October 13, 2006

Week 7 Q&A with TBS analyst Charles Davis

Baylor at Texas, 7:00 p.m. on TBS

After rough losses early in the season, Texas and Cal are starting to look more like the teams they were predicted to be in the preseason.

At the same time, Florida and Michigan have rocketed up the polls. The Gators have done it by adding true freshman Tim Tebow to the mix. Michigan will try to continue its rise this week without the injured Mario Manningham.

TBS college football analyst Charles Davis weighed in on these topics and more in his weekly Q&A.

Davis will be part of the crew covering Baylor at Texas at 7 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

Week 7 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. How have Texas and quarterback Colt McCoy progressed since the Longhorns' loss to Ohio State?
"It has been two things. The defense has made gains, and they seem to have an identity. Right now you would have to say their identity is tough and physical, which is something that was thrown in their faces all those years they lost to Oklahoma. During that five-year run, the impression was that Oklahoma was tough and Texas was soft. I don't think anyone has that impression anymore.

Offensively, Colt McCoy looks like a different guy from the Ohio State game. I didn't think he was as bad as others might have thought. People were looking for fireworks from him, but they were trying to protect him. You look at him now and he has it under control. The biggest plays he makes now are with his head with check-offs and audibles. The team seems to have said, 'You are our leader.' That's a big deal."

2. How can Baylor, which has won back-to-back Big 12 games for the first time since joining the conference, continue to make strides in a tough game at Texas?
"They've got to rely on what their strength is, which is forcing turnovers. They lead the nation in turnovers this year, which I don't think anyone would have thought. The defensive coordinator, Bill Bradley, has a mantra 'Two we're in. Four we win.' If they force two turnovers they're in the game. If the get four turnovers they win the game. They need to continue to do that. C.J. Wilson, their corner, is kind of the focal point. He has four interceptions. They have to force turnovers because they can't slug it out with Texas."
3. You remained a big believer in Cal despite the loss to Tennessee. Why is that, and how have they rebounded?
"All of us who have been around it know that you're never as good as your best game and you're never as bad as worst game. They have their identity now. They have a quarterback they believe in. The running game was going to be stout anyway. What they've really discovered is a quarterback who can hit a dynamic receiver, DeSean Jackson, and make huge plays downfield - which opens running lanes for Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. The problem they have now is that Lynch has a bad ankle. They think he'll play this week, but they need him 100 percent healthy. He's the No. 2 back in the country behind Adrian Peterson."
4. What is your take on Florida's quarterback rotation of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow?
"Urban Meyer and his staff are managing this very well. Tim Tebow is a guy they wanted to get on the field and get him experience and play to his attributes. Florida's running game hasn't been very strong. When they've needed yards on the ground, Tebow's been their best runner. He's dynamic that way. Chris Leak does all the heavy lifting. Tebow scored the touchdown and the crowd went crazy because everyone has Tim Tebow fever. But what gets lost in all that is that when they had a third and 17, Leak completed the pass to get the ball down there when Tebow ran it in. The other part is that they've established Tebow so well as a run threat, which allowed his passing game to come into play also. It all worked out very well. They've done a good job playing to both of their strengths. At the end of the day, Chris Leak is their guy. Tim Tebow is a complementary aspect of it."
5. How can Michigan adjust their offense without their best big-play threat, Mario Manningham?
"Short of asking someone else to emerge that hasn't been out there before, which could happen, they're asking more of the players who have already been there. Maybe Mike Hart runs the balls a couple of extra times or Chad Henne spreads the ball around to a couple more receivers. Last, but not least a couple of years ago, we thought Steve Breaston was the next big thing as a wide receiver. In a lot of ways its 'Paging Steve Breaston. This is your moment.' Can Breaston become that kind of guy for at least one ballgame."


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