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2011 Spring Preview - Big East Questions
South Florida QB B.J. Daniels
South Florida QB B.J. Daniels
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 9, 2011


The big questions surrounding each Big East team going into spring practices.


2011 Big East Spring Preview

The Spring Questions

Click for each team's spring preview
- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia
 
2011 Big East Spring Preview
- 2011 Big East Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big East Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big East Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big East Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big East Positions To Watch  

2011 Big East Pre-Spring Preview
- Big East Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On  
 
- Cincinnati

Can all of those familiar faces on defense be parlayed into improved results? Everyone is back on D. Literally. However, after the unit ranked last in the Big East in pass defense and turnovers, that’s not necessarily cause for a celebration. The Bearcats did a solid job versus the run in 2010, which ought to continue, but they have to find a way to prevent—and create—more big plays when the ball is in the air. The team had just eight picks despite being thrown on often.

- Connecticut

Who plays quarterback? A perennial concern for this program, it needs a reliable passer who can move the chains and keep defenses from ganging up on the backs. Last year’s squad was 112th nationally in passing efficiency, so graduating Zach Frazer won’t be missed. The competition will revolve around 2010 backup Michael Box, Johnny McEntee, and freshmen Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich. Box is the only one who’s thrown a pass at this level, but McEntee is a YouTube sensation for a trick shot video that went viral following the season.
 
- Louisville

Does Strong go with youth or experience behind center? After Adam Froman and Justin Burke graduated, the program was left with sure-things at the most important position on the field. Will Stein enters his junior year, but he’s a former walk-on, with limited upside and only one career touchdown on his resume. Of course, the staff could pop the cork on the Teddy Bridgewater era if the rookie proves he’s ready for the step up in competition. He’s already enrolled in classes, eager to show why he was one of the most sought after dual-threats in America on signing day.
 
- Pittsburgh

How much can Todd Graham and his staff accomplish in 15 practices? Not only was he hired very late in the process, but he’ll also be looking to implement a vastly different offense than the one that used to be employed by Dave Wannstedt. Every session will count in the Panthers’ quest to get off to a fast start and exceed expectations in 2011. From the players to the coaches, it promises to be a very steep learning curve over the next month that tests the patience of all parties involved.
  
- Rutgers

Is this the year that the offensive line finally looks like more than just a swinging gate? Four starters return, but that guarantees nothing in Piscataway. This unit has been a sieve in recent years, especially in pass protection. The onus falls on long-time line coach Kyle Flood, who has underachieved along with his players. Someone needs to give the quarterbacks enough time to locate TE D.C. Jefferson and receivers Mark Harrison and Mohamed Sanu. It’ll have to be a collaborative effort since none of those returning linemen were all-stars or are expected to be this fall.

- South Florida

Which is the real B.J. Daniels, the one that sputtered in the regular season or the one that soared in the Meineke Car Care Bowl? The Bulls are banking on the latter because there isn’t a lot of depth behind the junior. He was an inconsistent mess during the year, throwing more picks than touchdowns and becoming far less effective as a runner. However, in the December upset of Clemson, he recaptured his rookie form, accounting for three scores and earning MVP honors. South Florida needs that guy to be more visible in 2011.

- Syracuse

Is QB Ryan Nassib ready to become the face of the offense? Entering his junior year, his role is sure to expand, especially after top back Delone Carter graduated. If the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl is any indication, he could be on the brink of a breakthrough season. Despite playing in less than ideal conditions for a passer, he didn’t commit a turnover and turned 13 completions into 239 yards and three touchdowns. If the Orange is to get to the next level, it’ll need its quarterback to be a big part of that ascent.  

- West Virginia

How is the transition from Bill Stewart to Holgorsen going? Obviously, everyone will say the right thing, but this will still be a tricky hand-off for the Mountaineers. Stewart is the lame duck head coach, with Holgorsen on staff to succeed him in 2011. The good news is that Stewart has the right demeanor for this kind of a situation, and always seems to have the university’s best interest in mind. Still, this isn’t your garden variety coach-in-waiting situation since a timeframe has been established and Stew is not leaving on his own volition.

  Click for each team's spring preview
- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia
 
2011 Big East Spring Preview
- 2011 Big East Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big East Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big East Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big East Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big East Positions To Watch  

2011 Big East Pre-Spring Preview
- Big East Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On