Thanks for dropping by. I'm heading out to UCLA in a few hours to watch the Bruins scrimmage. Lots to talk about today with the new NCAA rule changes, spring ball and the NFL draft, among other things, so let's get to it.
I have heard everything from 4-8 to 8-4 for the very "rocky" Tennessee Vols this season. After the Top 10 recruiting class and the recent players leaving, what do you expect from the Spring Game and what is your take on their season.
I think 6-6 would be optimistic. The O-line has to be entirely rebuilt, new QB. You lose your two best players on D in Eric Berry and Dan Williams. I think they'll be underdogs in at least six games. I have heard good things about some of the young players J. James at OT and Matt Milton at WR and eventually I think Bray will be a good QB. Also DaRick Rogers will be a star WR down the road.
Aside from Tenn Martin and UAB, I don't see any game where they should cruise.
Bruce, Bama has loads of young talent. What players that make a name for themselves this year in Tuscaloosa?
I think Josh Chapman Marcel Dareus and Dont'a Hightower have breakout seasons. I also think Julio Jones takes a big step forward. Of the really unproven guys, I want to see Dre Kirkpatrick in the secondary and Milliner the new CB.
These taunting rules are ridiculous! No more deion highstepping to the endzone.. really? i understand getting in a guys face talking smack, but being happy your scoring a touchdown? really??
Agree. I think the rule is not going to work well. I wrote about this in my blog last night. One of the top rules guys was on CF Live Thursday and was shown a TD catch by Golden Tate against Michigan and said it would've been nullified. I was incredulous after seeing what seemed like such a tame play.
On oct 16 texas comes to Lincoln, do they walk out with a loss?
Not sure. I have more faith in the Texas QB than I do in the Nebraska QB at this point, although I have more faither in the Huskers backs than I do in Texas'.
What is something that would surprise your readers about your job?
I don't know enough about what the perceptions really are. I do still love the sport as much as I did when I first started covering it. Actually I love it more. I don't like being on planes, but most people don't so that's no shocker I guess. Maybe that I read more non mainstream blogs than people might think?
what coaching changes do you expect this year.
Hotseat: Dennis Erickson, Ralph Friedgen, Ron Zook, Rich Rodriguez, Paul Wulff, Todd Dodge... I think at least four of those six won't be back at their schools in 2011.
Ohio State, Iowa, or Wisconsin in the big ten. Who do you got? Or somebody else?
Wisconsin gets Ohio State at home. I'll go with Wisconsin.. and yes I know Iowa then gets Wisky there, but my hunch is Wisconsin. I like all of the senior leadership there.
With Ingram having to split carries down in Bama, it's unlikely that he'll repeat for the Heisman, right?
Yes, agree. An RB might win it again, but I could see Quizz or someone like that but not Ingram again.
With all the unwanted attention that Rich Rod has brought upon the wolverine nation, if he does not beat 2 of the 3 major rivals and goes lessmtha .500, do they go after Les Miles, whom tjhey really wanted to begin with, or do they look else where?
I could see there being a ton of pressure to hire a former Wolverine, yes. I think if Rodriguez goes 8-4, which I think is realistic, he will be back, but they have to take a big step forward this year.
How well do you think Penn State will do this year with an inexperienced QB and playing @ Bama
Not well. I think Bama wins by at least two TDs.
What are your thoughts on the first 10 days of Brian Kelly. I have to admit i love his no nonsense approach.
He is a major upgrade. He knows how to run a program. If you're a ND fan you should be excited about the future.
Did you just forget Hawkins or is he safe in your opinion?
No, I forgot him. There were 3-4 others I knew I would be leaving off.
They're getting closer. I think they can win 8. They have improved the level of athletes in there in a hurry. Kevin Prince needs to keep progressing and you'd like to see a bigtime back emerge. They do have two great players on D though in Akeem Ayers and Rahim Moore.
Can auburn challenge for the West title in the SEC? does it all depend on how good cam newton is?
That's the big if. I think they'll be a little better but am not sure they can move past Bama, LSU and Ark, which I think will be very good too.
Can one really change their delivery in terms of QB throwing? Under pressure, doesn't everyone automatically resort to what's comfortable?
