I feel chatty, yes I do. I feel chatty, how 'bout you? What have you got for me today?
Kevin, I gave you some grief over your dislike for In N Out, and your praise for Mondo burrito, but your recommendation of Mucho's was stop on! Love the place. On to football - who of the Pac12 favorites (Oregon, Stanford, Ucla, Usc) do you think has the most favorable schedule?
Glad you liked it. I always try to grab a Grande Gigante when I'm in town. Some really interesting schedule set-ups. Oregon gets Michigan State early, which could give them a nice boost in nationally credibility if they win. And they get Stanford at home this year, which is the game everyone is going to want to see. UCLA gets ASU early, which will make the South race an interesting storyline to follow. Stanford and USC play early and UCLA gets USC and Stanford at home to close out the year. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. For now, I'll go with too tough to call because nothing in the Pac-12 ever comes easy.
any info on what's up with pendergast? I think he would be perfect fit for stanford with his 3-4 defense.
No news yet. But I'm hearing a lot of rumblings that they are going to promote from within and snag Lance Anderson. Talked to someone in the know yesterday and he said he thought the job Clancy did at USC last season was one of the best coaching jobs he's ever seen. Very surprised he's still looking for work.
Are you surprised Pendergast has yet to be swooped up? Did Peterson make a mistake not hiring the veteran PAC-12 DC, bringing his guy from Boise instead? Does David Shaw make a run at him to replace Mason?
Along those same lines, I don't think Petersen made a mistake. Kwiatkowski is his guy and coaches tend to stick with who they know -- especially at the high coordinator spots -- when they make a change. It's a gut call, and Petersen felt like his guy was the right move.
With Luke Del Rio transferring from Alabama to Oregon St., where does that leave Zach Kline? Didn't Cal block him from going to OSU? Does he come back and compete?
Not sure. I haven't read anything official about Cal blocking him -- that's not to say it might not happen. I just haven't seen it yet. But it makes for an interesting quarterback competition after Mannion leaves. If he does come back, he's going to have to win over the staff all over again, and that's tough to do.
In the spirit of the grading series, what does Don Pellum have to do to earn an A? (Since we're on DCs at the moment.)
Good question -- and I'm not totally sure I have the answer. Lead the nation in scoring defense and turnovers? Much like the move from coordinator to head coach, there is some transition that goes with moving from position coach to coordinator. He's obviously well-respected in the program. And I think it's interesting that most of the DC hires have been internal (whether they have been announced or not). Oregon has the horses to be a good defense again. Having Ifo back gives the secondary instant credibility.
Josh Huff is starting to create some buzz at the Senior Bowl practices. How much do you see his draft stock rising if he continues to shine?
Senior Bowl can help, but it doesn't make or break guys unless they are completely awesome or totally bad. It can certainly be a boost, but the Combine will be the true test. Not just the numbers. But also his interviews. He's going to get asked questions that he's probably going to be uncomfortable answering about his Rose Bowl comments. He has the skills. But he has to show he has the attitude as well.
Are you surprised Coach O has yet to find work?
Andy Staples did a really nice piece on that yesterday. Popped it into Lunch Links for today (in about 20 minutes) so give it a read. Sounds like he has options. Which is a good thing if you're a coach. Depends on where he wants to go.
I know Ted's opinion, but what did you make of my post-game comments?
I don't really have an issue with it. I remember being a kid and watching Will Clark spout off F-bombs after they won the West in '87. Older folks will remember that. You young bucks can youtube it. He didn't say anything inappropriate. Whether it was contrived, I really don't care. We complain that postgame interviews are always so vanilla and then when someone with a personality spouts off we jump all over him. Whatever. My only problem with it is that he became the story and not the team. That's what I'm sure he feels bad about. Other than that, shine on, you crazy diamond.
Kevin, do you have any numbers on how many players from each conference are going to be in the Super Bowl? I suspect the Pac-12 might do pretty well.
Not off the top of my head. But that seems like I post we've done previously so I'll look into that.
Your take on reports that the NFL might do away with point after attempts? Yeah, they're often automatic and lack excitement, but doesn't that also take away the option of going for two? If it happens, what are the chances that NCAA will follow suit?
How serious are they about that? I think it was one of those ideas that just got floated and then someone ran with it. I'd be shocked if it happened.
My only regret from my post game interview is that it was Erin Andrews and not you.
Ha! I would have let you keep running.
