Chat with Tim Griffin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin stops by to chat about the upcoming season.
Griffin joined ESPN.com in February 2008. He has covered the Big 12 since its inception, among a variety of beats during a 24-year career at the San Antonio Express-News. Griffin, a Memphis State University graduate, lives in San Antonio with his wife and son.
Send your questions now and join Griffin Thursday at noon ET!
Tim Griffin (12:00 PM)
Good early afternoon - or late morning as it is here in San Antonio. Sorry for the early kickoff. Let's get started.
Mike Harmon (Oklahoma City, OK)
What does Mizzou need to do to put Navy away as early as possible?
Tim Griffin (12:02 PM)
Mike: I think that a quick offensive start is critical for the Tigers. If they can jump ahead by a couple of touchdowns, it would negate much of Navy's rushing attack. I don't think Navy QB Ricky Dobbs passes that well on a consistent basis. If the Tigers can jump ahead, it could go well for them.
Hey Tim,Do you know what happened to Helu Jr. yesterday? Seems like he disappeared from the game after the first few series. Was Rex just the hot hand?
Tim Griffin (12:03 PM)
Joe: I was kind of surprised about that as well. Not being at the game, I didn't really get a feel from watching him on the sidelines or anything.I just kind of got the idea that Shawn Watson felt very comfortable with Rex Burkhead -- particularly when he was running from the Wildcat. He got hot and the Cornhuskers' coaches chose to stay with him.
Will (San Angelo)
Tim, you mentioned in your blog that Tommy Tuberville is intertested in Tech and I've seen it confirmed elsewhere. What are your thoughts on the chance of this happening and would he be willing to completely buy into the spread offense. Tech has too much talent geared directly towards the spread and it seems to be a key point to Red Raider fans.
Tim Griffin (12:07 PM)
Will: From what I'm hearing, Tubs is interested and itching to get back into coaching. He's got a proven track record, obviously.But I don't know if he necessarily is the best choice. I think Ruffin McNeill would provide the most seamless transition and that Art Briles would give them similar benefits because of an offensive philosophy that's relatively similar to what Mike Leach ran. I don't think that Sonny Dykes did himself much good with that performance by Arizona last night.
Clayton (North Carolina)
It would seem from most of the reporting outlets that Leach's firing appears to be from exaggerated circumstances, and that it really stems from a frosty relationship with AD Myers. What is your take on the firing, and do you think that it was a bad move by TTU?
Tim Griffin (12:09 PM)
Clayton: To be honest, you could almost see the Leach firing coming. After all the contentiousness between him and the school's administration over the years, it was only a matter of time before it happened. That being said, I think it will be extremely difficult for Tech to match its recent success with Leach with a new coach. He was able to push that program into a top 25 or top 30 program on a consistent basis the last decade.That is a huge challenge in the Big 12 South, considering how dominant Oklahoma and Texas have been in recent seasons. Add a growing program at Oklahoma State and a traditional power at A&M that's waiting to be reawakened and you can see the challenge that Leach consistently faced and to a large part was able to overcome.
Andy (Marquette, MI)
Hey Tim,Great blog. I read it all the time. So..with NU's performance last night, all the people they're returning and the manageable schedule next year, 2010 looks like the year of the Cornhusker. Do you see them winning the Big 12? Where are they ranked to start the year, in your opinion? Where are they ranked to finish it?
Tim Griffin (12:12 PM)
Andy: I talked to one of my best friends in the Nebraska media last night shortly before kickoff. We were trying to determine how high the Cornhuskers could win. Both of us thought the top 10 was out of the question because we didn't think that Nebraska's offense would prove dominant enough against Arizona.Of course, the Cornhuskers proved us wrong.That was their best game of the season and could leave them in the top 12 to 15 teams depending how the teams in front of them in the bowls play. And a Texas victory in the BCS title game would benefit them more. Going into next season, I think they are obviously the favorites now in the North. They likely will be a top 10 team in the preseason - challenging teams like Texas and Oklahoma for Big 12 support. They might be the best Big 12 team in 2010. Remember, they get Texas at home in what should be a very interesting game after this year's championship game controversy. I'm anxious to see how it plays out.
Brandon Boyd (Dallas, Tx)
I am a Baylor alum and my dad is a Tech alum. We are both sadden with the firing of Leach. What are the chances Briles goes to Tech, and if he does go, who is on the short list at Baylor?
