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Friday, February 1, 2013
Big East mailbag

By Andrea Adelson

You guys are quiet this week! As a friendly reminder, drop me a line whenever it suits your fancy.

And for those who missed the chat, we will begin to transition Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC blog, and Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis to the Big East blog in two weeks.



Marcus in Louisville writes: I believe one of the biggest assets Louisville has had in the Charlie Strong tenure is the stability in assistant coaches. You are not seeing any turnover again this year. I see this as another reason for optimism in 2013 for the Cardinals. On the flip side, why are his guys getting overlooked for some of the head coaching jobs out there?

Andrea Adelson: The stability has been remarkable, Marcus. Some of these assistants have gotten looks elsewhere. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson did, but he decided to come back to Louisville. I asked in a recent phone interview why there has been so much stability at Louisville.

He said, "You know when you join something special. There’s been a lot of people who’ve had opportunities to leave here but when you think about it, it’s hard to leave. You don’t want to leave this environment because you get this every so often in coaching. I’ve been doing it 30 years and it happens every once in a while where you get a group of guys on the same page, believe in the same things, support each other. There’s no egos. It’s about a team that wins. The fact that Charlie’s the guy leading the program empowers all of us to do our job at a high level. It’s easy to hold each other accountable to one another. It’s a good deal."



Tim in Louisville writes: It would be great to see an article dedicated to showing what each program developed players from and into what. Initial star rankings then final accolades for players.

Adelson: Ask and you shall receive. Next Monday and Tuesday, Matt and I will take a look at the players on the Big East first team and look back at their recruiting rankings. Just in time for signing day!



Bigg Edd in Somerset, N.J., writes: Just wanted to pass on something that Khaseem Greene sent to the Scarlet Nation. This represents who he is and what being a college student is about; working hard in the class, community, and on the field. I know Rutgers and Big East fans can appreciate what he has given the game, this season, and wishes him the best at the next level. Rutgers, New Jersey, and Elizabeth are EXTREMELY proud that he stayed home and played for the Scarlet Knights. I hope you make mention of this article to the rest of the Big East.

Adelson writes: I know Matt included this in links earlier this week, but I agree -- it is worth pointing this letter out in a separate post. Greene is one of the classiest players I have had the opportunity to cover, so I am not surprised at all that he took the time to write such a heartfelt letter of thanks and gratitude to all those who have helped him along the way. It really has been a treat to watch him play over the last several seasons, and I can tell you I will miss speaking to him on a regular basis. I will share one additional story. Last year at media day in Newport, I had an opportunity to interview Greene and his brother, Ray Graham, on my little flip camera for a video post. They were gracious and really wonderful. I went to upload the file onto my computer, and my camera had malfunctioned. Instead of the great video, I had a big question mark on my screen and an unrecoverable file. I was beyond upset. But I explained what happened to the Pitt and Rutgers sports information staffs. Greene was about ready to get in his car to leave when he came into the hotel ballroom with Graham to film a second take. I will forever be grateful to them both. After a long day of interviews, they delayed getting back just to help me out. Just shows their character. Thanks for the great moments, guys!



Darrell Winfield in League City, Texas, writes: My son is on a visit to Memphis. What does their future look like in the Big East the next four years?

Adelson: Great question, Darrell. Memphis made strides last year, ending the season on a three-game winning streak and winning a total of four games. That was its highest win total since 2008. So coach Justin Fuente seems to have things on an upswing. But now the Tigers are taking a step up in conference. UAB, Tulane and Southern Miss -- the teams Memphis beat at the end of the year -- are no longer on the conference schedule. For a program that has just begun taking steps back, this move could be a momentary setback. Look at Temple a season ago. The Owls were competing for MAC championships, then went 4-7 in Year 1 in the Big East. Memphis is not nearly in as good a position as Temple was entering the Big East. Now, what Memphis has going for it -- lots of returning starters, including quarterback Jacob Karam. Still, I think it will be tough sledding initially for Memphis.