New year, new set of questions to hit on the mailbag. And though technically some of these questions were submitted in 2012, we can't predict our future without first understanding our past, people!
Great to hear from all of you and keep the questions coming. I'll do my best to keep answering them, whether in emails back to you, on Twitter or here in the mailblog.
Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or as always you can shoot me a line on Twitter @pauldehnerjr. I want to make sure I open this new year by saying how gracious I am to all of you for reading the blog, listening to the podcasts, commenting on the videos, interacting on Twitter and sending in emails. You make this blog go and I couldn't do it without you.
I try to be as accessible as anybody in the city and keep what's happening at UC a fun, transparent experience - at least within my roped off areas, anyway. I think we've done that here and spread the word to those who don't know so we can keep making this bigger and better.
Enough gushing, let's answer some questions ...
From Tyler: Love the blog, read it every morning. (Had to say it, I would have felt strange not saying it)
I was curious if we could get any locker room footage of the guys after the game, I would have loved to have seen what their celebration was, if any, after the shootout. I know the football team gets a lot of locker room coverage with coaches pregame/halftime/postgame speeches as well as the Got the Dub song. I wasn't sure if Mick just wasn't a fan of letting cameras into the locker room or what was going on. I am a big fan, I'm not sure if everyone would like to see this so maybe I am just crazy. Thought I'd drop a line though with a tip like you suggested at the end of your blog.
I will agree, Butch Jones' spasmic dancing in the Get the Dub videos continues to be the greatest videos I've seen in the past year or two. Nothing quite lifts the lid on the inner-workings of a team like the emotional moments following a big win.
Those videos are strictly brought to you through the exclusive access Tommy G gets as New Media Director. They are great, but it's different with 15 guys in a locker room for basketball as opposed to 105 for football. Mick's current setup is to bring two or three players to the podium before he steps up there himself. Some coaches choose to open the locker room for 10 minutes after a game - I know Rick Pitino has done that - but that doesn't mean you would get the same partying videos you referenced from football. Those periods when the media come in would likely be more subdued. Basketball will always be harder to capture that type of thing, in my opinion.
And actually, a lot of their best celebrations are captured on the court. This team loves to jump in the student section and give high-5s to fans after home game wins. Mean Faces for everyone! One of the best reasons to head down to Fifth Third and jam the building.
From Sid: I completely agree with your analysis. Then taken in its totality (financial, tradition, marketing and fan experience), the case for renovating Nippert is sound indeed. As an alum, former player and 30 year season ticket holder I applaud this plan. This is a great long-term solution to modernize the grand old stadium. But what about the short-term? It is entirely unacceptable that one should miss an entire quarter of football (literally) in order to use the restroom or get a hot dog. Long time season ticket subscribers see the plan to sell out every game as a double-edged sword. Sell outs mean a successful football program. They also mean not being able to use the bathroom or eat in the stadium without missing huge chunks of the game.
Sid, I can only state that your concerns regarding the crowds at concessions stands and bathrooms have been well heard by Whit Babcock. It's the top complaint he hears and one of the biggest reasons the new Nippert plan is designed to alleviate all that congestion on that side of Nippert. The new area will have skywalks and state of the art concession/bathroom areas with more space behind the current press box spot as well. Trust me, you'll love it. As for the short term, I know the operations folks are constantly working with ways to alleviate those problems including adding port-a-johns around the exterior and vendors at other points on the outskirts of the stadium. Having seen the plans for the new facility, though, let's all hope that project receives the funding sooner than later because it will be night and day from a fan standpoint.
From Larry: I am a former athlete from the early 60's and live in Charleston WV. I have season tickets and will continue to. I missed 1 game this year. Two games I absolutely hated last year were the two at PBS. It's not home to an old guy like me. My only home is Nippert Stadium. I sit with 5 former teammates.
From Greg: We need to accelerate the renovation of Nippert. Moving downtown would be terrible. I have been to Pittsburgh and there is absolutely no,college feel. College football needs to be on campus. We need to think and act like, the big boys! OSU wouldn't consider moving football off campus. Make it extremely easy to donate electronically to the effort. Get this,done then let's go do 5/3 arena next.
