Your Best 11 Mailbag: Sonny Dykes, Geno Smith & I'm Angry Like Nick Saban

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Your Best 11 Mailbag: Sonny Dykes, Geno Smith & I'm Angry Like Nick Saban
John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

It's Thursday and we've got three games on the tube tonight. We also have our weekly Your Best 11 Mailbag feature to take reader questions and turn them into awesome answers.

 

A couple different reasons, for starters those guys didn't play on teams that folks think can or might win a national title. As for Graham Harrell, he was just another Texas Tech quarterback, and to be fair to him, he did finish fourth in Heisman voting in 2008—the year the Red Raiders were in a tie for the Big 12 South title. 

Another big thing is this new-found infatuation with stats. There was a time in this country when the best college football player was revered. People today, their values are all out of whack (Celtic Pride reference). Stats matter so much more than they ever have and that's largely people's only metric for grading candidates. Geno Smith will have his hands full against Texas and we'll see if he's still the lead dog after this weekend.

 

I'm still not sold that Virginia Tech is flat-out terrible yet. Sure, they've lost two games to Big East teams, but that still means they can go undefeated or one- or two-loss in the ACC because the league isn't exactly what I'd call good. Clemson and Florida State stand as the big obstacles to the Hokies, and beyond that, I don't have much reason to believe they can't be playing 14 games again this season.

Virginia Tech does have a mix of offensive line and play-calling problems that make bad things look even worse. The run game we expected to materialize has not, and Logan Thomas is getting asked to do a whole heck of a lot for this team. I won't bury Virginia Tech until the Hokies lose a couple games in the Coastal. Otherwise we're probably looking at a 9-4 VT team who plays in the ACC's second- or third-place bowl game, looking for win No. 10.

 

I'm very curious about this because Dykes is an Air Raid guy who is seeing his stock rise fast. I'm not sure that the SEC is a great fit for the head coach. He's a Texas guy who did most of his work in the Big 12 and Pac-12. In looking at the possible openings, I'm not sure that Arkansas or Tennessee get on the phone to call Sonny Dykes. However, if you get movement in the Big 12—Holgorsen or Briles going elsewhere, for example—then Dykes should most certainly be on the short list of names to call in that league. He'll transition right in.

 

Haha, I just think this is an awesome question. I'm sure that Cubs fans would argue that you're seeing unprecedented success because you did win that 1983 title in basketball.

 

This is an easy one: Nancy Grace. I don't mind Cover 3, but I do hate to get yelled at, especially by the television. I like three-deep zones, it gives you eight run defenders, protects you over the top from play-action pass and can be played quite aggressively. The real problem is when teams sit back in deep thirds and just let opponents move the ball at will seven yards at a time. Not enough coaches press-bail, pattern-read and stunt the defensive line in traditional three deep zones to make them work effectively.

 

Here's what he is referencing, the Sporting News has some of Saban's quotes.

Honestly, I don't buy it nearly as much as he's selling it, and I think that says a lot because normally, I'm right on board with Nick Saban. Guys are going to get hurt playing football. It can happen on the first snap, on the second snap and every snap thereafter, regardless of how fast or slow the tempo may be. Hell, Nick Saban's team, at a slow pace, is probably more apt to do damage to an opponent from an injury standpoint than Oregon, WVU or any other team with a bunch of little waterbugs running around. 

When you get tired, you make mistakes, but mistakes don't necessarily mean injuries. So I don't put a ton of merit into this assessment. At least not until there are some sort of numbers to back it up.

 

BACK TO BACK NICK SABAN QUESTIONS—YAY!!!

I do agree with Saban, wholeheartedly, in his assessment of this new world not being what I want football to be. Personally, I think it sucks. Hard. I hated watching Baylor at West Virginia. I hate that teams just go get good athletes and put them on offense and leave their defensive coordinators to operate with the leftovers. I hate that fans and rules and fantasy games are all geared towards the mindless totaling of points.

I think there is a happy medium. Unfortunately, the offensive gurus that keep getting hired as head coaches rarely tend to care about establishing that balance OR they are incapable of establishing that balance at the school they coach for.

Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer will be the exception, and that's based upon the caliber of kid they can recruit. Other guys will remain at outposts, like Oregon, West Virginia, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Places where you cannot always recruit at an elite level, and as you do recruit, you take your best to build a strong offense and defense is an afterthought.

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