Big 12: Brandon Gerau

Missouri's first official scrimmage of the spring was on Saturday, and who was the first quarterback to take snaps?

Redshirt freshman Tyler Gabbert.

All three Missouri quarterbacks wore orange jerseys signifying they could each bit hit above the waist, so the race is close, but Gabbert made the most of his opportunity, turning in the best day among the three passers.

Here's how they finished:
Franklin's day featured a forgettable interception returned 40 yards by Zaviar Gooden (Told you folks to keep an eye on him last week) and Gabbert's biggest highlight was a 64-yard touchdown pass to L'Damian Washington. Franklin's score was a toss across his body to Brandon Gerau in the back corner of the end zone for a 10-yard score.

Washington added a second touchdown and had 83 yards on four catches to lead all receivers.

Franklin obviously wasn't happy with his performance, but this was what it was: A spring scrimmage. By all accounts, Gabbert was the most impressive passer on Saturday, but there's a long way to go before Missouri's season opener in September.

Defensive ends Jacquies Smith and Kony Ealy, who has earned a good amount of buzz early in spring camp after redshirting in 2010, both had sacks in the scrimmage.

Defensive end Brad Madison added a pair of hurries.

The Tigers also left with at least one big concern. All-Big 12 center Tim Barnes is gone, and Travis Ruth and Justin Britt are competing to replace him.

But in Saturday's scrimmage, there were numerous botched snaps, including one on the opening drive that Gabbert was forced to dive on.

"It's very tough on the QBs," coach Gary Pinkel told reporters after the scrimmage. "You've got the QBs battling out there, and the snaps are all over the place. That's very difficult. Obviously, we've got to fix it."

Big 12 North recruiting needs

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
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Signing day is just around the corner, and each Big 12 team is doing what it can to keep together its class while adding a late upgrade in talent.

Here's a look at what immediate recruiting needs each North Division team must address first.

Colorado

Running back: With the departure of Darrell Scott and Demetrius Sumler, Dan Hawkins needs to find some talent at running back. With only three scholarship backs on the roster, an immediate talent infusion is needed. Tony Jones is the only commitment and the Buffaloes could use size from a bigger back.

Tight end/H-back: All of the positions are important in Kent Riddle’s offense, and six players graduated from those positions in December. The only player who will return with experience includes junior tight end Ryan Deehan, so Hawkins needs players at the position who can help immediately.

Quarterback: With Tyler Hansen set at quarterback and Cody Hawkins set to graduate after next season, the Buffaloes still would like to add some depth at the position. Nick Hirschman has enrolled early to get a head start on his development, and Josh Moten appears ready to enroll after failing to make his grades before last season.

Iowa State

Across the board talent infusion: The Cyclones already have added 24 commitments for the upcoming season. Junior college players like massive offensive lineman Jon Caspers, defensive end Rony Nelson, wide receiver Anthony Young and tight end Ricky Howard should provide an immediate lift. And look for coach Paul Rhoads to add a couple of more to capitalize on the late momentum from the Insight Bowl victory.

Running back: Preparing for the future will be important as Alexander Robinson will be entering his senior season. Freshmen Beau Blankenship still has some developing to do and Jeremiah Schwartz has left the program. The Cyclones have added depth with the addition of Duran Hollis and Shontrelle Johnson. Don’t be surprised if Hollis moves positions once he comes to college if Johnson develops as expected.

Wide receiver: The Cyclones had trouble making big plays and could use a talent boost at the position. Leading 2009 receiver Marquis Hamilton has graduated and Jake Williams will be a senior next season. Recruits Jarvis West and Chris Young appear to have addressed those needs.

Kansas

Defensive end: The Jayhawks could use a talent upgrade here with occasional starters Jeff Wheeler and Maxwell Onyegbule graduated, and Jake Laptad and Quintin Woods entering their senior seasons in 2010. It became more of a need after Oklahoma beat out the Jayhawks for top defensive end prospect Geneo Grissom earlier this week.

