Big 12: Bobby Kennedy
- Missouri is becoming a favorite stop for teams across the NFL, writes Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Texas added its highest-rated recruit yet in the 2012 class, defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who looked headed to Texas A&M with his teammate, Tim Cole, previously, writes Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman. Cole pledged to Texas as well.
- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads took some time out to speak to a local elementary school.
- Cornerback Justin Gilbert is becoming a force for Oklahoma State's defense, writes Brandon Chatmon of The Oklahoman.
- Here's a little more on the particulars surrounding Texas' new TV network in conjunction with ESPN, the Longhorn Network.
- Running back Jay Finley's old slot is open at Baylor, writes Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Kansas football is on a quest for respect, writes Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal-World.
- It's also on a mission to find a quarterback, writes J. Brady McCollough of the Kansas City Star.
- Elsewhere, the mystery of running back James Sims looks to be solved this year, writes Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World.
- There's no timetable for the construction of an indoor facility in Stillwater, writes Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World. He also reports that a fractured sewer line was fixed underneath Boone Pickens Stadium using some technology that saved the school quite a bit of money.
- Texas A&M showed off a little trickery in practice over the weekend, writes Richard Croome of the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
- Kyle Ringo at the Boulder Daily Camera catches up with receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, who left Texas to go back home to the Buffs.
- Oklahoma's top recruit from last season is coming on this spring, writes Jake Trotter of The Oklahoman.
Just who are these Buffaloes? What are their strengths and weaknesses and how will they fit into the Pac-12, specifically the Pac-12 South?
We went looking for insights and Ubben obliged.
Ted Miller: Well, David you -- and the Big 12 -- have to say goodbye to Colorado, with the Buffaloes looking to their future out West in the Pac-12. First of all, give Pac-12 fans a CliffsNotes description of the state of the program. Things haven’t gone so well in Boulder lately. Why?
David Ubben: Colorado is certainly in rebuilding mode as they kick off a new start under coach Jon Embree after firing Dan Hawkins in the middle of the 2010 season. They bring back two stars in quarterback Tyler Hansen and running back Rodney Stewart. But fitting those guys into Embree's new system and greatly improving from their 5-7 record seems like asking a lot.
Hawkins came to Boulder promising big things but never delivered. As for why it didn't go well? Any number of reasons. One that angered fans is Hawkins' tendency to play less talented players who knew the system well over more talented players that maybe didn't have as solid of a grasp of what they wanted to do on the field. Embree has said he'll do essentially the opposite, so I guess that's a start in the eyes of fans.
TM: OK, let’s look forward then. Tell Pac-12 folks about Embree, his new staff and the talent the Buffaloes have returning. What are strengths and what are question marks heading into the 2011 season?
DU: He's stocked his coaching staff with quite a few Buffaloes, but most of the names would be more recognizable as players. The biggest name is his offensive coordinator, former Buffs great Eric Bieniemy, who spent the past few years coaching Adrian Peterson as the running backs coach at the Minnesota Vikings. They also swiped Bobby Kennedy, a Boulder native, from Texas to coach receivers.
Last year, they ran the ball pretty well, and Stewart is back. He's a small, shifty back that seems way, way underrated. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards last year, and the only Big 12 backs who had more were Daniel Thomas and Kendall Hunter, who should be drafted this year. They lose tackle Nate Solder, another first-round pick, but Ryan Miller is back, and he's an all-conference level guard.
The big question for them next season will be if their defense can stop the pass -- which my sources tell me, is pretty important in the Pac-12. Maybe not as important as in the Big 12, but still necessary for big success. Both corners from last year, Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith, should be drafted. They weren't great at stopping the pass last year (9th in the Big 12) so it's hard to see them being better at it next year.
TM: OK. Good stuff. Let’s wind it up. How would you have projected them in the Big 12 next fall? And do you have any feeling for how they might do in the new Pac-12 South?
DU: They definitely looked like a team in the bottom third of the Big 12 next year, and it seems like it'll be tough for them to finish in the top half of the Pac-12 South in 2011.
Right now, it's just about being competitive and maybe stealing a game or two that people didn't think they'd win. If that happens enough, a bowl game isn't out of the question. We don't have any idea what to expect out of an Embree-coached team, and that could be a good or a bad thing. We won't know for sure until next year, but if Embree can bottle up whatever Colorado had inside of them the way they played down the stretch last season after Hawkins was fired, it could be a real surprise 2011 for the Buffs.
