Five Big Questions For 2009

The Bearcats will enter the 2009 season as defending Big East Champions and looking to find replacements for several positions. What are the 5 Biggest Questions For 2009? We take an early look.

1. Bearcat fans have now been spoiled as Kevin Huber earned back-to-back All-American honors.  Fans now know how much a punter can mean to a team as Huber could change field position with his leg.  Who will replace Kevin Huber?


A) The news that Patrick O'Donnell had given his verbal commitment may answer this question.  O'Donnell had taken an official visit to Georgia and was also looking at West Virginia as a place to visit.  The only option on the roster is Elder product Michael Cooke.


2. While many look at the Bearcats running attack as non factor, you can't take away the combined numbers of John Goebel and Jacob Ramsey.  But will the emergence of Isaiah Pead mean Brian Kelly will have a three-headed running attack?  Or will Pead become the man at take over the majority of carries?


A) Pead went from almost unseen to getting a few more reps in the final games of the year.  He showed signs of what to expect and after learning the offense he'll be a hard one to tame come spring.  But while you should expect Pead to get more carries you should also expect to see Darrin Williams to get time as he also has the explosive ability to change a play.  Ramsey and Goebel are solid players who've been in the trenches when it matters most but one of them could be seeing less carries come next fall.


3. Tony Pike had a dream season and now the pressure of being considered the starter going into the spring carries some extra weight.  Can Pike keep a hold on the starting spot or does he get challenged by the five quarterbacks behind him?


A) One thing fans should know by now is that Brian Kelly knows what to do with his quarterbacks.  He gets the most out of their abilities and is not loyal to just one if it comes down to winning games.  Tony Pike enjoyed a career year and will be tested hard in the spring and in camp by Demetrius Jones, Chazz Anderson and Zach Collaros.  But don't be surprised if Jones, Anderson and Collaros could also be looking from the outside as the two freshmen Travis Kelce and Brendon Kay have a lot of talent.  It should be expected that Pike remains the starter and one of the freshmen step up to at least the third quarterback in the system.


4. Ten senior starters on the defensive side of the ball have now seen their careers end.  Who will take their place?


A) How do you replace players like Mike Mickens, Connor Barwin and the others who made this team so special on the defensive side of the ball?  That is what you hope your recruiting has done over the past couple of years.  While some major talent will be missing there are some players who will be given the chance to show what they've got and should be expected to excel.  Look for players like Alex Daniels, Curtis Young, John Hughes and Derek Wolfe to see even more times on the field.  At the linebacker positions you've got a solid leader in Andre Revels and some young talented players that will have to step up.  But the biggest question will be in the defensive backfield.  Aaron Webster is very capable of being a big player and if not for injury Drew Frey has shown he's got the talent as well.  Patrick Lambert and Dominique Battle are two players who should really step up and show themselves in the spring.


5. Talk for the past several months saw the Bearcats signing 19-20 recruits on National Signing Day.  Now that it looks as if the Bearcats could sign up to 25 who will be leaving the program?


A) Some of this will take care of itself as players lose faith in their ability to play at this level and drop down a level to play or become the victims of poor academics.  Some players who would be entering their senior year and have received their degree may see the writing on the wall and chose not to continue.  Either way you should expect a few players to leave the program and that means open scholarships to sign new ones.

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