Quarterback: With unproven Kale Pick set to take over for Todd Reesing, the Jayhawks have added junior college transfer Quinn Mecham of Snow Junior College to immediately contend for playing time. Meacham threw for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns last season and has already captured the attention of new offensive coordinator Chuck Long because of his experience in the spread offense.

Secondary: New coach Turner Gill also needs help in the secondary where starters Darrell Stuckey and Justin Thornton were seniors and Philip Strozier, Chris Harris and Calvin Rubles will be seniors next season.

Kansas State

Adjust time-held notions to recruiting: Bill Snyder said recruiting seemed “out of kilter” in his first season back because of how teams now are in a hurry to link up with rising juniors. This strategy has caused Snyder to change his recruiting strategy, looking into signing more players earlier than in his previous coaching strategy.

Junior-college additions again will be critical in the trenches: Snyder has attacked the junior colleges with his traditional fervor as he attempts to unearth a couple of under-recruited gems in the offensive line and defensive lines -- the Wildcats’ two primary needs. Also, the Wildcats need some immediate help from the junior colleges after a recruiting imbalance during the last two seasons under Ron Prince that has left them with a need for immediate contributors. Snyder has estimated that up to 13 players will enroll at the semester break to contend immediately for playing time.

Quarterback: Even with a crowded group of potential contenders at the position, Snyder is still considering another quarterback. Carson Coffman, Sammuel Lamur, Collin Klein and Oregon transfer Chris Harper all are in the mix at the position heading into spring practice.

Missouri

Wide receiver: The Tigers have a lot of talent returning, but still will lose leading 2009 receiver Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The opportunity for eventual playing time will be there for new arrivals, although Jerrell Jackson, Brandon Gerau, T.J. Moe and Wes Kemp will be back.

Nose tackle: The graduation of Jaron Baston and Bart Coslet’s senior-to-be status opens up a position for a contribution in the trenches for the Tigers.

Secondary: All four of Missouri’s projected starters next season -- cornerbacks Carl Gettis and Kevin Rutland and safety Jarrell Harrison and Jasper Simmons -- will be seniors. The Tigers need to restock depth at the position and perhaps move it forward from this class.

Nebraska

Defensive end: The Cornhuskers could use an additional player with Barry Turner graduating and Pierre Allen set to enter his senior season in 2010. They are in the hunt with Oregon for Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a heralded speed rusher from Portland, Ore., who would be the crown jewel in the Cornhuskers’ incoming class if he commits.

Wide receivers: Many players are back, although the Cornhuskers could use an infusion of speed at the position. Niles Paul will be a senior and more talent is needed to make the Cornhuskers competitive with the athletic teams in the South Division like Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Safety: Starters Matt O’Hanlon and Larry Asante both will be graduating and Eric Hagg will be a senior in 2010. The Cornhuskers will need some help to join with youngsters Courtney Osborne, Austin Cassidy and P.J. Smith at the position.

Under my tree, it's stacked with my presents for Big 12 teams

December, 24, 2009
12/24/09
5:07
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It wouldn't be Christmas without a gift-giving binge around these parts.

As such, here are a few of my holidays presents tucked under the tree for each Big 12 team.

Baylor: Good health in 2010. The Bears' bowl hopes were doomed as soon as Robert Griffin went down with a season-ending knee injury that required surgery. His return to health will be pivotal in their hopes to end the conference's longest bowl drought.

Colorado: A little less bravado -- both on the field and in scheduling. Considering the Buffaloes have made one bowl trip in four seasons with Dan Hawkins, it might be wise to tone down some of their nonconference demands. Of course, Hawkins thought his team would be winning 10 games "with no excuses" this year. So much for that. But the Buffaloes could learn something and scale back on the 2010 nonconference schedule that will feature home games against Hawaii and Georgia and road contest at California and the annual rivalry game against Colorado State in Denver. The North Division will be tough enough, much less adding three other bowl teams.

