The Man. The Myth. Paul Rhoads.
This is about the last day we can talk about anybody other than Wyoming, but our offseason preview series concludes today with my conversation with CanAzn from the outstanding and often-hilarious Iowa State blog Wide Right Natty Light. Lacking enough time to exchange a bunch of emails, CanAzn and I agreed that we should just hop on Gchat and get right to it. Which was far too much fun. And probably a mistake. Read on at your own peril.
CanAzn: hey hey hey
PB: And we're live. Excellent.
[to talk off record, use brackets]
[if I type PAUSE I'm probably talking to my boss or something]
CanAzn: I didn't know lawyers had bosses
PB: Oh yes, we associates work for partners. Partners boss us around.
CanAzn: Aha. I thought you would use the SBN clout to get ahead
PB: Funny story: you could say I landed my job through BON. No joke. Early in my 1L year, a partner at my firm was up in South Bend for his annual football road trip with his friends, and Texas was playing Arkansas State on pay-per-view. None of the three horrible bars in South Bend were showing the game of course, which meant my home satellite was the only place to watch, so I posted on BON that any UT fans were welcome. This partner and his buddies called 30 minutes before kickoff and came over -- I ordered pizza, they brought beer, we had a blast, and he told me that I needed to work for his firm. Good ol' boy network, FTW.
CanAzn: That sounds so Texas
PB: I know, right? The only part missing from the story is a girl with a way better resume who didn't get a job because she wasn't hot, and wasn't as fun to drink beer and play golf with.
CanAzn: That's kind of her fault for not being hot.
Her parents, technically, but yeah.
PB: I wasn't going to say it, but... yeah. Fair's fair.
CanAzn: I hope you are now aware you brought terrible people to SBN
PB: Which ones?
PB: Well, it was that or don't waste the resources on an Iowa State blog.
CanAzn: I imagine you would have just had a static image of Paul Rhoads in place of an ISU blog
PB: Probably a GIF, but basically, yeah.
CanAzn: We're better than beergut at least.
CanAzn: Haha yes. I mean, i know Aggies are terrible, but beergut is beyond words
By the way, is there a more fitting way to start a college football season than to pull for Louisiana Tech against them?
I think it is unpossible.
PB: Aggies have some pretty creepy obsessions. You wonder about some of their childhoods.
CanAzn: There are a few good ones I've interacted with, but far and away the weirdest (and most humorless fans).. though Baylor makes a push.
PB: I'm glad you mentioned that, actually, because we need to talk about (1) your Cormac McCarthy Previews the Big 12 post, and (2) Baylor fans' reaction to it.
CanAzn: To explain the Cormac-ing, I'm pretty sure Cyentist just gets super drunk/high/ingest 5 pounds of shrooms and comes up with this stuff. Quite the character.
PB: Part of what made the post so awesome to me -- beyond it's actual awesomeness - is that in 2012 it's hard not to view every clever little post as recycled, or derivative, or just kind of boring.
And if there was any -- ANY -- doubt about the awesomeness of the post at all? Baylor fans took offense to it. Q.E.D.
CanAzn: Injecting Blood Meridian into a post does take some talent (or being dropped on your head as child)
PB: Call it a happy accident then.
CanAzn: This thread is the one in question: HIGHLY enjoyable.
PB: I like that a poster non-ironically qualified his critique of the post with 'IMO'
CanAzn: I like that someone called it "pretentious"
PB: That's the same guy!
CanAzn: damn it, you're right. there's so much terrible in there
it's hard to keep it all straight
PB: I suppose you've realized by now that we are not going to talk about football (and maybe not Iowa State) in this Iowa State football preview
CanAzn: Are we going to talk about if Vince Young has any eligibility left instead?
PB: IMO, that's just a pretentious comment
CanAzn: IMO, Vince is looking for work and I'm just trying to look out for him
Or maybe he's just too "pretentious" to play college now that he's had the Madden cover
PB: You really are trying to bait a total threadjack, aren't you... You realize that we don't actually have any free will in this matter. We sold that on 4th and 5.
We should probably just move on.
In part because I lied: we are going to talk about Iowa State.
And an Iowa State football player.
Maybe not Iowa State football, though.
But I do want to talk about Steele Jantz. You are prepared for this, yes?
CanAzn: I definitely saved the last jantz for you
PB: God that just turns me on.
I am fascinated -- and more than a little jealous -- that y'all get to have fun blogging about a quarterback named Steele Jantz.
CanAzn: And yet, even with Steele Jantz, we're still a 1.5 dog to Tulsa.
PB: First question for you: is it really, horribly awkward for fans who are pulling for the other QB over Jantz? Like, when polls are taken, do the non-Jantz supporters have to kind of murmur their vote, raising their hand a quarter-inch hoping that no one sees?
CanAzn: DOES VEGAS NOT KNOW HE HAS BROTHERS NAMED TRUK AND BROGAN?
