CF.C Mailbag

ANY CHANGES ON the horizon for delayed enrollment, otherwise known as Grayshirting? Has Southern Cal returned to relive its storied past? What's one reason for the Cougs' success this season that's escaped notice for the most part? I want my MTV and my negative recruiting, can I have both? What is this signing day that you speak of? Questions and (some) Answers reside within..

From: Frank
Did anything ever come of the Carl Bonnell situation as far as new rules for grayshirts?

A:  It would appear there are no changes forthcoming.  The Steering Committee of the NLI will not comment either way as far as any possible rules changes, or, they are not yet ready to comment.  (And oh don't think I haven't tried.)

From: Anonymous
Why is everyone falling all over themselves about the "great USC resurgence" and the incredible genius of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow?  Over the same stretch from 2001-present, the Cougs have the better record since Carroll came on board.  The Cougs beat the Trojans for the Pac-10 title last year.  The Cougs have the better league record this season and are also tied with the (gosh darned Trojans) overall at 7-1.  Why.  Tell me.  TELL ME! 


A:  You covered much of the irony.  Although part of it is also that the Trojans have been a pretty damn good football team the last couple of seasons.  They're certainly better than the recent stretch of 1996 thru Carroll's first year in 2001, as they went 6-6, 6-5, 8-5, 6-6, 5-7, 6-6. 


In those years, they also had top rated talent, just as they do now.  Two major differences are X's and O's, and motivation.  Having great recruits guarantees little in the current climate.  It depends on how you develop and inspire that talent.


But another part of it is the nostalgia of some members in the media.  Perhaps think of it, in part, as an East Coast wanderlust for the West Coast past perennial.  There remains a preoccupation with the possibility of "dynasties" in college football.  Never mind that those storied teams were built on foundations which are no longer possible today. 


Still, the current climate doesn't preclude some in the media from salivating after ways to tear down whomever they perceive to be on top.  Should Washington State defeat USC, stay tuned and stand back from the windows the rest of the season, as more critical pieces, (and perhaps unfair ones at that), will undoubtedly surface.  


Ultimately, Southern Cal has done a great job of motivating and coaching - and the student-athletes have also played to their potential.  Just as assuredly, if the same thing had happened out in the desert at say, ASU, the last two seasons, it would not have garnered the same level of national acclaim.

From: Gerald
I see Notre Dame finally fell out of the NY Times Top 25.  But I also noticed a 5-3 Georgia Tech team (leapt) 13 spots into a tie with Virginia Tech at No. 15.  What the..

A:  Yes, Mr. Blair and his merry band of cyber-monkeys are doing wonderful work.

From: Keith
When is signing day?

A:  February 4th, 2004.

From: Anonymous
Did I see Omowale Dada on the field in the Oregon State game?

A:  You're correct.  "Wally" was right there in the mix on special teams.  Between him and standout Jason Hill, the return units have playmakers with some serious wheels. 


What also should not go unnoticed this season is the vast improvement on coverage teams.  Coach Kelly Skipper has very quietly made significant strides throughout the year.  Both he and the players deserve significant kudos on one heretofore overlooked facet that has been critical to the Cougs' 7-1, No. 6 ranking.


From: Anonymous
There hasn't been a peep about "negative recruiting" so far this year, why not?

  Probably because of coaching turnover and the fact it didn't go over all that well in ‘02.  The two biggest protagonists of that story last year, Bob Toledo and Rick Neuheisel, are no longer with us here in the Pac-10.  (You can still catch The Crimson Seer weeping some days.) 


Also, the Pac-10 made it clear they don't like seeing coaches sniping at each other through the media.  Still, the recruiting year is nowhere near over.  There's still time.  You may yet see allegations from Rainier Beach on the propaganda practices of the KingCo league.

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