Hey Kevin! Hope all is well and Santa brought you lots of scotch.Speaking of DC's (and you were) any thoughts on who Mora pegs for the Spanos? If you say Coach U, any thoughts on the choice?Thanks for the hard work!
I'm hearing Ulbrich. Not sure if it's a done deal internally (much like Anderson seems to be) or when they'll make that public. But during this prime recruiting season, you want to name your guy quickly. It just might not be public consumption yet. If that's his choice, right on. Loyalty pays off and Mora fought to get more money for his assistants. Mora knows defense, so I'm thinking he'll still be heavily involved in the process.
Why is everyone crying so much about Richard Sherman? Do people really want professional athletes to be emotionless robots in every interview? Sherman is over the top, obnoxious, cocky, arrogant and borderline rude on the field, but he is a gentleman and a scholar off of it. It is refreshing to see.
Couple questions. What do you think of Vanderbilt hiring Mason? Seems like a huge hire to me. Also, what will be the shape of Stanford's defense next season? Is this the year they come back down a little bit?
I think it's a home run hire for Vandy. For a couple of years now Ted and I have been saying it's not a matter of if Mason would be a head coach, but when. I'm sure there will be some regression. It's only natural when you lose guys like Skov and Murphy and Reynolds. But Anderson and Tarpley staying helps. Tarpley doesn't get enough credit for the work he does. Dude has a motor.
If 2014 is the year of the offense in the Pac-12, does that bode especially well for Oregon (best offense in recent years) or not so well (everyone is scoring points, best D will be more important)? thx!
Well now, that's quite the pickle, isn't it. Yes, whichever team does emerge as the top defensively probably does have the best chance. And right now I think UCLA could step forward as the top defense in the conference. They have a lot of young talent that gained huge experience. But the usual suspects will be up there, Stanford, Oregon, USC and Washington has a lot of talent returning. It's going to be an interesting year defensively.
Kevin, I know ASU loses nine starters on Defense, but most people seem to be completely writing off the Devils next year. With another year in the system for Kelly and having Strong and Foster back, isn't it realistic that, with a serviceable defense, the Devils challenge for the South again?
That's the optimist's argument. While the defense is going to take a step back, they offense is sure to take a step forward -- even with the loss of Grice. I talked to someone in the know from ASU this morning, however, and it's possible we could see six or seven freshmen (redshirt or otherwise) on defense. To your point, the defense will have to be good enough to let the offense do its thing. And special teams have to get better. Because outside of Gonzalez, they can't get much worse.
Hi Kevin, any word on Travis Wilson? Or will we hear by spring ball? Or maybe not until fall camp? Breaking in another QB and another OC is driving us Utah fans nuts!
Understandable. And I did a Q&A with Christensen last week and we talked quarterbacks. No word yet on Wilson. Obviously, hoping whatever happens it's the best decision for his long-term health.
Can you give us a few names to watch for of Pac-12 freshmen who red-shirted in 2013?
We'll be doing a post on that in the coming weeks. Stay turned.
Will Sutton said he played at 325 last year because the coaches told him to. Any truth to this? Mistake by the ASU coaching staff or damage control by Sutton?
I've talked to a few NFL scouts about that and they told me they thought he was playing too heavy. Then again, the big knock on him last year was that he was too small. I think by the time he gets into the league he'll find a happy medium.
CAPS LOCK DISCRIMINATION! WHO WILL BE THE BETTER NFL MIDDLE LINEBACKER? ZUMWALT OR SKOV?
DEPENDS A LOT ON WHERE THEY GO AND WHAT SYSTEM THEY ARE IN. BOTH HAVE OUTSTANDING POTENTIAL AND THE SKILL SETS TO BE VERY, VERY GOOD AT THE NEXT LEVEL.
Paper book or E-book?
Assuming Travis Wilson can't go anymore, who is the frontrunner to lead the Utes at QB?
I honestly have no clue. They are switching around some things with Christensen coming in so we need to see what little things he values in a quarterback. Obviously, good decisions and taking care of the football are universal. But does he want a more mobile guy or more of a pocket guy? These are all things we'll learn more of in the spring. Remember with ASU, it turned out that Taylor Kelly was the perfect fit for the Norvell scheme and we didn't see it coming until it did.
JON SNOW OR TYRION LANNISTER FOR MVP?
Jon Snow for MVP. Tyrion for Coach of the Year. He's more cerebral.
I'm Bored. This part of the season is boring. What should I do with myself until August?
