ULL Scouting Report
We will have our usual key matchups and predictions later in the week, but with a new head coach in Mark Hudspeth out of Mississippi State and North Alabama it is a little interesting that the Ragin Cajuns are re-making themselves. On offense, where Hudspeth has coached in his career, they have Jay Johnson at offensive coordinator. I know Johnson pretty well from his days as an offensive coordinator for Jeff Bower at Southern Miss.
Johnson has to decide on a starting quarterback along with Hudspeth. The incumbent is Chris Masson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder that OSU saw last season in Lafayette. I really think they are going to go with Blaine Gautier. I think they will feel with three new starters on the offensive line that they need a more mobile quarterback that can also be a threat to run. The talk is that they are going to go more from under center and mix with the shotgun. Their best player, overall, on offense is tight end Ladarius Green. An NFL prospect and maybe a first round pick, Green is huge and has big soft hands. The thinking may be mix Gautier, who should always be able to find Green, with running back Aaron Spikes, who has had a terrific camp. That would be an offense where some option might spice it up and make it harder to defend.
On defense it is the 3-4-4 with Greg Stewart, who came out of Jacksonville State where he helped engineer that huge opening upset of Ole Miss last season. Stewart is good with this scheme and we will predict has looked at and even conversed with Texas A&M 3-4 defensive guru and coordinator Tim DeRuyter. I would guess the Cowboys offensive staff looked back at that tape. The Aggies did some nice things defensively in that game. They could be suspect at linebacker and in the secondary but they return three defensive linemen. The problem is that two of them are defensive tackles. Derreck Dean is a stud and will play and have Tyrell Gaddies to help out now. I also like the athletic Davon Lewis-Buchanan at linebacker and safety Dwight Bentley is back to quarterback the secondary.
You will see up close ULL has good athletes, not as good with as many as Oklahoma State, but it is imperative that you get the Cajuns down early and don't take chances.
I read Ryan Stewart's story the other day on the differences between new OC Todd Monken and former OC and now WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. The story was done with comments and through the eyes of quarterback Brandon Weeden. I know a few things too, many I cannot say because of my access granted in the program.
I enjoyed Dana Holgorsen and he was very interesting to be around, but he is also difficult to deal with in your program as an assistant. He could be very defiant, very polarizing with other staff members, his watch didn't work much especially in the morning. As you saw in West Virginia, he often does what he wants when he wants and isn't really helpful when it goes awry. Now, did he know football and how to call plays and everything about this offense? Yes, and he should. He is an excellent playcaller.
Todd Monken knows every bit as much football as Dana Holgorsen and now he knows Holgorsen's offense and is plotting how to maximize it in games. Remember too, Monken broke in a few nuances of his own and after watching all camp I am convinced that they will be difference makers in certain situations when they debut.
My advice to all of you that seem pretty worked up over this aspect to the upcoming season is check it out and then throw your cards, opinions, and emotions on the table. If you want to attack me for being a Todd Monken fan and a huge fan of the hire then you will have your chance. Honestly, I contacted Monken three weeks before he was hired because I thought he was a great fit. If you come to feel that you like Monken as offensive coordinator then you must post on the Premium Board that you think Monken was the right hire and that Robert Allen must be a football genius for considering it three weeks before it happened. I'm really kidding in that last sentence, but I thought it would get your attention.
Big 12 Future Minus the Aggies
OK, the expected news out of the Big 12 Board of Directors (school Presidents and chancellors) teleconference on Saturday was that Texas A&M is full speed ahead in leaving and full speed ahead, at least according to one source with supposed intimate knowledge, means the Aggies intentions to join the SEC and the SEC receiving them could be out as early as later this week. We knew all this. A&M is leaving!
"The Big 12 Conference members have been and will continue to conduct meetings related to the situation with Texas A&M and Conference membership," released Beebe in a statement, his only statement on Saturday after the teleconference. "There will be public statements as appropriate and necessary if and when action is taken."
While Beebe said little, there was more news coming out of sources familiar with the teleconference and Texas Tech's chancellor was even doing a radio interview in Lubbock.
Of what I heard, what I like, is that I think the Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and the Board of Directors intend to extract as much money as possible out of A&M. Make them pay, I say because their departure based on timing and situation is more damaging than Nebraska. Colorado could have left anytime and most of the other schools would have packed their bags for them. I've seen everything from the maximum of $28-30 million in all exit fees and revenue withholding to just the withholding of $18-19 million. I'd like the bigger number, but the latter is acceptable.
What else I like is that the board has named a committee to look into the future of the conference and schools they should go after. Oklahoma State is represented as OSU President Burns Hargis is on that committee and will be joined by OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. That is a good pair.
I say go after Notre Dame, BYU, TCU, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh. You would then go to east-west divisions that could look like this:
East: Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinnati or West Virginia and Pittsburgh (pick two), Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State.
West: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, and BYU
Fourteen teams and just two away from being the first super conference.
Uniforms: Shocked Somebody Didn't Scale the Boone to See
I really expected to see a king size thread or even multiple threads of players coming out for the mock game on Saturday wearing the uniforms that they will open the season in next Saturday against ULL. The uniform combos for the entire season have been chosen and assigned to each game for the season. The equipment staff is silent on what was chosen. The implied uniform for the opener is white helmet, orange jersey, and white pant. I think opening with the homage to the traditional home uniform would be appropriate.
Where's the adventure, I thought sure somebody would scale the stadium to break the story on uniforms for the opener.
Future Commitment, Some of You Folks Are Crazy
I keep reading comments and getting questioned about some upcoming imminent commitment. I know of no imminent commitment. In fact, I don't see any commitment coming anytime soon unless it comes out of the first weekend of unofficial vists for the season. This week phone calls start again and that will get things going, but the slowdown around this time is usual and typical because the college coaches are busy preparing for the season and the high school prospects are busy getting settled into their season. It is part of the calendar of the process. There is some new new recruiting news and we will get it out there as soon as we confirm it.