Earlier in the week, we asked you to submit questions for Rob Moseley, Oregon Football beat reporter for the Register Guard. Follow the jump for his thoughts on Nate Costa's future, recruiting, having to write Butthol's name again, how he REALLY feels about Oregon's uniforms and more.
1.) Tee Martin / Tahj Boyd Relationship
Rob, from your impressions of the coaching staff, is the possibility of signing Tajh Boyd a significant factor in the consideration of Tee Martin being added to the coaching staff?
COOLCONMAN: I would imagine Martin's connections with every quarterback who has attended a Nike passing camp over the last two years, including Boyd, is helping Martin's case. But I'm hesitant to believe they would bring a coach on staff just to help in the recruitment of one kid.
2.) Approach to Recruiting
Master Moseley, the Xavier Ramos fallout has left a bad flavor in a lot of people's mouth. The coaching staff responded to the issue as essentially "business as usual" – does the current recruiting season seem that they've taken a more conservative approach as a result from last year?
JSHUFELT: I'm not sure I understand the essence of your question. While I think it's becoming increasing less unusual (got that ...?) for scholarship offers to be pulled, I also think there were some particular peculiarities to the Ramos situation. As in, I think there was quick recognition that he probably wasn't a D-I player. One thing I constantly have to remind myself of, however, is how much coverage recruiting gets these days as opposed to years past. Just because we HEAR about something now doesn't mean this is the first time it's happening. It's just that recruiting gets such thorough attention now that more stuff comes to light. An aside: Gary Zimmerman wanted to play linebacker in college. Oregon told him he could, and when he arrived on campus he was promptly made a lineman. In those days, you could get away with doing that. But now, if that happened to a recruit, it would be all over the Internet and the school's reputation in recruiting would be badly tarnished. The recent transparency in recruiting is a good thing, particularly if it means kids like Ramos don't get jerked around anymore. As to the staff's "approach" to recruiting, year in and year out, I'm afraid I don't believe I'm enough of an insider to accurately answer that, or even speculate.
3.) Chris Harper
Was, or is, there any real concern among the coaches about the Harper's-gonna-leave thing?
GRIMC: Not that was publicly expressed, for whatever that's worth. Though I'm sure that when certain rumors become viral, like that one, it causes some coaches to take pause.
4.) Phil Knight and the Purse Strings
Rob, Oregon athletics are ridiculed frequently because of the Phil Knight and Nike connections. What is your perspective on that relationship? What are the nature of the stipulations laid out by Mr. Knight for his financial suport – if any – and has the university drawn a line between Nike support and Nike control?
JCONANT: You're treading into a territory that is outside my expertise, if partly because both Nike and the athletic department tend to be tight-lipped about the relationship. I don't know that my perspective is much better than anybody else's, though I tend to think Phil Knight is at least made aware of any significant decision made in the Cas Center. My perception on the national landscape as a whole is that college athletics long ago sold out to big money, and so as fans of the sports involved, we all have to accept some things. Essentially, in return for all the TV coverage — allowing so many fans to see their favorite teams as often as possible (no Comcast followups please!) and flooding college football and men's basketball with cash — we have to accept that colleges are going to take steps to make themselves as attractive as possible to TV. So you have to accept big-money boosters who help departments become successful enough to garner more TV coverage (and money) and you've got to accept a football postseason scenario that provides 30-something games for television rather than just 7 or 15 (in a playoff). Honestly, if we all had our heads on straight, the Ivy League would be the most popular in the country: nobody on scholarship, playing solely for the pride of the institution and personal growth, rather than to attract TV dollars or to make the NFL. (Not to impugn the individual efforts of most players at the FBS level, who bring a lot of heart and passion to what they do. It's just that the line between college athletics and pro sports is very blurry, in my view, when it comes to football and men's basketball. I sympathize with the academic types who fail to find the connection between big-time college sports and a university's academic and social mission.)
5.) Frohnmayer and the Nike Relationship
Is it possible that the relationship with Nike changes in any way with the replacement of Dave Frohnmayer?
COOLCONMAN: I would think the board that selects the next president would be smarter than that, if the hope is for Oregon athletics as it currently exists to continue.
6.) Coach Costa?
Rob, what really will come of Nate Costa? Is there any possibility, if not as an athlete, he could become a valuable assistant QB coach or something?
BUTTHOL (I can't believe you made me type that again ...): That's an interesting idea. Nate is definitely a sharp guy, and he's such a competitor, I suppose I could see him becoming a coach someday. But he's really focused on seeing if he can resume his playing career right now. It sounds as if the latest surgical procedure was promising, but we'll have to wait for the spring and fall to see real results. And the development of Masoli isn't promising for Costa's prospects of ever contributing much at Oregon.
7.) Challenges of a Changing Media Landscape
Hey Rob. A lot of talk has been given to the so-called "death of print media" over the last few years. Social networks, blogs, and online media have been gradually taking readership away from traditional print media. For you as a journalist, what has been your biggest challenge in adapting to the changing media landscape?
DVIEIRA: The biggest challenge is being caught between reporting breaking news and allowing enough time and space for big-picture reporting and analysis. Too often I feel the drive to get — sometimes, in hindsight, trivial — breaking news tidbits on our blogs and Web site, which takes away from time spent reading, making phone calls and doing other tasks than can help in the production of longer feature stories, which I enjoy writing. I think I allow myself to get caught up in the demands for immediate news voiced by the vocal minority on message boards and blogs, and ignore the silent majority(?) that also craves thoughtful, intelligently reasoned and written features and analysis. I have yet to discover a workable balance, or decide if that's even possible in the new age. It may be that the football beat requires one blog guinea pig to feed it with news, allowing another reporter the time and mental space to take a step back and offer more analytical coverage and/or investigative stuff. That would require another staff member covering football, however, and until our industry finds a way to make money again ...
8.) Questioning the Mindset of Writers
Do you feel there is a difference in the mindsets of college football writers to other sports media, considering FBS college football is the one major American sport where the media is most influential in determining a champion?
TAKIMOTO: Keep in mind a couple things. One, the Associated Press removed itself from the BCS a few years ago, to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest. And two, there are only 65 voters in the AP poll, a relatively small percentage of college football media as a whole. So I don't think every member of the media in this sport walks around thinking he has the power to influence, say, the national champion.
9.) Worst Part of Covering the Football Team
What is the worst or most difficult part of covering the Oregon football team?
BRADL99: My complaints are mostly trivial. Chasing rumors, which is more prevalent in the Internet age. Waiting forever for somebody to return a phone call, without which you can't finish a story. Coaches and players who take themselves too seriously, and keep me from giving fans all the details they crave about their team. I'm one that doesn't care one way or the other about the whole uniform thing, so writing about that is exasperating sometimes. And don't get me started on recruiting. So much changes so quickly during recruiting, I don't find it worth the time or energy to track the daily (even hourly!) developments, with the exception of guys like Terrelle Pryor or Bryce Brown, guys who really look like they could individually impact the team's national standing.