Read a book (I finally started Lone Survivor). Volunteer at a local YMCA. Learn how to change your own oil. Start a blog. Call your buddy you haven't talked to in weeks and go see a movie.
Cal nabs Cincy D-Coord - thoughts?
Don't know enough about him, to be honest, to put my thoughts out there yet. Have some more studying to do before launching an opinion one way or the other.
What do you believe is the minimum and maximum amount of seasons that a head ball coach gets to show "progress".
I believe three years provides a fair assessment for the direction of a program. It provides three full recruiting cycles. Whether the wins come is debatable, and how much "progress" is made is always going to be subjective unless you win a conference within those first year three years. But I think that's a safe amount of time. No one waits for the maximum anymore.
Should I take it easy on Sherman, or try my best to make him look foolish for calling himself the best Cornerback in the game?
Double-edged sword. If you go after him, you might end up getting burned. Got into a debate last night with a friend. Sherman has six more INTs in his first three years than Deion Sanders did. And both were All Pro in their second and third years in the league. Not saying he's Sanders status yet, but he's on that track.
Come on Kevin. I expect better from you. Based on everything that's happened so far, I am the clear frontrunner for MVP.
How's your nose?
3 years huh? So Whittingham is working on borrowed time?
The question was for a new coach (I think). Whittinham is an exception because of the change to the league. I believe four full years, four full recruiting cycles, as a Pac-12 program is fair. After that, then I think the rumblings are fair. For now, I still think they are premature.
Please note that I am Tywin, not Tyrion. My nose is just fine.
My bad. Misread that.
With the Defense loosing a lot of staters/depth and a new DC. Do you think the defense will be strong enough for the Ducks to make a push for the final 4?
As I said before, I think Oregon's pass defense gets instant credibility with Ifo back. The big question, as is always the case in the Pac-12, is going to be getting a pass rush. Oregon's defense spends a heck of a lot of time on the field. They need to get better at third-down defense and getting off the field.
Did Coach O run away to Europe? Haven't heard anything from him lately.
Check lunch links, which should be up now.
Kevin, you suggested we go see a movie. But which movie?
Uh... good question. What's out now?
Quick. South standings as of Dec 15, 2014!!!!
Uh, uhm... totally off the top of my head without too much research... UCLA and then three other teams jockeying for the next few spots.
Kiffin to Alabama? No way Kiffin and Saban get along for more than 2 years.
I think it's going to be an interesting dynamic, for sure. Kiffin's biggest problem was that he wasn't good at giving up control. He has to, now. Honestly, I think he's a good coach who knows Xs and Os, but never stopped to listen to anyone else along the way and was so freaking stubborn about wanting to show the world how smart he was. And he is. But now he has to take a backseat to someone else.
Hardest part of your job?
There are no hard parts. Unbelievable that I actually get a paycheck for this.
Hobbit. Wolf of Wall Street. American Hustle. Her. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Anchorman 2. Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Saving Mr. Banks. Frozen. Devil's Due.
There ya go.
Also bring back the video mailbag please.
Good suggestion. Forgot about those. We'll try to work more of those in.
Any incoming players ready to challenge Storm Woods for greatest name in college football?
Is Steele Divitto still at BC? That's a pretty sweet name for a linebacker.
Hi Kevin. Your take on the upcoming QB battle for the Wildcats this spring.
I've learned long ago not to have thoughts on QB competitions until we actually see some practices. From people I've talked to it really is wide open.
It's not hard sharing the spotlight with Ted?
Lol. I'll go back to my stock answer. Ted is the rock star. I'm the drummer in the background who quietly keeps the beat.
Thank you for pointing out how overrated In-N-Out is. I just don't get it. I've lived in CA all my life, mostly Northern/Central CA and about 11 years in Southern CA and don't get the obssession over In-N-Out. Sure it's good but it's not some amazing burger chain that people need to act holier-than-thou about. Has Stanford become a program that can regularly reload with elite players who meet the academic qualifications or is this more a window that will close for success?
Thanks you! Someone gets it. I think Stanford has earned the benefit of the doubt that they can reload. I do think it's really, really hard to maintain a certain level when players graduate and coordinators are constantly getting poached. But I don't see a nosedive anytime in the immediate future. They will contend again for the North and continue to be in the mix in the coming years.
Dear KevinCould you see Karl Dorell coaching again in the NCAA?
Honestly, I don't know him, so I don't know what motivates him. He won more games than he lost. Don't know if he's loving life in the NFL or wants to get back to college.
