Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable

It’s back (temporarily), Maize ‘n Brew has the questions this week for what he calls the Bitter Recriminations Week! Edition. Huzzah! Let the intra-conference bickering commence.

1. As a general question, evaluate your recruiting class. Is it more or less what you expected, were you pleasantly surprised or horribly, horribly disappointed? Were your team's needs adequately addressed or will you be starting a two star running back at center next year?

It’s generally in line with what I expected, then again I’m not an in depth follower of recruiting. Coming in, we knew it was going to be a small class and it ended up hitting a lot of places of need. Whether we get Pryor or not, quarterback was not a dire need in my opinion, more of a luxury, and if there’s any position that can immediately step in as a freshman and perform it’s running back, so picking up a couple next year suits me just fine. Therein lies the crux of the matter. Avoiding a slip up next year is the key, it’s going to be a large class (almost SEC-ish) with lot of openings in skill positions. At first look, this would be conducive to landing several big-time, premier gamebreakers, however, there is currently a lot of uncertainty surrounding what the future holds for the football program following this season. Personally, I think everything will work out fine, that’s not the case for some of the more vocal, irrational sections of the fan base.

2. Who were the big catches in your recruiting class? Name two players matriculating to your school whose existence everyone else in the Big Ten will curse for the next four years.

Linebackers – take your choice from yet another potentially killer class of Mauti/Zordich/Yancich and possibly Beachem, though he’ll probably be in the offensive backfield. With more spread eking its way into the Big Ten, could a potential switch to a 3-4 defense be in the works?

Matt Stankiewitch
– highly rated Guard, will probably take over at Center when A.Q. Shipley graduates after this season. After several years of less than stellar offensive line play, if they can get the line settled and create some depth that will be a huge advantage down the road.

*Also, wishfully thinking, look for some guy named Pryor.

3. You can't win them all. Maybe some slick talking carpetbagger schmoozed his way into your living room, sold you a set of ginzu knives made out of tin foil, and walked off with your wife and your star recruit. Perhaps an in-state lock who grew up with [Insert University Here] posters on his wall and your coach's face tattooed on his arm decided to go elsewhere for reasons no one seems to understand? Did your recruiting class lose someone big on signing day, who was it, and was your school able to yoink someone else to cover his loss?

Michael Shaw was verbally committed to Penn State, ended up following his high school teammate to Michigan. He could be a big loss, but like I said running back is a position freshman can step right into. Were there shady dealings surrounding his defection? I don’t know, doubt it. We’re talking about high school seniors, I try not to hold a grudge unless they exhibit an extraordinary talent to be a douche in the process, I’m looking at you Kevin Jones.

4. There's been a spirited debate about this whole "Coaches' Code" among the members of the Big Ten coaching fraternity. Do you believe this exists or is it a line being floated by the guys who couldn't keep their recruiting classes together? Bonus points for declaring your coach a poacher or a poachee in creative fashion!

There was probably once a code, but it seems like it went out the window with the arrival of Bielema and Rodriguez. The reality of recruiting today is everyone, regardless of commitments, is available until they sign the Letter of Intent. It’s a dirty business and it’s made worse by the proliferation of recruiting sites, iBlog for Cookies offered up a completely logical solution that we all know the NCAA would never bother to look at regardless how much sense it made. Reforms are slow, painfully awkward and usually misdirected, instead of fixing problems they’d rather change clock rules so they can change them back the following year under the false facade progressive improvement. Now, in the petty spirit of blogging let me follow up rational thought with jackassery, flame on.

I’m not saying.... I’m just saying.

5. Finally, who's the slickest, smoothest, most Billy Dee Williams-esque recruiter in the Big Ten? Who's the worst, most incompetent, "trip over the flat tire on his Yugo" recruiter in the Big Ten?

Is there any question, the slickest has to be Ron Zook? You could make an argument for Tim Brewster, but not until he does it several years in a row. I’m not really sure how Zook does it, if there’s anyone wearing a wizard hat and selling snake oil all indicators point to the Zooker. I mean the “You know, I recruited the guys that some other guy coached to a National Championship at Florida” pitch isn’t that convincing to me, yet he’s been loading up year after year. On the opposite end of the spectrum I would probably put Joe Tiller as the worst. He’s on his way out after this season, but looking back with the “basketball on grass” offense he employed, I would have expected a lot more talent to have passed through West Lafayette during his tenure at Purdue.

You knew this was coming.


boilerdowd said...

The talent wasn't too bad by the time it just was not noteworthy when it entered...if that makes any sense.

I'd agree though, you'd think Purdue could get more good WRs to play for the old gold and black with the offense that was in place.

Nick said...

Exactly, like a Benn-type prospect every year of two.