PB: He has a brother named Truk?!
CanAzn: AND HE SLEPT IN A TRUCK?
PB: Jesus. Was he birthed by Sarah Palin and a wolf?
CanAzn: Jantz' father is named Foxx, who has a twin brother named Wolf and another brother named Stig. Steele has brothers named Truk and Brogan.
You can't even make this shit up
PB: I'm pretty sure this is in Revelations.
CanAzn: To answer your question though, I don't think most Iowa Staters cared if Jantz or Barnett won the job. Jantz is big risk, big reward, and Barnett is like a Trent Dilfer type
But with Paul Rhoads, you never know. We could be trotting out a 2 QB formation with ex-QB Tiller at WR at some point
PB: But doesn't the tie go to the GUY NAMED STEELE JANTZ?
CanAzn: Well, yeah, obviously.
For blogging purposes especially
You just cant make as many phrases with Barnett
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN BARNETT has no play
PB: Of course. Alright, I've established my fascination. Let's indulge readers and give them at least a little bit of real football talk...
Let's talk about our favorite Paul Rhoads locker room speeches.
CanAzn: It's funny because if you look in the OSU video, one of the GAs is clearly like "oh fuck, here we go again" when Rhoads starts
It's cliche as hell now, and yet no less awesome
PB: And that video will make an appearance in this post. But for real now: football. Iowa State may have bloggers who I could shoot the shit with all day long, but the football team is worth discussing as an entity these days. We're not talking about Kansas. (Backhanded compliment of the day nominee.) So let's start with the offense.
CanAzn: /tries to forget that KU has a BCS bowl win
The offense... No need to touch on the Jantz/Barnett situation..
Receivers are solid, but unspectacular
Multiple guys good for 700-800 yards, but no gamebreakers at this time.
CanAzn: The line loses Hicks and Osemele to the NFL, but overall should remain productive. KO actually drew a lot of ire from Cyclone fans for his false starts, and some believe the dropoff may not be as drastic as originally though
RBs are definitely the strength of the offense.
PB: Okay, sorry about that -- had to take a phone call. Are you done talking about the offense?
CanAzn: James White was HM Big 12 last year, while phallicly named Shontrelle Johnson and Jeff Woody complete the backfield. Shontrelle is likely the best of the bunch when at 100%, but he's coming off a career threatening neck injury
PB: Actually I do want to get a question in about your offense. In particular, it seems like ISU is well set up to field a pretty nifty little offense... except for worrisome personnel losses on the offensive line. What's your view of that assessment -- both ISU's potential to have an improved, versatile, deceptively good offense in most regards, and whether the losses on the line are reason to temper the optimism?
CanAzn: The great thing about the offensive line is that there is a lot of experience coming back
6 returners with over 150 snaps in 2011
PB: So I just have no idea what I'm talking about and should STFU.
CanAzn: Nah, I'd gather the same if i wasnt an ISU fan.
No stars on the line like KO, but the sum of the parts may be better than years past. Now, what happens when these part time starters are forced into full time duty will be critical
PB: Mostly I just assume that losing Osemele must be terrible.
CanAzn: We'd all like to have him back, but there have been a lot of admirable fill ins
There will be some dropoff, but hopefully not as much as you'd gather from an inital glance
PB: There are so many average-to-adequate, and outright bad/maddening, offensive linemen that it really is easy to get attached to a true all-world ass-kicker
CanAzn: There was an interesting fanpost on WRNL the other day discussing how Rhoads has done a great job of ushering in experience and changing the positional groups to his prototypes
PB: Alright, so let's assume the offensive line is solid at worst, maybe even a modest asset. Do you like the offense to be a couple notches improved, occasionally dangerous, and mostly in a battle with consistency to reach their ceiling?
CanAzn: Biggest wild card of course is still QB play. I think I can expect a slightly above average receiving corps, a slightly above average line, and strong RBs, but if QB play falters like it did last year
we will be sitting at 4-8
PB: Do you think Rhoads should name a starter and go with him, or mix and match?
CanAzn: Rhoads named Jantz last week, but once again has alluded to a two QB setup
I won't question the master, but it is interesting to ponder if the lack of reassurance leads to some tentativeness on either QB's part
PB: Hard not to suspect Jantz tanked a bit last year just to introduce a redemptive element to his story this year. Which I can understand.
CanAzn: I certainly hope that he's just a sucker for a good story
PB: What about the defense? Do you find it just as easy to get carried away gawking at the BFF linebackers?
CanAzn: I wish it was that easy
The ever lasting problem is the defensive line
For all the good Rhoads and Burnham have done with the secondary and linebackers, they can't seem to get the DL going
PB: (I guess not. You would never answer a question about Jantz with a comment about the tight ends.)
CanAzn: We have fewer sacks in Rhoads' 3 years than most teams have in one year.
