What if you could ask a Big 10 head coach anything you wanted?
The Rivalry Esq. missed Media Day (weren't invited), but that didn't stop us from scribbling on the legal pads. Suffice it to say, the big guys would have faced some serious cross-examining if one of us wasn't in England all summer.
For the sake of our dignities as pseudo journalists we've split the inquisition into two parts: serious football strategy and satire, because lets be honest, lampooning Big 10 head coaches isn't exactly difficult this year.
PART 1: SOBER, SEMI-STRATEGICAL QUESTIONS
Chris Wells carried the ball 39 times against Michigan for 222 total yards. Against LSU, he saw only half that many touches (20). His falloff in performance has been pointed to as the reason for the reduced reliance on the ground game in the Championship: he gained 119 yards off his first 10 carries, and only 30 the second 10. I think you would agree that LSU was successful outsourcing your offensive line in the second half. Simply put there weren't openings, and a power back like Beanie is significantly less effective when he has to go to the outside. What changes are you making in 2008 to the offensive line sets to ensure better opportunities for the running backs?
WR Ray Small was supposed to have a breakout season last year. He finished with a disappointing 20 receptions for 267 yards. What opportunities will he be given in 2008 to step up and shoulder some of the load from Hartline and Robiskie?
Juice Williams is a great runner, but his passing accuracy was abysmal last year. How did you and your Offensive Coordinator work with him this year to make his passing more precise?
You've seen the trouble certain Big 10 opponents have had defending tight end audibles. How do you plan to use what some consider to be the best tight end tandem in the nation in Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham to diversify your offense?
It's been reported that 26 players missed some portion of spring ball due to injuries. How does that affect your efforts to establish consistency?
"What if you could ask a Big 10 Head Coach anything you wanted?"
You've had some exciting personnel changes in the off season -- perhaps most notably picking up Ted Roof as defensive coordinator. What will he bring to a squad that was last in the nation in total defense last year?
Much has been made of the Satterfield scandal and the university's handling of it. How have you instilled in your team a focus on football admist the clutter?
Michigan's returning starters are ill-suited for a spread running offense. How have you tweaked the West Virginia Spread (dive option + pitch option + QB run) to accommodate the players you inherited?
You lost two monster playmakers to the NFL in Jehuu Caulcrick and Devin Thomas. These two fit your run-based offense perfectly, Caulcrick as the short yardage pounder and Thomas as the sticky hands home run threat who provided a change of pace. Has anyone stepped up, like Andre Anderson or Mark Dell, to take over the vacated roles?
The 2005 offense put up an obscene amounts of yardage and ran the shotgun spread beautifully. What is the key in channeling that teams offensive success?
Are you open to playing two quarterbacks interchangeably, considering Daryll Clark (athlete) and Pat Devlin (passer) bring different strengths to the field?
The nations leader in sacks last year, Greg Middleton, anchors your defense. He is sure to face double teams and tight end chips this year. How will you make teams pay for spending extra time on this sackmaster?
No one is giving you a chance in hell in playing a "13th game," the term Coach Terry Hoeppner coined. What do you tell your team to inspire them to overcome these pessimistic predictions?
The lack of a strong run game has been the biggest knock on your offense. What steps are you taking to make teams respect your ability to rush the football?
(Stay tuned for Part 2)