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Thursday, March 25, 2010
Mailbag: Hansen, 2010's Suh, coaching rants

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

If you want to see your question here next week, drop me a line.

Brandon in Boulder writes: Hey David, love how you do the blog. Most people believe Hansen is the sure starter next year for the Buffaloes, but at last week's scrimmage, Hawkins threw the ball 44 times to Hansen's 29. Uh-oh. I'm pretty sure that if Hawkins walks out onto Invesco Field to start against CSU, CU fans will start leaving the stadium before the 2nd quarter starts. Do you think there's any chance that Hawkins will actually start this season, or do you think it was just a scrimmage thing and Hansen's still the guy?

David Ubben: I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. It’s definitely early, but I still think it’s Tyler Hansen’s job to lose. Both quarterbacks need to limit their interceptions, and Hansen sounds like he’s committed to doing that.

He’s limited his turnovers quite a bit early in the spring. In doing that, though, you have to be careful not to start playing tight and become afraid to make a play. Quarterbacks have to take risks, but knowing when and not taking foolish risks with the football is going to help Hansen hold off Cody Hawkins.


Dennis in Airville, Pa., writes: David: I'm interested in your comment that NFL drafting is a bigger crap shoot than college recruiting. College coaches have thousands more players to look at, they are 4 years younger than NFL prospects, and have 4 fewer years playing against stiff competition. I would think college recruitng was far more difficult.

DU: All good points, and I think the evaluation process is more difficult, but plenty of coaching staffs do use information from recruiting sites.

I should probably clarify my comments. The odds of high-pedigree players succeeding are probably close to the same, but the stakes are so much higher at the next level.

In college, everybody comes in and is worth the same. You’re paying them all the same amount: whatever tuition is.

If a five-star recruit doesn’t pan out, so what? Start the three-star that’s outperformed him and move on.

In the NFL, if a first-round pick doesn’t turn out, his team is handcuffed to his ludicrous contract for at least a few seasons after the team knows he won’t contribute.


Bruce from League City, Texas, writes: If I'm ever put on trial for mental competence, I hope the standard is Urban Meyer going off on a reporter. I'll look like Dr Spock/Mike Gundy You asked for input and I thought that a good chuckle put a little meat on the mailbags bones. David have you ever been called to task by a coach for something you wrote or said? Care to share?

DU: I have a couple of times, and most reporters I know have, too. But the smart and classy way to handle it is privately, whether in person or on the phone. It doesn’t have to be, but sometimes the coach-reporter relationship is an adversarial one.

A “we only talk to each other because we have to” kind of relationship.

I’ve never spent time around Urban Meyer, but from what I understand, that’s often the case.

When major disagreements arise, a coach that handles it privately instead of at a press conference or on a practice field with cameras rolling accomplishes his intended goal without inspiring an avalanche of YouTube parodies. It's worth noting that, as I write this, Urban Meyer is No. 11 on Google's most-searched terms.

I have no idea if Meyer consulted Deonte Thompson before he confronted the reporter. I hope he did. Bobby Reid has since changed his tune, but at the time, he wasn’t pleased when his coach defended him -- or a least in the manner he did it.

I’d be interested to hear Thompson’s thoughts on his coach’s defense.


Adam in Lincoln, NE writes: Nebraska's D looks solid heading into the spring ball but it lacks a Suhperman presence. How important is having a single dominant player/personality to becoming a transcendent unit? Who are the Big 12's defensive candidates for filling this role?

DU: First off, I am no fan of puns. But I have to hand it to you, Adam. I hadn’t seen that. You put yourself in the mailbag.

Now, to your question.

A defense doesn’t have to have one dominant force, but often, great defenses do. And with so much attention being paid to one player, it elevates the play of those around him. You could see that last year in Phillip Dillard and Jared Crick.

A few that immediately come to mind this year are Texas A&M’s Von Miller, Texas’ Aaron Williams, Missouri’s Aldon Smith, Oklahoma’s Jeremy Beal and look out for Crick and cornerback Prince Amukamara at Nebraska.