

David Ubben: You’re right, 18 commitments in March, 11 months before they can sign, is a lot.

But I think now, more than ever, coaches have to jump on players early and make sure recruits know who they are, not just who they represent, and how much they want them in their program. Otherwise, someone else will.

So while I think most coaches might agree with you, in the hyper-competitive world of recruiting, they don’t have that luxury.