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Friday mailbag

Mail time!

Paki from Chicago writes: As I recall, when Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia for Michigan, he said in interviews that installing his spread offense was always a very rough transition for the players that yields very poor results in the first year but very good results starting with the second year. I'm pretty sure that was an accurate representation of his experience at West Virgina and at Tulane before that, but I remember the offense being quite encouraging during Rodriguez's first year at Michigan. Now Rodriguez's former Michigan offensive coordinator is bringing the spread to Pittsburgh. Do you think the Panthers' first year in this offense is more likely to produce good or bad results?

Brian Bennett: That's a good question. Some period of adjustment is to be expected, for sure. But I don't think installing the spread is as difficult as it used to be, unless you're taking over for a triple-option team or something. That's because so many teams have incorporated at least some spread principles, and so many players have played in spread systems in high school. Pitt isn't quite like West Virginia when Rodriguez took over; though the Panthers ran a conservative, pro-style offense, they still had a lot of skill players and threw the ball quite often. So this isn't is a complete sea change, though the offense probably won't be where Todd Graham wants it for a couple of years.


Mike from Short Hills, N.J., writes: I haven't seen too many people talking about the possibility of Mohamed Sanu at QB for Rutgers. I was wondering what your thoughts are? Last year I was actually quite surprised that Greg Schiano didn't test him out as an option once the season took a turn for the worse. While I'm sure most people hope that Gary Nova and Mike Bimonte will step up, Sanu could be a double threat at the QB position. Rutgers doesn't seem to be in too much trouble with depth in their receivers at this point.

Brian Bennett: Sanu wasn't healthy for the second half of last season, so there wasn't much chance to put him in at quarterback, even in the Wildcat. I think Sanu could play any position on the field. To put him at quarterback, though, would mean he would have to spend a whole lot of time learning the position, throwing to receivers, etc. At this point in his career, I don't think that's the best move. Strange as it is to say, he may be more valuable elsewhere.


Velden L. from Columbus, Ohio, writes: I'm wondering how the Fiesta Bowl situation could change things for teams in the BE going to the BCS? If they do lose their BCS, where would our champion go then?

Brian Bennett: It shouldn't have any effect. The BCS in all likelihood will continue in its current format; if the Fiesta Bowl is dropped, then another bowl -- probably the Cotton -- would take its place. The Big East would still have an automatic bid to one of the games. The bigger question is, as I asked in my chat: how much of UConn's lost ticket money went to John Junker's parties and strip-club outings?


Paul from Adirondack High Peaks writes: If there is no NFL this fall could we see the Big East take advantage of this to gain some national exposure and schedule Sunday games like the Pac 12 is considering?

Brian Bennett: This is a league that plays on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, so if TV asked the Big East to play on Sunday morning at 6 a.m., it would probably say yes. You've got to consider, however, the disruption in travel and schedules if games were moved to Sundays. Personally, I don't think any extra exposure would be worth it. College football should be played on Saturdays whenever possible.


P. from Bevis, Ohio, writes: Brian, after observing Cincinnati's practice, do you get a sense that the players have fully bought in now to Butch Jones' system and culture? That seemed to be lacking last year. (And yes, I am a butthead from Bevis.)

Brian Bennett: Heh, heh. I do get that sense, and the players echoed it. As Derek Wolfe said in my story from Wednesday, players "weren't 100 percent bought in" last season, which is natural given that they went through a coaching change after winning two straight Big East titles. Linebacker JK Schaffer told me "there's a lot more team unity now." Will it equal more wins? We shall see.