Friday, July 1, 2011
Mailbag: UT QBs, clubhouses, player quirks
By ESPN.com staff
Thanks for all the questions. Enjoy the Fourth of July weekend.
Cary in Japan asked: Can you see a scenario where Gilbert doesn't start again for Texas this year at quarterback? And have any of the other QBs made enough noise thus far to give Gilbert a short leash?
David Ubben: Yeah, it could happen. I don't think it will happen, but it might. I think he'll end up the starter on opening day, but he'll have a way, way shorter leash. He has to. None of the other guys got a real shot last year, and if he struggles early this season, you absolutely have to put Connor Wood or Case McCoy out there before conference play. You can't just leave him out there making mistakes and hope it clicks at some point. We've seen enough of him, and he didn't have a ton of plays last year that really showed flashes of him turning it around in games.
DeMarshawn in Southlake, Texas, asked: Ubbenator - Have you been inside all of the Big 12 locker rooms? If so, which teams have the nicest/fanciest set-ups? If you were a prospective player and were deciding which school to play for based solely on the locker rooms, which team would you choose?
DU: I've been in a pretty big percentage of them on various campus visits, but on game weekends, they're usually closed. I haven't been to all of them, but the two that stick out are Oklahoma State and Texas. Crazy, crazy nice. I'm sure that's no surprise with the recent renovations at the OSU facilities and Texas' general aura of cash.
The thing that puts Texas' over the top, though? All the players' towels are crafted from actual $100 bills.
Baylorfan in San Antonio asked: david, in your opinion, is baylor closer to a 10 win breakout season or an 8 loss letdown season?
DU: Interesting question. It's very, very close, I'd say. The tougher schedule and additional conference game make me lean toward eight losses, though.
If the defense steps up, I could see the Bears winning 10 games, but they still have to play TCU and now get Missouri on the schedule, which they didn't have last year. Baylor hasn't proven it can consistently beat the South teams enough, and if you look back at the games it did win last year, the Colorado, K-State and Texas games all could have gone the other way. Meanwhile, the only loss it didn't get outright outplayed in, and could have gone the other way was Texas Tech. I definitely think the Bears fall somewhere in the middle, but the chances of an eight-loss season are a bit better than a 10-win season.
Larry in Columbia, Mo., asked: David,It's official: Former Mizzou QB Tyler Gabbert is transferring to Louisville. I wish him well, but I have to think he's making a mistake. At Mizzou, he was within a hair of winning the starting job and could have easily ended up playing a lot this season. At Louisville, he will need to sit out a year and then compete with star recruit Teddy Bridgewater who maybe have already established himself as the starter by then. Seems like he loses a year of eligibility to go to a worse situation. Your take? Love the blog! Larry
DU: That might be true, but it fits his personality. On some level, I agree with you, and though I don't know Tyler well, I've talked to his coaches about him a bit, and everything I've heard about him is he's by far the most competitive quarterback Missouri had.
That obviously carried over to his decision to transfer. It won't be easy there, but Gabbert believes he can win the job, or else he wouldn't have gone. I definitely think he's capable of starting at the BCS level. Is that at Louisville?
Blaine in Fort Worth, Texas, asked: Ubbs,I saw the great comment about "Tank Carder and his gratuitous arm bands", and I'll admit that I did laugh out loud. It makes me think about players over the last few years that overindulged on equipment/eyeblack/get ups. One that comes to mind is Tech's Brandon Carter. Can you give us a list of your favorites?
DU: Glad you enjoyed it. Carder is a heck of a player, but those things crack me up every time I see them. There aren't a ton of equipment quirks in the Big 12 that jump out, but Markelle Martin's tights always make him stick out on the field.
Obviously it has a pretty clear purpose, but Robert Griffin III's knee brace when he came back last year gives him a bit of a robotic look. You don't see QBs with that much protection too often.
Evan in Missouri asked: You posted a poll today who the readers thought was the 2nd best team. While I don't disagree that those 2 teams have the potential to be very good. But what about Mizzou? Yes, I'm a homer, but I honestly believe the Tigers have the potential as well. You know, as long as James Franklin is at least decent.
DU: At the end of the season, sure. No question that could happen. But the poll is asking about the beginning of the season. And there's no way Missouri is ranked higher than either OSU or Texas A&M. I'm higher on Mizzou heading into this year than most (I had them 16th on my post-spring poll, but I'll probably bump them down a few spots in the preseason poll), but they're going to have a lot to prove during the season before people take them seriously as a Big 12 contender.
Scott in Lilbourn, Mo., asked: Hello Mr. Ubben. I have been a regular visitor to your blog ever since Mizzou beat OU last season. I have a question for you. Lets say that James Franklin has a breakout first season and plays great from start to finish, where will Missouri end up if this were to happen? Thanks.
DU: I'd say 11-1 and in a BCS bowl. Franklin's a first-year starter. No matter how good he is, he's going to have some games that drive fans crazy. Look out for a 12-of-30, 175-yard, TD, two-INT night at some point. Maybe a couple of those. The good news is, Missouri is good enough everywhere else to pick him up when he does inevitably struggle at some point and it might not lose those games. It can lean on the running game and the defensive improvements will help make sure the Tigers don't need to hang 40 every time out to win a game.
Franklin's got the capability to have plenty of big nights, too, a 26-34, 310-yard, 3 TD kind of outing, and he'll have the capability to carry the team on some nights, but like any first-year guy, it won't be every night.
Jon in Davis, Calif., asked: Ubben,I am surprised this TCU v. Baylor game isn't picked as an upset special of the week. All of the markers are there for it: Home game for the Bears. Lots of offensive talent returning for the Bears. TCU loses most of its offensive team from last year, including its senior, experience rich QB.I mean really, do we all underestimate the value of Dalton that much? We saw what happened to UT once Colt left..that vaunted UT defense played admirably, but was crippled by that offense. I could see the same thing playing out here, with the obvious exception that BU doesn't have the talent on defense that UT does. But I digress...
DU: I'd say it's pretty close to being an upset, but you basically pegged all the reasons it should be a great game. TCU's got to feel good about Casey Pachall, but you'd have been hard-pressed to find a Texas fan not feeling even better about Garrett Gilbert a year ago. Look back at Oklahoma in 2009, too. They were replacing offensive line starters just like TCU, too. The thing has upset written all over it, but Baylor has to make it happen. TCU is still probably a better team, but it might take it awhile to get its sea legs underneath it with so many new faces.
Jason in Ames writes: With Danny Wuerffel being in the top 20 on the Simply Saturday list and having beaten Troy Davis by less the 200 points in the 1996 Heisman voting and having finished 5th the previous year on top of being the first guy to rush for 2,000 yards in consecutive years do you feel he should have represented the cyclones on the list? I logged on every day almost expecting him to be on it, haha. He was a great college player on a terrible team and put up so many yards even though every person in the stadium knew he was getting the ball. He is an Iowa State legend, not that it means much in the landscape of college football, but it would have been nice as a cyclone faithful to see him recognized.
DU: Yeah, he probably deserved a spot, but it was a tough, tough group. Look at the Big 12 player lowest on the list, Jason White. He threw for over 8,000 yards, won a Heisman and carried his team to the national championship twice. And he barely made it. Davis' yardage is impressive, and I'm sure you wouldn't have heard many complaints if he'd made it, but in any exercise like this, guys have to get left out.