Guys make subtle changes all the time but the major overhaul stuff is tough because of the point you make. You do something a certain way for 10 years, it's muscle memory. That stuff is hard to unlearn. And you don't want to ruin what you have because you can fall into something like this, where you can't stop doing it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s50K65PNeBU
I think Damien Berry for the U is going to have a breakout year. Do you agree with me?
He produces whenever he gets in there. He's just a very physical back, and switching him to RB from safety has proven to be a shrewd move. I do wonder if he'll be a true feature back because I know they're also high on Lamar Miller, Mike James and Storm Johnson.
Bruce, what's your opinion of UF platooning the QB role? Is this just to take pressure off of Brantley, fixing the fact they have no other solution for 3rd and short, or a combination?
I think it's because Meyer loves the run-game dimension that the change of pace can have on a D, where you have to spend a lot of time preparing for it.
My apology Bruce, I should have better wrote my question. How do you think Penn State will fare on the season as a whole. Do they contend for the Big Ten at all playing @ Ohio State and @ Iowa?
I do think this so this year. I think they lost too much leadership. I expect PSU to be in the second group in the Big Ten with Michigan behind Wisky, OSU and Iowa.
Bruce, who do you see coming out ahead at QB between Costa and Thomas at Oregon?
Costa's experience will be tough to overcome. Am heading up to the Pacific Northwest to see them in 2 weeks. Will have a better sense of it after that.
Who in the heck is the favorite in the Big East? You can probably make a case for 6 teams.
You probably could. Pitt has the best player in Dion Lewis so I may start with them, although I think USF and Cincy will be tough too.
Bruce, should Boise State get a NC bid if undefeated this year? Not "will they", "should they"?
It depends who else is undefeated too. Winning on the east coast vs. VT would be a great win and beating Oregon State could carry weight as well. Would I take them over a one-loss Big 12 team or SEC or Big Ten team? I don't know. I'd need to see more of the resumes.
The quality of the Wac really hurts Boise's cause. It's just not as strong a league as the MWC. If Boise were in the MWC and also beating TCU, BYU and Utah, they'd have a much better case. Obviously.
I've read UNC has loads of talent eligible for the 2011 Draft. How many impact NFL players do you think they have?
Robert Quinn the young DE may be the best of the bunch. I think if Marvin Austin is playing hard, he could be an impact guy. They have super-fast LBs that will play on Sundays and both safeties are really good too. Maybe Greg Little too.
Bruce, do you realize the same body that wants to expand the men's basketball tournament to 96 teams is the same brain trust that wants to take away TD's for taunting? They're pretty sharp, aren't they?
Yeah, not a fan of the 96 team tourney concept either.
Will usc finish in the top 10 with lane kiffin as head coach?
I think so. Saw them practice yesterday. They have a lot of talent still and all of their toughest games, except Stanford are in LA this year. I'll be surprised if they do worse than 11-2 regular season.
Bruce, Who do you think wins the QB spot @ UGA? I say Mettenberger is the best QB of the bunch but I hear it is probably gonna be Murray too.
I think Aaron Murray but honestly I'm working off information from pre-spring. Not sure how this thing plays out. But the Dawgs can't have possible another season of bad luck with the injuries up front. Whoever is the QB I think will be fine because of Green and the talent around them. The defense I'm more skeptical of right now.
Hey Bruce...I love your work....It seems like the Big red nation is putting all of their eggs in the beat Texas basket......I think they might get disappointed again....thoughts?
Thanks Ronnie,Pelini has them on the right track. I think the league is about as wide open as it has been in a long time.
How does the Big Ten know Rutgers can even bring in the New York market? The athletic department is very poor overall (in everything including marketing) and New York doesn't even watch them now.
Yeah, when I lived there no one talked about Rutgers. It's a tricky deal about how much of a connection they could make with TV deals locally. As it is you have so many alums of Mich, PSU and OSU in the tri-state area.
There is obviously a lot to like about Christian Ponder but what can he improve on as he enters his senior season at Florida State?
Maybe having the temptation of trying to do too much. He's a very good runner but decision making and cutting down on compounding mistakes is something I think is a focus.
