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Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Big 12 internal affairs: Robust Texas defense not blitzing much

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are a few tidbits from across the conference heading into the games on Saturday.

  1. The best sign for Texas in strong defensive performances has been the direct pressure the Longhorns have been producing without many blitzes. It's been a good sign for Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp that he hasn't had to gamble much in recent victories against Oklahoma and Missouri.
  2. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel ripped into his team after his team's blowout loss at Texas and then continued the salvo the following day after it got back to Columbia. Of particular concern is the production for his defense that returned 10 starters and still dropped 41 places to 100th nationally after ranking 59th last season. Don't be surprised if defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus dials back on the number of blitzes and exotic stunts for a more conventional approach the rest of the season.
  3. Texas A&M coaches say that quarterback Stephen McGee was about 80 percent recovered from his earlier shoulder injury when he was inserted into the Texas Tech game last week and couldn't have run with his typical abandon on option plays if it had been called for. They are hopeful that McGee will be close to 100 percent Saturday against Iowa State as Jerrod Johnson's backup.
  4. Oklahoma's move of strong safety Nic Harris to middle linebacker was done merely to combat Kansas' aerial tendencies. Against more run-heavy remaining opponents like Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, don't be surprised if the Sooners use a more conventional approach that would include linebackers Mike Balogun and Austin Box in the middle.
  5. Iowa State freshman cornerback Ter'ran Benton is expected to start with fellow freshman Leonard Johnson at cornerback against Texas A&M. Iowa State defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt told the Des Moines Register it's just the second time in his 30-season coaching career he's had a pair of freshman cornerbacks start for him.