- Brandon Chatmon, Big 12 reporter
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In Tuesday's mailbag, we discuss how to address Baylor's nonconference scheduling stance along with Texas Tech's trip to Arkansas and Iowa State's running game. As always, thanks for your questions. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, click here.
Matthew W. in Tyler, Texas, writes: Hey guys, Baylor alum here. Baylor fans hate our noncon schedule more than anyone. Are there any practical steps we fans, especially alumni, can take to affect change? Or are we permanently at the mercy of Ian McCaw and Art Briles' misguided philosophy?
BC: One real way to express your voice is refusing to attend nonconference games that you believe will hurt the Bears’ College Football Playoff hopes. But that’s not a realistic option. I mean, the excitement of a home game happens 6 or 7 times a year so I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice that if I was you. Otherwise, BU fans and alumni should just continue to be vocal about their desire to schedule better. All that said, I think it’s important to remember we are one season into a playoff system and there have been plenty of overreactions to such a small sample size. If BU goes undefeated this fall and locks up a playoff berth while other playoff candidates stumble out of conference, how would that change perceptions?
Zack Naegele in Morgantown, West Virginia, writes: Dana Holgorsen is going back to coaching the West Virginia quarterbacks this season. I know that's part of why we hired him in the first place. How big of an impact do you think that will have on their production next season (regardless of who gets the starting job)?
BC: It’s a good move. Holgorsen knows how to get the best out of quarterbacks and has some talented quarterbacks on campus to mold into productive ones. Skyler Howard, William Crest or whoever wins the job will have ups and downs, but Holgorsen will know how to handle it. That’s why he trusted himself to do the job. He will find a productive quarterback from the bunch.
Nick in Dallas writes: Do you believe that my Texas Tech Red Raiders can outscore Arkansas if we're able to plug the hole down the middle better on defense?
Brandon Chatmon: That’s a major if, but I don’t think scoring will be the problem. The problem is the Sept. 19 matchup in Fayetteville comes early enough in the season that new defensive coordinator David Gibbs could still be searching for his best 11 players and how to use them to shore up Tech’s run defense. It’s going to take a huge step forward for Tech to stop UA’s run game, but it’s not an impossible task.
Matt Truelove writes: Who is a player that isn't being talked about that will have the biggest impact for Oklahoma State this next year?
BC: Receiver James Washington is the guy poised for a breakout season. His true freshman numbers were decent (28 receptions, 456 yards, six touchdowns) but I think he can be a star as early as 2015. His two-touchdown performance against Tech was a glimpse of Washington’s competitiveness and ball skills. With Mason Rudolph as the Cowboys clear starter at quarterback, I think Washington’s talent will no longer go unnoticed.
Cy in Big D writes: With the amount of playing time the Iowa State reserve offensive linemen got last year due to injuries, do you see a reason to have hope they can run the ball this year?
BC: Being able to build around Daniel Burton and Jake Campos is a good start for Mark Mangino but, honestly, I think Mangino’s growing influence will be the defining factor. A full year under his tutelage should pay off this fall and I expect ISU to be more physical up front in Year 2 with Mangino as offensive coordinator.
Kirk B. in Morgantown, writes: You described Joe DeForest as a "solid coach" who takes a lot of "undue heat" from WVU fans. Are "solid" coaches consistently demoted? DeForest has failed in every position he has held at WVU. Remember how bad his stint as DC was? Or all of the special teams TDs WVU gave up last year? His status as a friend of Holgorsen is the only reason he is still employed. When Holgs goes, he will be lucky to land a job in the Sun Belt! Rant over. Have a good day.
BC: Considering DeForest had a career before he arrived in Morgantown, I stand by my statement. Strong rant though.
Ryan in Denver writes: Besides quarterback what player/position needs to step up for Oklahoma's offense to orchestrate properly: Josiah St John (LT), Mark Andrews (WR/TE hybrid), Joe Mixon (RB/WR hybrid), or one of the "700" ESPN top300 receivers?
BC: It’s the receiver position outside of Sterling Shepard. Andrews, DeDe Westbrook, Michiah Quick or anyone else, it really doesn’t matter who steps up. But someone needs to step up to supplement Shepard’s greatness and give Riley options as he tries to attack defenses.
Mike McGown in Katy, Texas, writes: Saw that Baylor ranked sixth in pass defense in 2014. Is the BU offense so good that it makes up the difference? Is it sustainable for a three-peat?
BC: Mike, one thing to keep in mind when it comes to BU is how often they are playing with huge leads. Opponents are forced to pass more often and those increased opportunities can come against BU’s second-team defenders. That said, the Bears definitely have the ability to three-peat but will need to get better in the secondary to make it happen. There were times BU’s first-team defense had real struggles stopping high-powered passing attacks in 2014, like its struggles against Tech, but I expect their pass defense to be better this fall.
Big 12 Tuesday mailbag: Texas Tech's run defense, Baylor's scheduling stance