Big 12: David Snow
Folks wanted more.
So, here it is. I asked the local reporters for help: Tell us the story of players this season who provided one memorable interview for one reason or another, or consistently offered a look inside teams that few other players could duplicate.
Here they are:
David Snow, OL, Texas: Imagine what you'd expect a guy who grew up lifting hay bales and shooting deer in the small East Texas town of Giilmer to sound like. That's exactly the voice that comes from Snow, who spent every Longhorns media session spewing blunt honesty through his thick, slow drawl. If Texas stunk, Snow owned up to it, sometimes in PG-13 terms. If he didn't like an opponent (and he usually didn't) he had no problem describing his distaste. He was one of the few guys who seemed to genuinely enjoy talking to the media, and his listeners enjoyed it too. -- Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News
Javon Harris, S, Oklahoma: Came into the interview room for 30 minutes the Monday after that Baylor game, and answered every question honestly. -- Jake Trotter, SoonerNation
Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State It's not about quantity. It's about quality. You don't get a lot of words from Lewis, but he always helps make the story better. -- Bill Haisten, Tulsa World
Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State: Excellent, both on topics specific to the offensive line and the big-picture condition of Oklahoma State football. -- Bill Haisten, Tulsa World
Richetti Jones, DE, Oklahoma State: Other than Weeden, Richetti was my favorite guy to chat with because he told you exactly how he felt about absolutely anything. He called out critics of the OSU defense when the Cowboys climbed to No. 2 in the nation. He ripped the BCS for the title game rematch that featured a team that didn't win its conference. But his jabs--or any answers he gave--were always entertaining. One of my interview highlights of the season was him describing how he thought the first earthquake that hit Oklahoma in November was paranormal activity in his bedroom. The dude is hilarious, and I'll miss talking with him. -- Gina Mizell, The Oklahoman
Gabe Ikard, OL, Oklahoma: I noticed you had Ben Habern, and that's a very fine selection from the Sooners. But Gabe Ikard is more than suitable as an addition. In fact, once, we interviewed Habern and Ikard together, sitting next to one another. It was their choice. They cut up and had a good time with it, but they also gave a lot of answers I could use. (I remember that being the day I was writing about walk-on Dominique Whaley's impact on the team and previously working at Subway to pay for school.)
Both of those guys, and Ikard in particular, are extremely engaging. Not only do they not mind interviews ... they seem to like them. That's rare, at least over the course of the long season. Ikard, who has a 4.0 I think, is very thoughtful and honest with his answers. Those two guys often fill your notebook, regardless of what you're working on. I appreciate their positive attitudes about media when we sometimes run into malcontents by, oh, sometime in October. -- Travis Haney, The Oklahoman
Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Not only did you feel like you were dealing with a grown up -- no age jokes allowed -- Weeden always gave every question sincere thought and provided a thoughtful answer. He showed up every week, after every game, ready and willing to talk. He should be hired by every team in the league to teach a Media 101 session. -- John Helsley, The Oklahoman
Jeff Woody, RB, Iowa State: Great knack for giving you insight to the game, and the emotion that goes into it - without throwing teammates under the bus. He described running back Shontrelle Johnson as a rabbit darting across the back yard, while being chased by a dog. -- Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register
Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas: No matter what the situation was, Steven Johnson was a guy we could count on for the truth. Whether it was after tough loss, a big win or the opening practice of the season, Johnson always told it like it was and rarely held back his emotions or expectations. Sometimes that meant him breaking down to the point of tears, other times it meant him holding out hope for winning the Big 12 or making a bowl game even though the Jayhawks were five or six games into a disappointing season. Johnson will go down as one of the classiest players to ever wear a KU uniform and he easily was this team's go-to guy for good quotes. -- Matt Tait, Lawrence Journal-World
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor: Thoughtful with his answers, willing to answer difficult questions and very well-reasoned and well-worded responses. -- Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: Epic interviews in high school made us all eager to get some time with him. But after a redshirt year, he clearly had been taught to dial it back a bit. Still, he's very good. Almost always offers up something interesting, and it's frequently subject matter that you may not have asked about. He gets it. He knows not to be overly defensive or closed-down in interviews because he refuses to buy the company line that the media is out to get him. -- John Hoover, Tulsa World
