Five Wide Fullbacks: The Punt Return Edition

The Voodoo Child would probably have been a fullback once upon a time... - Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

This week's installment tackles punt returns, undefeated teams and BCS projections.

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Another week, another five questions. There may be five answers, there may be more. Who knows?

On to the questions.

By the way, does anyone else miss the jump? It has been rendered unnecessary with the site upgrade.

/sadface

1. One of the biggest complains of the Brian Kelly era in South Bend to date is around the punt returns (or lack thereof). Thoughts?

At this point, it appears that BK is just content with not turning the ball over on special teams. The lack of blocking and the uber-conservative approach to potential fakes from the other team has been borderline maddening. Many are wondering why Davonte Neal is back there if they aren't going to set up a return for the kid.

Fear not Irish fans, because I think BK might have been slow playing us all year long. I am probably completely wrong on this one, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him call for a return somewhere in the second or third quarter. How surprised would fans (not to mention the Sooners) be if they actually set up a return?

2. Pick your poison - which would you rather not be:

--A Defensive Coordinator in the Pac-12
--A Defensive Coordinator in the Big 12
--An Offensive Coordinator in the SEC

Looking at my options, the first I would throw out is being a defensive coordinator in the Big 12. Most of the offenses run some form of a pass-first spread offense, so there isn't the week-to-week differences you would see in the Pac-12. I think once you recruit speed over size in the back of your defense, you could be fairly successful in that conference. Then again, your name could be Manny Diaz.

That leaves the option between being a DC in the Pac-12 or an OC in the SEC. Of the two, I think being a defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 is a tougher job. There have been successful offenses in the SEC over recent years; it just generally takes a very good QB.

Meanwhile, you have the full spectrum of offenses in the Pac-12 that you have to face throughout the season. Within the same season you have to prepare for anything from the warp speed Quack attack to the USC pro-style to the smash mouth Stanford style. How do you recruit players to cover all of those different looks? And that doesn't even include offenses from Leach or Rich Rod. I think I would pass on that job (not that anyone is calling anyway).

3. In the preseason edition of 5WF, several bold predictions on conference champions were made. Care to retract any of those?

In a word-yes. Not that they were all bad, but when I declared that Virginia and NC State were sleeper teams in the ACC, I am not sure what I was thinking.

For the record, I am sticking with my Big Ten (Michigan over Wisconsin) and Pac-12 (Oregon over USC) picks. Meanwhile, I think that Florida State still wins the ACC, but it looks like they will have to play the winner of Duke/Miami.

By far the most embarrassing pick was Texas to win the Big 12. If I could only take one back, that one would be it. Kansas State is in the driver's seat. Maybe it is because they have a vampire as a head coach.

4. Which undefeated team would you least like Notre Dame to face?

Here are the options: Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Rutgers, Louisville, and Ohio.

While I think Louisville is a pretty good squad, there isn't the fear factor there that comes with some of the others. Same goes for Rutgers and the Ohio MACtion.

If we are talking about a regular season match-up, the answer would have to be Oregon. I don't see how you prepare for that offense in a single week. However, given their recent history in bowl games, you could prepare for them if you have a few weeks.

Part of me still isn't buying into Kansas State. I think they would really struggle against a good defensive team, especially since Klein is a bigger, slower version of Denard Robinson.

At this point, Florida looks pretty similar to Notre Dame-average offense, good defense.

Mississippi State's best victory to date is over Tennessee. No, I didn't mistype that one. They have Alabama-Texas A&M-LSU over their next three games. Best case, they win one of those.

I guess that leaves Alabama. They have looked to be the most complete team this year, but I still think they are beatable. Their toughest games are ahead of them (Mississippi State-LSU-Texas A&M), and have been largely untested so far this year. It doesn't matter if ND had to face this team in the regular season or in a bowl game, they would give the Irish a very difficult challenge.

5. It may only be late October, but how about some BCS bowl predictions?

Sure, why not? I like to make predictions that mean absolutely nothing.

BCS Championship Game - Alabama vs. Oregon

Orange Bowl - Florida State vs. Louisville

Sugar Bowl - Florida vs. Oklahoma

Fiesta Bowl - Kansas State vs. Oregon State

Rose Bowl - Michigan vs. Notre Dame

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