Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller will stop by to talk some college football.
Miller has been covering college football since 1997, starting with Auburn and then heading West to Washington and the (then) Pac-10. His columns for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer won first place in 2007 APSE Best Writing contest. The Atlanta native and University of Richmond graduate presently lives with his wife in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Send your questions now and join Miller Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
Greetings. Fire away.
You stood us up last week.. Are you going to chat with us today?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
Sorry about that. I had to wash my hair.
Drum roll . . . The new OC at Utah is Brian Johnson. What do you think?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
He has a short track record so it's hard to say. It's risky to hire someone so young and inexperienced. BUT.. if you trust coach Kyle Whittingham, who has a very strong track record, then you should have faith that he made a forward-looking hire.
Curious George (Under a Rock)
Do you think there is any chance a Pac 12 team will try to pick up WVU or FSU on their schedule next year seeing that they will no longer be playing each other?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
I doubt it, but it would be great if Oregon could add an A-list nonconference game. The Ducks could use it, and I think they'd be able to handle both teams well.
tony (boston ma)
Ted if the trojans can figure out the D line do you think this trojans team can go down as one of the top trojan teams of all time
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
Well... there have been some really, really good USC teams. When you make a list to the 10 best all-time college teams, you'd have 2 or 3 USC teams in the discussion. D-line is an issue. Depth at RB is an issue. The O-line without Kalil is a bit of a question. It's premature to rate this squad as one of the best ever, particularly with a lack of depth. But if the Trojans stay healthy, they will be in the national title hunt. And if they win it, then we can take on "place in history" questions.
What do you see being the biggest obstacle for the Bruins to be back in the spotlight?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
The first answer is getting consistent effort and mental toughness. The second is getting good production at QB.
Ted, do you think SEC teams should play a ninth conference game?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Keith H (Seattle)
Ted, I find Recruiting Day to be lots of hoopla about very little. For the most part, these kids will be redshirted and we won't see the majority for two years. How about you?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
I'm not one of those guys who question fan enthusiasm for recruiting. For one, it lays the ground work for a team. Second, it's the first contact fans have with players they will one day cheer for. Third, I don't begrudge fans anything that gets them to read the Pac-12 blog.
With most(if not all) Pac-12 teams ranked in the bottom half of the FBS in penalties per game and the Sugar Bowl criticisms, do you see the Pac-12's overhaul of officiating as a success, failure, or work in progress?
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
Work in progress. I certainly think the effort at an overhaul is there. The infrastructure is in place. New hires were made. But it may take time to translate to the field.
Expectant Father (SLC)
We're expecting our first child to arrive on Sept. 15, the day of the BYU game, but since they aren't really our rival anymore, it's ok to miss the Holy War right?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
You should say, "Honey, I love you. But this child needs to be born on Sept. 16. So suck it up." Tell me how that goes. I'll wait over here with everyone else.
gunna be a tuff season without our recievers or polk
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
Losing Polk is big, but there's some intriguing talent at receiver, starting with Kasen Williams and James Johnson. And the TE is pretty darn good too. Not sure how things will go at RB, likely 2-3 guys sharing the ball.
Ted, what are your thoughts on the B1G-Pac-12 matchup? I've been exposed to both, and I think it's an interesting stylistic clash.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
I like any quality nonconference game. I like going to cool stadiums, and the Big Ten has plenty of those. And it's the whole Rose Bowl thing. The clash of styles is part of that.
Mike Reilly is a great guy but is OSU really satisfied to field mediocre teams year after year?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
Well, Oregon State won 36 games from 2006-2009. Not too shabby. How many times has that happened in program history? That said: the recent downturn is notable. Riley needs the Beavers to get to a bowl game in 2012 or he will feel some legit heat.
Do you see any of the Duck's wide receiver recruits from this year making an impact for them this coming season?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
maybe... i don't really know that much about them. The guys who seem more front-and-center are the redshirt frosh who were so touted in 2011. Those are the guys who need to step up and contribute.
Do you think Wazzu will have to run the 4-3 instead of the 3-4 they wanted to because of LB depth at that spot.
