Kirk Herbstreit Chat Transcript

Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN joined last night for a chat regarding the Fiesta Bowl and college football in general. For those of you unable to attend, we transcribed the chat for your convenience. Kirk touched on a variety of topics and said he looks forward to joining us in the future as well!

Opening statement:

Kirk Herbstreit: We've had a week to digest what I think is one of the greatest championship games in any sport with both teams leaving it all on the field. Any close game there usually is some controversy and this game seemed to have plenty of that, especially late in the game. Although there are some issues on BOTH SIDES to debate, I really think it takes away from the greatness of the battle for both Miami and OSU fans to continue to bicker over issues that we cannot control. Just to answer this before people want to know my feelings after having a chance to replay the in overtime numerous times was there contact? Sure. Was there enough to warrant a flag? I don't think so. Especially considering the way the officials were allowing the game to be pretty physical up to that point. With that said Miami fans, I would also tell you that OSU had a call go against them on 3rd down prior to the Roscoe Parrish punt return. #1 on the 3rd down play the Miami corner held Gamble on an out cut twice which was not called. If that is made and it is a first down with 2:00 remaining and runs the clock out without the punt return and there is no OT to begin with. The only reason I bring these issues up is because they seem to be the most talked about topics of the game and I think that is a shame. I'd rather remember two championship caliber teams competing for four hours. With that said, let's go to the questions.

Q: What was the reason Ohio State was able to exploit the Miami offensive line in the Fiesta Bowl?

Kirk Herbstreit: Ohio State felt comfortable because they knew how athletic and physical they were capable of being and although most analysts felt Miami would dominate with a balanced attack, OSU felt between their scheme and their athletic ability they felt confident they could take away the running game first and then put pressure on Dorsey which they did.

Q: Do you see the injury to Willis McGahee changing the minds of underclassmen returning for another year?

Kirk Herbstreit: Yes, it will but Doss came back and he came back to compete for a title and he ended up doing it. I think both sides have warrant. Each person is different I think most guys leave early and McGahee's injury will strengthen that stance. As for the injury and the way it came about it seems to have created a buzz since the game. If you are to look at this objectively you'd realize that is was a third down play with Miami regaining momentum Will Allen the nickel back came up to make a tackle on McGahee and stopped him for no gain forcing a punt. His initial reaction obviously was to get up and celebrate with teammates. I was standing right there where the play unfolded and I was concerned about McGahee so as I was watching him I also kept my eye on Will Allen and what I saw with my own two eyes was Will celebrate and going crazy and then look over his shoulder and realize Willis was still down and he ran over to OSU sideline to one of the assistant coaches and said "Coach I think he's hurt real bad, pray with me." And he took a knee on the field and prayed for Willis McGahee. While he was doing that, four other Buckeyes were on their knee in a circle maybe 10 feet away from where McGahee was being looked at. They also were kneeling and praying for the good of Willis. How that all got into some throat slashing, wild gesture is beyond my wildest dreams.

Q: Who do you think should not have declared early for the NFL draft?

Kirk Herbstreit: Clemons from Georgia and Musa Smith From Georgia could use another year. McDonald from ASU could use another year to develop and it will be a strong year for WR and he would be a good one coming back next year.

Q: Preseason top five for 2003?

Kirk Herbstreit: Top 5 - In no certain order - Auburn, Kansas State perhaps, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas. Remember that is alpha, not in order.

Q: What is your take on the quarterback situation at Miami for 2003?

Kirk Herbstreit: QB at Miami - I'm anxious to see Berlin get an opportunity to see what he can do with this Miami offense. He may have more physical tools than Dorsey but it may take him some time to develop the intangibles that Dorsey had mastered. Guillon and Wright have promising futures but with a lack of game experience give Berlin a serious advantage. I'd be shocked if Berlin isn't the starting QB at La. Tech.

Q: Will you remember Ken Dorsey as a great college quarterback or someone who succeeded due to the talent surrounding him?

Kirk Herbstreit: I will always remember Dorsey as a winner and as a very intelligent QB. Any great player will have questions about the system or players around them. Look at Joe Montana. Dorsey should always be appreciate by not only Miami fans but college football fans for QBing a 3-year era that will go down and arguably one of the best teams ever to play college football.

Q: Did you think your sideline behavior during the game was something you can be proud of? I ask this based on the fact that you are employed by ESPN to be objective even though I know it had to be tough being a OSU grad...there have been several concerns raised by national media outlets on how you carried yourself during the game...calling for the pass I call in OT and the constant jumping up and down and verbal taunts directed at Miami players after OSU players made a big play.Do you feel like you can walk into coach Coker's office next year and look him and the staff in the eyes knowing how you conducted yourself last Friday?