Iowa State: Talent to match coach Paul Rhoads' enthusiasm. Rhoads clearly has his team playing above expected levels, or else the Cyclones wouldn't be beating Nebraska in Lincoln. But a key for turning a consistent bowl team will be if the ISU staff can upgrade the talent levels on their roster to compete with the Big 12's best teams on a regular basis.

Kansas: More "Kumbaya" sessions with Turner Gill. After the allegations against Mark Mangino for his tough disciplinary demands, Gill would be advised to do a 180 on what was asked before. More juice boxes and an occasional group hug or two would be a start.

Kansas State: Limit themselves to one gooey nonconference treat on the shelf. Victories over Tennessee Tech and Massachusetts provided a lot of empty calories for the Wildcats and one victory too many against FCS teams. If the Wildcats had traded one of those games against a manageable victory over a low FBS team, they would be practicing for a bowl game right now. And for Bill Snyder, that extra work with his team would have been important in its growth.

Missouri: Find another receiver to snag passes for Blaine Gabbert. In the last three years, the Tigers have turned out tight ends Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander. Gary Pinkel's program has turned out the Big 12's best assortment of receivers. Getting a player to develop from a group including Jerrell Jackson, Brandon Gerau, Rolandis Woodland, T.J. Moe, Wes Kemp or Michael Egnew will be critical in the Tigers' title hopes in 2010.

Nebraska: Developing an offense that isn't so offensive. The Cornhuskers' defense might go down in history as one of the best in Big 12 history. But it still couldn't mask an offense that produced only field goals in losses to Texas and Virginia Tech and one touchdown in a loss to Iowa State. Bo Pelini needs Zac Lee or Cody Green to take the quarterback job and develop a productive identity that is missing.

Oklahoma: Return of the Stoops swagger. It's hard to believe that only a year ago, the Sooners were playing for the national championship and an unprecedented three-peat of conference titles. That seems a long time ago after all of the injuries that led to a 7-5 record that is the worst regular-season mark in Coach Bob Stoops' tenure. The Sooners just need some luck in avoiding injuries and development in Landry Jones to get back in the hunt next season.

Oklahoma State: A big-time offensive playmaker. The loss of Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter for most of the season made the Cowboys seem like a station-to-station team with little breakaway pop on offense. In order to challenge teams like Texas and Oklahoma on a regular basis, Mike Gundy has got to find those kind of players.

Texas: Two more weeks of pundits telling Mack Brown's team that his team doesn't belong in the BCS title game. The Longhorns are already heading to California with a chip on their shoulder after their narrow escape over Nebraska and their offensive struggles in the title. Just wait until they start talking to reporters doubting their legitimacy when they get there. Brown couldn't ask for a better motivational ploy.

Texas A&M: Somebody should give Von Miller the gift set of Ndamukong Suh's videos from this season. Miller's return is critical defensively if the Aggies have any hopes of duplicating their offense. If Miller returned for a senior season, it would give the Aggies a big boost towards becoming a potential darkhorse challenger in the Big 12 South. But he's got to be there to help them.

Texas Tech: A little political correctness for Mike Leach. Even though his team seemed to respond after he blasted the size of his players' girlfriends, he still needs to think through his comments sometimes. But don't we all?

Missouri spring wrap

May, 14, 2009
5/14/09
9:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Missouri Tigers
2008 overall record: 10-4

2008 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense: 4, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

RB Derrick Washington, WR Jared Perry, G Kurtis Gregory, LB Sean Weatherspoon, NT Jaron Baston, CB Carl Gettis.