Before Mack Brown began his coaching search that eventually required him to make six offseason hires, he met with the Texas Board of Regents to discuss coaching salaries. It sounds like they were, uh, receptive to what he had to say.
After a shocking and disappointing 5-7 season in 2010, Brown's assistants received hefty raises. Brown is expected to meet with the media in Austin later today for the first time since the season finale, a home loss to Texas A&M. Texas already sat comfortably at the top of the heap in assistant coaches' pay, and these latest raises only accentuate that. No one is making what defensive coordinator Will Muschamp made ($907,000) in 2010, but you definitely won't hear any complaints coming from the football facilities any time soon.
Here's a breakdown of last year and this year's salary among the coaching staff, courtesy of the Austin American-Statesman.
- 2011: Manny Diaz - $625,000 (made $260,000 at Mississippi State in 2009)
- 2010: Will Muschamp - $907,000 (took Florida head coach job)
- 2011: Bryan Harsin (will call plays) - $625,000 (made $259,520 at Boise State in 2009)
- 2011: Major Applewhite (also coaches running backs) - $500,00 (made 269,509 in 2010)
- 2010: Greg Davis - $477,084 (resigned after season)
- 2011: Bruce Chambers - $200,000
- 2010: Bruce Chambers - $187,039
- 2011: Oscar Giles - $200,000
- 2010: Oscar Giles - $162,451
- 2011: Jerry Gray - $425,000 (previous NFL salary unknown)
- 2010 Duane Akina - $318,509 (left for Arizona)
- 2011: Stacy Searels - $425,000 (made 301,200 at Georgia in 2010)
- 2010: Mac McWhorter - $292,759
- 2011: Darrell Wyatt - $315,000 (made 250,000 at Kansas in 2010)
- 2010: Bobby Kennedy - 212,519 (took receivers coach job at Colorado)
Life as a Longhorn right now? Well, last season's struggles aside, it's clearly pretty good.
Huskers find a new kicker
Nebraska will need a lot of new faces on special teams, after punter/kicker Alex Henery and kickoff specialist Adi Kunalic both exhausted their eligibility following the 2010 season.
The Huskers had a commit for their 2011 class, Niklas Sade, but he decommitted and pledged to North Carolina State last month.
The solution: Nebraska went after Mauro Bondi, a Boca Raton, Fla. native and (former) Wake Forest commit who has an impressive YouTube highlight reel and sounds ready to replace Henery.
"I definitely followed him, so I have to live up to that and maybe do even better," he told the Lincoln Journal Star.
Bondi gives Nebraska 18 commits for its 2011 class. ESPN.com ranks the Huskers' class No. 14 nationally.
Cowboys' top commit 'solid'
One player who doesn't sound like he's decommitting or recommitting anywhere is ESPNU 150 member and running back Herschel Sims, Oklahoma State's top commit.
The Cowboys' running backs coach, Robert Gillespie, left Oklahoma State to join former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia. Sims had reportedly been wavering earlier in the recruiting season, but took his official visit to Stillwater in January and his high school coach told the Tulsa World that Sims is solid with the Cowboys and ready to sign on Wednesday, adding that there isn't "any doubt about it."
- Amidst all the recent firings and hirings, Texas has a new strength and conditioning coach, too.
- In his return to Colorado, Buffaloes receivers coach Bobby Kennedy brings rich resources: Texas recruiting.
- Former Kansas running back Jake Sharp is still chasing his NFL dream, writes Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World.
- File this under "Keep an eye on it:" The state of Arkansas is mulling a decision that would make it a felony for agents to give incentives to athletes in hopes of the athlete later signing with them as an agent.
- The Longhorns' new defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, says he wants offenses to feel like his unit has 13 or 14 guys running all over the field.
- Nebraska I-back Dontrayevous Robinson is transferring.
- Texas A&M's future is on the line in tonight's Cotton Bowl, writes Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Kansas' offense was historically bad in 2010, but what does that mean for 2011? Jesse Newell of the Lawrence Journal-World tries to answer the question.
- Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden are both undecided about their NFL futures.