Is it possible that Sherman has as many int's as he does because the front 7 gets after the QB, forcing bad throws? No way he's better than Sanders.
Never said he was better than Sanders. Said he's on a similar track.
You always tell us who you think will win the Pac-12. But who do you think will lose it and end up in 12th place next year?
Hmmm. Well, I think Cal will continue to be in transition in the North. WSU took a step forward while Cal took a step back. Until they beat an FBS team, you have to think they are still 12th until proven otherwise.
Stats are so subjective!
Except when they're not.
Who's your favorite breaking bad character and why?
Heisenberg. Not Walter White. Heisenberg. Love when he becomes his alter ego. You know who I am. Say my name. One of the greatest scenes in the history of television.
what does the MWC need to do to become. well respected conference?
Get a team into the playoff would be a good start. Fresno State didn't help this year by getting blasted by the only ranked team they played.
Follow-up on Ken's question:Will Stanford's run of great coaches finally end for them? They can't keep hitting Home Runs forever, can they? Will they finally hire a Kiffin-ish person and fall back when Shaw goes to the NFL?
You're assuming Shaw goes to the NFL. They'll have to cross that bridge if/when they get there. Shaw will continue to get NFL buzz. But from the conversations I've had with him, he's in a perfect spot. And I agree with him. Doesn't mean he won't change his mind.
Jim Mora exceeded expectations in year 1 and met expectations in year 2. What are reasonable expectations for CJM & co. this year with all the returning talent and the favorable schedule?
I think a South title, 10-11 wins are fair expectations. They are going to be good.
You obviously aren't getting your food 'Animal Style', it changes your life.
Had it Animal Style. 4x4. Every way. I was in college once and there was an In-N-Out within driving distance (of course, a pledge would always drive us). It's good for fast food. Maybe the best of the fast food chains. But that's all it is.
Am I the only one seeing this? They keep saying the top seeded tennis player don't have an answer for the game that the higher seeds are playing but if you ask me the top seeded players are relying on the power from years ago to get a passing shot by a non-hustling inexperience player. Hustle will beat power all day every day.
Really? I like the sentiment, but I'm no tennis expert.
Of the 101 underclassmen that declared for the NFL which conference is impacted the most.
SEC and Pac-12 take a huge hit. Then again, those are the top two conferences and always seem to reload.
If we only have time to watch/read/consume one thing during this offseason, what would you recommend?
The new Alex Bernson novel comes out next month. The latest installment of the John Well series. Can't wait. GOT Season 4. The Americans Season 2. Plenty to keep you occupied. And of course, True Detective.
who is next years Myles Jack?
It's been a while since we've had this kind of Myles Jack, so I'm not sure there will be one next year, or the year after, or the year after that. He's an amazing athlete and it will be interesting to see how the Bruins use him next year and beyond.
The best QB in the PAC 12 next year is.....?
Mariota or Hundley? Hundley or Mariota? Flip a coin.
Is Cody Kessler regarded as a potential future NFL QB?
He's a starting quarterback at USC. So he's going to get looks. Depends on what steps he takes next year. Talked to him before the bowl game and he's got a great relationship with Helton. Going to be interesting to see that dynamic play out for another year.
Under Armour, Nike, or Adidas?
Want to make 0ver $1,320/week like Kevin?!? Just go to http://www.scu.edu/ app1y 4 Jornl1sm and get LCUKY! BEST ParT of JOBBBBBBB L)
Points for creativity.
Can you guess as to why there are so many people hating on Arizona in the mailbags lately? Is it fear that Rich Rod is going to make us consistently good? I just can't see why all the hatred all of a sudden (Angry ASU fans mad about their bowl loss?)
I think I put out there that I think Arizona is going to be pretty good and there is an instant backlash. I said the same thing about ASU this time last year and a lot of people got up in arms about it. Anytime there is a challenge to the power structure, people are going to up in arms about it -- especially rivals. Makes for fun offseason fodder. We'll see if they can back it up. Because I think they are going to be good.
What is the filthiest curse word you're allowed to post on this site?
AZ made nice D progress this year. Any chance they get back to Desert Swarm status?
A lot of turnover. But a lot of quality young players as well. I've always been told the 3-3-5 takes at least three years to be fully understood. Welcome to Year 3.
Dream vacation spot?
Right here. Right now.
On that note, many thanks for another excellent chat. You've got Ted tomorrow. See you next week.