Larry and Greg,
Your sentiments are among the top reasons Babcock decided to plow forward with Nippert renovations rather than look further into moving games to PBS. In surveys of fans, students, players, coaches, nearly anyone at all associated with the program responded resoundingly they'd prefer to keep playing at Nippert Stadium. The unique on-campus feel makes UC football what it is. The connection between fans, players and Nippert couldn't be clearer to those who take a minute to investigate it.
Agreed, I've been to Pittsburgh and while the allure of playing in an NFL stadium can have its perks, the intimate, college feel trumps that.
As far as making it easy to contribute, trust me, once submissions are accepted you won't have any problem knowing how to donate. It certainly won't be difficult. If you are interested in giving money to the project, finding a medium to fork it over won't be a problem.
From Vince: I am an ex BEARCAT FOOTBALL PLAYER (Letter Winner) from 1970-1971 and GRADUATE from the College of Education. We were 7-4 . . . (2) Years in a Row. This TEAM makes ME PROUD to be from the University of Cincinnati. They demonstrate CHARACTER, COMMITMENT, CLASSROOM EXCELLENCE, FORTITUDE, and obvious TALENT. (10) WINS is AWESOME. They DESERVE it. Stand TALL . . be ONE . . & WIN . . . BROTHERS! We BELIEVE in YOU!
I know you didn't ask a question, but I wanted to add to your comments. This team didn't receive much of the credit it deserved. The group wasn't flashy or packed with pro prospects, but the heart and grit of the group stood among their best qualities. This team was as tight as any team I've seen and Jones even referenced such in a Tweet following their Belk Bowl victory. The heart they showed in dealing with the poaching of half the coaching staff before the bowl game blew me away. Goes to show what a group of focused student-athletes can pull off when facing adversity.
Sidenote: Notice in all these bowl games how nearly all the coaching staffs stuck around for the final game even if the coach left? Anybody notice NIU coach Dave Doeren actually attended his teams Orange Bowl game in the stands? Tommy Tuberville's new OC Eddie Gran finished the job as running backs coach for FSU. Yes, the NCAA system is beyond broke, but what happened with the coordinators and position coaches leaving before the bowl game lived on the shadier side of Ugly St. But that's enough of the past, let's move forward.
From Dan: Quick question, if you don't mind. I know we're obviously playing much, much faster than last year, but I was interested to hear what you think of the defense, and how it has managed to hold up despite the quicker style. Do you attribute that to our depth, and Cronin's ability to put fresh guys out there? Or just experience in the system?
Dan, defense boils down to 15 percent understanding rotations, 15 percent speed and athleticism and 70 percent heart and hustle. Cronin's rotations keep players fresh in the second half as other teams wear down. That's been apparent in their first half, second half splits against quality opponents. The experience of this group in understanding poor defense means time on the bench keeps the machine humming. But what makes this defense great is the pride taken in it from the leadership of the team. Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker set the tone that playing defense is cool. As anybody whose been in high school knows, if the cool kids say something is cool, guess what, it's darn cool and everyone will be doing it.
From Rick: do you know if ESPN is going to replay the Belk bowl? They are re-airing some other bowl games.
I don't know ESPN's exact schedule. Typically they will play back the best games of the bowl season this week and the Belk Bowl could be among those. What I would recommend to you would be to hit up their ESPN Watch page. Here is the link to the game replays section. You can scroll down to the Belk Bowl to watch all four hours of that Belk glory whenever you so choose on your device of choice.
Jordan: Hope that doesn't mean UC picks up another FCS team like when TCU bailed?
Unfortunately, Boise State's move back to the Mountain West hits UC hard for the 2013 schedule stealing away one of its top home dates. The Broncos were slated to come to Nippert Stadium. Instead, the Bearcats will now be hunting for another home opponent as they were last year. Depending on what the league's reaction will be to the Boise bolt, there could be a new conference foe slipped in there. Of course, as we all know now in conference realignment, all that could change next week. Hopefully, a second FCS opponent won't be in the works, I know Babcock didn't want to go that route last time, but being forced to find opponents this late in the game - particularly at home - can be a difficult task.