Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wertz Q&A: Indy, App still playing bully

Q. Independence Football 08 comments about next year? - Anonymous

A. Well lots of things have changed at the Big I, haven’t they? First time since 2000 they are not defending the state title. Coach Tom Knotts has gotten married and is having a kid. I don’t think that will change him. I would expect Tommy to be more focused than ever. I know his desire for 8 straight titles was huge, but I think given how everything happened last year, his desire to start a new streak is even greater now.

I just remember how sullen he looked at the championship ceremony watching someone other than him get to hold the trophy. I figure he doesn’t want to watch that again - or his returning players.

I’d install Indy as the favorite to win. Again. The bully is back.

Q. There were a few teams that were DQ’d during the track conference meet at Myers Park. On several occasions the officials refused to tell the coaches why their teams were DQ’d from events. Could you please look into this and provide a list of what DQ’s took place and why? -- Anonymous

A. Apparently, this happened at the ME-CA 7 meet and not the Southwestern, and stemmed from a school not getting regular meet officials and using school personnel instead.

Q. Langston, I had been wanting to ask you your thoughts on Coach Roy Williams wearing the Kansas sticker at the national championship game. I know you’re a UNC grad, but you’re pretty fair of the reporters up there. -- Anonymous

A. I saw it and thought a lot of people would get all up in arms about it. I didn’t think it was that big a deal. The man spent a quarter of his life at Kansas, fighting for all things KU. In ’93 when UNC played in the final and Kansas lost in the semis, he did the same thing in reverse. I wouldn’t have done it, if I were in his shoes, and I doubt too many other coaches would do it either, but Roy’s his own guy, and that’s a big part of his appeal.

Q. L-Dub, you won’t answer this but do reporters really think we believe they are neutral and don’t have favorite teams? Most of you Observer folks went to Chapel Hill that’s why so much Chapel Hill news is in the paper. - John G.

A. John, I don’t hide where I went to school. But “most folks” at our sports department didn’t go to Chapel Hill. If the Tar Heels didn’t have the fan support, winning programs and the interest they generate (which helps us sell papers at this business), they wouldn’t get the kind of coverage they do. We have to try to write about what people care about most. It’s a tough thing to do, but I think our coverage is pretty fair. Look at all of it and not just the days Carolina is on the cover.

I hear from UNC fans all the time that claim we’re biased against them, so as long as I hear it from both sides, I think we’re doing pretty well.

As for playing favorites, reporters are people too. We grew up watching sports and liking players and liking teams. But this is a business and you have to maintain a neutral stance when covering events and do the best job you can telling the story of that event.

Q. Langston, speaking of '08 football champs and App State in the same breath, how well do you think the Mountaineers football team will fare this fall? With two of the area's highly recruited players, SM QB Jey Yokeley and Indy RB Rod Chisholm, playing for App State this fall, we have even more reasons to support!

A. I think App will be strong again. They’ve got a good nucleus back, an outstanding QB and incredible fan support. Their title run last year, to me, was one of the best stories in our area, especially the beating Michigan at Michigan part. Wow, I couldn’t believe that.

Q. You surprised Titus went to Buffalo? I know you thought he might be higher major with a year of prep. -- Anonymous

A. Buffalo had been the school recruiting East Meck’s Titus Robinson the hardest all year. They really worked him and he’ll get big playing time there. Could he have gone to a bigger player by going to prep school? Maybe, but in his mind, I guess there was no need to gamble. He’ll be fine in Buffalo. We’ll send him some snow shoes and a ski mask.

Q. How do you think the twins, Whitney and Britney will do at Virginia? -- Anonymous

A. That’s hard to say. We’re talking about the Edwards twins from P-Diddy, guys. When she was a sophomore, I thought Britny was going to be one of the better players to come out of here in awhile. By her senior year, I thought Whitny had surpassed her sister.

How they do in college really depends on how they get used. Whitny’s a good outside shooter, Britny’s potentially a mismatch combo forward (too big for small girls and too quick for big ones). I’d say Whitny needs minutes and Britny needs hunger, ultimately.

Q. Have you heard of any names in the running for the boys head basketball coaching job at WC? - Anonymous

A. Sorry I missed your question before Dub AD Masanori Toguchi gave it to Baronton Terry of South Meck. I’ve seen Terry do his thing. He coaches a complex up-tempo style and I think he may be one of the hidden gems in the city. Now on a much bigger stage at Dub, he could help turn around a struggling program and establish himself as an elite coach around here, and we could use a few the way we’ve been losing them lately (Barbara Nelson of Providence Day; Gosnell White of Dub; Jerry Faulkner of Latin et al).

Q. Well we know Flowers won’t coach in public school in state. You hearing anything?

A. Heard a few rumors, but let’s wait to see how things pan out.

Q. I hear that two of the private school AD jobs will open soon. Any idea who might come in?

A. I know the two jobs you speak of. It’s been long rumored. I don’t know, but if two AD jobs come open at any of the Big Four, I’d expect folks to chase it hard. They pay well. They’re high profile. And they’re about as close as you come to running a small college without quite as many headaches as the guy at a small college.

Q. Would you say that Latin volleyball coach Suzie Pignetti is the best girls coach we’ve ever had here?

A. She’s on a short list with Providence’s Zoe Bell and Providence Day’s Barbara Nelson, among others. Bell, particularly, impressed me that she could so thoroughly rough-house the competition in softball and then dominate even more in volleyball. Most coaches, like players, are one-sport specialists.