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
No, because it's easier to convert a safety to an LB than stock up on D-linemen. I know that the depth chart at present looks better on the D-line than at LB, but I'm willing to bet there are some tweener type safeties who could play a hybrid LB, like they use in a 3-3-5.
Any chance Armond Armstead might be able to join his bro in Eugene?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
it seems doubtful due to Pac-12 transfer rules...
We've got a shiny new stadium. A dynamite athletic center. A bunch of quality coming back on offense and defense. Yet I feel like Cal isn't anywhere close to winning the Pac 12. Where do we go wrong? What prevents us from being a USC or Oregon?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
If Cal ranks in the top-three in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency in 2012, it would have a good shot at winning 10 or more games. Love the possibilities on defense with the young guys next fall.
So CU returns very little experience at QB, with only Nick Hirschman having taken any snaps last year (and he was shaky in is only start vs. ASU). I keep hearing a lot of hype around town that Connor Wood is the real deal. Why wasn't he in the QB competition at UT before he transferred, and is he deserving of the hype I keep hearing?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
I too have heard the scuttlebutt on Wood from a buddy of mine who went to CU. Obviously, if he signed with Texas you'd assume he has natural talent. Considering how poor Qb play at Texas has been of late, you'd have to wonder why he wasn't in the mix. There are many reasons a player opts to transfer, and not just because he was beaten out. But until we see him under fire in a game -- or really in a QB competition where he's under pressure -- we won't really be able to measure him, other than in whisper power.
This past year, we didnt really see as much of the warp speed drives Oregon became famous for in 2010. They had moments where they kicked it into that sixth gear, but it wasnt sustained to the same level it had been. Is that a feature of a relatively green center/O-Line, or a shift away from the techniques of 2010?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
Yeah, I think you should fire Chip Kelly. His offense only averaged 46 points and 515 yards per game. No... actually I understand what you're saying, and you provided you own answers -- chief being youth on O-line. I'd also say that losing Maehl and Davis was a big hit to the WRs.
Cornelius Suttree (Nashville, TN)
What did you think of the Tosh presser...this stood out as quite a contradiction.Lupoi: a??Obviously, I hadn't spoken a word about it to recruits (while) representing a different place." Shaq Thompson: a??He [Lupoi] came in for a home visit last night and told me he was thinking about taking the UW job and wasna??t sure what he was going to do....
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
You play the Cormac McCarthy card to get me to pick your question, don't you? I thought it was an awkward presser. I was disappointed I wasn't allowed to speak with Tosh one-on-one, so I could present you a clearer picture of things. As it was, it was hard to figure out what Tosh was trying to say. It's fairly obvious that the transition was far from smooth, but all parties seem intent on moving on. I talked to Tedford and he's clearly taking the high road, no matter how legit his gripes are.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Which receiver will have a breakout second year in the PAC-12, George Farmer or Devon Blackmon?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Both... Farmer could get pushed by Victor Blackwell.
Will (Northridge, CA)
From 1972-1988 Oregon State won 36 games Total.
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
which is why i tend to think Beavers fans should tread carefully when they start putting Riley on the hot seat.
Ben (Newport Beach, CA)
People talk about how Stanford will replace Luck, but isn't losing 3 out 4 starters in the secondary the more pressing issue?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Well, Luck was the best QB in college football, so that's hard to replace. But, yes, a rebuilt secondary should make any Pac-12 fanbase nervous. USC and Matt Barkley come to town for week 3, too. There is some young talent there, but Delano Howell and Michael Thomas were 2 impact guys who were good leaders, too.
Washington fan (Washington)
Why do I complain more about California fans overreacting to Tosh's departure to Washington than they complain about losing Tosh?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
your question required three readings. answer: beats me.
Barry J. Sanders (OKC, OK)
With the 2012 Signing Day in the books, it's time to look to 2013- which program nabs West Coast 5-star QB Max Browne? Washington? USC? Stanford? Or does he leave the Pac territory altogether and venture out yonder to Oklahoma? I demand a premature prediction!
