Thursday and we're back at it with the mailbag, folks. Got some really good questions and a lot going on so let's get into them quick. Here we go, quick, quick like a bunny!
Aside from terrorize the defenses with what he might do through the air? Not a whole lot, from a schematic standpoint. He does have a tackle lead play where his tackles come from inside and lead the running back into the interior of the defense that is relatively unique. Most teams are running interior guys to the exterior or moving tackles all the way across to get to the perimeter. His play is a quick hitter with tackle slamming and running back charging right behind him.
Outside of that Petrino just does a really good job of calling plays. He takes simple things like Isos, Traps, Zone runs and makes them a part of the scheme that his team is comfortable with. Then, he mixes it up and catches defenses off balance. Everyone that plays him is so worried about the route combinations and protecting against the leveled routes that quick hitting runs and screens can go for big gainers.
I'm quite excited to see him at WKU, a team that is built to be physical.
@InTheBleachers Did Sumlin/Texas A&M success last season translate into an uptick in talent on the recruiting trail?— Marcus Washington (@mookwashington) June 6, 2013
Eh, that's tough to say. The Aggies were already burning up the recruiting trail prior to ever playing a game in the SEC or being successful in the new conference. When the SEC move was announced and Kevin Sumlin was hired the squad went from 2011's 36th ranked recruiting class, to 16th nationally, according to 247 Sports' composite numbers. In those same rankings they were ninth in 2013 and are currently tops in 2014.
So, to answer the question, yes, following the success they saw an uptick in recruiting. However, I think hiring an energetic guy like Sumlin and moving to the SEC had as much as, if not more, to do with it than the 11-2 record, Heisman and big bowl win.
Oh, and here's a plug, Barrett Sallee, over at the SEC Blog, got a chance to talk to Sumlin about this very topic, so go read it.
You mean which game could be an unexpected massacre?
I'm going to stick to game that will be played early in the year and take the Sooners hosting West Virginia. It is only the Mountaineers' second game of the season, and unlike last year where they were all world on offense, I suspect they will still be finding themselves on that side of the ball.
Oklahoma is going through a bit of their own renaissance as a ball club with a new quarterback, new faces at key spots and is looking to recover from getting embarrassed by Texas A&M. However, Oklahoma has better players, a coach who has spent this offseason showing off how big the chip on his shoulder has grown and the game is in Norman.
I think folks expecting to see a high scoring game will see an Oklahoma defense, in year two under Mike Stoops, take advantage of West Virginia's growing pains and a Mountaineers defense unable to do the same to Oklahoma.
@InTheBleachers you ever going to publish your recipes or start a cooking website with how to videos?— Andrew J Abernathy (@ajabernathy) June 6, 2013
I'll answer both of these:
I don't have recipes. I usually just like to create and try new stuff out in the kitchen. Usually it works, and if it doesn't come out exactly as I expected, I can make it into something that still works. So, I don't think I'm ever going to write down recipes.
As for the show, I can't even imagine that. There are barely enough hours in the day for the football stuff that I do; adding to it means less television and a lot more stress. To be honest, I don't think I ever want to cook for anything but fun. I like having friends over and cooking for them and preparing the big family Thanksgiving for my folks. The pleasure for me is everyone getting together and enjoying something that I made. Not sure if it became work how much I'd still enjoy that part of the cooking experience.
@InTheBleachers How does Texas & USC not get 3-5 nasty, mauling o-linemen a year with their recruiting bases? (1/2)— Trey Himself (@treyhimself) June 6, 2013
The answer here is complex, but it is rooted in what you are looking for and what you are teaching them. If you put athleticism and technique ahead of finding big ole jokers that like to get dirty and beat people up, then that's what you target. Same goes for once they get on to campus. If you're teaching them how to pass block and prioritizing some of the more finesse aspects of the position over knocking guys out, then that is what you end up with.
It is not that they cannot get these kids, it is that they have not always been looking for that type of player, and they have not been trying to create that type of guy inside their programs. Not a knock by any means, just an observation from the types of players they get and turn out. Stanford and Alabama are looking for, getting and developing that type of kid; USC and Texas, not so much.
Texas has been looking to get back into the mean, slobber-knocking game and it has had mixed results. This year we know they want to run the ball more and be tougher, and we will see if they are able to truly make that transition with full-time offensive coordinator Major Applewhite at the helm.
@InTheBleachers Is o-line harder to evaluate & develop compared to other positions? (2/2)— Trey Himself (@treyhimself) June 6, 2013
From an evaluation standpoint, absolutely it is more difficult to evaluate than most other positions. With a quarterback, running back or even a defensive back, you can turn the tape on, watch them run, throw, tackle and whatnot and see the actual skills. Even when they play against lesser competition, there are things that stand out. A 4.4 is a 4.4 no matter what. Throwing 45 yards a on rope, off the back foot is not competition dependent.
With line so much more goes into the equation. How much bigger can, or will, they get? Are they only showing well on tape because they are playing against tiny kids? Do they stand up high because of poor coaching or because they cannot move well? Does he fit inside or outside? Is he mean enough?
That's on both sides of the ball. But, that is also why teams that get outstanding line recruits tend to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the trenches.
As for development, I think across the board college development is hard. Quarterbacks that do not materialize because they cannot get the playbook. Running backs who had a burst in high school but just are not fast enough at the collegiate level. Linebackers that just cannot stay healthy because the game is too grueling.
Offensive line is no different. Injuries, complex schemes and overall fit have caused many a player to never materialize. The positive thing about offensive line is that sometimes left tackles can be right tackles if they cannot cut it there. Or they can move inside to guard or center for you. You can shuffle the deck, similar to taking a corner and moving him to safety or moving linebackers inside, outside or strong and weak, in an effort to help the kids out.
It boils down to strength and conditioning, digesting the playbook, opportunity and really just wanting to out there and fight for it.