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September 7, 2006

Week 2 Q&A with TBS analyst Charles Davis

Minnesota at Cal, 7 p.m. Saturday on TBS

TBS college football analyst Charles Davis previews this weekend's games - including Ohio State at Texas - while reviewing storylines from the opening weekend.

What will determine the outcome of the Buckeyes-Longhorns game? What does Cal need to do against Minnesota this week after a big loss to Tennessee? Why is Adrian Peterson drawing some criticism from his coach?

Find out these answers and more in our weekly Q&A.

Week 2 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. What will be the deciding factor in the game between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas?
"Last year, all the star players had an impact on the game. (Ted) Ginn did some things. Troy Smith came off the bench. Vince Young made great plays late. To me, the deciding factor in the game last year was that Ohio State was still juggling quarterbacks. Smith had played well for the middle stretch of the game and they came back with (Justin) Zwick for the key drive of the game and he lost a fumble. Is Colt McCoy really settled as a quarterback at Texas. I think it's a lot to ask that he's settled. The key is that he does not make any huge mistakes. They've had some bad news this week with Tarell Brown being suspended. Anyone covering Ted Ginn will need all hands on deck. If Texas gets good play from their quarterback, you're going to get a heck of a game on your hands. I don't think Texas wants to juggle quarterbacks like Ohio State did last year. Ohio State might have taught them a lesson last year they didn't count on teaching.

"Ohio State has nine new starters on defense, but they've sold everyone on the fact that they've played. They've got to prove it now. I don't care who your backups are A.J. Hawk is gone, Bobby Carpenter is gone, Anthony Schlegel is gone, Donte Whitner is gone. Those are three first-round picks. I don't care who you are, there's some rebuilding going on."

2. What are you looking to see out of Cal this week against Minnesota after the loss to Tennessee? Can Cal recover?
"Coaches always say you make the most improvement between game one and game two. I don't really believe most, but you can make a tremendous amount of improvement win or lose because not everything is wide-eyed and bright lights. Now you're really into a routine and a grind. I really think Cal will play well this week. We'll see more of the Cal we expected to see in Knoxville. What we will see is the Cal team we're used to seeing with better execution. I've watched the tape of the game, and they were 6-7 plays away from not looking as poorly as they did. They are too good a program not to rebound."

2a. Speaking of Minnesota, how are the Gophers able to put in a new running back or two every year and get 1,000 yards rushing out of them. They appear to be on their way to doing it again with Alex Daniels and Amir Pinnix. How do they do it?
"It's not like they put just anyone back there. The guys are talented. Look who's played at Minnesota: Marion Barber is in the pros, Laurence Maroney is in the pros. Not all of them became pro backs, but they're all talented. There's a mind-set at Minnesota that this is what we do, this is what we're comfortable with. We can run the football come heck or high water. That's Minnesota football. They commit to it. They work at it and then they put the talented backs back there. You don't have seven years of 2,000 yards running and 2,000 yards passing without being committed. It's not an accident."

3.Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson challenged running back Adrian Peterson this week after a slow start in the UAB game ("He was dancing too much early, he's looking for big plays instead of sticking it, being decisive and making great cuts," Wilson said. "When he stops moving his feet, he's just another guy like everyone else."). What effect with this have on Peterson and the Sooners?
"In the past, there were always older guys who were expected to be the leaders of the team. He's now assumed that mantle, even though it's not his personality. He's not a rah-rah vocal guy. My guess is that Kevin Wilson is asking him to step out and be the face of OU football, not just in terms of getting praise. When the team doesn't play as well as they thought they were going to, they want him to be the lightning rod, too. Here's my guess: He's going to ask Adrian Peterson to step forward and be that guy and tell the team 'I'll give you more' and inspire the team to give more of themselves."
4. After watching USC beat Arkansas 50-14 in Fayetteville, are the Trojans just the same team with new faces?
"Us media types have been saying it's wide open in the Pac-10, but who did we pick to win the Pac-10? It's still USC. Pete Carroll says he has three monster years of recruiting that now gets to come to the forefront. They still have some growing pains. Don't take from that one game that they're the same old USC. They're still great, but they will be challenged. Arkansas is just not a good enough team to challenge them. They will get challenged along the way. Nebraska sees them next week. That might be it. But I'm not betting against USC. Pete Carroll does too good of a job and there are too many great athletes. But every week will not be 50-14."
5. With the injury to Louisville's Michael Bush and encouraging wins from Pittsburgh and Rutgers last week, will there be a shakeup in the Big East?
"I think Pittsburgh hurt the league last year because they didn't play as well as people thought. They were supposed to beat Notre Dame in the season opener. They were preseason Top 25. It was a down year for Pittsburgh after going to the Fiesta Bowl the year before. Rutgers finished last year on a real upbeat note going to the bowl game, but that's a good year for Rutgers. They won at North Carolina this week and stuffed a team that likes to run the football. Illinois comes to their place this week. That ought to be a really good ballgame. I'm not saying Rutgers is a contender, but you can't mark them down for a 'W' anymore. You've got to go beat them. At Pittsburgh with (Dave) Wannstedt there and the toughness he brings, the same thing's going to happen. Louisville will have to get their footing back after losing Bush, but they're such a good program that I don't consider it a loss that takes them away from their goals. You don't just give it to West Virginia. The Big East is better than what people want to give credit for."

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