In conjunction with Big East Media Day, Rivals.com wanted to make sure the voice of the fans was heard. Using questions from the network message boards, we arrived at the event loaded with questions to ask.
Is Ben Mauk healthy at Cincinnati? Will a new secondary coach mean a new look for the Pitt defense? Are there any freshmen ready to make an instant impact at Syracuse?
We took these questions and more straight to the Big East coaches and players. Their answers can be found below.
SeniorBEarcat: "How is Ben Mauk's rehab going? Is he ahead of schedule or behind?"
Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly: "Ben is making very good progress, but he is clearly not at a point where he is ready for competition. He could be ready (for the start of the season) but he has a ways to go. We have four or five other guys we may have to turn to, and if it comes to that we will be comfortable doing so."
Cincinnati WR Haruki Nakamura: "He still has a long way to go. He is out there working with us, but his arm strength is not close to what he needs. Once he gets it back he will be able to compete, but he is still a ways away."
buisinesslawyer: "Is there serious consideration of not having Larry Taylor return punts or kicks?"
UConn WR Larry Taylor: "Nah, I am the guy right now doing that. We are rotating guys in at kick return but right now it is me, and maybe Darius (Butler) as the other guy. But since they moved the ball back on the kick (to the 30) it gives me more opportunities to make things happen, and I will definitely be back there returning punts."
Neckman: "What do the players think is the key to the season? Who needs to step up?"
Louisville LB Malik Jackson: "You can't count or expect one group to step up and carry you for a season. Each one of us has to step up and carry our own loads. You can't count on one group, whether it is on offense the runningbacks can't look for the receivers to do their jobs, and on defense the linebackers can't have the corners covering them up too. Everyone has to do their jobs the best they can for us to win."
SlowWhiteGuy: "With (secondary coach) Chris Ball coming on board, will the CBs play more up on the line of scrimmage?"
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt: "We are very excited about Coach Ball. He brings a lot of experience to our staff. He was a co-ordinator before and has a lot of experience, but we are not going to change technique across the board. Each player has their own technique and comfort level and we will play to their strengths and put them in a place to succeed."
ScarletShack: "Does Eric Foster have a new locker room chant planned for this year?"
Rutgers DT Eric Foster: "Oh yeah. Every locker room chat is unprepared. I just say what is on my heart. I just go with it. I can't tell you right now what the next one will be because I do not know, but there will most definitely be one, the guys really love it."
Chuckcuse: "Which freshman has the biggest chance to make an impact?"
Syracuse S Joe Fields: "Jermaine Pierce looks like he is going to be a stud. He needs to stay motivated, but the sky is the limit for him."
Syracuse DE Jameel McClain: "Pierce has impressed me a lot. He is young and he is always working. He is a hard worker and a great athlete, he will be a beast."
BigBull: "I would like to know what Coach Jim Leavitt thinks is the key to success this season."
South Florida coach Jim Leavitt: "We have a lot of talent coming back, we lost a lot, but we have a lot coming back. We are going to need the defensive line to play like it did at the end of the season. If our defensive line does not play well then we won't have a chance. That and we need consistency from our playmakers. We lost two tight ends that no one wants to talk about, but those guys played a big role in our success and they will be missed. We need some guys at skill positions to step up, and we need our defensive line to play well."
NYeer : "Everyone is talking about how the defense needs to step up, how confident are the players?"
West Virginia DB Eric Wicks: "Yeah, we are confident. We have all been working hard to get better, and we can see improvement. We play with a lot of confidence. Our goal is to win a national championship, and we know we all need to play at the top of our game to make that happen."
West Virginia DL Keilen Dykes: "We have a lot of talent and ability to score on the offense, but we know we (as a defense) will need to step up and play (better). We are all very confident in our ability, and our coaches to put us in positions to succeed."