Thursday folks and we are back on the mailbag beat to answer all of your questions. This week we've got some good ones so let's get into it!
@inthebleachers Is Virginia Tech the early title favorite for the 2013 season?— Jacob Barron (@Jacob_Barron) September 27, 2012
Honestly, I have no clue. We're not even sure if Logan Thomas is coming back for school. If I had to pick an early favorite based upon sure things, I'd go with Oregon because Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas will most certainly be back there to light things up. Beyond that, it's going to be tough to tell. I like Texas for how they are building things, but after that, it's a crapshoot and certainly VT with Thomas will be in the mix.
@inthebleachers ok so who will the Vols hire after Shula North goes 0-4 in the next 5 weeks??— Bryan Gary Hopkins (@25801vol) September 27, 2012
In the next five weeks the Vols play Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina. They go to Athens, Starkville and Columbia. In other words life does not get easy. Personally, I think they have a shot to beat Mississippi State and sit at 4-4 going into November, with a shot to finish 8-4. If they can avoid getting embarrassed in two of the three games, then Derek Dooley might stick if they finish strong and can win a bowl game.
That said, if the time is up for the Doolander then I think the Volunteers have to look at Kirby Smart and Charlie Strong hard and long. Their last coaching search didn't go so well, if you can remember, so they really are sort of up the creek and have to make a good hire for the sake of their program. Start with those two and then go down the list from there.
@inthebleachers Give a grade on Jim Mora and his staff so far at UCLA.—ty paul (@tyjpaul) September 27, 2012
Right now, I'd give the Bruins a strong B. They'd get an A, except for the performance, at home, against Oregon State proved they still have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of things. I like what Noel Mazzone and the offense are doing out there with the kid, Brett Hundley. They are giving him just enough to be dangerous and making the offense lean on the solid running of Johnathan Franklin. Defensively they still have to figure out what they're supposed to do, but this team is enjoying playing football again and that's something that could not be said for the past Bruins for awhile.
@inthebleachers Is there any chance that we could see Sarcastaball begin to influence player safety rules in CFB same as in NFL?—Andrew J Abernathy (@ajabernathy) September 27, 2012
For those not familiar, Sarcastaball is a South Park term that was used to describe a really soft game played with compliments and not to hurt anyone after kickoffs were outlawed for the kids.
While I won't go that far, I will say that people have a big reaction to things that "look" bad as opposed to the real danger of the game; sub—concussive blows. Every hit isn't illegal just because it looks bad and unfortunately a lot of "how it looks" is being used to police the game.
Greg wrote in and asked:
Which teams would you compare to each of the Underworld movies and why of course?
If you all did not realize, I love the Underworld movies. A lot. There are four of them and we'll just run through them quick.
Underworld: This is Alabama. The Original. Hard hitting. Sets the tone. Does what it wants to do and then dares folks to question it.
Underworld - Evolution: We'll call this Oregon. Lacking in some spots when compared to the original but still a fast paced thriller that gets it done.
Underworld - Rise of the Lycans: It says it has all the good stuff but then the actual people who are awesome are not in it and the movie is just so not very good. We'll call this Clemson. They leave much to be desired, even after being pumped up.
Underworld - Awakening: You thought the movies had disappeared? They didn't and they came back with a vengeance. Just like Bill Snyder and Kansas State. It's not what you were used to but it gets the job done.
@inthebleachers How does Castiel's 3-3-5 defense handle 1 TE, 2 TE "pro-style" offenses a la Oregon St, Stanford? Asking for a friend :)—Scot (@hophead68) September 27, 2012
We'll close it out with a little football. Basically the question here is about power offenses against the famed Jeff Casteel and his 3-3-5 attack. Over the years, Casteel has had a mixed bag when it comes to success. He locked up the power running of Pittsburgh several times. He was able to bottle up Georgia early in the Sugar Bowl before they figured things out to make it a game in 2006.
Ultimately the defense looks to create angles, take advantage of speed mismatches to create disruption and get into the backfield to stop plays before they gain momentum. For Stanford and Oregon State the trick is going to be blocking Casteel's guys. They're not wildly talented as group and this is still their first year in the scheme, which will limit what they know how to do.
If Casteel can bring his fourth and fifth added rusher to disrupt the mesh point, get bodies to the football and make tackles; then the Wildcats will be alright. However, with an inexperienced crew it will be difficult and Arizona fans should expect to see moments where their guys get washed down, gaping holes are opened and you're counting on defensive backs to make tackles to stop first downs and touchdowns.
This isn't a defense that I particularly care for because you lose a seventh run defender, but Casteel has made it work for him. One way to make the defense a heck of a lot more effective is to score. If teams have to put up points, they're less likely to run the ball and that means less big guys washing down your little guys and less guards getting to your linebackers to bust big runs.