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Wes Bunting- National Football Post

October 14, 2011

Wes Bunting- National Football Post

First, can you tell readers how you got started covering college football?

I got started during middle school. I was a huge Radiers fan and was ezxcited when the Raiders had two number one picks that year. I got hooked – the draft process was fascinating to me and I started following it even more. In college I started seeing people making a living out of the draft and coverinbg college sports and thought, why can’t I?

So I started writing for every college sports site to get my stuff out there. Before I graduated I sent my resume to NFP – it was only a few weeks old at the time – and Mike Lombardi liked my stuff enough to give me a job as an intern writing for them. After I graduated I was hired full time and have been there for three years now.

Both Pitt and WVU have new coaches – what do you thinkof those new guys and what they can do for thier programs?

Well just look at Holgorsen’s production as an offensive coordinator – he did his job as his teams scored alot of points at Tulsa. As a head coach he has more responsibilities than as an offensive coordinator – there’s more of a burden on him. Can he moticate players and correctly manage the game? That’s the question now – I think he can and will be real successful there.

I don’t know much about Graham, to be honest…

What does the Big East need to do to get back inot national prominence?

Well, they need more talent and better recruiting. Many schools need to improve thier facilities and frankly, they have to start winning games. I mena, no disrepect to UConn, but if they win your conference, it’s not good.

Most teams did imporve on their coaches and that helps. But the teams that will step up are the ones that can show they can consistently send players to the NFL like USC does so often.

How do the Big East teams improve on thier recruiting?

Teams get wrapped up in going after three and four star kids. teams need to find players that fit their scheme. Wannstedt actually did that really well. Look at Notre Dame – they have issues here. They have different body types on their defensive line – some are much shorter with different arm spans – they just don’t fit the scheme. Look at that compared to Pitt, where their DL have the same body type – Sheard, Romeus were physically very similar builds.

Pitt is in a tough spot recruiting do to Grahams new scheme as well. Graham is building a high-caliber spread offense, but those players aren’t in Western PA. They are in Florida and Texas. It’s going to be hard to find athletes to fit his scheme in Western PA.

In the end, coaches need to evaluate the tape to see if players fit and not worry as much about the three and four star Scout rankings. A team that’s doing this very well right now, by the way, is South Florida. They can be a real dark horse n the Big East.

Which segways well into which team do you think will surprise most in the Big East?

I really like what Skip Holtz is doing at South Florida. He’s a great motivator and great recruiter. If he’s there long enough he can turn that into a great program.

Looking at the recent scandals, what are your thoughts on whether athletes should get paid?

Many athletes don’t understand how lucky they are to get a free education. I’m still paying student loans! They are blessed to get free educations.

Look at Jay Bilas. No disrespect to him, but he wasn’t that great at Duke, He got more out of Duke’s free eduation than they got out of him as an athlete. Now. he’s one of the most authoratative voices in college basketball.

I mean, what else do you want – if gives you a future, long-term. I guess a stipend is ok – 200 dollars a week maybe, But it’s ludicrous that they bshouyld get paid in light of a getting a $150,000 college education for free.

Any last thoughts for readers?

Don’t buy into the Big 12 hype – I think those teams are over-rated. I think tin the end it’ll be the SEC teams looking to win the championship.

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