Friday Q&A: Shawn Oakman, Pro Wrestler; Breakout Pac-12 Players


Your brain could probably stand a break from college basketball for a moment. What better way to exhale from March Madness than reading on the triple-option, Shawn Oakman, breakout Pac-12 players and more? Oh, so much more, in fact.

Friday Q&A is picking up momentum in its third week. Yes, I know how much most savvy college football honks hate talk of momentum as a real, tangible thing. Nevertheless, Q&A has genuine momentum, and it’s spectacular.

This week’s questions are the best yet, and I thank you, the readers, for it. To have your questions answered, just tweet @kensing45 or @cfbhuddle with the hash-tag QA, or email

We’re riding the wave, baby!

As annoying as the Shawn Oakman meme following January’s Cotton Bowl became, the obvious answer here is Shawn Oakman.

Obviously Shawn Oakman has the look. His size is another tremendous asset. With the tattoos and intimidating presence, he could be the next generation Undertaker.

Actually, that’s a great way to introduce Shawn Oakman to WWE: Pair him with the Dead Man as his protege — assuming a Texas Longhorns fan is ever willing to put over the Baylor Bears, of course.


Oklahoma State’s James Castleman jumped out at me during the Cactus Bowl. He’s unbelievably nimble for a guy his size, reminiscent of one of wrestling’s all-time great heels, Vader. Coincidentally, Vader played football in the former Big 8, at Colorado.

But, if we’re using pipelines akin to recruiting, WWE should mine those that have a proven track record for producing wrestlers. North Texas products include former World Champions “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and JBL, while West Texas A&M is to wrestling what Miami (OH) is to coaching.

West Texas A&M’s football alumni-turned-wrestlers include:

– Terry Funk, who in the included photo appears to be about 40 years old:

terry funk

– Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

– Bruiser Brody

What a truly star-studded lineup. One might ask how a small school like West Texas A&M could produce so many legends in the same pseudo-sport, but Canyon, Texas seems like an ideal place to cultivate the hard-nosed mentality Funk, Brody and Hansen all demonstrated in the ring.

WWE should have a recruiter there at all times.

I don’t mind the concept of state legislatures helping the smaller, public university athletic departments get some of the massive pie top-level college football generates. Alabama refusing to play UAB, for example, was asinine.

That said, legislating home AND away could be asking too much.

The Alabama-UAB example isn’t necessarily applicable, because UAB played home games at 72,000-seat Legion — which, coincidentally, hosted the Iron Bowl for decades. So many Crimson Tide fans would have packed into Legion Field for a “road” game with UAB that it would have been a virtual home game, anyway.

It’s also worth noting that we can thank the Iron Bowl’s very existence to state legislature intervention. Just saying.

However, that said, mandating Virginia Tech play a road game at Old Dominion’s 20,118-seat Foreman Field is a much tougher sell. The upside for the power program is significantly less.

Much like Paul Johnson brought the triple option from Navy to Georgia Tech, the only way I see a true triple-option offense making its way to another Power 5 program is if Ken Niumatalolo leaves the Academy. The same goes for former Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken, should he flourish at Army (of course, Johnson coached at Georgia Southern prior to Navy).

Moreover, the program in question needs to be one that has some kind of recruiting limitation that necessitates an unorthodox offense. Should Derek Mason not work out at Vanderbilt, Niumatalolo could be a great fit. He has experience recruiting prospects who must meet high academic standards, and Vanderbilt’s longtime struggles likely mean the fan base would accept a triple-option, so long as it won games.

Texas Tech is another spot I could see a triple-option philosophy having legs. Mike Leach was able to deviate from the crowd unfettered — at least, until a homophobic helicopter dad arrived on the scene — and it worked because he got results.

Tech has tried unsuccessfully to recapture the magic of the Leach era, first with Tommy Tuberville hiring Neal Brown as offensive coordinator in a square-peg-round-hole situation. Now, Kliff Kingsbury has looked a bit in-over-his-head through two seasons.

Rather than trying to replicate Leach’s success with a similar system, Tech should recreate the essence of why it worked.

The sky is the limit for Arizona State’s Demario Richard next season. With senior D.J. Foster moving to more of a flanker role in 2015, Richard should get much more of the workload after going for 487 yards and four touchdowns a season ago.

With Nelson Agholor gone at USC, JuJu Smith is primed to be the star wide-out. Then again, everyone knows that. I think fewer see how much potential Steven Mitchell has as a possible No. 2. Mitchell started to show

Deon Hollins may not be a breakout player in that he was already UCLA’s most prolific sacker in 2014, but I believe the third-year Bruins linebacker is going to be recognized as one of the conference’s best pass-rushers in 2015.

I don’t mess with anyone who packs a sword, just as a matter of principle. I actually meant to take a photograph with you last football season, but after leaving practices, I got cold feet. Nothing looks lamer to college students walking around campus than a guy in his 30s taking a selfie with a statue.

So, if I’m being brutally honest, you’re intimidating…just not as intimidating as the thought of complete strangers thinking I’m uncool.

And yes, I get the inherent irony of that statement just a few paragraphs after I broke down Shawn Oakman’s pro-wrestling potential.