Big 12: David Anderson
On Tuesday, we continue the series with TCU.
Strongest position: Safety
The Horned Frogs are in terrific shape at the safety position with Chris Hackett, Sam Carter and Derrick Kindred returning after contributing for the Horned Frogs in 2013.
Add spring star Kenny Iloka and TCU could field the best group of safeties in the Big 12 this fall.
Hackett is one of the Big 12’s best safeties. He averaged 7.3 tackles per game while adding three forced fumbles and three interceptions as a sophomore. The Tyler, Texas, native is active and aggressive for Gary Patterson’s defense.
Carter joined Hackett as a second-team All-Big 12 performer in 2013 after recording a team-high five interceptions and adding four sacks. He brings 26 games of starting experience to TCU’s secondary as a senior.
Kindred worked his way into the lineup late last season, starting TCU’s final three games. He had 48 tackles, including 19 total stops in the three games he started.
Iloka joined the program in January and made an immediate impression during spring football. Even though the Horned Frogs return plenty of experience in the secondary, Iloka appears like he will carve himself a role in the defense during his first season in Fort Worth.
TCU’s combination of star power, quality depth and experience at safety is unmatched in the Big 12.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Getting its offensive line in order is one of the keys to TCU’s hopes of an offensive turnaround under new coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie.
Junior tackle Aviante Collins and center Joey Hunt provide a solid foundation, having started a combined 35 games at TCU. Collins has the ability to play right or left tackle but has plenty of room to improve and become more consistent. Hunt is on the Remington Award watch list after starting 11 games at center in 2013 and is likely the lone certain starter among the front five.
The overall depth and quality of TCU’s offensive line is on the rise particularly with the addition of February signees including junior college guard Frank Kee who could end up starting in the interior for the Horned Frogs. Additionally, tackle Tayo Fabuluje, tackle Joseph Noteboom, guard Bobby Thompson and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai are battling for playing time and should help boost the overall depth and competitiveness among the offensive line.
TCU's offensive line isn't struggling to find talent, but the group as a whole needs to be much more productive and deeper than last year's group if the Horned Frogs hope to return to a bowl game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
To say that the arrival of Bo Pelini has captivated the Cornhuskers' fan base would be a big understatement. Even before his team's first game, the new Nebraska coach is the subject of his own polka written by Cornhusker fan Carl Dare.
It might seem a stretch to write a song about a coach before his first game with his new team, but Dare's excitement about Pelini is genuine, like those of many Cornhuskers who hope to quickly forget about the misery of last season's disappointments under former coach Bill Callahan.
It's not hard to envision Nebraska fans listening to this song at tailgate parties before the Cornhuskers' first game on Aug. 30 against Western Michigan. The Cornhuskers then will have to live up to all of the excitement that has made Pelini a polka icon, which is even bigger than being a rock star in Nebraska hamlets like Cozad, Tecumseh and Plattsmouth.
Here are a few other stories that have people talking across the Big 12 this morning.
- Texas QB Colt McCoy can't get away from people who recognize him, even at a remote restaurant in Iquitos, Peru, writes Brad Gray of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
My take -- McCoy is maturing, but his baby face remains instantly recognizable anywhere in the world among Longhorn fans.
- Missouri and Kansas are hopeful of not becoming the Big 12's latest one-hit wonders, writes Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman.
My take -- History tells us the Tigers and Jayhawks likely won't remain entrenched at the top of the North Division -- particularly if Pelini's teams live up to his polka.
- Texas fans will receive their annual opportunity to watch the Longhorns practice next week.
My take -- Calling these practices vanilla doesn't do justice to Blue Bell Ice Cream's homemade version.
- The Oklahoman has a link that is assured of getting all Oklahoma fans pumped up for the upcoming season.
My take -- A glorified commercial can do the trick in the dog days of summer.
- Former Oklahoma State football player Steve Mocco, now an Olympic wrestler getting ready for Beijing, would be hardly recognizable to his old Cowboy teammates. Mocco now weighs a svelte 264 pounds -- more than 30 pounds less than during his one-season stint as a backup Cowboys' defensive tackle in 2006.
My take -- Mocco's progress will give me something solid to follow in the middle of all of NBC's feel-good Olympian stories.
- Oklahoma's depth at defensive end took a hit with an emergency appendectomy for Auston English and redshirt freshman David Anderson's quitting the team, writes Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman.
My take -- So much for any last-minute relaxation for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables. The end of his vacation just got a lot more harried.
- Tulsa World sports editor Mike Strain prepares for the travails of becoming an Associated Press Top 25 football poll voter.
My take -- As a long-time AP voter in another life, I would advise Strain to prepare for a lot of long Saturday nights awaiting scores from Hawaii.
- A "Face Book for Football" video system employed by Bill Callahan will be following the former Nebraska coach to his new job with the New York Jets, the New York Times reports.
My take -- I bet there are other parts of the Callahan legacy that Nebraska fans wish he would take with him, too.
- Former Nebraska players Mike Rucker and Mike Minter will serve as college football analysts for ESPNU starting next month.
My take -- If one "Mike and Mike" program has worked for the network, how about another one?
- Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne remembers what impressed him during Bo Pelini's job interview, writes the Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple.
My take -- And that was long before people starting writing books and polkas about him.
- Former Missouri TB Tony Temple says he would "work for free" for another NFL shot after failing to stick after tryouts with five pro teams.
My take -- Wonder if Temple wishes he had his decision back about turning pro? His old college team should be pretty good this season, I hear.