Terrance Frederick, CB, Texas A&M: He seemed real -- appropriately serious but at times still light hearted -- as the season turned sour. -- Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman
Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas: Looked like you already got him, but I'll put in another vote for KU's Steven Johnson. He was the guy you could count on to say what everyone was thinking. -- Austin Meek, Topeka Capital-Journal
Ter'ran Benton, CB, Iowa State: Benton is smart, funny and you never know where an interview with him will go. He might tell you why Louisiana Hot Sauce is the best hot sauce in the world. He might joking tell you that cornerback Leonard Johnson should be playing well because he has a light class load. He's great at explaining why things are, or aren't, working for the defense. He's an all-around great quote. -- Bobby La Gesse, Ames Tribune
B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State: The freshman center was the face of K-State football this season, at least at press conferences. He showed up at every single media availability and gave thoughtful answers to every question he was asked. Quite impressive when you consider he was the only football player to show up for a few of the midweek pressers and reporters desperate for a quote asked him about the opposing team's offense and what strategy the K-State secondary had for that week. He gets the perfect attendance award. -- Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star
Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State: Never afraid to speak his mind on a topic. Will respond to dull questions with incredible insight. A former quarterback, he can analyze every offensive position. By far the best and most entertaining talker on the team. But he lost points for criticizing the Pinstripe Bowl. Bill Snyder didn't care for that, and made him off limits to media for several weeks. -- Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star
You can take a look at those here:
- Big 12 signees in the 2006 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2007 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2008 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2009 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2010 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2011 ESPNU 150
That was before the 2011 season. Now, our recruitniks have taken it upon themselves to provide a new update for the 2008 class.
You'll need ESPN Insider to see the full updates for each player group, but here's how the Big 12 players have done:
Prospects ranked from 1-25
No. 6 Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State (via Miami): Brown committed to Miami (Fla.), where he struggled to see the field in 2008 and 2009. He transferred to Kansas State and was named Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2011 after recording 95 tackles, two sacks and an interception (of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III).
No. 7: Jermie Calhoun, RB, Oklahoma: Calhoun's career never got off the ground at Oklahoma after he redshirted as a true freshman. He appeared in 16 games and rushed for 242 yards on 56 carries. He tore his ACL early in his sophomore season (2010) and decided to transfer to Football Championship Subdivision program Angelo State University.
No. 11: R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: Washington has appeared in 25 games (no starts) for the Sooners, and has 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His 13 tackles, three sacks and five pass breakups in 2011 are all career highs.
No. 13: Josh Jarboe, WR, Oklahoma: Jarboe was arrested for bringing a weapon onto his high school campus before enrolling at Oklahoma. His career with the Sooners didn't last long, as he was kicked off the team after a YouTube video emerged with him rapping about guns and violence. Jarboe resurfaced at Troy but couldn't escape the negative headlines and was dismissed in 2009. After a year at Northeast Mississippi junior college, Jarboe returned to the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks at Arkansas State, and had 54 receptions for 730 yards and two touchdowns this season
No. 16: D.J. Grant, WR, Texas: After redshirting in 2008, Grant suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2009 and 2010. He finally got on the field in 2011 and started six games, finishing the season with 16 receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 17: Dan Buckner, WR, Texas: Buckner had 50 receptions for 526 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons with Texas. He was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest in January 2010 and decided to transfer to Arizona. Buckner had 42 catches for 606 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Wildcats.