Tim Griffin (12:15 PM)
Brandon: I think it's clear that Briles is one of the top two candidates for the Tech job along with Ruffin McNeill. It will be interesting to see if he would decide to stay and continue trying to build a bowl team at Baylor or go to a program that has gone to bowls 10 straight seasons with Leach. Obviously he has the connection at Tech after graduating from there and earlier serving as the coach. But Briles has resources at Baylor that are just as good as he would have at Tech.It will be interesting to see if he would go from one place in the Big 12 South to another.
Hey Tim, love the blog. Keep em coming. I was just wondering what do you think Oklahoma States scheme has to be to beat a pretty good Ole Miss team?
Tim Griffin (12:17 PM)
Ty: I think they have to do a good job protecting Zac Robinson from the potent Ole Miss pass rush. I'm hearing that Kendall Hunter is at 100 percent. It will be interesting to see if he can play at the form he showed last season when he led the Big 12 in rushing. And they need to really clamp down on McCluster, who will be a threat every time he touches the ball for the Rebels. The Cowboys have a puncher's chance at getting the upset in that game.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
Tim, Helu said he pulled himself from the game last night with a knee injury suffered during one of the QB sneaks... fyi.
Tim Griffin (12:17 PM)
Ben:Thanks for the info. I wasn't able to watch the Nebraska game as closely as I would have liked at times last night because of all of the Leach stuff breaking. It was a hectic day -- and night.
bryan (st. louis)
tim do you really see nebraska finishing ahead of mizzou next year and how
Tim Griffin (12:18 PM)
Bryan:After last night, yes I do. Zac Lee showed me some things with his performance. And that Nebraska defense will be a challenge for Gabbert -- especially without Danario.
Tim, why would Tubberville be interested in another potential back stabbing? Also your thoughts on the recent video of Leach's lawyer from the "shed' an actual 15 ft by 30 ft garage with ice machine chairs and airconditioner, and the "electrical closet", in actuality The visiting teams MEDIA ROOM.
Tim Griffin (12:22 PM)
Jay:It will be interesting to see how the Leach saga will resonate with other coaches. They are usually a pretty tightly knit fraternity. But a top 30 job is another thing entirely. I would expect this to be attractive to somebody.And the media room looked very familiar to me. I've been cramped there, but it's been with a roomful of other reporters. The visiting media room in Lubbock was a great invention. I almost saw one of my fellow scribes from Fort Worth almost go postal on one heckler after a Oklahoma-Tech game out there a few years ago when fans could express their opinions in an open area.
Justin (Austin, TX)
Does the Nebraska dominance of Arizona actually give some credit BACK to Texas, as people now see that Nebraska is a tougher team than people give them credit for?
Tim Griffin (12:24 PM)
Justin: I would think so, although the Longhorns have to prove things on the field against Alabama. But I do agree that Nebraska was a much tougher team than most gave them credit for being. The Cornhuskers finished 10-4 with three losses against Texas, Iowa State and Virginia Tech by a combined four points. Considering how those games ended, it's very possible to think the Cornhuskers could have ended up 12-2 or 13-1 with a break or two.
Sebastian A. (Austin, TX)
After watching last nights game, do you have any more insight on who you think will start at quarterback next year in Lincoln?
Tim Griffin (12:26 PM)
Sebastian: I would have thought that Cody Green would have a legitimate chance to start. But Zac Lee played well, with what turned out to be an injured elbow that will require surgery in the next several days. Considering that, I would think Lee's position is a little more entrenched heading into next season. I still think that Cody Green could give that offense a little more diversity. Shawn Watson opened things up with the Wildcat with Rex Burkhead. I could see Green playing in that role as well.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
Suh might be the best defensive player I've ever seen play for Nebraska, but in my opinion, because of the replacements coming in next year, losing Phillip Dillard will hurt Nebraska more than Big Suh. Thoughts?
Tim Griffin (12:27 PM)
Ben: Dillard will be a big loss and they don't have the immediate replacement at the position like they do at DT with Steinkuhler. Also, I'm looking for Crick to really emerge next season if he can stay healthy. The pro scouts I talk to love him and his size.
Scott (Phoenix, Az)
Tim, How do you feel about coach Pelini's comment Nebraska's back and we are here to stay?
Tim Griffin (12:28 PM)
After last night's performance, it's hard to argue with him. Bo is now 3-0 in bowl games for those of you who are scoring at home.
Besides the names you listed yesterday for the Texas Tech job, do you see any other candidates on the horizon?