Bruce: couldn't get this answered in the Big 12 chat yesterday, so i'll try today: why don't we see any teams, in college or the NFL, (with the exception of college option teams), with 2 viable running backs who are both threats to carry the ball, playing at the same time? You might give up something in blocking, but i think you could make up for it in the defense not knowing who the ball is always gong to. Used to, in the NFL you had Simpson/Braxton, Harris/Bleier, Csonka/Morris, etc. Any thoughts?
Running teams like to work out of the "I" a lot because it lets the backs run downhill, which is why teams starting going to the Pistol. Having the lead blocker is a big plus. You see that's why a Lorenzo Neal was so revered in the NFL.
Bruce, Will Hazelton (USC transfer) and Collaris fill the void left by Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) and Mardy Gilyard and Tony Pike to the NFL?
They still have a few good WRs there for Collaris, so I think Mike Bajakian the new OC will have a lot to work with. Will they put up as many points as they did in 2009? I think they can.
Who do u think are the 3 best receivers in the BIG 12?
Ryan Broyles is #1...
followed by the big WR at Texas A&M whose name I'm blanking on and Kendel Wright from Baylor
The TECH receivers can run circles around Broyles
Who should I have said Alex Torres or Detron Lewis?
Isn't the only way to tap the NY market for the BIG 10 would be to bring in Notre Dame?
That would help with every market.
Is RichRod the only coach breaking the 20-hours-a-week rule or is he just really bad at covering it up?
He's one of many. Lots of rule bending going on. Just like there are staffers who shouldn't be "coaching" at practice but they still do.
Jeff Fuller - A&M WR
Yes. him. I think A&M has outstanding skill guys all around. Big believer in Jerrod Johnson too.
Niles Paul hates you.
Sorry, he gave me three choices.. not five.. And tell Niles Paul I'm doing ESPN radio in Nebraska in 25 minutes.
Fuller had 600 yards receiving last year. Give me a break
He also missed four games though.. Ask Texas how good he is. He shredded them.
Gut feel; has Masoli started his last game for Oregon?
He plays in 2011. I'm not sure really. With his frame the guy is never going to be an NFL QB prospect, so he might have to prove himself in Canada. He's got height issues and character questions to prove. Both will take time to win skeptics over.
Hey Bruce, great seeing you at USC yesterday. Could John Baxter parlay his time with the Trojans into a head coaching gig?
Maybe so. Everyone who has ever worked with Baxter raves about how sharp he is and the impact he can have on a program academically. He would present well because of the stuff he has accomplished. However ADs tend to covet younger guys now who have been OCs or DCs, not STCs.
did you catch the dillon baxter clip...allen bradford big year or not?
I did. I actually talked to Baxter about the buzz that created. He was surprised it's taken off like that. Not sure if Bradford is ever going to be a 1200 yard guy. He is a punishing runner. I don't think people outside LA realize how big and physical he is, but for whatever reason he hasn't been able to break out there.
Any thoughts on the VT/BSU game to open the season in DC?
If it were on the blue turf, I'd go with BSU, but it's not and BSU has a new DC and will be facing a great RB tandem.
Fuller had 6 receptions for 132 yards and 3 TD's. Thats an average day at work for TECH receivers.
Is this Dennis Simmons?
What are Purdue's Chances of being a spoiler in the Big Ten this year?
Skeptical especially after some of these injuries in spring ball. I think Marve will help them but I don't see more than 6 wins this year.
Three more questions...
I think Gilbert can lead Texas to a NC in the next 2 years, your thoughts?
Texas is always going to have talent, but winning just one is so hard. Vince had to be superman for them to win that one.
How do you think LSU willl do this season and is this Les Miles last season there?
They're a dangerous team with talent everywhere. I think they'll run the ball better this year. But QB is still a concern. I've heard Jarrett Lee has had a good spring, but the concern there is can do it when he's not wearing the green jersey? Miles could have some interesting options at the end of this year.
Can Mark Richt win a NC at UGA? I think he can but I wish he would hurry up! Not a better Coach I'd rather have!!!
I wrote this in the blog last year.. it's really rare these days for a head coach to win a national title after he's been at a place for more than five years. Almost of the titles go to guys who get there and win one in the first 3-4 years. Mack Brown was an exception but there aren't many.
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN. Thanks.