While I try to wake up the dark recesses of my brain in charge of early 90s pop culture for an intense game of bar trivia in Oakley tonight, I went ahead and put together some breakfast for you all to enjoy.
--- The most poignant comments from Butch Jones yesterday came in regards to the lack of depth on defense. Bill Koch posted a blog about it here.
Yesterday I wrote a story about the defense responding to its critics, of which there seem to be many these days, and touched on the depth issue as well.
The bottom line is Butch Jones admitted his team is "very limited" in regards to depth and especially on defense. He called the defensive line position a "major concern." As documented in the D-line position analysis with Steve Stripling, the Bearcats feel good about their top five, but beyond them, there isn't much experience. In fact, next to none.
-- If I'm putting together a list of the top five players this team absolutely cannot afford to lose this season, here's how it would look at this moment.
1. Zach Collaros -- this should go without saying, Brendon Kay and Chazz Anderson are battling for the backup QB position, but either would be an almost insurmountable drop off from Collaros in both skill and leadership.
2. Derek Wolfe -- Mel Kiper sees him as the top NFL-ready prospect on this team. It just so happens he plays at one of the thinnest position groups.
3. Walter Stewart -- Nobody else on this team can do what the Bearcats will ask Stewart to do as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker/disrupter type.
4. JK Schaffer -- UC already has him playing middle and outside linebacker and he will likely be heading a linebacking unit with two players without a start to thier name (if Stewart lines up at end) on either side of him come Fresno State.
5. Drew Frey -- His proven game experience and leadeship are paying huge dividends in a very young secondary. They need a general back there to lead them, especially through a tricky first month of the season where they will face three QBs (Fresno's Ryan Colburn, NC State's Russell Wilson and Oklahoma's Landry Jones) among the best in the country.
You could argue players like Armon Binns, Vidal Hazelton and Isaiah Pead will have a greater impact then these defensive players, but the depth is so much better at WR and RB that if they were to go down for a couple of games, there are very capable backups who could step in and the machine would keep running.
If two or three of the players on that list go down, this machine might be headed for the scrap heap.
--- Ben Guidugli was second team all-Big East last year and was placed on the Mackey Award watch list yesterday. Bill Koch also had a story on him where they headline probably produced a little more than a slight spike in clicks.
The versatility he allows in the spread makes the offense all that more difficult to prepare for. Tight ends coach Mark Elder talked to me yesterday about the effect of having 11 guys on the field but not being limited to any aspect of the playbook. Defenses always want to compartmentalize what certain package groups do when they are in the game. With Guidugli, the Bearcats can line up for a power run, traditional set or spread Guidiguli out as a WR and not skip a beat.
--- Zach Collaros handicaps the Big East.
--- Every practice I have been to this season had a little rumble of some sorts. And from what I heard the one I missed had a large rumble on Saturday.
Here's a video of the players and coaches talking about the intensity with which the team is practicing right now.
--- The SEC breeds a whole other brand of crazy. And head and shoulders above that crazy, is Arkansas fans. I lived there, covered the Razorbacks for a year, I can attest to this.
Butch Jones would probably have a similar reaction to that of Bobby Petrino. A quick slam and move on.
Should I be fired? Even if I planned write a publicly apology and move forward?
Well, I certainly hope not. Of course, this isn't Arkansas where the only thing weaker than the public education system is the red zone defense.