Prospects ranked 26-50
No. 38: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: It was once thought that Gabbert would be redshirted as a freshman in 2008. Instead, he was the third-string quarterback for the Tigers. He is now a starting NFL quarterback, playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his career at Missouri, Gabbert threw for more than 6,800 yards and 40 touchdowns. He left for the NFL after his junior season.
Prospects ranked 51-75
57. Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Gray closed out his junior season with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, and he added two more to that streak to open his senior campaign. He missed the final two games of the Aggies' season, but he closed out his career with 312 yards and five scores in his final two games. He was named to the 2011 All-Big 12 second team, and ran for nearly 3,300 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career.
No. 72: Jameel Owens, WR, Oklahoma: In two years with the Sooners, Owens caught four passes for 44 yards. He then transferred to Tulsa before the 2010 season, receiving a transfer waiver so he did not have to sit out a season. But he lasted only one season for the Hurricanes, as he was granted a leave of absence during spring drills in 2011 and never returned to the team.
Prospects ranked 76-100
No. 79: David Snow, OL, Texas: Snow came right in and played as a true freshman. When it was all said and done, he appeared in 51 games, starting 31 at center and both guard positions. He received a Big 12 honorable mention this past season.
No. 84: Stephen Good, OL, Oklahoma: Good has been an active member of the Sooners' offensive line since he arrived in 2008. He was in the two-deep since day one, playing both guard positions.
No. 91: Derrick Hall, ATH, Texas A&M: Hall never made it to College Station because he failed to qualify academically. He went on to Navarro Junior College, where he rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 29 touchdowns in two seasons. Hall then signed with Tulsa, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible.
No. 92: Daniel Franklin, ILB, Oklahoma: Franklin redshirted his freshman season, and has since been a career backup and special-teams player in Norman.
No. 95: DeSean Hales, WR, Texas: Hales redshirted his freshman season in Austin. Through the next three years, he played in 31 games, catching 13 passes for 87 yards. He has one more season of eligibility.
No. 100: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas: Acho started every game this past season for the Longhorns, leading the team in tackles with 131. He also recorded 19 tackles for loss and three sacks. Acho was named first-team All-Big 12 in 2011, and finished his career with 269 tackles, 40 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Prospects ranked 101-125
No. 106: Jordan Fields, CB, Texas A&M: Fields committed to Texas A&M but never signed with the Aggies. He enrolled at Blinn JC (Texas) following high school and has yet to sign with an FBS school.
No. 114: Nolan Brewster, OLB, Texas: Brewster played in all 13 games as a true freshman, mainly on special teams, and had eight tackles. He had 24 tackles and an interception as a backup safety as a sophomore and then redshirted his junior year after undergoing shoulder surgery. As a senior, Brewster played in Texas' first four games but had to retire from football due to multiple concussions and post-traumatic migraine headaches.
No. 117: Kye Staley, RB, Oklahoma State: Staley redshirted and then suffered a knee injury that wiped out his 2009 season. He quit the football team and didn't play in 2010 but rejoined the team the following year. He played in 13 games this past season, catching 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
No. 118: Kendall Wright, ATH, Baylor: He made an immediate impact as a true freshman, leading the team in catches, yards and touchdowns. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors his sophomore year, catching 66 balls for 740 yards and four touchdowns. Wright broke school records his junior season, catching 78 passes for 952 yards and seven touchdowns to again earn second team All-Big 12. As a senior, Wright earned several All-American honors after catching 108 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns, all school records. He's rated as a potential first-round draft pick in April's NFL draft.
No. 122: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones will likely shatter every Sooners passing mark after surprisingly deciding to come back for his senior year. He started 10 games his redshirt freshman season after starter Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. He set a school freshman record, throwing for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns, including a school-record six in one game. He earned All-American honors as a sophomore after throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns and led the Big 12 in total offense. Jones' numbers were down a bit his junior season, but he still threw for 4,463 yards and 29 touchdowns.