- Brandon Chatmon of The Oklahoman has a few things to keep in mind during Oklahoma State's search for a new offensive coordinator.
- Nebraska's quick fix when Bo Pelini was hired in 2007 has backfired on Pelini and athletic director Tom Osborne, writes Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald.
- Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman says Travis Lewis made the right choice in coming back to Oklahoma for his senior season.
- Colorado added a strength and conditioning coach, and officially announced the arrival of receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, who left Texas for Colorado.
- A naval officer named an honorary captain for the Holiday Bowl says he 'was never upset' about not getting to call a play as Pelini promised he would earlier in the week. Pelini says he was joking. "It never affected me one way negatively ... It was enough to have me on the sideline," the officer said.
- Is former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins headed for a new head coaching job? He's been rumored for at least one, writes Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera. Ringo also reports that coach Jon Embree says the best players will be on the field for him, and won't be held off it for a player with a better grasp of the system.
- Texas A&M lost the Lawry's Beef Bowl to LSU, writes Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
- Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram takes a look back at some of the most memorable moments in Cotton Bowl history.
- Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert is waiting his turn to lead the Tigers, writes Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Older brother Blaine explains his decision to leave, too.
"When you get an opportunity to come to a place like The University of Texas and work with a guy like Mack Brown and [the] great staff he is putting together and all the resources we have here, it's really tough to say no," Wyatt told reporters this week. "I was on board, my wife was obviously on board, and we're excited to be at The University of Texas."
Wyatt replaces Bobby Kennedy, who left Texas to coach receivers at Colorado.
As a coach at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas previously, among others, Wyatt has spent plenty of time recruiting in Texas. As such, he'll also be the Longhorns' co-recruiting coordinator.
"I've had experiences in just about every part of the state. I've recruited the Dallas Metroplex area. At one point I recruited Houston as well as East Texas. Obviously, my wife is from San Antonio and me being from Killeen - central Texas, so I've recruited just about every part of the state," Wyatt said. "Recruiting is a people business, and you have to develop relationships with the coaches first then the kids. Making sure there is a trust there and obviously selling them a place like Texas certainly makes it easier. It's still a battle. There are a lot of good things and good places to sell, but again, I like my chances here with all the resources and the great tradition."
The Longhorns receivers struggled in 2010, and Wyatt will be charged with eliminating those issues. Marquise Goodwin and Malcolm Williams' development has been stunted, but the good news for the Longhorns is their leading receiver in 2010 was a freshman, Mike Davis, who finished with 47 catches for 478 yards and two of just 10 touchdown catches on the season for Texas. Fellow freshman Darius White was also a five-star recruit in the 2010 class who had difficulty finding early success.
"I don't want to judge the guys or make any evaluation before I see them," he said. "I'm familiar with some of their names, and I know they're talented. I'm looking forward to the challenge of the spring and bringing those guys along."
He'll get started for real when Texas kicks off spring practice in a few weeks, but the draw of Austin and the Longhorns was too much for Wyatt to resist at Kansas as an assistant under Turner Gill.
"Obviously, it's a special job for me because of its location -- because being in Texas and because of the great history and tradition. You walk down the hallways here and the tradition oozes out at you," he said. "It's a special place, and I'm just glad to be here."
"We are so excited about the addition of Darrell to our staff," Texas coach Mack Brown said in a release. "He's not only one of the best wide receiver coaches in the country, but he also brings expertise as an offensive coordinator. Darrell's someone who has coached in the NFL and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top recruiters. He has extensive experience working in the Big 12 and recruiting in all parts of Texas. He is a great addition to our staff."
He'll replace former Longhorns receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, who went back to his hometown of Boulder, Colo. to coach receivers at Colorado under new coach Jon Embree.
"This is just a tremendous opportunity for me and my family,” Wyatt said in a release. "Being a part of a program with such great history and tradition is very exciting. Having grown up in Texas and having played high school football here, it's great to come home to work for The University in the state.
"Texas is the type of place where the skies the limit on what you can accomplish. They have great resources, a tremendous fan base and compete for championships. The level of expectations are extremely high and that's something I definitely will embrace."
Kansas coach Turner Gill also wished Wyatt well.
- A year ago, Nebraska was back. Where are they now, asks Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald.