Key losses

QB Chase Daniel, TE Chase Coffman, WR-KR Jeremy Maclin, WR Tommy Saunders, DE Stryker Sulak, DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood, S William Moore, K Jeff Wolfert

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Derrick Washington* (1,036 yards)
Passing: Chase Daniel (4,335 yards)
Receiving: Jeremy Maclin (1,260 yards)
Tackles: Sean Weatherspoon* (155)
Sacks: Stryker Sulak (10 1/2)
Interceptions: Sean Weatherspoon*, Brock Christopher (3)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule

Sept. 5 Illinois (at St. Louis)
Sept. 12 Bowling Green
Sept. 19 Furman
Sept. 25 at Nevada
Oct. 8 Nebraska
Oct. 17 at Oklahoma State
Oct. 24 Texas
Oct. 31 at Colorado
Nov. 7 Baylor
Nov. 14 at Kansas State
Nov. 21 Iowa State
Nov. 28 Kansas (at Kansas City)

1. De'Vion Moore: With Derrick Washington missing much of spring practice recovering from knee surgery, Moore did a good job of picking up the slack at the position. Look for Missouri to feature its running game more than in recent seasons. The combination of Moore and Washington will be important in powering the Tigers' offensive attack.

2. Depth at defensive end: Starters Jacquies Smith and Brian Coulter will face a lot of pressure to keep their starting jobs after the strong spring development of Aldon Smith and converted offensive lineman Brad Madison. It will make the position one of the deepest on the Tigers' defense.

3. Cornerbacks: Coach Gary Pinkel believes he has the best collection of athletes in his nine-season tenure here. Starter Carl Gettis returns along with redshirt freshmen Robert Steeples and Kip Edwards, junior Kevin Rutland, junior Trey Hobson and former Notre Dame transfer Munir Prince.

Fall questions

1. Quarterback: Blaine Gabbert showed some strong progress over much of the spring, despite his struggles in the spring game. But it sill will be a huge adjustment for the Tigers as they attempt to replace Chase Daniel, the heart and soul of the team that made back-to-back Big 12 title appearances.

2. Wide receivers: Not only are key producers like Jeremy Maclin and Tommy Saunders gone from last season, but top returning receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry both missed most spring practice as they recovered from injuries. It gave receivers Jerrell Jackson, Wes Kemp and Brandon Gerau plenty of opportunities, but the return of Alexander and Perry will be critical for the Tigers' success during the season.

3. Kicker: Jeff Wolfert left college as the most accurate kicker in college football history. Senior walk-on Tanner Mills will get the first opportunity to replace him, although heralded arriving freshman Joe Schrick could challenge later this summer.

Ten good minutes with Missouri's Dave Yost

April, 8, 2009
4/08/09
8:59
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost is one of the busiest men in college football. And his work has only gotten more involved this spring.

 
  Paul Jasienski/Getty Images
  Replacing Chase Daniel will be important for Missouri.

Yost is Missouri's new offensive coordinator, along with serving as the team's recruiting coordinator and kicking coach. And he's working on a huge vacancy on the team as he tries to find a new starting quarterback to replace Chase Daniel.

During a recent interview, Yost discussed his new responsibilities, the challenge of replacing Daniel and whether he plans to shave his soul patch as he assumes his new job.

How have things changed for you this spring with the new job?

Dave Yost: Definitely, there are some things that are different for me. But it's easier because of how our offense has worked and how the staff has been together for so long. Four of us have been here for eight years and three of the other coaches have been together for 14 years. But it's the same ol' stuff that keeps going, because we have a way we do things and it's how we've done them.

But there are some little things I'm in charge of. Now I have to decide what time we are meeting as an offensive staff after the staff meeting. There are some others.

It's fun. I enjoy it. It's kind of what I've wanted to progress to in this business. Having that opportunity is great. I'm glad coach [Gary] Pinkel is giving me the opportunity to do it.

I'll probably get way too much credit when things are going good. But we have a lot of good people around me and some good players, too.

Do you think your new role will cause you to grow up a little bit? After all, you might be the only offensive coordinator -- at least in the Big 12 -- with a soul patch.

DY:
I've always been grown up, I just try not to get old [laughing]. But I haven't been told I have to change any of that stuff. I try to be myself as much as I can. I'm not going to try to be coach C (his predecessor, Dave Christensen) in that way. As long as coach Pinkel lets me continue to be the way I am, I will be.

The same fun-loving guy as before?

DY: Everybody thinks that.

(Read full post)

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