PB: That's a good point, and I would submit that gets to the recruiting limitations that Iowa State faces. There are an abundance of most defensive players, but defensive linemen are a much higher premium
CanAzn: I would agree with that. And then our greatest defense lineman of the last decade decided to punch a kid and steal his cell phone and 4 bucks
So there's that
PB: That got Royce White a scholly. What gives?
CanAzn: It would be nice to have the luxury of Okafor and Jeffcoat. I think that's a monopoly and I demand yiou share
Well, Royce White wasn't arrested shortly after trying to get in a bar with a fake ID.
At Iowa State, our athletes don't get arrested overly often, but when they do, we make sure it's interesting.
PB: Which brings us to Larry Eustachy.
CanAzn: We prefer to just call him the Godfather.
without his shitty beer drinking ways, WRNL wouldn't even exist.
PB: Mostly because by law this conversation cannot conclude without popping a couple tall boys, and paying homage to the man who inspired so many to start blogging. Tell us your conversion moment.
CanAzn: Well, Larry isn't entirely the reason we started, but he does lend credit to half of the name of the blog.
PB: Go on, go on. Tell us about both halves.
CanAzn: How else do you celebrate years of horrible, heartbreaking sports moments that turn you into a self deprecating fan, than by noting how a National Coach of the Year got himself canned for boozing with co-eds?
And drinking terrible beer?
CanAzn: And of course, the Wide Right portion refers to (what could be one of a million missed FGs) but namely, ones that would have won us the Big 12 North back to back in 2004 and 2005.
PB: You lost the B12 North on a wide right FG in consecutive years? My God, I'd forgotten that. Seneca Wallace years?
CanAzn: In short, we make Florida State kickers look as clutch as Hunter Lawrence against Nebraska
Bret Meyer years.
PB: Ah, of course
CanAzn: Bret Meyer, Todd Blythe, Stevie Hicks
PB: Man, completely had forgotten that team. Hicks was a devil, man. Who won the B12 North? A terrible CU team in '05. Who was '04?
CanAzn: Who, by the way, were incredible in NCAA06
the one year Iowa State was good in that game.
PB: Colorado both years. What a waste.
CanAzn: Yeah, it's depressing. McCarney might still be here if that went down differently.
PB: True story: my Dad used to serve on the Faculty Athletics Council at UT, and lobbied for Texas to hire Gary Barnett instead of Mack Brown.
Which pretty much invalidates his opinion on everything, forever.
CanAzn: On the bright side, Texas would have never hired Greg Davis?
PB: BUT -- and he is adamant about reminding you of this -- he begged John Mackovic to recruit Drew Brees, to no avail. So it's a karmic wash.
CanAzn: Born in austin, went to westlake, right? Sad.
The worst part is probably that you forced somebody to play in the terrible terrible big 10.
(though it was far less terrible back then)
PB: Worse: someone was forced to live in Indiana.
CanAzn: Ah yes. that is pretty bad
PB: And if you have another half hour, we can talk about why it's a legitimate under-the-radar contender for Worst State in the Union.
CanAzn: Haha wow.
I have heard it is definitely the ugliest state - true?
PB: Absolutely. Flat, totally unremarkable, barren, dirty broken cities -- it's disgusting
PB: Seriously, I can't have this conversation without getting depressed, so let's end on a happier note.
CanAzn: Fair enough.
PB: With a question that is incredibly tricky, but wholly fascinating -- and I'm sure every interview you give ends with this question. Larry Eustachy may have missed the sweet spot, but now let me put you on the spot: at what age are you too old to be into coeds?
CanAzn: What's that rule again? Half the age + 7? I think the hard cap should be at like 30 though
At that point, it's a "oogle as you feel necessary", but stop hitting on them, you creepy old man.
PB: 30, huh? Man, that's pretty harsh.
CanAzn: (no offense if you're still doing that)
And are we talking at house parties or bars?
I mean, Larry was getting down at house parties, man
So some of these girls aren't even 21
PB: I need to do some soul-searching man.<---- Last thing Eustachy said before he bought the twelver of Natty
CanAzn: I do respect him more than if there were pics of him with a big ass box of franzia though.
PB: Of course. And that should be said. I'm glad you did.
And that seems like a sensible note to end on.
An uplifting moment.
CanAzn: Seriously, good for him he's got his life back on track though. Seeing him back in the tourney was amazing.
PB: Well, I'll say this: even if you didn't have such interesting damn characters at ISU to blog about, I have no doubt y'all would still find a way to create a riot anyway. It's a treat to read, and I'm an out-of-the-closet Cyclones admirer in part because of you guys. Mostly because of Larry Eustachy, but also y'all.
CanAzn: Definitely appreciate that. We'll continue to come up with completely deranged idiocy for you Longhorns.
We definitely subscribe to the "(Don't) Blame Texas" philosophy. Longhorn readers have been great.
PB: It's a deal. Thanks, man. Enjoy the season.