The bye week has passed and now the mailbag is back to more pressing things like.....smoked meats? This is an equal opportunity mailbag and I love food so I spent about half the mailbag talking about food. I tend to think that things start to lean towards basketball once practice starts but I think folks will be really excited about the potential of this football team if they win this weekend.
As always, send your questions via Twitter (@keith_wynne) or email (email@example.com). If you have a protected Twitter account I can’t see your tweets. So shoot me an email.
Just bought a smoker. What the hell do I do now?— scott wilkinson (@TheeScottWilk) September 30, 2019
This actually made me realize that I haven’t pointed out yet that I will pretty much answer anything. This is perfectly in my wheelhouse though, so I’m pretty excited. I’m a pellet smoker guy because I’m old and busy and charcoal/wood is too much work these days. However, my smoker got jammed and I quite literally couldn’t get to the single screw that I needed to fix it. So I bought a new one and it came in this week. Perfect timing for this question.
So here’s a list of a couple of key things to me when you’re getting into that smoker life. First and foremost, find some dry rubs that you like. If you’re just starting out I wouldn’t go crazy and try to make your own. You could do worse than making a trip to Momma’s Mustard Pickles & BBQ and buying their rub. But find something you like and then be willing to try some different things. I’ve used wings to test different rubs before. Make what you want with your normal rub and then do individual wings with some different stuff.
You should also try out different wood. If you’re using a pellet smoker, you can buy different types or buy the mixed bags they sell. I like sweeter BBQ so I tend to go with apple pellets a lot. Hickory is a strong choice also.
Find a butcher or location where you like to buy things. It sounds obvious but the folks that work in this business know it best. But they also love talking about it all. They’ll typically lead you down the right path when you have questions and they’ve tried everything under the sun so they have ideas to throw out to you. Keep showing your face and they’ll talk your ear off after a while.
Keep repeating this to yourself: LOW AND SLOW!!!
Don’t rush things. It’s one of the reasons I love using a pellet smoker. I can throw a brisket on the smoker at night and wake up in the morning and it’s still going. You’ll hit a “stall” at some point when you’re smoking a big piece of meat. Don’t freak out and throw it in the oven or something. Just let it keep going and the temperature will start rising again, eventually.
Last but not least, here’s my favorite things to smoke:
- Ham with a bourbon brown sugar sauce (Upgrade your holiday dinners)
- Macaroni and Cheese (Smoke the cheese only if possible and not the finished product)
- Turkey (Use it for homemade Hot Browns)
- “Fried” smoked wings (Prep them like you’re deep frying them but throw them in the smoker)
- Smoked baked beans (Don’t forget the brown sugar)
How do you think the Cards front seven matches up with the BC power running game?— John Barako (@VillefanJB) October 1, 2019
Boston College has a power run identity while Louisville's defense is predicated on speed. Do we see a bigger lineup ex. Robert Hicks instead of CJ Avery or do we hope with our speed we can get enough defenders to Dillon to make the tackle?— Aaron (@SpiralPilot) October 1, 2019
So, I actually don’t think Louisville will have to do a bunch of different things to slow down BC’s running game. They won’t be able to just shut it down like Clemson did last year but Boston College might just be a bit overrated when it comes to running the football. They gain a lot of yardage running the ball but it takes more carries than you’d like to get that yardage. They’re 41st in yards per carry so far this year. They finished 89th in the country last year after finishing 45th the year before.
To me, they end up in third downs too often and they’re not all that great at converting them due to their quarterback play and suspect play calling. That’s a positive for Louisville.
I also don’t know that matching size with size is a proven way to stop the run. More speed should help Louisville on edge plays which means that BC might try to muscle up and run the ball more between the tackles. Louisville handled interior runs well against FSU outside of the first handful of drives. On the season, Louisville is allowing 5.49 yards per carry in the first quarter. That number shrinks to 2.67 in the second quarter and 2.70 in the second half. In my opinion, they shouldn’t overthink it just because they’re playing an offense that likes to run the ball. What they should do is figure out what is going wrong in the first quarter and work to fix that.
Random: How will Louisville end up losing Ledford? Meaning, is he more likely to become a head coach next or leave to become an assistant elsewhere? He seems to love working with the staff.— BaxleyRJR (@BaxleyRJR) October 1, 2019
This is a question that will be on the minds of fans each year as we saw such a large amount of turnover with the previous regime. It’s also something that I’ve wondered a bit after Cameron Teague wrote this outstanding story about Bryan Brown’s quest to be a head coach. Brown flat out says that he thought about taking a run at a head coaching job when Scott Satterfield told him he was leaving for Louisville. He decided he wasn’t ready yet but that acknowledgement showed that he has a goal in mind and wants to get there sooner than later.
I don’t know that I get that vibe from Dwayne Ledford. Ledford is 42 years old and he has already retired once as a NFL player. He seems content being in a role where he can have an elevated responsibility without having the head job. The spot that he’s in now allows him to be an offensive line coach while also having a major role in the offensive game plan and play calls. There’s a concern that he might get pulled away by a bigger job, but I’m a believer that Satterfield’s family-first approach will play a big role in any coach deciding to stay or leave. Louisville can pay as well as any job that isn’t in the top 5 or so and it also provides a city that’s desirable. I think that will help Satterfield keep some of these guys around.
Outside of the coordinators, I think they will be in good shape even if they lose guys. The overall staff is really impressive. Each position has a “staffer” that has the potential to move into an on the field role. Pete Thomas (QBs), Nic Cardwell (TEs), Karl Maslowski (RBs/TEs), and Eric McDaniel (DL) are all guys that could be options to be promoted or guys that might be willing to come back down the road if they find a spot where they can take an on the field role elsewhere.
I’ll also take this chance to point out that these “behind the scenes” guys don’t get nearly enough credit for the work they do. All of them are involved in recruiting as well as the little things at practice and in games. Pete Thomas has even been mentioned as one of the guys that helps with the offensive game plans. He was the guy that coached the quarterbacks in App State’s bowl game last year as Frank Ponce had already made the move to Louisville. This staff is more than just the guys we get to see talk to the media each week. That will bode well for this program as things get better and guys maybe move on to bigger jobs.