Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
1) Jon, if you had to pick one O-lineman who will shock everyone this year who would it be? Also can you give some details on the O-line and what you are watching out there from them? thanks…- gold n jed
Early on, I think you’d have to say it’s Stan Hasiak, simply because he seems to be maturing at a rapid rate, and he may be delivering on some of the promise that he came to Westwood with. But I also have been trying to focus on Chris Ward a lot, and he’s going to be very good. The Baca injury was absolutely devestating from a cohesiveness standpoint, but better in early April then late August, I guess. Still, one of the better, more seasoned groups in the Pac-10.
2) Jon – are you going to answer the questions we asked from the last time (or two?) that you posted a Weekly Q&A?- rejn
No, I said to re-post questions that are still relevant.
3) After observing practices, what do Coach Johnson and Coach Tresey bring to the offense/defense that would put the players in a position to succeed that was missing from the previous coaches? What changes should we expect? – mike04
There have been only five spring practices and I was gone for two of those, so it’s a bit early to make any sweeping statements. I’m setting up lengthy interviews with both of them during spring ball, so I’ll get a better feel for them. But right off the bat: They’ve definitely raised the level of expectations in terms of execution and intensity. How they call games or scheme teams or develop relationships is left to be seen.
4) Butler is what it is – a good school that was able to maximize its ability into two final four/championship game appearances. If Ben Howland had those same players at UCLA, what are the chances that he/UCLA would have been able to achieve similar or the same success? – rejn
I really don’t like trying to compare two different coaches with the same roster, because you really don’t know how well Brad Stevens interacts with the players, his history with them, and even really their individual talents. I don’t know if Howland would’ve led this Butler team to the NC game, but I also don’t know if Stevens would’ve led the 06-07 UCLA team to the Final Four, either. I do think that Howland has much different opportunities and expectations for his recruits – he can go after whales, and he’s expected to, it’s more than just coaching players up – and that Stevens has thrived in a unique situation. Both are great coaches, I would say.
5) When the Pac-12 signs the new TV deal, what kind of changes could we expect to see with the sudden influx of money? – Anonymous
Gold-plated shoes, plush leather couches in the Morgan Center, foot-long sub sandwiches for players after games instead of six-inch, a really nice bathroom for the head football coach, and maybe some better food in the Rose Bowl press box, though maybe I’m just a fat guy who’s dreaming. Alas, we all have dreams. Seriously, though, it would be a major boost to an athletic department that seems able to go only as far as the state’s economy will let it. In my opinion, though, the key is funnelling that money to the revenue sports, and then having that turn into more money to trickle down.