You get to change one college football rule or penalty on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. What do you go with? Easier question to ask than answer, isn’t it? Regardless, we tackled that and plenty more from the questions you submitted, proving no topic (well, that’s mostly true) are off limits.
Brandon Vogel, Jacob Padilla, Jake Jensen and Erin Sorensen answer your questions in this week’s Hail Varsity mailbag.
Q: If you could change one CFB rule/penalty for both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, what would it be? – B.S.
JJ: I like most of the rules in college football. Only thing I would change is that I would make every targeting call an immediate review with referees being able to completely take back their call if the review shows they got it wrong, instead of just not eliminating the defender but still penalizing the defense fifteen yards. The game is way too fast for officials to get every targeting call right, and it is unfair to penalize defenses for hits that look illegal but are actually clean.
BV: I probably need to think about this some more, but I’d look at the ineligible man downfield rule. College currently gives linemen 3 yards (and for a referee trying to monitor a bunch of different things, 3 yards quickly becomes 4.5). The pros give them just 1 yard. That difference is really what allows teams to run a lot of the RPO stuff we’ve seen more and more of lately. That’s really hard to defend. I’m all for points, but changing this rule might be a way to give a little back to the defense.
Q: Will the University ever make the tailgating environment better? Examples are KState and Iowa State. Great togetherness at both places. – P.C., Neb.
ES: It will only happen if Nebraska becomes a wet campus. I don’t see that happening anytime soon though, so I don’t know how much more improvement could be made at this time.
Q: Who is your dream men’s basketball coach? – P.W.
JJ: My dream pick just accepted the job at Indiana.
Q: What is the difference in administrative support for basketball between Nebraska and successful hoops programs? – Z.H.
BV: Haven’t been close to enough other schools to give you an accurate picture, but with Nebraska basketball’s current portfolio (arena, facilities, etc.), which I definitely lump into “administrative support,” I would be really surprised if the Huskers trailed many other programs. Of course, there are some schools (Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana) where basketball is their bellwether sport. At places like that, they do and should treat it like football. But at most other places — a group that in my estimation would include programs like Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon — I can’t imagine they’re doing more than Nebraska to make basketball a success.
Q: Real reason Morrow transferred? – R.C.
JP: I’d say it’s the reason that has been reported. He wasn’t happy with his role at Nebraska, and along those same lines, perhaps he wasn’t happy with how Nebraska had developed him.
Q: Baltimore vs. New England – Who gets more yards, Rex Burkhead or Danny Woodhead? – G.
JJ: If the Patriots sign Adrian Peterson, Danny Woodhead gets more yards. If Peterson goes somewhere else, then Burkhead gets more yards without a doubt.
Q: What will look most different on the field next year? Defensive alignment, offensive passing game, level of defensive aggressiveness… – M.A.
JP: The defensive alignment will certainly look different, but at times the only real difference for all intents and purposes will be one of the edge rushers starting in a two-point stance instead of in a three-point one. Offensively I think we’ll see a dramatic difference. Less schoolyard football and YOLO-bombs, many more check downs and quick throws. What remains to be seen is how much higher the completion percentage will be. How much of Tanner Lee’s 53.6 percent completion rate at Tulane was youth and his supporting cast? We will see for sure once the bullets start flying for real.
BV: I think Jacob’s right. The offense will be the most different. Based on my research of the subject, Diaco’s defenses aren’t all that aggressive. Doesn’t mean they don’t get after it, but they seem more built on eliminating big plays and to do that you can’t be a high-risk kind of defense. So, yes, the players will line up differently, but I think the change most people will notice is how different the same offense looks with a different quarterback.
Q: What has happened to last year’s interception leader, Kieron Williams? Never/rarely hear his name this spring. – B.C., Overland Park, Kans.
JJ: I think one reason may be the emergence of JoJo Domann. Domann has really played well this spring and has pushed his name into the safety rotation. With Domann, Aaron Williams, and Joshua Kalu playing well at safety there just aren’t a ton of reps for either Kieron Williams or Antonio Reed.
JP: I don’t think the staff ever had full confidence in Kieron Williams last season, but with Aaron Williams playing nickel they needed someone to play at that spot and he became the next guy up. Now with Kalu’s position change and the progression of JoJo Domann, they have other options. Kieron Williams fell down the depth chart at one point during camp, but he was running with the twos next to Domann in the scrimmage on Saturday. I think Domann is clearly the No. 3 at safety at this point, as for whatever reason Antonio Reed didn’t see the field until they started subbing in the fourth string guys.
Q: Lee or O’Brien? – J., Lincoln, Neb.
JP: It’s Lee, although I have been impressed by some of the improvement O’Brien has shown since I saw him in last year’s fall camp.
ES: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lee. It’s his job. However, I do agree with Jacob that O’Brien has been impressing me this spring so I think the two of them will be nothing but beneficial for one another.
Q: Who’s winning the Masters and who’s going to choke? – F., Denver, Colo.
ES: I’ll be honest. I’m not much of an expert when it comes to evaluating golfers but I do enjoy watching the Masters quite a bit. I was reading this earlier on the nine golfers to keep an eye on and I think that’s a good breakdown. This also ranks all of the golfers in likelihood of winning. With that said, I think anyone toward the top of those lists could reasonably choke. When there’s a good amount of confidence that someone will win, things have an opportunity to go south quick. That’s why I keep an eye on those that are expected to win more than anyone else.
Q: Twitter has helped many a people give themselves nicknames. What nickname would you give yourself and why? – B.S.
JJ: My three nephews currently call me “Crazy Uncle Jake” and I sort of like the sound of that one. If that’s too simple then maybe I’d go with “Toastmaster J.”
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.