Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Thoughts on the All-Big 12 preseason team
By David Ubben
You can see the full All-Big 12 team and awards in our post this morning, but here's a few thoughts on the media's selections:
- You won't hear much outcry for this team. The media didn't get cute with the major awards. Lache Seastrunk and Devonte Fields are the obvious choices, and good ones, though my vote for defensive player of the year dissented. I'll release my ballot on Thursday morning.
- As for the newcomer of the year award, I was mildly surprised. West Virginia running back Charles Sims is a great, proven player at Houston, but I have my doubts about how big of an impact he'll really have in a crowded WVU backfield that's a pass-first offense. I voted for a Mountaineer for the Big 12's newcomer of the year, but it wasn't Sims (cue dramatic music). It's a tough award to predict. Look no further than last year's selection of Oklahoma receiver Trey Metoyer. That was based mostly on preseason hype and spring game performance, and Metoyer finished the season with 17 catches for 148 yards.
- Props to Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders' three offensive selections and one defensive selection shows you the kind of talent Kliff Kingsbury inherited. Receiver Eric Ward and tight end Jace Amaro are as good a 1-2 punch in the passing game as you'll find across the league, and should make life a lot easier for quarterback Michael Brewer (or Davis Webb, if you buy that).
- TCU quarterback Casey Pachall's selection might raise a few eyebrows, and it really shouldn't. The way I approach the preseason All-Big 12 team is something of a lifetime achievement award. Not everyone does, but I think most see it that way. I don't do it as a prediction for how the league will look at the end of the season. I vote for the most accomplished players at their respective positions, and mostly the same for the awards. Pachall's nod is more evidence of the Big 12's dearth of experience at the position. David Ash's obvious shortcomings at Texas were going to keep him from getting that selection, and Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf or J.W. Walsh were really the only other possible picks. Pachall has only played one Big 12 game ever (Kansas last season), and the strength of his start last season and the way he played in 2011 earned him this spot. I do expect him to win the job and look something close to his old self once the season starts. If I were predicting, though, I'd go with Bryce Petty as the postseason All-Big 12 quarterback.
- The only players on last year's preseason team who repeated this year: Cyril Richardson, Gabe Ikard, Tyler Lockett and Jackson Jeffcoat.
- Not really any huge snubs on this team, but West Virginia's Karl Joseph probably tops my list of guys who could have deserved a spot. Zimmerman is better, but I kind of hate when people vote three cornerbacks and one safety in the four defensive back spots. Kansas' Ben Heeney made 112 tackles last season and is a mild snub behind Bryce Hager, Jordan Hicks and Shaun Lewis. All three are more talented than Heeney, even though production in a tough spot with a weak defensive line a year ago is a strong case for Heeney. Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George couldn't have been far from making the team, too. It's a shame Texas Tech's Dartwan Bush came up short of making the team along the defensive line. Still, I wouldn't take issue with any of the media's selections on the actual team.
- B.J. Finney is another solid All-Big 12 quality player, but there's only one spot for centers, and Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard is better and more experienced. Kansas running back James Sims is something of a surprise as well, but his wealth of carries helped him reach 1,000 yards and Kansas State's John Hubert averaged nearly half a yard more per carry.