March is almost over, and that means April is almost here, baseball is back, and spring football has finally gotten underway.
Ah, spring football. A welcome respite from the dreary doldrums that is the college football off-season, made doubly dreadful by having an incredibly underwhelming men’s basketball team for the first time in six seasons. Is this how Alabama fans feel every off-season?
Am I even allowed to compare ourselves to ‘Bama?!
Time to move on. Lets get to the questions that you lovely people sent to us.
Levi Stevenson: If the offensive line is exactly the same this coming season as it was last fall, what is the ceiling of the 2018 team?
Our overlord, Levi, chimed in with the first question of this mailbag, and it’s a tough one. The offensive line is without a doubt the one position being paid the most attention to going in to 2018. Losing your OL coach and having a dynamic running back like David Montgomery will ensure much attention is paid to the big boys up front.
Matt Campbell has gone from replacing 5 starters in 2016 to having one returning starter to having four holdover starters going into 2018. Last year’s unit gave up a nice 1.46 sacks per game, but struggled blocking for David Montgomery. Oge Udeogu, Jacob Bulton, and Robert Hudson should provide a nice boost for Jeff Meyers and Company, but regardless of the personnel, the run blocking must improve.
The ceiling of the 2018 team with similar offensive line play is probably about the same as it was last year - this unit has to perform better for this team to contend in the Big 12.
@MrTrub: Is Bruce Weber a good coach?
My honest opinion on this is... probably not. Kansas State fans wanting his head halfway through the season only to have their team advance to the Elite 8 by beating Creighton, UMBC, and Kentucky(!?!) is exactly what that fanbase deserves. Bruce Weber is a lucky coach. Is it better to be lucky than be good? Probably. I’ll concede that at least.
CloneTeach: If you had to live in one bar in Ames for a month, which one would it be?
Now this is the type of question that I love.
Es Tas is my answer. My gut reaction was to go with Welch Ave Station, but I felt that if I stayed there long enough, I’d turn into a hipster/age 30 years in 30 days.
My choice, Es Tas, features fun bar games (Buck Hunter), plenty of good tap and bottle beer, and a good menu. Now, that food menu may feature fried tacos that run through you like gas through a funnel, but they have decent bathrooms, so the two cancel each other out.
CloneTeach: On a related note, which is a better laxative: Long John Silvers or Miralax?
@MatthiasWRNL: When Lazard becomes a Bear next month and has 200 receiving yards against the Vikes on the first meeting, will you be sad?
Matthias chimes in with a Bears question just to provoke me, and I’ll bite.
I really hope Lazard doesn’t become a Chicago Bear. Not because I don’t want to hate him, which would be obligatory if drafted by the Packers, but because I just don’t care to see his potential be wasted by the Bears organization. They have clearly shown they have no idea what to do with good wide receivers. And I really don’t want him to get shot. I’d imagine going from Urbandale to Ames to Chicago would be like going from covering high school sports for the local paper to being a war correspondent dropped on the front lines.
There is a team up in Minnesota that has had good luck with WR’s taken in the late rounds, however... Just a thought.
@seedcattleguy: Should the BIG 10 Network be able to continue the charade of calling their conference the best that’s ever existed without a warning to viewers that watching such drivel can be harmful to your health?
My dad chimed in with an excellent question, but I’m obliged to answer it not because he’s my father, but because I love all opportunities to bag on the Big 10.
Nobody should ever watch the Big 10 Network outside of Big 10 fans. Hell, even some Big 10 fans don’t like it. The amount of homerism displayed by the people who work there is downright disgusting. And I get it. It’s the Big 10’s network. That doesn’t mean it’s not an absolute joke of a network.
But hey, at least they get to broadcast their worthless programming to about 15 TV’s in the New York metro. Thank goodness for Rutgers!!
@B_Lord9: Isn’t the process of “cleaning” something essentially just moving stuff from one place to another?
Another hard-hitting sports question sent in by our readers.
Boone, you make a very interesting point here. But we should probably distinguish between cleaning and organizing. Sometimes cleaning does include organizing. But I tend to think of cleaning as the process of making something less dirty. Organizing is really just buying more things to put your other things in to make your home seem like there is less stuff lying about.
If you want to see a really funny explanation of stuff, check out this clip from George Carlin.
@Drewdickman: Aside from the QB battle, what will be the other major storylines to follow going into the spring game?
There are a few other story lines I’d keep an eye on going into the spring game. The first of these is how the back-end of the defense takes shape.
Speaking of the defense in general, there are remarkably few question marks position-wise. I sense the coaching staff is very confident in either Reggan Northrup or Jake Hummel as the third linebacker, and we’ve heard very positive things about Kamilo Tongamoa and Matt Leo. JuCo transfer Greg Eisworth and Lawrence White should get the starting nods, but it will be interesting to watch how a guy like Braxton Lewis factors into the equation.
The other storylines to watch this spring come from the offensive side of the ball. The conversation here isn’t one of position battles - it is one of player development. Will Deshaunte Jones have a bounce-back year? Is Kene Nwangwu truly healthy? Can the offensive line take a step forward in the run-blocking department? Will the tight ends finally become part of the offense?
@RedDirtCyclone: What three former Cyclone Athletes would you choose to go on a road trip with? Remember, you need a playlist guy, a snack guy, a guy who knows cool trivia, etc.
What excellent question to end this mailbag with. Let’s dive in.
The first one is an easy choice for me - Steele Jantz. In fact, we would use his tow truck on our road trip. The first challenge here would be actually finding Steele Jantz. But rest assured, once we did find him, he would be a great addition. That guy has done some things, and seen some things, man. Steele would have to be the trivia guy, as he’s basically a trivia question himself.
The next one would be Levi Peters.
Levi Peters is the wild-man that every good road trip needs. If you make him the driver, I guarantee he would find a way to shave at least a couple hours off of your trip with his reckless abandon and little concern for personal safety. The guy also loves Busch Light and parties to classic rock (seriously, he told us this a few years back). How can you go wrong?
The last one would be Jared Homan.
Homan, a kid from Remsen, Iowa, was a fan-favorite at Iowa State, and has turned in a very solid international career. He has traveled the world, made some money, and seems like an all-around cool dude.
No, he is not on this list because of his girlfriend.
But if she tagged along, I’m sure the group wouldn’t mind..