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
I predict he goes to Richmond. No idea. You'd think the homestate Huskies will be in the mix. You'd think USC & Stanford will make big pushes after not signing a QB in 2012.
Johnholioo the Great (somewhere in Latin America)
If I go to USC for grad school and decide to be a walk on for the USC football team, how can I inspire the Trojans to stay focused and not lose any games to any team, especially highly under favored teams?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Not easy to do. That's part of Chip Kelly's whole approach of treating every game like a Super Bowl and not allowing that any game is more important than another. Ultimately though it comes from within the locker room: Good leaders who make sure everyone understands how to prepare every week. You'd think guys like Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and T.J. McDonald, etc., would be pretty focused on that.
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
You guys do know if you send a question 50 times, I just hit one button and you go away, right?
Steve (Pullman, WA)
Any chance the Cougs might get a visit from Gameday this year? If we are doing well I feel like we deserve it. Go Cougs!
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
The GameDay formula: Win a lot. If the Cougs win a lot, they will get considered -- if a foe who also wins a lot comes to town.
With several 4 star QBs in Nottingham, Hogan, Llyod, and Nunes...shouldn't Stanford be set at QB for the next few years actually?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
You never have enough talent at QB.
Stanford fans want to thank you for fighting back against the "Stanford is going to fall off" talk the last few years. First, Toby leaving was going to doom us. Then Harbaugh. Now Luck. I'm looking at a bunch of guys with 2+ years of eligibility left that could win 8-9 games next year, with a top 5 recruiting class coming in for reinforcements. "We don't rebuild, we reload"?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
My feeling is Stanford is in position to become a perennial bowl team that regularly competes for conference titles.
Considering the quality of his first recruiting class, how many wins does Mora need to tally in order to keep Bruins fans from grumbling?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
That's hard to say. Bruins fans grumble a lot. I think a baseline is getting back to a bowl game, so 6-6, 7-5 to me feels like a successful first year. But I just talked to Mora today and he sounds like a guy who expects to win immediately. Dude's got some fire. That strikes me as a good thing for a quick turnaround.
Johnholioo the Great (somewhere in Latin America)
Ted, every time I post on your blog from Latin America, ESPN posts my comments twice. Do you why? (And by the way I only sent you one question, it's not my fault if ESPN duplicates it.)
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Because we love spicy comments.
Bennet or Mariota next year at oregon?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
Bennett... But understand: I, like just about every other reporter, haven't really seen Mariota due to closed practices. I hope Chip opens things up this spring... otherwise it will be difficult to take a measure of the QB competition.
Will Stanford ever regret downsizing the stadium as much as it did? Do you know if there are built-in options for easy expansion?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
I don't think so... first you fill a place up. Then you make it a "hard" ticket. If the Cardinal keeps winning, they'll get the sellouts, but I'm not sure there will be a need for 80,000 seats in the future.
Zach Maynard (Frisco)
Ted, how worried should I be about Zach Kline taking my job?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
You should worry most about getting better. The QB competition will take care of itself. Kline sounds like the real deal -- quick release, accurate. But nothing duplicates a full year of experience.
Do you think Rich Rod's first season could be his best season over the next 3-4 years? This due to Scott being a senior;good on his feet, plenty of DB's for the 3-3-5, solid O-line, and 8 home games?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Maybe... He's got to recruit to his system. You saw how his recruits looked in year four at Michigan, winning the Sugar Bowl. If you read his book, Rodriguez says over and over that it takes time for his concepts to build a foundation. It's not a 2-year turnaround.
Ben Ingersoll (Fresno, CA)
Why are people still wondering if Armstead will play OL or DE for the Ducks?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Because a lot of people think he'd be a better OT than DT.
Do you think Chip really cares if you have a measure of the QB competition?
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
No... But football is supposed to be fun for fans and hearing about a QB competition is fun for fans. Of course, when you win as much as Kelly has, he doesn't have to worry about things like that if he doesn't want to.
Ted Miller (4:04 PM)
OK gang... time for me to ride off into the, er, afternoon sun. See you next week...