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Monday, February 23, 2009
The week ahead in the Big 12

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The end of the 2008 season is barely six weeks finished, but spring work begins this weekend, among other topics of interest across the Big 12.

Texas, which came only a fraction of a percentage point from contending for the national championship last season, will renew its work when the Longhorns start spring practice Friday in Austin. Coach Mack Brown will welcome a strong returning cast headed by Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy and pass-rushing specialist Sergio Kindle.

Other Big 12 coaches probably wish they were as fortunate to begin their on-the-field work.

Veteran Kansas State coach Bill Snyder had another roadblock tossed in his way after offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig accepted a similar position on Jeff Tedford's staff at California. Ludwig had been on Snyder's staff for only six weeks.

It means that Snyder will be sorting through resumes for a replacement as the Wildcats prepare for an April 6 start for spring practice. He does get a break in that the Wildcats' start will be the latest of any team in the conference, although Kansas State currently has only one offensive assistant in place.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel appears to have a replacement in hand after Matt Eberflus appears to be close to joining the Cleveland Browns as their linebackers coach. Eberflus' promotion hasn't been announced by his new employer, although he reportedly was working with Cleveland coaches over the weekend at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Pinkel appears set to name Dave Steckel to replace Eberflus, who would be Pinkel's second coordinator to leave since the end of the season. Earlier, former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen assumed the head coaching position at Wyoming.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach returns to work after settling a new five-year contract with the school last week. Leach's first responsibility will be filling in the vacancy on his staff when running backs coach Seth Littrell left to join the staff of Mike Stoops at Arizona two weeks ago.

Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler is in the mix for the vacant defensive coordinator position at South Florida after interviewing with USF coach Jim Leavitt last week.

And Baylor will wrap up its final week of offseason work before starting spring practice on March 3.