Time to start knocking out some more questions. …
Q: Given that Erik Kohler started five games (playing 11) in 2010, I’m surprised that he doesn’t appear to be a clear starter heading into August. Is this a reflection of the strength of his competition on the OL, or is there some other issue? You mentioned that he was struggling a little at tackle — where do you think he’ll end up playing?
A: This question was written before UW released an official depth chart showing Kohler as an either/or starter at both left guard (with Colin Tanigawa) and right tackle (with Ben Riva). And therein lies the biggest answer to your question — more than any other of the young linemen (it seemed to me, anyway) the Huskies moved Kohler around this spring, trying him at a couple different spots (including a lot of work at left tackle when Senio Kelemete was out). Spring is a good time to experiment a little bit, and the Huskies did some of that with Kohler, as I think they view him as a player who maybe is most comfortable at guard right now, but could also fill huge needs now and in the future at tackle (especially left tackle). So, they used some of this spring to get him some work at some other spots.
That Kohler struggled some at left tackle would merely make him the same as just about every other left tackle finishing up a freshman year of college. It’s the hardest of the OL spots to learn, one reason why the Huskies were getting him out there now to get a head start on that transition should they decide he’s the one to take over for Kelemete in 2012.
After the spring game, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said the team needed to solidify the RT and LG spots, the two at which Kohler is listed as in contention, and it’s possible that they’ll stabalize his position a little more heading into the fall, keeping him more at one spot. Some observers thought in the spring he seemed more comfortable at guard, but I assume they’ll ultimately put him where they think it best helps them get the best five on the field.
(UPDATE — As has been pointed out, I probably should mention the knee injury Kohler suffered in the spring game. It was diagnosed as a sprained MCL that won’t require surgery, so a 1-2-month recovery time or so. It’s pretty speculative to judge how that might impact anything, but assuming no setbacks, he should be good to go for the start of camp in August. But obviously, we’ll have a better idea when camp starts.)
Q: I’ve been hearing positive things about Skyler Fancher this spring although he didn’t play a down last season and was injured all of 2009. Was he still not healthy last year and do you think he’ll see the field this year as a senior?
A: Yes, Fancher was simply not healthy the last couple of years, battling a nagging foot injury. He said near the end of spring that he finally felt healthy and confident in the foot and that was allowing him to play better on the field. He was listed third at right tackle at the end of the spring behind Kohler and Riva and realistically probably projects mostly as a backup in 2011.
Q: I saw the story (linked here) about the deadline for Apple Cup tickets. Any word on how many have been sold?
A: Simply put, no. Official word from the school is that they are still in the middle of processing orders and don’t have an exact count.
Q: How is the Daniel Kanczugowski at backup center experiment working out?
A: It was definitely something of a work in progress early in spring as Kanczugowski spent most of last year playing other positions. But he seemed to show more consistency with his snaps as the spring progressed. And it’s always safe not to read the depth chart completely literally. If UW were to have long-term needs for a replacement center, they’d likely shuffle the line around and try other players there (Tanigawa, for instance).
Finally, here’s a note I got from a reader with some of his thoughts on the Pac-12 TV deal I thought was worth passing along:
“Because I haven’t seen anyone else do it, I ran some numbers for the PTN assuming they get on basic cable like the Big Ten Network insisted on (which they likely will) and they get the $1/month/subscriber fee Larry Scott has targeted.
Using the population of just the PAC-12 states combined with average household size and average cable penetration rates, the PTN would gross $175 million per year in carriage fees alone. Obviously the channel won’t achieve 100 percent penetration on the cable systems themselves right away, and they might not get that whole buck, but there will be carriage fees coming in from outside those states as well as satellite broadcasters.
That seemed really high so I compared those numbers to what I could find on the BTN. It distributed $71.5 million to its members for the 2009-2010 academic year, or 51 percent of its total net revenues, meaning they netted about $140MM total. Given production anddistribution costs, plus the fact that the BTN gets 80 cents subscriber per month and not $1 (from Comcast anyway), my gross subscriber fee estimate seems a little high but not unreasonable.
Big 10 states have an 8.8 percent higher population than ours prior to Nebraska being added, but I’d bet PAC cable subscription rates are higher – they’re really high in California, which accounts for 60 percent of our population. Between higher cable penetration and a higher carriage fee, subscriber fee income should be a bit higher for the PTN vs. the BTN after distribution matures. Of course I don’t know what proportion of the BTN’s net is advertising revenue, but the PTN should do at least as well in that department too since our states have a higher average income and the channel will have more premium content (which also helps with that carriage fee). Bottom line, after distribution matures the PTN should make more than the BTN, and unlike the BTN, the conference gets to keep 100 percent of it.
In 3-4 years that’s north of $175MM/yr on top of this new contract, assuming no further revenues from the digital channel or any of the proposed overseas distribution, meaning at the end of that time frame the PAC-12 could easily be pulling in more than $400MM/yr in media money, or over five times what we were making before on a per school basis.”