Big 12: Anthony McDonald

Lunch links: Origin of Snyder's '16 goals'

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
12:05
PM ET
The White House: Most notably where Sinbad lived in the film "First Kid."

Fresh faces: Kansas Jayhawks

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
2:30
PM ET
Today we continue our look across the league at few players from each team who had low profiles last year, but you'd better get to know before 2012. They just might be household names by season's end.

More fresh faces:

Next up: Kansas.

Josh Williams, DE: Williams transferred to Kansas from Nebraska this spring and is already making a big impact on the defensive line, where the Jayhawks badly need reinforcements. He started two games for the Huskers last season and made 15 tackles, as well as blocking a kick. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder has coach Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Dave Campo raving, and Williams has already earned a starting spot entering the season. He's a fifth-year senior who just may find his way into the NFL with a big year in 2012 after starting over in Lawrence.

Kale Pick, WR: Quarterback Dayne Crist needs weapons in the passing game, and Pick's proving to be one of the best. Coaches pegged Pick as the player who's been most impressive during fall camp, and he could be a big beneficiary of some much more solid play at quarterback with Crist in town. Pick is an instinctive former quarterback who knows both ends of the passing game, and came on strong late last season. He caught six balls against Kansas State, and 15 of his 34 catches came in the final four games. The 6-1, 205-pound senior could make good on much of his promise this fall.

Mike Ragone, TE: Ragone's another player who could be a big beneficiary in the Notre Dame exodus. Weis and Crist got all the headlines this offseason, but Ragone made his way to Lawrence, too, along with Anthony McDonald, who will likely start at middle linebacker. Knee injuries limited Ragone's production in South Bend, but if he can stay healthy this year, there's plenty of room for him to haul in passes in KU's offense. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, and chose to transfer to Kansas. Look for the 6-4, 255-pounder to make it count. He's plenty confident, but he says he's grown and learned from having to deal with the knee trouble. He's also got the added advantage of knowing Weis' offense, as Crist does, and knowing what to expect once the season begins.

Lunch links: Coaches' anonymous talk

August, 9, 2012
8/09/12
12:00
PM ET
Good grief, this is painful to see.
Charlie Weis' struggles during his five-year tenure at Notre Dame are well-documented. Entering his first season at Kansas with a few familiar faces, Weis is looking to learn from those mistakes and bring a winning edge to a program coming off a two-win campaign in 2011.

The two biggest lessons he learned with the Irish? College kids ain't easy, and building a cohesive coaching staff is essential.

From the Hutchinson News' Lucas Fahrer:
"I learned early on at Notre Dame that an 18-year-old kid is not like a 23-year-old young man," Weis said Thursday during a sit-down before his speaking engagement at Prairie Dunes Country Club. "Somebody coming is not like somebody going out. They're not the same. You have to have a clear understanding of how to deal with a freshman that was a superstar in his high school and how to coach him and psychologically deal with him versus the more mature guy who's already gone through the beatdown for three or four or five years and can handle just about anything you throw at them."

Weis didn't waste time looking for silver linings from a roster that won just two games. Hence, the 10 offseason transfers. But he brought in six new players --including the Notre Dame trio of Dayne Crist, Anthony McDonald and Mike Ragone -- to show the younger guys the right way to handle themselves once they enter the latter stages of their college careers.

As for that other lesson, the coaching chemistry?
"When I went to Notre Dame, I was coming from 15 years in the NFL, and other than two coaches who I knew that were coaching with the (Miami) Dolphins and had been let go ... I didn't know any of the guys I was hiring," Weis said. "I was hiring guys based off (their) reputation not from personal knowledge of the coaching staff. I hired a bunch of really good coaches but the chemistry was always crummy. The only one I have to blame for that is me."

Weis was able to take a much more hands-on approach in forming his new staff, as he wasn't balancing coaching the Patriots' offense to another Super Bowl. In any event, as Fahrer notes, it will take much more than chemistry to solve the issues that plagued Lawrence, Kan., last season. Weis knows that now, and seeing him move away from the end of his Irish tenure should make for an interesting 2012 season at Kansas.

Lunch links: Finding a new Big 12 commish

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
12:00
PM ET
She feels great. Her spirits are high, the whole family's high. There's your headline.

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