Hey there Big Blue Nation, it’s time for new edition of the WBN Mailbag with questions coming from yours truly’s Twitter followers. As we close in on National Signing Day, there is plenty to talk about and I don’t always get around to answering everyone individually. So tonight I’m going to do my best to get some of what I’ve missed answered. And away we go.
“What’s the status of Coach Ansley? Do you think he takes another (UGA?) job?”3
The consensus is that Ansley is expected to stay. The move from Todd Grantham to Jeremy Pruitt kind of killed off all of that Ansley to UGA talk. So I would expect him to stick around this year. He will probably be a guy to watch in the future, he’s an up and coming young coach who is probably a better recruiter than teacher right now.
“Any position changes you’re hearing about? (Not talking Whitlow, I think he should stay at QB).”
Heading into Spring Practice there will be a number of position changes that get tried out, there are every year. Most of the time they don’t stick in my experience but that’s why you try it in the spring. Specifically I would expect some of the safeties on the roster to get a look at linebacker. Ashely Lowery, Marcus McWIlson and possibly Daron Blaylock have the potential to grow into ‘backers with some extra weight. Ronnie Shields will likely move back to tight end. And there always seems be a lineman that tried switching from offense to defense or ice-versa, although no one comes to mind. (I think Jacob Hyde is a DT all the way)
“W/ Franklin going to PSU & Larry Johnson Sr. going to OSU, can Stoops/Marrow continue their Ohio success?”
I think that they can and here’s why. As much as we want to think otherwise, OhioState was still basically able to get whomever they wanted out of Ohio this year. We took Snodgrass and Stamps, and while both had OhioState offers, neither were the Buckeyes top targets at their positions. A big part of what Kentucky did was identifying top talent early in Ohio (ex Darius West, Mikel Horton, Tymere Dubose) and pursuing them hard in that early stage so that if they became an OSU fallback plan, it was too late for the Buckeye coaches to really get involved.
As far as Franklin at PennState, he could cut into Kentucky’s efforts just a bit but the effect should be small. Franklin is likely going to hit the Maryland, Virginia and DC areas hard for recruits and PennState still has enough name recognition to be a national brand. So I just don’t expect them to work in Ohio that much.
“Forget QB: Who’s starting waterboy?” – from our very own Jason Marcum
I’m not sure, probably someone from Lexington Christian, I’d guess.
“What do you think about Mason at Vandy?”
As a west coast guy, I really don’t know that much about Mason. I know he is from the Harbaugh coaching tree and he has coached some pretty good defenses. He doesn’t seem to be ranked very highly as a recruiter (#314 nationally , per 247Sports). Almost all of his career has been spent out West, besides two years coaching wide receivers for the Ohio Bobcats. On the other hand he has experience coaching and recruiting for a top academic institution, so those challenges likely won’t be new to him. I will say this, I’m happier to see Mason hired in Nashville than Clemson’s Chad Morris. Most recruits aren’t really familiar with Mason at this point, they have seen Morris’ offense lighting it up recently.
“ Are there any players you expect to breakout this year besides the ones we all know about?”
Get this one every year. The thing about “break-out” seasons is that they are, by nature, surprises. So I don’t really know or expect, but I can take a stab at it. I’m going with sophomore receiver Jeff Badet. Badet played sparingly during his freshman year and Kentucky will boast a deep receiver corps next year, but I think the experience gained will allow him to expand his role in the offense. Especially after Demarco Robinson’s recent arrest. Badet reminds me of former UK star Keenan Burton in size and abilities.