Kirk Herbstreit: I'm glad you brought this up. I will never understand how people can misconstrue something completely innocent as what I did on the sidelines of this year's championship game. I don't pretend to hide the fact that sure I'm an OSU alum, former player, captain and fan of their program like any alum of any school in the country. I would challenge anybody throughout my eight year career at ESPN to show me a moment where I have been biased toward OSU on the air. I am paid by ESPN to give objective comments and analysis while on the air. What I do on the sideline of any game is irrelevant. You're telling me that I picked OSU to win the game not out of loyalty but out of a belief that they could win it? With very few people thinking OSU should even be in that game I had a feeling that they could compete just based on the match up itself and low and behold they make a game of it and I'm supposed to feel guild for cheering for #1 my alma mater and #2 a team I picked to win outright when they were nearly a two touchdown underdog. Somehow that doesn't all add up to me. What's ironic about this whole thing is that in the last 5 NC games, 3 times I picked a double digit underdog to win outright. Tennessee over FSU, OU over FSU and OSU over Miami and in all three cases you would have seen the same jubilation and excitement that I was accused of in the OSU/Miami game. As for your comment about me taunting Miami players, are you out of your mind? I would never ever taunt any collegiate football player at any moment. I may have been excited for OSU and their underdog role to have a shot to win the NC but I would never belittle or finger point at the Miami Hurricanes. Do you people realize that while come of my colleges several years ago were talking about UCF becoming #3 in Florida that I was talking about Butch Davis and the Miami Hurricanes? I can't even believe I am addressing this question. The bottom line is, look at any time that I am on the air and you tell me when I've been biased toward any school. I talk about the facts and I give my opinions. Q: Kirk, Ginger or Marry Ann?

Kirk Herbstreit: Ginger is a given:-)

Q: Who are your top five coaching staff in college football?

Kirk Herbstreit: 5 top staffs in college football in no certain order - Oklahoma, USC, Miami, Ohio State and an up and coming program Arizona State.

Q: What do you think about the Louis Irizarry situation where he changed commitments from OSU to Miami?

Kirk Herbstreit: Irizarry- I don't talk to recruits and follow recruiting a little bit. Not shocking to see him change his mind and decide to go to Miami. From what I understand he is a big athletic TE who can run and what better school in the nation to exploit those talents than Miami. It's unfortunate for OSU, they pull off the big upset and then lose one of their prize recruits after winning the game. To top it off the kid is from Youngstown where Tressel made a name for himself. It just goes to show you that most 18 year old football players are looking to go to a school that is going to give them a chance to showcase their individual talents and get a shot at the league. In Irizarry's case does he want to block for four years and win a lot of games or does he want to be utilized as a receiver and win a lot of games?

Q: What is your take on all of Florida State's current problems?

Kirk Herbstreit: FSU - I think all the controversy will rejuvenate Bobby Bowden and I think that after 14 years of having incredibly competitive teams Bobby Bowden has had 2 teams in a row that had that special chemistry that those previous 14 teams had. I think the focus between now and August will be to get back to having teams that want to compete and play for one another. If the Noles can get that they'll be competitive once again.

Q: Who do you see having a breakout year in 2003?

Kirk Herbstreit: Breakout year? Too early to tell. Give me to the end of spring ball to give you an educated answer on that. This year they were Willis and Larry Johnson. I take a lot of pride in picking those and need through spring ball to give an answer.

Q: Do you see Will Smith declaring for the draft?

Kirk Herbstreit: Will Smith - I don't think so. Darion Scott has already announced he is coming back which leads me to believe Smith will too.

Q: Do you see similarities between the 2003 Canes and the 2001 Canes due to the way each previous season ended for them (BCS snub in 2000 and "The Call" in 2002)?

Kirk Herbstreit: 2003 Canes vs. 2001 - yes after what happened to them in '00 when the system kept them out which allowed them in 2001 to be on auto-pilot emotionally. Since the streak was snapped, the players that return next year, you'd expect them to want to get back to starting a new streak. Because of the way they lost the game with the controversial call, that will probably be their rallying call. Let's not leave anything to chance. I'd expect with the number of players they have returning, to not only have an incredibly talented team but I agree with you I think they will play with even more motivation after what happened in the championship game. Not to mention with the schedule they have next year with road games at Pitt, VT, and FSU and a tough home slate with Tennessee and Florida I'm sure many people will stay off of them in the pre-season. That will also add fuel to their fire.

Kirk Herbstreit: Thanks guys - good night!

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