Weekly Answers, Pt. 8

Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…

1) Howland got close with the type of hard-nosed, gritty players he initially recruited (Eastern style mentally/physically tough players) but couldn’t get over the hump against teams like Florida and win it all. However, the one-and-dones have burned him and left the program in tatters. Seems a Faustian Bargain — to get the players you need to get over the hump, you have to agree to the prospect of them leaving in a year or two. What is Howland to do? Does he go back to the type of players he recruited at Pitt and settle for defensive toughness over offensive power, or does he recruit the type of talent a name like UCLA attracts, and become a finishing school for the pros and cater to kids attending school to get into the NBA rather than to win a title in four years? – BruinInSeattle
It’s always a balance. ALWAYS. You win with a combination of potential NBAers and simply great college basketball players. I don’t think any average basketball fan would have expected Afflalo, Mbah a Moute, Hollins, etc. to have so much success in the NBA. People thought they were just great college players. The goal is to have some of both,

2) Will Kai Forbath handle kickoffs next year? I have heard whispers that that was a consideration in his return for his senior year. – Anonymous
I would be very surprised if Jeff Locke didn’t continue with kickoffs. He was outstanding last season.

3) Can we expect the Bruin coaches to move any other players to full back? Moreover, can we expect any players move to defensive tackle? – Anonymous
Quite frankly, I’d be surprised if Coleman didn’t turn into that Moline hybrid Neuheisel told me about. Very surprised. Too early to tell on defensive tackle – need to see how the new guys do at the position in spring ball.

4) Do you believe Micah Kia will be given a legitimate shot at starting at left tackle? Same question for Sean Sheller. – Anonymous
Completely depends on Nik Abele’s progress.

5) There are two things wrong (in my mind) with the two big college sports, football and basketball. College football needs the type of tournament this years March Madness has been all about — Cinderella teams knocking off the higher ranked teams and allowing for at least the possibility of a Boise State or Hawaii winning it all…rather than the old boys network it has been since the invention of the BCS. College basketball, on the other hand, has been relegated to the farm league of the NBA, with major teams drafting up talent from the minor leagues when they need players. How do you solve each situation — for football, how do you implement a playoff system while retaining the grandeur of the bowls, and for college basketball, how do you keep it viable and programs stable with kids staying in school for four years while accommodating those who don’t want to go to college and need to go on to their given trade (in this case, basketball) when they are ready? – BruinInSeattle
I feel like doing the trivia round like Billy Madison. Glad you didn’t ask me about business ethics. To answer the first part: Simple – make the bowl games tournament-style. I think a four-team playoff is ideal; it only adds one extra game, and an eight-team tournament is just too much. There aren’t eight teams in the country who I think can make a tangible excuse for being the best team. But Alabama, Texas, TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati could’ve all claimed to be No. 1. That’s five schools, but that’s what makes it interesting. No matter what, someone’s unhappy.
For the second part: I institute a two-and-done rule, with the unintended result of players simply growing more attached to their teams and their teammates. I’m not saying hundreds of players will stay because they like study hall. But some will. Plus, it makes players question where they’d want to spend two years, and not just one season and done in April to prepare for the draft.