Daily Blog - Friday, July 31st

I have now done over 200 radio shows so far this year and will end up doing between 300 and 400 by the end of the season. Since I do a lot of local shows the questions asked sometimes give me a little more insight to the local teams and I’ve learned some new things. A few weeks back I started jotting down some interesting things that I have learned from my radio show interviews and here they are.

I was doing a show in Atlanta a few weeks back. The question was about Notre Dame and why I thought they would finish so high in the rankings at the end of the year. One of the reasons that I threw out was that Jon Tenuta was taking over the defensive play calling. I think Tenuta is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game. The host of the show let me know that in Atlanta the knock on Tenuta was that his gambling blitzing defenses could be picked apart by sophisticated pass attacks with experienced QB’s. I had not heard that before and did not go back and research his lack of success vs such attacks but lets look at the QB’s and attacks that ND will face this year.

Out of last year’s Pass efficiency leaders the only ONE in the Top 68 of the 2008 leaders that is back to face ND this year is Kaeprnick who was #44.

Last year during my summer radio show circuit there were two fations of fans that beat me up the most for my predictions for their teams. Both BYU and Kansas fans came down hard on me as I forecast the MWC preseason favorite BYU to finish in a tie for 2nd in the MWC and BYU fans were thinking BCS buster. I also called for a Nebraska team that was 5-7 in ‘07 to finish ahead of Kansas which was 12-1 in ‘07 in the Big 12 North. Both sets of fans (BYU and Kansas) basically called me an idiot and said I had no knowledge of college football. As it was BYU DID finish 3rd in the MWC and Kansas DID finish 3rd in the Big 12 North BEHIND Nebraska.

Who are the fans that are beating me up the most this year? Oregon will be a Top 15 AP Preseason team and I do not have them in my Top 40. Kansas is picked to win the Big 12 North by most magazines but I have them 4th in the North due to a tough schedule. I live in Ohio and have a lot of friends who are HUGE Ohio St fans and they let me know that I did NOT pick them to win the Big Ten and OSU will be the preseason pick to win the Big Ten this year. Notre Dame “Haters” (this is like the fans of a team but in reverse and there are a lot of them) let me know that I am way off base having ND ranked in my preseason Top 10.

I followed Pitt’s Dave Wannstadt on a Mel Kiper Jr and John Stashower’s Big East preview one Saturday. When asked about QB’s, Wannstadt said that Bill Stull was the starter and Pat Bostick was the backup but don’t count our rFr Tino Sunseri (PS#29). How often do coaches threw out 3rd string QB’s unless they do actually have a shot at playing? I will be keeping an eye on this in August.

Here are some players that should show the biggest improvements in 2009

Jonathan Crompton -Tennessee - Crompton looked good in 2007 but in last year’s ill-fated offense which switched the OL’s from one side to another and lacked a true running game, he lost his job and hit just 51% with a 4-5 ratio with just 111 ypg passing. With a much improved Offensive line and RB Bryce Brown in the backfield, he will have a much stronger season.

Are you into Fantasy Football and looking for a late round sleeper, or a mid round pick you do not want to lose. Last year Florida St WR Jarmon Fortson had just 1 start and 8 receptions (17.1 ypc). This year QB Christian Ponder says “He really could be one of the greatest that’s ever come out of here”. “He’s got all the tools. He’s got speed. He’s large. He’s got great hands”. When your QB thinks this highly, generally that is who he will look to so Fortson figures to be the feature WR. Florida St is losing their top 2 receivers from last year and Ponder is now in his 2nd year as a starter and will be a better passer.

I talked to Gil Brandt again last week as he has GREAT insight to College and NFL players. Gil was Vice President of Player Personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-89 and was a key component to that franchise becoming the dynasty they were in that span. He is NFL.com’s main personnel guru and EVERY time I talk to Gil, I always have my note pad with me and I learn a lot. We discussed many players but he told me that he was putting up his complete list of rankings on NFL.com and they are great. He does only analyze SENIORS on the list but make sure you check it out today as I greatly respect him as an evaluator of NFL talent.

Kentucky HC Rich Brooks pointed out that Mike Hartline, put up remarkably similar stats last year to what André Woodson did as a Soph. Hartline threw for 1666 (55.3%) with a 9-8 ratio. Woodson threw for 1644 (58%) with a 6-6 ratio. If Hartline improves as a junior like Woodson did, then I think Brooks might opt to stick around for 2010.

I will have another Radio Show update in the next couple of weeks.