Tim Griffin (12:29 PM)
I know Kevin Sumlin and June Jones have been mentioned and both would be attractive candidates. But I don't necessarily think they would be as attractive to Tech as McNeill or Briles or even Sonny Dykes (even after last night).
Trevis Rome (Toledo Ohio)
How are doin today Tim? What an impressive game by the black shirts last night. Do think Sue locked up the 1st pick in the draft?
Tim Griffin (12:30 PM)
Trevis: That was the most dominant defensive bowl performance I've seen in a long time. It was the first shutout by a Big 12 team in the history of the conference. And depending on who has the first pick, it would be hard to argue with Suh. He's the most dominant defensive player I've seen since Reggie White. Very similar players, too.
Sebastian A. (Austin, TX)
Bo Pelini has been saying a few things over the past few days about making a potential title run in 2010. I'm a Husker fan, so I like hearing this, but do you think that Pelini's comments are unfounded or do you think he has a good reason to say things like this? Love the blog by the way.
Tim Griffin (12:32 PM)
Sebastian: After the way they finished, I think Pelini has got things rolling in Lincoln. It will be interesting to see if he can get some skill-position help in recruiting. That's still their big need. But I don't think it's necessarily unfounded. Nebraska indeed does look like it's back.
Paul (Oakland, CA)
Can you give a more professional opinion on the quality of the incoming Iowa State recruiting class, as well as a breakdown of the much tougher schedule ISU has next fall?
Tim Griffin (12:35 PM)
Paul: I'll do my best in the limited window of this chat. Getting WR Ace Sanders from Manatee, Fla., would be a huge coup for Paul Rhoads. He's exactly the kind of talent that would help push ISU to the next level. I really like the kid Chris Young from Athens, Texas. He'll fill a huge need for them. And Anthony Young from Palomar C.C. will help them at DB.
Tim Griffin (12:38 PM)
Paul: One other thing. You asked about the tougher schedule. The Cyclones inherit Kansas' gauntlet with games against Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech rather than their 2009 cross-division foes Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Baylor. They were able to squeeze one victory from those games last year. I think they'll have trouble duplicating that in 2010. Toss in new series starting with Northern Illinois and Utah and I could see the Cyclones being significantly better next season with a worse record.
David (Austin, TX)
Tim, with the development of Texas' two-tailback package of Tre Newton and Cody Johnson, is the Longhorns' biggest question still the running game or do you see other weaknesses that perhaps Mack Brown and co. should be focusing more heavily on before the BCS title game?
Tim Griffin (12:39 PM)
David: After the Big 12 title game, I think the biggest question for Texas remains its pass protection. There is no way the Longhorns can afford to allow nine sacks against Alabama and win. They must protect Colt McCoy better if they have any hopes of winning.
If Oklahoma should lose yet another bowl gameday do you expect some backlash from Sooner fans?
Tim Griffin (12:40 PM)
Killian: Yes, I would. Four-straight bowl losses wouldn't go very smoothly for Sooner fans -- especially after the struggles earlier this season.
Derrick (New Orleans)
Can Turner Gill help Kansas get to the next level in contending for titles, getting top level recruits, etc.?
Tim Griffin (12:43 PM)
Derrick: I would think so. I was very impressive with what I heard from him and I'm especially impressed with some of his hirings for assistant coaches.I think the Jayhawks will be back in the hunt for bowl contention next season.
Who do you think Coach Sherman will be considering for DC?
Tim Griffin (12:46 PM)
How about these names? Tim DeRuyter of Air Force, Everett Withers of North Carolina or Kevin Steele of Clemson?A dream candidate would be somebody like Bill Young, after what he did at Oklahoma State? Also, how about Bob Davie? Would he leave the booth to get back into coaching?
Tim want to thank you for the blog it gets me through most days. I was wondering if you were kind of upset you had to miss the game last night, it was one of the best performances by a big 12 team ever in a bowl. I know the leach thing was breaking news but I would be upset to miss football games for his so called wrongdoings.
Tim Griffin (12:49 PM)
Marty: I try to do my best. It's tough sometimes trying to multi-task with three or four things going on. But I did enjoy watching some of the game from my couch.
Brad Dickerson (Lake City Iowa)
Do you think with the firing of the coaches in the Big 12, do you think that it will hurt the conference from getting good quality coaches in the future?
Tim Griffin (12:50 PM)
Brad: Probably not. Mangino and Leach both developed programs that were a little bit down and turned them into conference contenders. I can see other coaches seeing what they accomplished and being intrigued with openings in the Big 12.
