Mailbag: Week 5

You asked the questions and the Staff answered them.

Q: Any new info on Starts medical status, will he be back in the 2 deep this week?


A: At the presser yesterday, Tubs said that it was a blood pressure issue and a doctor would release him, not anyone on the training staff. If it came down to it, probably a case for a medical redshirt.



Q: I read that Neal Brown wants to find a primary running back and it looks like Kenny Williams is the front runner, but would Coach Brown really keep Eric Stephens on the sidelines for most of the snaps?


A: That's exactly what he did against Iowa State.


If Brown believes Kenny Williams is clearly the best option, Williams will continue to get the lion's share of the snaps. Sentimentality and pity don't enter the picture here.


One caveat, however: Iowa State has a very physical defense with two tremendous run-stopping linebackers. It is possible Brown and the rest of the staff believed the physical Williams was the best option against ISU.


Q: Any of our seniors improving their stock for a potential NFL draft pick?


A: Love me some draft talk.


On defense, the coaches have said Cornelius Douglas has a future if he continues to improve. The ISU game is a good first step, but remember this time last year he was still an IR. I also think DJ has a shot. He's played both CB and S in college, started for 4 years, he's become a real leader of the defense. Cody Davis will probably also get a chance. He's smart, and that definitely helps, also a 4 year starter, but not as versatile as DJ, which will hurt him on draft boards. Mackey is another one who will have a shot. NFL body for sure. A good season will only help.


The real draftable talent right now is the junior class. Bullitt, Will Smith, I would think Hyder is catching some eyes, and maybe Porter.



Q: I'd like to know more about Art Kaufman... Odd, that he calls plays from above.  Is he a fiery guy in practice???  Is he older so players respect him more?? Intelligent scheme guy?


A: Kaufman is far more low key than Chad Glasgow. More of a quiet teacher than a raving maniac.


I believe there are two main reasons the defense is better. First and foremost, the scheme is simpler and the players have learned it. Amazing what can happen when players actually know their assignments on every play.



 Q: I guess, what I really want to ask is::: What is it about him that makes our defense 100x better than last?


A: Second, John Lovett has done an astounding job teaching coverage techniques. Douglas' bait-and-switch for the pick against Jantz could never have happened last season. Amazing what can happen when you've got a real secondary coach as opposed to a guy who was hired because he was related to a blue chip recruit.


Q: Is Alex Torres or Marcus Kennard 100%?


My suspicion is that the staff will try not to play Kennard for the rest of the season in hopes of getting him a redshirt. They would certainly like to redshirt him.


I think Torres is as healthy as he is ever going to be. But he'll never he as healthy as he was in 2009.


Q: We had a thread earlier this week about what areas on the team concern us fans the most.  Lots of folks, including me, answered "defensive line depth."  Would you comment on our d-line depth and if you think we have enough to get through the next five games (heck, the rest of the season) without being ground down.


A: Defensive line depth, while not ideal, may not be as big an issue as once feared. Hence, when you rout your first three opponents, and get tons of three-and-outs, your defensive front (especailly the starters) gets a lot of rest. And even against Iowa State, the defense didn't play many snaps because the D shut the Cyclones down so well. Factor in a stronger-than-expected ground game, which translates to lengthier drives, and your defense is rested even more.


More specifically, DE will be in great shape if Pete Robertson continues to come along--and he should. DT is more of a concern if Starts is forced to redshirt. Tech really does need to stay healthy at DT.


Q: During the ISU game I had a paradigm shift in understanding the dynamics of this years team. In the past there was a heavy weight on the offense to cover the D.  With the D's ability to actually stop the opposition, this weight has been lightened for the offense. Most fans were panicking in the first quarter because Doege was not at peak performance.


Do you think the offense and Doege are also going through this new realization? Seth certainly plays better after he's relaxed.


A: Absolutely. The offense knows it doesn't have to score 50 to win games and that's a huge weight off their shoulders. And hopefully, this will reduce the felt need to press and try to make big plays. There's nothing wrong with throwing the ball away on 3rd-and-long and giving your defense a shot at stopping the other guys. The longer the defense plays well, the more these sorts of lessons and thoughts should sink in.

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