Basketball questions dominate this week's mailbag with a few football items mixed in. Enjoy.
Question: Quarterback height -- not only has CU begun to stockpile quarterbacks, most of them are fairly tall, with Connor Wood, Nick Hirschman, Stevie Joe Dorman, John Schrock all listed between 6-3 and 6-4. Incoming QB Shane Dillon is 6-5 and QB commit Sefo Liufau is listed at 6-4.
Assuming former KU QB is still coming to Boulder, how big a factor is height for Jordan Webb (6-0) competing for the starting spot? And, should Webb not be crowned #1, can you see him contributing at any other position for the Buffs? On a related note, former QBs Gorman (now TB) and Moten (now CB) are both 6-0.
Before anyone thinks I'm picking on Webb, remember Drew Brees is 6'0 and he does alright. -- Ric
Kyle's answer: Obviously, this coaching staff prefers a quarterback who can stand tall in the pocket and not be dwarfed by the lines or have a lot of passes batted back in his face. All of these guys certainly fit that mold.
Tyler Hansen did not, but that didn't prevent him from being the starter and keeping the job all year. Coaches really liked Hansen's maturity and decision making most of the time and they'd love to have him back for a fifth season if that was possible. I mention that because I've heard that they view Webb almost like having Hansen back. I do not believe Webb's height puts him at any kind of disadvantage. If that was the case, coaches wouldn't even bother.
When I spoke with Webb in March, he told me that he planned to play quarterback wherever he went and he was only considering schools where he believed he had a decent chance to win the starting job. He didn't sound like someone who was planning to make a position change. I'd be surprised if that happened.
Question: One of the big headlines from the spring game was Josh Ford's impressive rushing statistics. What wasn't reported was that he ran behind the second team offensive line which generally consisted of large freshmen (Marc Mustoe, Stephane Nembot, Alex Kelley & Co.), who seemed effective with their blocking. While I recognize the second team defense (comprising of several walk-ons) was on the field, it appeared to be the same defensive linemen that the first team offense played against. Was this performance an aberration, given the lack of depth on the defensive line, or is it possible that Buffs have some very good young offensive line talent? -- Steve
Kyle's answer: I think it's both. There is a strong collection of guys who figure to be second team on the depth chart this season on the offensive line. Plenty of reasons to be excited about guys like Mustoe, Nembot and Kelley as well as Daniel Munyer, who still could earn a starting job, putting senior Ryan Dannewitz in a backup role.
Some fans have been panicked by the recruiting on the offensive line and what it might mean for the future, but I think the Buffs have a pretty solid core group right now and they should be fine in the future. Only possible issue here is if a rash of bad injuries strikes that requires the team to go 10 or 11 or more deep on the offensive line. You don't see a lot of that though.
Having said all that, I don't think you could take much away from the spring game in terms of what the offensive line or any particular running back did, because the defensive line was so very thin.
Question: What preparation and conditioning advice are given to incoming freshmen football players? Also, are the freshmen allowed to talk to and work with trainers and coaches before they leave home and report to CU for the fall football season? - David
Kyle's answer: Good timing for this question David. Yes, incoming recruits who have signed letters of intent or financial aid paperwork can communicate with coaches and the strength and conditioning staff. They are given basic guidelines on diet and workouts but it doesn't get real detailed and specific until the players are actually in Boulder, enrolled in classes and around the staff on a daily basis.
Obviously, none of the players are required to follow any of the advice they are given until they arrive, but those that don't usually have some significant ground to make up on those who do.Question: I assume the women's BB team still sometimespractices against men. Are they always the same ones, or do they just roundup some volunteers, when needed. Can you tell us who they are, and a littleabout them? Maybe a few interviews? I think it would be interesting. -- Tom T.
Brian's answer: The women's basketball team does routinely practice against a group of several male students. Not all of them are at every practice, but it is a mix of the same group every day, depending on their class schedules. Some of them have actually been recruited by the women's players, who may have known them from pick-up games, but they all have to try out for the spots. In addition, they have to go through the whole NCAA process, meaning that they have to have NCAA eligibility and they have to remain academically eligible.
Question: Reorganization of the Mens basketball staff? Is there one coming involving Rodney Billups and Tom Abatemarco? Recruiting responsibility changes? Thanks, Dave J.
Ryan's answer: Dave, I was also curious about the possibility of Rodney Billups becoming an assistant and talked to the popular director of operations and Tad Boyle for this story: http://bit.ly/IEINWf
Billups clearly wants to be a coach, but there isn't an official plan in place to switch up roles right now. Jean Prioleau, Mike Rohn and Tom Abatemarco have all done a good job for Boyle on the bench and the recruiting trail. Basically, CU has four quality assistants and only three positions.
Question: Our 2013 basketball recruiting is really taking shape and looking like it could be a good year for the Buffaloes. I know we have limited scholarships to offer and stars don't mean everything to Boyle and co, but what do you think the chances are we bring maybe a potential 5 or 4 star into the mix? Maybe Isaac Hamilton and a Marcus Lee or Jabari Bird? And the potential of another Top 25 class. -- David M.
Ryan's answer: David, Great question. Tad Boyle has said that because of the limited number of scholarships available in 2013 (Sabatino Chen is the only senior on the current roster) the coaching staff is concentrating on landing a quality perimeter player. I would expect CU to land one of the highest ranked shooting guards in that class. The 2014 class could turn out to be a top-25 class because there are some high-end prospects coming up in Colorado and the program has clearly established itself as a destination for Southern California recruits.
Question: This is not about the Buffs in particular but the APR rule. How is Kentucky going to be able to participate in future NCAA tournaments with 5 players leaving in one year. You know more will leave next year? Please explain the rule.
Ryan's answer: Steve, That's a question a lot of fans, including many in Connecticut, want an answer to. Basically, the way the Academic Progress Rate is calculated is each program receives a point for players remaining academically eligible and another point for "retention." If a player leaves for professional basketball, however, programs are not penalized for the retention point. For example, Colorado will not be penalized for the 2010-11 academic year for Alec Burks leaving after his sophomore season because he finished the spring semester and left for the NBA in good academic standing.
John Calipari has not only been able to sell the nation's top one-and-done prospects to play at Kentucky, but to also do their part as students for one year (at least that's what the numbers say; Kentucky's APR from the last published four-year cycle was 962 with a score of 974 for the 2009-10 year when John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton left early and were picked in the first round).
Beginning next season, the NCAA will ban teams from postseason play if they fail to reach a 930 APR (a roughly 50 percent graduate rate) for a four-year rolling average. UConn is the major program that will be made an example of. CU would have been in trouble if the rule applied last year, but the program's four-year average is expected to be safely above 930 when the latest numbers are released later this month.