- Bo Pelini told reporters he was embarrassed after the game, but has no plans to get rid of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.
- Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon was showboating on his long touchdown catch against Arizona, but Berry Tramel of The Oklahoma asks: What was he thinking?
- Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal says another chapter of K-State heartbreak has been written after "The Bronx Salute."
- An official told receiver Adrian Hilburn "Wrong choice, buddy" before throwing the flag after Hilburn saluted the crowd.
- Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal says Hilburn was a victim of "excessive penalization."
- Texas has officially lost another assistant coach. Receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, a Boulder native, left to take the same job at Colorado.
- OSU coach Mike Gundy says both Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden should come back in 2011 rather than jump to the NFL.
- Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune empties the notebook on the Insight Bowl with a bit of insight into Missouri's past and future.
- Kevin Robbins of the Austin American-Statesman profiles Greg Davis, Texas' offensive coordinator who recently resigned.
- Here's more of Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's comments at Tuesday's introductory press conference at Indiana.
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman says he'll be missed.
- Justin Blackmon's arrest and suspension changed his life, writes Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman.
- Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh has a new fan in Detroit, Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press. Seidel shares a pretty cool story about Suh and Seidel's son's football team.
- Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera has an update on the changes on Colorado's sideline as new Buffaloes coach Jon Embree fills his staff.
- When Missouri lines up against Iowa in the Insight Bowl, the Hawkeyes will be without their top receiver.
- Texas could have more assistant coaches leave -- to join Colorado's staff, writes Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman.
- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads' name has come up for the opening at Pittsburgh.
- Baron Batch says there are plenty of lessons to learn outside the classroom in his latest column for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
JC Shurburtt of Scouts Inc. lists the nation's top 25 recruiters among assistant coaches. The Big 12 has three selections on his list, far behind the nine selections from the SEC and six from the ACC.
The Big 12 selections were Texas wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, Oklahoma defensive line coach Jackie Shipp and Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline.
All deserve their selections, but I think a solid case could be made for about 10 others from across the conference.
Other ace recruiters in the Big 12 who could have merited mention include Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, Missouri receivers coach Andy Hill, Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost, Nebraska running backs coach Tim Beck, Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Kansas State defensive ends coach Joe Bob Clements, Oklahoma State special teams coach/associate head coach Joe DeForest, Texas offensive line coach Mac McWhorter and Texas A&M defensive backs coach Van Malone.
And I'm sure I'm missing some other deserving nominees, too.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas got a lot of notoriety the last few days after the media noticed that somebody had placed a designation inside the team room showing the school considered it had won the 2008 Big 12 title -- with an asterisk.
Mack Brown announced he would take the designation down on Monday, apparently clearing up that matter of interior decorating and room decor.
But Texas officials have decided to pay assistant coaches and several key support people like they won the championship.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds received permission from Texas president William Powers Jr. and the university's men's athletic council to pay $44,000 in bonuses that are called for when the football team wins a conference title.
The Longhorns earned a three-way share of the Big 12 South division title with Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The Sooners advanced to the championship game through a tiebreaker, despite losing to the Longhorns earlier in the season. Texas Tech beat Texas to account for the Longhorns' loss.
"I think this was the right decision," Powers told the American-Statesman. "A flip of a coin basically deprived them of the ability to earn that part of their compensation."
The Statesman reported that the coaches had already pocketed bonuses of nine percent of their base salaries for the Longhorns' playing in a BCS bowl.
Interestingly, Brown did not share in the largesse of the extra bonuses for Texas' "championship."
Brown, whose base pay is $2.91 million per year, could have pocketed an extra $150,000 -- $50,000 for claiming the South title and another $100,000 for winning the Big 12 title game.
Here's the breakdown for the bonuses for Texas coaches and support personnel:
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis: $5,000
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp: $5,000
Dir. of Football Operations Cleve Bryant: $5,000
Asst. AD for strength & conditioning Jeff Madden: $5,000
Secondary coach Duane Akina: $3,000
Running backs coach Major Applewhite: $3,000
Recruiting coordinator/tight ends Bruce Chambers: $3,000
Defensive ends coach Oscar Giles: $3,000
Wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy: $3,000
Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter: $3,000
High school relations/player development Ken Rucker: $3,000
Defensive ends/special teams Mike Tolleson: $3,000