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Friday, October 26, 2012
Mailbag: Award gripes, WVU offense

By David Ubben

Thanks for all the mail this week, everybody. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

On to your mail!

Evan in Atlanta writes: So Nick Florence, the guy leading the entire nation in total yards per game, gets no mention on your offensive player of the year list? What gives man I know you've been on the Florence band wagon since the spring.

David Ubben: I like Florence, but from the opening weeks of the season, I said he makes poor decisions and it would cost him. It has. He's productive, but how can you ignore the 10 interceptions? Only a handful of guys in college football have more and he's got three more than any player in the Big 12. He throws it a lot, but he's still one of four guys in the league with more than 200 attempts, but Seth Doege's seven picks are the only thing close to that. Landry Jones and Geno Smith only have half as many interceptions as Doege ... combined.

MKM in Addison, Texas, writes: Since you and Tubs both hail from Arkansas, how alluring is that job to a native Arkansawyer? Which Big 12 coach do you think would be most likely to jump at an SEC job? (Arkansas, Auburn or Tennessee)?

DU: Arkansawyer? That hurts my heart. Arkansan, sir. I'm from the northwest part of the state, though. Tuberville is from way down south. I don't think there's much draw. The only draw would be coming back to the SEC. Arkansas is a better job than Texas Tech, but it's not in a completely different stratosphere, and Tuberville's not trying to climb the coaching ladder. He's been around a whole lot of places for a long, long time. He's told me in the past he just wants a place he can just be happy. By all accounts, he's found that in Lubbock. I'm not going to say never, but I think he sticks around. He's recruited well and it looks like Texas Tech is finally turning the corner. He put in a lot of work these past two years, and considering where Arkansas is right now and stuck in a loaded division, he'd have to go right back to work trying to rebuild.

At this point in his life, I don't think he'd want to do that. Tenneesee would be more attractive, but again, I don't think he's trying to move up anywhere. He's been around in the SEC. I'll never say never on Tuberville leaving, but I'm betting he stays, even if any of those three schools are interested.

Art Briles and Gary Patterson are the other two names that come up for that, but Briles has already built a great program at Baylor and the program is paying it back by building a gorgeous new stadium. Briles is kind of married to that project. I don't see him leaving. Patterson, meanwhile, has made TCU a much, much, much better job than when he arrived. He worked for more than a decade before getting this program into the league it always wanted to be in, turning down a lot of jobs he probably could have had along the way. Why would he leave now? Makes no sense.

Calm Your Jets in Lincoln, Neb., writes: Do you really think that the cancelled KSU/Oregon series has any bearing on who should play in a NCG? Good ol Ivan Maisel seems to think KSU should be penalized since in his mind, KSU cancelled the series. But how could voters possibly knock off KSU because of institutional decisions on both sides? It is never one side or the others complete fault, and I for one would be happy if this talking point died and we focus on what the teams are currently doing. There is too much football left to put the bug in people's ear that the cancelled series should have anything to do with anything, and lets face it, there is a good chance one or BOTH of these teams could stumble. The BCS always has some funny way of working itself out by the end of it all.

DU: No, that seems a little ridiculous. I think Oregon's style points and recent history will help it if it comes down to the end of the season and everybody's undefeated, but if Notre Dame is undefeated, they'll probably get in over all of them.

It's a little shady, sure. And yes, this game would be happening if Kansas State wanted it to happen, even if it wouldn't be happening this year. But to penalize a team in the polls for that? Nothing short of shameful. If anybody does that, they deserve whatever blasting is coming their way. The players on the field had nothing to do with that, and they're the guys playing the games that show up on the schedule.

Chris in Maryland writes: "Your guess is as good as mine for why WVU's offense is struggling. Part of it is the inability to run the ball, but it's hard to not look past Geno Smith's inability to hit the deep ball the past two games."Come on, you're the journalist here! At least try to come up with some reasons. You know the league. Is it that the TTU and KSU defenses were just that much better, or is the team lacking depth and confidence?

DU: Hey, even WVU's coaches don't know what's going on. I talked to Shannon Dawson, the OC, after the Texas Tech game, and he said it comes down to three things. One, is effort. That's fixable. I didn't see a huge change from last week vs. K-State to the debacle at Texas Tech. Tavon Austin was playing, but everybody else looked average. Andrew Buie seemed unable to make guys miss.

The second thing coaches can change is personnel. WVU is missing Shawne Alston but moved some guys around on offense, throwing Travares Copeland out there to start. He didn't have much effect.

The third thing that can change is scheme. That's just not happening. That's not the problem. If anything, that's the biggest asset.

Bottom line: Geno Smith has not been sharp these past few weeks. Throws he usually makes have not been made. That's very clearly the problem. What's wrong with Geno? Only he knows, and only he can make it better. If that doesn't change, neither will WVU's newfound issues on offense.

Curtis in Iowa writes: Mr. Ubben, which ISU offense do you think will show up against Baylor Saturday night? The offense that put up 37 @ TCU or the one that put up 10 @ OK state.

DU: Well, Baylor's defense will help. The Bears are giving up 58.3 points (!!!) a game in conference play. Iowa State has struggled to find consistency at quarterback, and the simple throws aren't being made. The TCU game looks like a bit of an anomaly in hindsight, but I would expect the Cyclones to look a lot more like that against the Bears defense. I picked Baylor to win, but picked the Bears to do it while giving up 34 points in the process.