Q. Lang, the association’s board meeting is this week. If I remember correctly, they plan to discuss eligibility issues. What changes could they implement and what do you think the state should do? -- Anonymous

The state put out their plan. The local team will put out their plan soon. They meet this week.

Q. Langston just curious to what you think about the SW4A this year. I think East Meck has a good chance to shine. How do you think they will fare? - Shane.

A. East has a load of talent and a good young quarterback. You have to replace an absolute stud in RB Mike Mayhew, who’s the best at that school since, wow, Carlos Horton back in the early ‘90s. I think East and South and Butler will chase Indy for the league title.

Q. What will become of the indy patriots football team they still have the number 2 rank safety in the country in Holloman. - Anonymous

A. People, Indy lost in the state finals. They lost several players before the game, including their top offensive weapon in Rod Chisholm, and another right at game time and if a wide receiver catches a wide open pass, they’re up 21-0 and that game is over. I think Indy is still the best team in our state, and having Devonte Holloman certain doesn’t hurt.

Other teams are catching up, but I get the sense that the Patriots will have some of the hunger they had back in 2000-03 when they were building the program and less of the attitude that they had recently - the “we can turn it on when we need to” mentality.

I think the 2007 final was a reality check.

Q. Now that the coach of southmeck is at west charlotte do u think that ian miller will transfer again to play for him an i heard there could be other players moving there too from powerhouse teams in the area - Anonymous

A. I’ve heard this a lot since I reported that news last week, about Ian Miller. I don’t know if he’ll leave. If he does and moves and does it properly, that’s his and his family’s decision. Would he help West Charlotte? Absolutely. Miller, to me, is one of the five best rising juniors in our state, a potential All-American by his senior year. Will other players move? You just don’t know.

This time of year is hot for rumors. Y’all know my policy by now: until I see them on a new campus, I’m assuming they’ll stay where they are.

Q. Have you heard anything about what’s going on over at South Lake with basketball? I heard the coach is trying to build the program up with some our areas top basketball players. - Anonymous

A. Haven’t heard anything, but that coach is doing the same thing every other coach is doing - trying to build a program. Basketball is extremely competitive around here and it’s starting - thankfully - to get back to how it used to be in the ‘80s and ‘90s: good players, good teams chasing championships. Nice to see Queen City ball getting back to that.

Q. Anonymous rates Yokeley from SM as one "of the areas highly recruited players". He's going to be a walk-on at App, didn't even get offered a scholarship. Where do people get their info from?

A. Yokeley got a lot of college looks. I would say he was highly recruited. I think, though, when people say “Joe was highly recruited” it has to mean Joe got looks from Michigan, Notre Dame and USC. But it can be Wingate, Wofford and Western Kentucky. If it’s multiple schools you’re being recruited pretty well in my book.

Q. LW--not a bad spring for the Weddington teams--SW4A girls soccer champs, boys baseball and girls softball in tournament finals. Not bad for a school that should be playing 3A if you look at enrollment. Tonight boys face MP--a school with over 2X as many students.

A. Yes, indeed. I agree. Weddington is really starting to get its footing.

Q. The facts about Yokeley being "highly recruited" by colleges are absolutely true and come directly from the kid's coaches, both SM and colleges including App State. Where does the other writer's info come from? ... I will not speak for others but this kid has shown nothing but character and untapped, undeniable talent. App State fans are happy and fortunate to have him. Time and opportunity will tell the rest of the story. - Anonymous

A. And here is where we should end this particular part of the Jey Yokeley discussion. I wish the kid well and hope he makes himself some nice memories up on the mountain. He deserves that.


Pack said...

Langston seriously, when you;'re sittin' at home watching Duke play UNC at your Dean Dome you're not pulling for the Tar Holes? Give me a break. I see through your baby blue foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Langs, I agree and disagre. Ur rite, colleges should not play on Friday. ur wrong. south meck WILL beat Indy this year. Write it now....BTW, who ya got in the election?

Anonymous said...

Hey, glad to see this Q&A is back. There's the persistent rumor around town that you are not going to be covering high school sports next year. is that true? my other question is this one: if you had a big time recruit in your home would you keep him in state or send him to SEC or somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Wofford probably would have smoked Notre Dame last year.

Independence Football said...

Langston, you are so right. The mood at The Big I has completely changed. Coach Knotts has his fire back, "the old TK". 8 is deff. in our grasp. The graduating class of 09 guaratees it.

Anonymous said...

LW - UNCP did really well for a first year team last season. With there lastest recruiting class I think they will make some big noise this year! What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Langston, good story on the Providence girl today, but how about Butler's soccer team? No love for us yet?

LionPride68 said...

What's up with WC job? Who was the guy they hired and who are they looking at now?

Anonymous said...

LW, in the past three weeks, there have been stories on AK and Providence girls soccer. How about one on the team that won the championship this year and lost in the state finals last year? That's Weddington if you didn't know.

Anonymous said...

HEy langston i been hearing rumors the new coach at west charlotte is after a certian vance player

Anonymous said...

what do u think about shamel atkins going to nutied faith next year how do u think he will do

Anonymous said...

There rumors all over town about bernard sullivan transfering next year to the Dub aka west charlotte

Anonymous said...

LW - I hear alot of questions about recruiting. I wanted to share a new forum that I ran accross that answers football recruiting questions. The boards are hosted by coaches and recruiters.


Anonymous said...

indy should be a contender this year,lets hope all the hoopla of last year won't comeback again. anyway rumor has it at school coach knotts wife is a movie star hopefully that will not get in the way of another championship. good luck.