What are your thoughts on the coaching future of Mike Leach?
Tim Griffin (12:53 PM)
Jake: I heard Peter King of Sports Illustrated earlier this morning mentioning that Leach would be an ideal offensive coordinator at a place like Buffalo. So there might be a shot for him to emerge in the NFL because of what he did at Tech.I would have thought the next job would probably emerge as a college coach at a non-BCS school, but maybe he might have a shot in the NFL. I could see Leach emerging as the most quotable NFL assistant since the days of Buddy Ryan if he got a shot at one of those jobs.
I enjoy your blog tim. I was just wondering what you thought about niles paul last night? Do you think he might challenge for the bilitenkof next year?
Tim Griffin (12:54 PM)
Jared: Paul had a nice game last night, but didn't show much to me against Texas in the Big 12 title game. He needs to be much more consistent to be considered at that kind of level.I was surprised, however, that Pelini wasn't more angry about Paul's flex and the resulting penalty. Maybe the Blackshirts were playing so well that Bo wasn't on edge as normal last night in San Diego.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
I take it you're done doubting Bo and Nebraska like you did before the season, before the Big 12 title game and before the bowl game?
Tim Griffin (12:55 PM)
Josh: Call me a Bo-liever.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Has Dave Christensen's name come up at all for the Texas Tech job?
Tim Griffin (12:56 PM)
Clay: He would be an interesting candidate and I think he's a rising star. But I haven't heard him mentioned at Tech.
Gametime (Harpers Ferry, WV)
K-State. Billy Cosh. Championship?
Tim Griffin (12:57 PM)
Gonna be tough with what Pelini is building at Nebraska.But the Wildcats get the Blackshirts in Manhattan next season.
Stan (Mobile, Alabama)
Do you think Nebraska has a better D then Bama?
Tim Griffin (12:57 PM)
Stan: I know Alabama has gotten a lot of hype, but don't know if I saw them as consistently dominant as Nebraska was last night.
Who is better next year: Iowa State or Baylor?
Tim Griffin (12:58 PM)
Jake: They won't play, but if Robert Griffin is healthy I would say Baylor.
Doug (Monona, Iowa)
How do you see the Iowa State vs. Minnesota game tonight? Did the Nebraska win help set the stage for a Big 12 bowl season?
Tim Griffin (12:59 PM)
Doug: I think the Cyclones have a great shot at the upset. A Rob is healthy and primed, from what I'm hearing. If Arnaud can hit some passes and the new CB holds up, they've got a solid shot to win.
Dave (Charlotte, NC)
How impressive was Nebraska's performance last night?
Tim Griffin (12:59 PM)
Dave:On a scale of 1-to-10, how about giving it an 11?
Do you think Gerhart will be as successful against OU's great D as he has been earlier in the season?
Tim Griffin (1:00 PM)
Sven: It a nutshell, that will decide the game. If Gerhart can rush for 150, I think that Stanford wins. I don't think he'll do it. That's why I'm picking Oklahoma to win in the game.
Why is it so hard to get anything about Mizzou on this blog? Anyway have a good day, I do like the blog though, it is very well done.
Tim Griffin (1:01 PM)
I'll be watching them later today. I'm interesting if Pinkel can continue his bowl success.And didn't you see the post I did a couple of days ago about Missouri's success against SEC days.
Hey Tim, I think the bigger problem with the Nebraska defense next year would be finding a couple of serviceable linebackers to replace Dillard rather than replacing Suh and Turner because there are a couple of pro style offenses coming to town.
Tim Griffin (1:01 PM)
Tom: Exactly. I don't think the line will be the biggest defensive question for Nebraska next season.
Tim Griffin (Texas)
Did you see Arizona's center harassing Suh all night last night? That guy had some serious issues with Suh. Too bad he was shut out...
Tim Griffin (1:02 PM)
Tim: I can only imagine how frustrating it is to play against Suh.By the way, great name.
Who is better next year: Texas Tech or Texas A&M?
Tim Griffin (1:03 PM)
Jake:With the coaching change looming, how about A&M at this point? Also, I like the fact the Aggies get Tech at home next season.
Tim Griffin (1:04 PM)
Guys, thanks for all of the great questions this year. Check back in the new year for some more chats.Until then, be sure to have some black-eyed peas for me during your New Year's celebrations. I need all the luck I can get.