Daily Blog - Friday, August 7th

Every Friday during August I will do a housecleaning of random thoughts from the week. This will include notes that I get from my weekly reading, radio shows and Facebook, etc.

First of all let me address some FAQ’s from this years magazine. I would say at least a dozen people have written in asking me how I could not have Terrelle Pryor in my Top 60 QB’s for the upcoming season. If a dozen people wrote in that means hundreds are thinking it. This year I changed the rankings in the front of the magazine to be DRAFT ELIGIBLE. There are no freshmen or true sophomores on the list. If you check out page 303 you will see that I want you to be getting a draft guide with your purchase as well.

There was a question as to whether or not Broderick Green would be granted immediate eligibility to play for Arkansas. The question was finally answered earlier this week and he WILL be eligible. He is 6’2” 248 lbs and what a compliment he should be to last years star RB Michael Smith who is 5’7”. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino’s playbook just added a few pages and the Hogs offense is that much more explosive. Green did participate in the spring.

After talking to 11 of the 13 MAC coaches during MAC media days, here are a few notes that stuck with me.

Coach Golden of Temple is very confident of this upcoming year. You can tell he expects big things from this season.

Coach Bill Cubit of Western Michigan feels good about his inexperienced defense. This guy would be a great hire for a BCS program if they wanted someone to instill discipline in the program and build a perennial winning team.

Speaking of Western Michigan, QB Tim Hiller says his knee is 100% which is great news for Bronco fans. When I talked to Gil Brandt last week he mentioned both Hiller and CMich’s QB Dan LeFevour among his top QB’s for the 2010 draft.

Coach Frank Solich of Ohio U did mention a couple of injury problems that could have an impact on the team especially early in the year but that could clear up in August. He seems to enjoy being picked so low by the media and feels his team has a good shot living up to my #2 Most Improved Team status.

Coach Jerry Kill of Northern Illinois values speed over size on defense and feels his first two recruiting classes have upgraded the teams speed. He is much more confident in his squad than he was heading into last year and in 2008 they went from 2 wins to a bowl.

Ball St Coach Stan Parrish was quick to point out that the 2-31-1 record in the coaches box sells him short. He was the coach at Kansas St prior to Bill Snyder and his 2-31-1 record was actually decent for Kansas St back then. Also in the area to the right of the coaches records it shows he was at 13-8-1 in in 1AA ball and 42-3-1 in Division II! Those are two very impressive records!

I did not get to chat with coach Butch Jones of Central Michigan very long but but he was kind enough to share his insight in the spring. I did ask him if he knew that CM’s 7 road games were ALL vs teams that made it to a bowl last year. Of course that was a rhetorical question and he acknowledged that he was well aware of the difficult schedule.

Coach Tim Beckman of Toledo updated me on a slew of position changes from the spring. I picked Toledo higher than every other magazine this year and after meeting with him, I feel good about that prediction.

Most improved QB’s this year. Here are two guys that should have HUGE improvement in their passing starts from last year.

CHANDLER HARNISH – Northern Illinois – Last year he completed 55.9% with a 8-9 ratio with just 152 ypg. Coach Kill feels he is right up there with the other MAC top QB’s in LeFevour and Hiller. Last year he threw for 326 yards against Minnesota but then was injured and never really 100% the rest of the year.

ROB CALABRESE – UCF – He completed 39.4% of his passes last year as a true frosh. He will have to hold off Wake Forest transfer Brett Hodges, but Rob has a much better grasp of the offense this year and has a stronger supporting cast.

I am still thinking about that career start stat from last year that I put on my daily blog for July 27th. If you did not check out that blog yet, we do archive each blog and just scroll down below to the 27th and pull it up. What is more important experience at QB or Offensive Line?

When I look at last years QB’s I see that 18 teams had ZERO career starts at the QB spot heading into 2008. Many folks would have this as their key indicator to a team’s success for the next year. Of those 18 teams that had no experience at QB last year ELEVEN of them made it to bowls with teams like Boise St (#13 NCAA scoring offense), Tulsa (#2 NCAA in scoring offense), Penn State (#1 Big 10 scoring), Ole Miss (#28 scoring offense NCAA) and Georgia Tech (#24 NCAA total offense) having much greater success than most anticipated. The most experienced QB positions in the country were Purdue, North Texas, West Virginia, Arizona St, Arkansas and Duke and those 6 teams had 5 LOSING seasons and West Virginia went from 39.6 to 24.5 ppg on the year!! Does this mean experienced QB play is overrated? YES!

Now let’s take a look at the offensive lines. There were 3 teams with over 113 career starts returning to their offensive lines. Oklahoma had 130 to lead the NCAA and they had the best offensive line in the country as they averaged 51.1 ppg. Ball St had the 2nd most experienced offensive line with 129 career starts back and they went unbeaten in the regular season. BYU had 208 career starts returning to the O-line and while it was a season below their fans expectations they were still in the top 20 in scoring and total offense. There were only 5 teams that had 22 or less career starts returning last year and of those 5, FOUR went from a bowl game to a losing season!! Vanderbilt was fortunate as they went from outgaining foes 326-325 in ‘07 to being outgained by a 256-320 average on the year but somehow improved their record and went to a bowl.

This year there are only 3 offensive lines that fall into the “less than 22 career starts” category and they are Oregon, Arkansas St and Army. The most experienced offensive lines for 2009 are Colorado St, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Louisiana.

If you have not done so already make sure you have voted for EVERY conference game for the upcoming year. We will soon have the non-conference poll open.