Each week throughout the remainder of the season, AuburnUndercover.com will give you a sit down Q&A session with a former coach. It will feature a nationally known coach or one more closely associated with Auburn.
Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti
We will post the featured guest’s name in the forums and you post your questions. We will pick 10 to 15 of the better questions.
This week’s guest is former Oregon Coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Bellotti.
Question from AUDUckhunter: When you were in Auburn covering the A-Day game for ESPNU, did you see anything about Cam Newton that would have led you to believe he was a potential Heisman Trophy winner?
Bellotti: At that time, no. He was one of three quarterbacks who played that day. He had a good throwing motion. He really did not get an opportunity to show what he could do because he didn’t know (the entire offense). He has really developed. Give Chizik and Malzah credit.
Question from AUDUckhunter: Name one defensive coordinator and one offensive coordinator you coached against that gave you fits.
Bellotti: Jeff Tedford at Cal. He was his own OC at the time. Defense. Ummm, Pete Carroll. I give him credit. He had great athletes, but he put them in position and used them very, very well.
Question from Dmt73: Would you comment on the perception that SEC athletes have more speed and athleticism than in other parts of the country?
Bellotti: That’s flat out not true. The difference is the defensive lines. The SEC is blessed there. As for skill, the SEC is fast, but not faster than the Pac-10. Football is religion in the South, and that keeps that perception out there. At offensive and defensive line, it’s true the SEC has better athletes. It’s not true at the skill positions.
Question from gncnew: Now that you've had a chance to watch more college football instead of preparing for the next game, what differences do you see in the various BCS conferences and what do you see as their respective strengths and weaknesses as a whole?
Bellotti: If you look at power rankings, the Mountain West Conference and the WAC are way ahead of the Big East and ACC. A lot of this stuff is cyclical. Conferences should have to earn the BCS qualification every year. That would take care of a lot of these issues. I still haven’t seen all conferences. I’m biased toward West Coast, but there are good teams in every conference.
Question from auman365: Oregon looks good this year and I am sure you are proud of their performance. How confident are you the Ducks will make it to the BCS title game this year?
Bellotti: I’m confident they are going to compete in every game and in the people I put in place. I think they’re on track to make it to the BCS, but there’s a lot of football left to be played. There are six or seven teams that are capable of getting there.
Question from AUFanInLou: How difficult was it to step away from coaching? Has the time off rejuvenated your desire to coach or is it nice to have bit of time for yourself for a change?
Bellotti: It was difficult, but at the time, it was right decision for me. I had both knees replaced. It was hard to stand up for more than three or four hours at a time. We had a smooth transition to Chip and that was good. I don’t have a lot of time to myself now, but I will later in the off season. I still have to figure that out. I loved coaching, l still do. I miss the relationships with the players and the coaches – and the chess match Saturdays.
Question from BDWILLIS: Any chance we will see you back on the sidelines in 2011?
Bellotti: Yes, there’s always a chance. It’s like dumb and dumber. One in a million.
Question from Benzo: If and when Guz Malzhan leaves to be a head coach, can you give us some names of future star offensive coordinators that Coach Chizik should consider?
Bellotti: Yes. Several. Danny Langsdorf at Oregon State and Bryan Harsin at Boise State. Both have done great jobs in their environments.
Question from OldNewby: With Utah and Colorado set to join the new PAC-12 with two six team divisions, what advantages/disadvantages do you foresee for the conference in near future?
Bellotti: Advantage for the Pac-12 is picking up those television areas in Utah and Colorado. Both Utah and Colorado are biggest winners. You get an grade in recruiting areas and you make more money. Pace 12 wins with the new TV contact and championship game
Question from jadennis: How important have the support of Phil Knight and Nike been in Oregon’s rise to national prominence?
Bellotti: Oregon would not be where it is without Phil Knight personally and Nike as a corporation. They are not one in the same. Phil Knight’s philanthropy in both academics and athletics has been great for Oregon. The Nike contact gives us a great advantage as well.