No. 125: Justin Johnson, RB, Oklahoma: Johnson's Sooners career was short-lived as he transferred to Abilene Christian following his freshman year. He rushed for 103 yards and had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score as a sophomore but transferred following that season to McMurry, a Division III school. Johnson rushed for 771 yards and eight touchdowns to go with 40 catches for 352 yards and four more scores for the War Hawks as a junior last year.
Prospects ranked 126-150
No. 138: Dravannti Johnson, LB, Texas: Johnson decided to transfer from Texas last month, having already graduated. The junior defensive end saw limited action, playing in only seven games and registering just four tackles, one for a loss. Johnson's most productive season came in 2010, when he started five games and recorded 23 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and six quarterback pressures. He is expected to transfer to a smaller school for more playing time.
No. 143: Rodrick Davis, DT, Texas A&M: After two uneventful seasons at Texas A&M, Davis transferred to Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College before transferring again to New Mexico following the 2011 season. Davis played in eight games last season for Fort Scott and recorded 28 tackles. He redshirted in 2008 so he has one year of eligibility remaining and can play this season.
- Tysyn Hartman, S, Kansas State
- Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor
- Blake Gideon, S, Texas
- Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri
- Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas
- Cody Johnson, FB, Texas
- David Snow, OL, Texas
Good to hear from each of these guys, who have all been extremely productive over their careers. Traditionally, the Senior Bowl the following week is a more prestigious display, but all seven of these guys will get valuable exposure in front of NFL scouts.
We'll see who takes advantage and improves their draft stock.
You can see the full roster here.
Carter Strickland writes : New faces to look out for in spring practice
2011's top defensive performances : Emmanuel Acho's play and leadership helped guide the Longhorns
2011's top offensive performances : David Snow's stability made him Texas' most valuable player
Chat: Carter Strickland, 3 p.m. ET
Ask Texas' offense.
Already struggling at quarterback, it played the final four games with its top offensive weapons out of the lineup or in it while battling injuries.
Jaxon Shipley missed a three-game stretch late in the season, returning for the final two games with a bulky brace on his knee and playing through pain.
"You take Fozzy, the two young backs and Jaxon, that's your oldest senior leader and the heart of your team, and he got about every award at the banquet," coach Mack Brown told reporters on Thursday. "And then you take three of your best freshman stars that were all touching the ball and making a difference in the ballgame, I think it took everybody aback. People will sit and say don't talk about injuries. When it's everybody that's touching the ball it's hard not to talk about them and think about it a little bit."
Texas managed just five points in a loss to Missouri. It fought for all 13 in a loss to Kansas State the following week.
"It's extremely hard when you're playing with new people, when you're in sync with somebody else," said offensive lineman David Snow. "We did chop down some plays, some packages. We have certain packages for certain players."
The biggest loss was the "Wild Fozzy" formation that the Longhorns used to produce six touchdowns by giving Whittaker a direct snap.
Texas should mostly be healthy when it plays Cal in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28. It will be without Whittaker, though.
The duo of Brown and Bergeron should be back, and though Shipley's likely to retain his knee brace, he'll be on the field and healthier than he was in an upset win over Texas A&M to close the season.
"He's still limping. He's not 100 percent," Brown said. "He's got that big brace on his leg, but he's out there fighting for balls and diving. He likes to play, he's a fun player, and he just makes plays."
Chastise Brown for making "excuses" if you must, but it's the truth. The Longhorns, after benching Garrett Gilbert in the second game of the season, were relying on inexperience at every skill position, including quarterback where true freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy shared time. They entered 2011 with one combined pass attempt.
Late in the season, that young talent thinned even further.
At Holiday Bowl, for the first time in almost two months, a Texas offense with a bright future may finally be close to full strength.
Time for a new take, with a little help from the Big Ten Blog: The All-Underrated team.
My criteria: The conference's most underrated player at each position. This is, of course, subjective. This isn't for the second-best player at each position. It's for the player who doesn't get enough respect. The only rule: He can't be on my All-Big 12 team.
