Friday, February 11, 2011
Mailbag: Beebe reaction, expansion
By ESPN.com staff
Thanks for all the questions, as always.
Ben in Lincoln, Neb., asks: David, After reading your interview with Dan Beebe, I was wondering what your initial thoughts were after it concluded. It seemed that he beat around the bush with almost every question and showed a true lack of any sort of plan. Also, as a fan of the Big 12 I am concerned that while there is so much talk about the conference aligning together, Texas and Oklahoma seem to be drifting farther and farther away. Did you get a sense of any confidence from the commissioner that this will work out, or do you share these same concerns?
David Ubben: I would disagree with that assessment. I just think it's what he said it was: still in flux with an aim toward being decided in June. I didn't think he was evasive toward any questions, really.
The decision about what to do when it comes to high school games is an important one, but it'll be interesting to see what the decision-makers at Texas say about what they want to happen with it. My guess is this is one place the Longhorns will flex their muscles and get what they want. That's not going to help them gain any goodwill toward their conference brethren, but that's how I see it playing out. Getting high school games on their network isn't that important for football, in my opinion, but it would be enormous for the other sports.
As for the other decisions being made, the Big 12 needs to keep its name but get a new logo and re-brand itself a bit. And no, it can't use this one. And for the love, stay away from anything that looks like this. If it can come anywhere near this, it'll be a success.
Brian in Omaha, Neb., writes: Nebraska supporters against the move to the Big 10? Really? And "supposedly" you have your finger on the pulse of the Big 12? Dave Ubben = Ubber ignorant. I suggest you quit making foolish comments on your blog, and stick with the real story.
DU: Let me clarify that comment. I tweeted about it yesterday, but there was definitely a misunderstanding. In our Q&A on the blog yesterday, Adam asked me what my reaction to the Huskers leaving was. My response was that it was an unpopular one. By "it," I meant my reaction, not the Huskers' decision to leave. In hindsight, the way I worded it was a bit confusing, but clearly, just about everyone from Nebraska was strongly in favor of leaving for the Big Ten. I agree, though: You'd have to be ignorant to believe otherwise.
Travis in Murrieta, Calif., asks: I know you get sick of possible expansion scenarios, too bad! With the success of the Texas franchise and ESPN do you think the conference will market that as a positive for future league memberships? Does it depend on what the other schools are able to muster? It seems to me that schools that already have a national following wanting to pursue individual media rights might look at the Big XII as attractive. For example, could you see Notre Dame and BYU taking advantage of the marketing, time zone, and scheduling opportunities?
DU: That's actually an interesting sentiment regarding future expansion. Notre Dame has always been basically a pipe dream for the Big 12, but I wonder if the ability to make its own network, something the Big Ten Network wouldn't provide, is attractive at all. BYU already has one, of course, but it sounds like it's wanting to try this independence thing for awhile. Texas' new network could change a lot of things, and if it's wildly successful, it'll be fascinating to see what that does to the way Notre Dame sees its future if/when the realignment issue surfaces again.
Chris J in Houston, Texas, asks: Mr. Ubben, I'm pretty jacked up about the football season for the Longhorns, with the new blood on the coaching staff and the talent that is returning and that has yet to be used and seeing how quickly the basketball program has turned it around, I see good things for 2011, am I being a little to optimistic and looking through burnt orange sun glasses?
DU: It should definitely be a better year than 2010, but basketball isn't a great comparison. For one, Texas was still pretty good in 2009, and in hoops, it doesn't take nearly as many players to get the improvement it saw this year. Two guys don't change much on the football field. Everybody has to be better. I don't see Texas winning the Big 12 this year, but I do think it'll be a lot better and win somewhere between 8-10 games. We'll see once the Longhorns start up spring practice and progress to the fall. It's a bit too hard to tell right now before we see anything from the new coordinators and position coaches.
Jeremiah Godssavingpower in Gretna, Neb., asks: How come you removed Nebraska from the side bar selection area?! Why do you hate Nebraska so much!
DU: I'm not sure, but are you related to Godspower Offor?
GT Cat in Tonganoxie, Kan., asks: Ubbs, without all of the Nebraska fans flooding your inbox, what are you going to do with all of your spare time? Create a 10 for 10 documentary on the remaining Big 12 teams? EMAW!
DU: How did you find out about that? Quite the opposite, in fact. My latest film, Big Red Sea: Celebrating 100 years of Nebraska and its fans, should be in theaters later this year.
I can't let go!
Richard in Pensacola, Fla., asks: With whom did Barry Sanders Jr. sign a letter of intent? Or was he even a HS senior this year? I know Ohio State was recruiting him.
DU: He was actually a junior this year, but his recruitment should be an interesting story throughout 2011. He's one of the top running backs in the nation in the 2012 class, and Oklahoma State is the only school in the Big 12 still in his final four as of October. He's also reportedly narrowed it down to Alabama, Florida State and UCLA, but he said in December that nothing's set in stone.
Dave in Temple, Texas, asks: Hi David,Do you think A&M QB recruit Johnny Manziel can contribute as a freshman (next year or a redshirt) in a WR role a la Tannehil? He only runs a 4.5, but he's got a sub-4 shuttle and he's smart (scored a 1550 on the SAT). At 6-1, 190, he's a little smaller than Tannehil, but he could be one of those crafty, shifty slot guys. Your thoughts?
DU: That's an interesting sentiment, and it's one that Mike Sherman should be open to. Manziel, though, would benefit from it more than Texas A&M would. They have plenty of playmakers in the passing game and the running game, of course, so Manziel would have to outplay somebody like a Brandal Jackson, a guy with some experience, to see the field. You don't play him just to play him. He has to prove it and earn it, and show he's adjusted to the speed of the game. Tannehill, in addition to being the backup quarterback, was one of the Aggies' best receivers, too. Manziel hasn't proved anything yet. Whether he sees the field this year will probably be up to him, but he'll probably be in the quarterback competition in 2012 with Jameill Showers and Matt Joeckel.
Rob in Augusta, Ga., asks: Love the blog, Mr. Ubben. But I wonder if you really buy the claim that Collin Klein is already out of the QB race at K-State and back at WR? Klein was impressive in the option & zone-read last season, and he brings good size and explosiveness (things you just can't coach) to the backfield, not to mention a huge head start on understanding the offense, so why wouldn't Snyder at least give him a chance to compete for the starting QB job this spring? Thanks! Rob
DU: I'm not sure if I buy it 100 percent just yet, but it completely makes sense if it's true. Klein has pretty good athleticism and a nice ball fake on the zone read, but is he necessarily wowing anyone with his speed or elusiveness? I say no. Grading on the curve of mobile quarterbacks, it's pretty average if you ask me. Comparing him to Carson Coffman obviously meant he deserved some time to get on the field as a change of pace. As a passer, he didn't inspire a lot of confidence. That experience is nice, but you don't bring in junior college quarterbacks to be your backup. That's just unwise and not a great use of a scholarship, even if you do bring in juco guys by the busload like K-State.
If he has moved, my guess is it was a somewhat mutual decision at least. This way, he can become a better receiver and get work there for a unit that needs it. What if he spent all spring and fall camps competing for the job and then lost it? He'd have almost no work at receiver if he tried to switch positions. Seems like a bit of a waste, no?