Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, do you write a list of questions before your interviews start, or are you so good at thinking on your feet that the list is unnecessary?

There are no lists of questions or rough drafts in this business. You ask, you write, you edit, you publish. You write on buses and planes. Speed is of the essence. There’s no time to debate the merits of the Oxford comma. If you need to use it, use it. If you don’t need to use it, don’t use it; it’ll save you one more key strike. Speed, speed, speed. Try writing a sports story sometime. You might enjoy doing it. Put yourself on a deadline.

Matthew from Thornton, CO

I’ve seen articles that say this two-week stretch against Newton and then Brees will really tell us where the defense is at. I agree somewhat, but if Shields and Williams don’t play, I don't think it gives us a true indicator. What do you think?

Coach Noll said you never arrive. Indicator of what? How you played at the halfway point in the season? What good is that at the end of the season? We’re on a journey and we’re not even halfway to our destination. When we reach December, we’ll see the station in the distance. That’s when you start thinking about arriving.

Seth from Avilla, IN

The time has come for my first “Ask Vic” communique. For some reason, your column, this team and this season are combining for one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve tasted in 25-plus years. I finally have the passion to enjoy, the perspective to relax and the humor to bring it all together.

Seth, I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen; all you have to do is get in touch with it.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Vic, what is the best defense for the read option?

Find great athletes that can overcome a numbers disadvantage. I think the minds that create offensive design might have finally created the schematically indefensible, especially considering this year’s major point of emphasis. The spread formation that took college football by storm was first explained to me by Falcons coach Mike Smith, when Mike was Jaguars defensive coordinator. He explained that when you put two wide receivers to each side of the field, the defense is forced to cover two with three, and that gives the offense a numbers advantage in the box, provided the quarterback is a runner. I asked why it wasn’t being used in the NFL and Mike said it was because the quarterbacks would take too much of a beating. He also said it’s only a matter of time before the spread makes its way into the NFL. Well, it’s here, and its arrival has largely been driven by the emergence of big, strong, athletic quarterbacks such as Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick. We’re going to see more and more of them. If I was a head coach, I would run the spread.

Tracy from Indianapolis, IN

I read your post about the media needs to be above the fans.

Please explain your comment.

Members of the media need to be above knee-jerk responses and emotional displays. Every loss shouldn’t cause a fire-everyone column. Every disappointment shouldn’t result in pointing the finger of blame. Every “story” isn’t a story. Members of the media should be more discerning and less alarming. That’s what I mean.

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