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Bearcats Beat Mailbag: Victory Bell Edition

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A triumphant return of the Bearcats Beat mailbag on the eve of the Battle for the Victory Bell. It's no Paul Bunyan's Axe (the pure damage an axe can do in comparison to a bell is no contest) and a far cry from the Clemson-South Carolina Hardee's Trophy (because I assume it comes with a chocolate milkshake).

Of course, Bowling Green and Toledo hold the Battle of I-75 (I thought that was Friday rush hour at Mitchell Ave.) and the trophy is a peace pipe. You would have assumed my Ohio Bobcats would have played a role in that trophy.

Still, the Victory Bell is a fun prize and the Bearcats have been ringing the crap out of that thing all week.

Here's to hoping they do it plenty more on Saturday night. Now, let's open some mail.

From Mike, a three-parter:

First - development of young players, especially where we will be losing seniors.  For example -A  Offensive line.  I think we have 3 seniors starting.  I can see in the individual game stats that Sean Hooey has played in 3 of the 4 games, and that Austen Bujnoch has played in just 1 (examples). 

Mike,

Yes, senior Sam Griffin (LT), Jason Kelce (C) and C.J. Cobb (RG) are all starting. Randy Martinez (LG) and Alex Hoffman (RT) are both juniors. So there is a need to develop the players behind them.

It's hard to judge offensive lineman, at least to my relatively untrained eye when it comes to the trenches. And getting an accurate report on progress and strengths and weaknesses of players at this point just isn't going to happen when coaches are trying to hide any problems during the season.

That said, we can only judge by snaps and Austen Bujnoch just hasn't recieved many. He only played against Indiana State.

Hooey has seen more time, playing in every game and appears to have a bright future. The coaches obviously have trust in him. I would say there's a pretty good chance he will be starting somewhere next year.

Andre Cureton was a guy I think coach Stripling hoped would be playing a larger role at this point in the season, but he has only seen time against Indiana State as well.

Evan Davis, who opened the year as a starter at RG hasn't seen the field in either of the last two games. He, of course, had major problems against Fresno's Logan Harrell in the opener. The position has a lot of work to do in development over the offseason.

More from Mike,

A similar question come up in rotation on the field.  Derek Wolfe as an example, since it is hard to miss him on the field.  For the Indiana State and NC State games (I was there, by the way), it seemed like Wolfe almost never came out.  Against Oklahoma, it seemed like he got a lot more rest.  (And one of the better Oklahoma drives was when he wasn't in.)
Granted, coaches can only say so much on these subjects, but it seems like we could get a little more than what I have seen.

Mike,

Coaches were very much concerned about snaps, particularly for Wolfe. He had 80 snaps in the NC State game. As well-conditioned and as much of a gamer as Wolfe is, that is a lot to ask of anybody. I think that's a big reason you saw the debut of freshman Roney Lozano against Oklahoma. He helps take some pressure off the exhausted lines. Also, you see a lot of nickel defense to Walter Stewart in the d-line rotation and allow more depth that way as well.

A third time from Mike,

Next - one of the things I liked about the Minter program that Dantonio maintained was high graduation and decent academics, plus community service and involvement.  Yeah, every coach has these in his talking points, but sometimes they don't go much beyond talking.  This could easily evolve into a multi-part question, but I think you can see where it is headed.  I would love to read about it.  Are these being maintained?  It seems like we lost a lot of players this year.

Nobody can deny this has been one of the areas where Butch Jones has been a success. Jones talks a lot about it and really means it. One thing you could say about Brian Kelly was it was all about winning football games. He didn't care as much about personal development or all the other exterior aspects of the college experience as Jones does. That's no slight on Kelly, it is just always been a point of emphasis with Jones.

During Jones' first quarter overseeing academics, the Bearcats acheive a team GPA of 2.7 during the Winter 2010 quarter, up from a 2.4 in the Fall 2009 quarter. A total of 32 student-athletes achieved a total of 3.0 or higher. JK Schaffer had a 4.0.

The Cats in the Community program continues to run and be a major success. The entire point of the Represent the C message is that no matter where you go or what you do you must remember that you are representing the program and the city. Players know that all too well.

From Steve,

Is Clint Shepherd in class, or will be in January or some other scenario?

How about the current status of Lewis, Ty Phillips, and Robert Martin? Are they in school, or even planning on ever attending UC?

Clint Shepherd is not currently enrolled in UC, he suffered an injury and is rehabbing.

Ty Phillips and Robert Martin never arrived at UC and the school (and the website you are currently reading) is not permitted to speak about their status.

Dyjuan Lewis is currently enrolled, but not allowed to practice.

From Gary:

Paul: Adding TCU and Villanove would be great for the Big East Conference. Then we can add UCF and the U. Houston and create a great 12 team football conference.
Eastern Div:                    Western Div:
1. Uconn                         1. TCU
2. Syracuse                     2. U. Houston
3. Rutgers                       3. USF
4. Pitt. U.                        4  UCF 
5. W. Virginia                  5. Cincinnati
6. Villanova                     6. Louisville
With these 12 football programs and these TV markets we could negotiate a great TV contract or start our own BE TV network. That would mean more revenue for the Big East Conference. Then we could add a championship football game in Yankee Stadium at the end of the season. This would make for a stable football conference in the future. Lets's hope the Big East management team can pull it off. 
 
 

Gary,

Everybody is looking out for their own interests right now and waiting to see how much more expansion movement happens after the season. What you propose would be a nice move for the Big East, but if that happens likely won't be dictated by the conference. The Big Ten still holds all the cards and could very easily pluck a Big East school. The BE powers are obviously feeling the same way you are judging by their rumored pursuit of TCU, which would be a great find. I don't know that Houston would come with them. But there are a number of schools in the ECU, UCF range that would love to jump up to a BCS conference.

It's almost absurd to make many more observations than that because this expansion game changes from day to day.

Well, that's all for now.

Thanks to everyone who reads and I look forward to seeing everybody at Nippert on Saturday night. Remember you can follow me on Twitter here to keep up with everything during and after the game and all the news and notes during the week.

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