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Big 12 morning links

8/21/2014

Kevin Durant offered $265 million? Is he worth it? The answer may surprise you.

  • Lane Kiffin's arrival at Alabama creates some uncertainty for West Virginia, writes Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail. A new quarterback and new offensive coordinator is making it difficult for the Mountaineers' new defensive coordinator Tony Gibson to prepare for the Crimson Tide. Even with all the uncertainty, nothing will matter if WVU cannot stop the run. If Alabama wins the battle up front and the Crimson Tide's exceptional running backs find room to roam, it won't matter who is taking the snaps or calling the plays.

  • Texas coach Charlie Strong detailed the Longhorns' starters on Thursday, with multiple freshman and walk-ons showing up in the mix for a starting role in Strong's first season. Safety Jason Hall, tackle Darius James are among the freshman who could become starters while sophomore walk-ons Dylan Haines, a safety, and Ty Templin, a receiver, could end up earning roles. It's a clear sign everyone began with a clean slate under Strong and the new coach is willing to give anyone, no matter class or scholarship status, a chance to contribute if they show the commitment he's requiring from his players.

  • On Thursday, Mike Gundy did everything but name J.W. Walsh the starting quarterback for Oklahoma State's opening game against Florida State, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. If indeed Walsh does start for the Cowboys it would be the right move for Gundy's squad. The junior has the most experience and he's the best runner of the quarterbacks on campus. With relatively an unproven offensive line set to battle the defending national champions, Walsh brings traits that could allow OSU to test the Seminoles ability to handle a game plan full of quarterback run game.

  • The bulk of Kansas' freshman class talked to the media for the first time on Thursday, with running back Corey Avery getting plenty of attention after the Jayhawks lost a pair of senior running backs earlier this week. But fellow freshman Kyron Watson, a linebacker, sounds like he's been just as impressive as Avery on the defensive side of the ball. Weis calls Watson a "sideline-to-sideline" player and the ESPN300 linebacker is expected to play as a true freshman for the Jayhawks. So keep an eye on Watson as KU could have its understudy for Ben Heeney already on campus.

  • Last but not least, this terrific read from Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star reveals Ryan Mueller's journey from overlooked prep recruit to sack master at Kansas State. Mueller has become known for hard work, on and off the field. He is the Big 12's leading returning sack leader with 11.5 in 2013, more than Texas' Cedric Reed, Oklahoma's Eric Striker and other Big 12 defenders who enter the season with more preseason hype. Bold prediction: Mueller reaches double-digit sacks for the second season and makes those who think he is a flash in the pan regret questioning his ability.