Posted: 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
By Bryan M. Vance
The Hustle Bag returns to answer more of your MAC related questions. Have something you want us to answer, send it to us: Tweet #HustleBag
Let's get to it:
Is this supposed to be a trick question? I mean we are talking about this Rob Murphy right? Keno Davis has some pretty awesome hair, if the swept to the side, salt and pepper look is your style. Bobby Hurley had some sweet hair back when he was at Duke (it's all grey and boring now) but my money is on John Cooper for the best head of hair in the MAC. See what I did there?
@HustleBelt should MAC teams be concerned about UMass excelling within the league within a few years?— Mark Messer (@MarkyMesser) August 13, 2013
Hey, some UMass questions finally. I don't know if concerned is the right word here. Do I think UMass could become a decent program in a few years? Yes. But does that mean they'll be competing for the MAC East in the next 3-4 years? Not likely. So will teams be worried about UMass as a MAC power? No. But will they be worried about UMass as more than just a punching bag? Certainly. Did I ask enough questions to answer this question? We'll never know.
Our next question comes from Mike, who for some reason deleted his question. But basically, Mike wanted to know what we should expect from UMass quarterback Mike Wegzyn in his sophomore season. One of our UMass experts, Jimmy Kelley was nice enough to answer this for us, so question, or no question, here's the answer:
Like any other second-year quarterback, Mike Wegzyn should see a noticeable uptick in his production this season. He seems more comfortable with both the offense and his receivers and he has two targets in Rob Blanchflower and Tajae Sharpe who could be 40- or 50-catch guys. And that's before factoring in the potential of 6-foot-5 freshman Shakur Nesmith.
Much of the responsibility for the offense's success will fall on his shoulders as the Minutemen figure out what's going on with the running game. But experience alone should be enough to improve on his numbers from last year (52.6 percent, 1,825 yards,6 TD, 10 INT) and get them somewhere closer to an average FBS quarterback. He won't factor into any postseason awards, but he will be a big factor in whether or not UMass can double their win total from last season.
Oh man. This is a question I've been dreading. I'm going to take flack for this (living, going to school, and working in Athens) but my answer is no. I don't think Ohio will be blown out. Let's be clear on that. but Louisville is the No. 9 team in the nation for a reason. They're a whole other animal compared to Penn State from last season. Ohio is a very good team. I mean a very good team for a mid-major. They have a solid offense, with one of the most efficient quarterbacks and durable running backs in the country. The defensive secondary is also one of the more experienced thanks to two starters missing the entire 2012 season. But Louisville is loaded, and I'm not just talking about Teddy Bridgewater and Michael Dyer. DeVante Parker is an excellent receiver. Defensively they have a guy by the name of Preston Brown (Google him) holding down a more than adequate unit. Can Ohio do it? Probably, but only if everything goes right. No turnovers from the 'Cats, and Bridgewater throws a few picks.
Well, I get to see this team a lot, so this I can answer. Obviously the defensive line is going to be a big question mark. They lost four starters from last year, and are relying on a ton of youth. The linebacking core is also a bit of a worry for the 'Cats. Keith Moore is a rock, but the Mike and Will positions are going to be interesting to watch this year. Offensively, I'd say it's a lack of depth at wide receiver. Nothing other than the defensive line is incredibly worrisome though as Ohio is an overall solid team. As for the second part, if these weaknesses don't catch up to them, Ohio has the pieces in place to finally win a MAC Championship. But they did in 2012 as well, and they didn't even make it. So we'll have to wait and see on this one.
Oh Steve, I was just giving you a hard time last week. Don't take it personally. But to answer this question I'll turn to Carter Adler, one of our EMU experts:
Your question about Roback is an interesting one. Ron English has shown a strong tendency to favor experience over talent, a tendency that works in favor of Tyler Benz. This season is, of course, a do-or-die season for English, but I get the sense he honestly does believe that experience matters more than talent, at least given the talent differential we're probably talking about. Let's not forget that Roback was rated a low 4* prospect by one service, while others had him at 3*.
There's one wild card here, and that's the new offensive coordinator, Stan Parrish. EMU fans have no real sense of how Parrish might operate as OC, and although I've heard chatter about him installing a spread offense, "spread" covers a lot of ground, plus we don't know how much room English is going to give Parrish to run the offense his way. Let's be honest, although Ken Karcher took the blame for the bad offense last year -- and I'm sure he played some role in it -- it was English who determined the offensive style, and English who had the final say over play-calling, particularly anything out of the ordinary.
If I had to guess -- and isn't that the whole point of this exercise? -- I'd say that Roback might see the field this year, but I'd be surprised if he saw any truly significant playing time. If Ron English sticks to his modus operandi, Benz will be the starter, while Mark Iannotti will be the presumptive top backup, unless either Roback or fellow freshman Brandon Bossard really impresses the coaching staff. Stan Parrish is the unknown factor that could disrupt that, and so the key question is really how much leeway will English give Parrish?
Thanks Carter. Does that answer it well enough? I look forward to your next questions Steve.
Sadly, no. But I do know he checks in on the account from time to time.
That's it for the Hustle Bag this week. Remember to send us all your MAC related questions by Tweeting #HustleBag for a chance to have them answered in the next #HustleBag.