QB: James Franklin, Missouri
RB: Christine Michael, Texas A&M
RB: John Hubert, Kansas State
FB: Braden Wilson, Kansas State
WR: Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
WR: Tevin Reese, Baylor
WR: Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State
TE: James Hanna, Oklahoma
OL: Clyde Aufner, Kansas State
OL: Philip Blake, Baylor
OL: Austin Wuebbels, Missouri
OL: David Snow, Texas
OL: Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech
DE: Toben Opurum, Kansas
DT: Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, Baylor
DE: Meshak Williams, Kansas State
DE: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
LB: Steven Johnson, Kansas
LB: Elliot Coffey, Baylor
LB: Alex Elkins, Oklahoma State
CB: David Garrett, Kansas State
CB: Leonard Johnson, Iowa State
S: Terrance Bullitt, Texas Tech
S: Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State
P: Trey Barrow, Missouri
PK: Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
PR/KR: Jarvis West, Iowa State
Coach: Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Texas says, "Sorry, our schedule's booked up."
Turner Gill says the rivalry belongs in the Big 12.
Thursday night, Texas and Texas A&M will play for the 118th time. Only two rivalries have been played more.
It might be the last time. It will be the last time for the foreseeable future.
On Saturday, Missouri and Kansas will meet for the 119th time. Minnesota and Wisconsin are the only teams that have met on more occasions.
Realignment will claim two more victims upon Missouri and Texas A&M's exits to the SEC: Two of the nation's best rivalries.
"It’ll be difficult to ignore. Everybody knows what’s out there," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "It’s all part of it. I think there’s enough things on the table to motivate them. It’s certainly something everybody’s aware of."
That includes players. Here's thoughts from a few that grew up around the rivalry think about the rivalries' existence and ending.
Additional reporting by Carter Strickland of HornsNation.
What's your best memory in this rivalry, whether you played in the game or watched it?
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M: Growing up as a Longhorn, I just remember how intense these games were. It didn't matter, the rankings didn't play a factor. Every game was just a battle. It was hard-nosed football. So much tradition involved in the game, and that's the main thing.
Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas: Most recently, the one in '08 when Todd Reesing hit Kerry Meier at the end to win the game. I was redshirting, but I was at the game and it was just a crazy, crazy game. One of the better games I've witnessed.
There's quite a bit of hatred between the two schools going back to the Civil War and the battles between the Jayhawkers and Missouri. There's just a lot of hatred between the two schools.
T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri: The one in '07, the big one, was when I started watching because (former MU corner) Carl Gettis was playing and he was my high school teammate. Everybody knows what kind of game that was. That was kind of the start of, when both teams had great seasons, they started calling it the Border Showdown. That was a big game and a fight for No. 1. We got that safety in the end zone on Todd Reesing, and in 2008 they came back and got us, and thats how rivalry's supposed to be, back and forth like that. The '09 game was great, too. We had to win on a last-second field goal.
Are you for or against Texas A&M leaving for the SEC?
Blake Gideon, S, Texas: Against.
Does it matter that they're leaving?
Gideon: It doesn’t matter to me. This is my last year playing them anyway. It’s definitely one of those deals kind of like Nebraska last year that we want to send them off the right way. At Missouri we failed to do that this year.
What did you think when you heard it was probably ending?
Hawkinson: It's something that's gone on for a ton of years now, I'm not even sure how many. Obviously, it's disappointing. I wish it could go on, but we wish them well. It's something I feel like should stay in the Big 12, and they're going to the SEC, so, it's something they're going to just have to deal with if they're not in the Big 12 anymore.
Moe: I don't have any control over that. As far as players go, I think both sides would love to play each other. I can't speak for the administration. I think the administration over there keeps saying it's done if you're not going to be in the Big 12 anymore, but I'm sure players on both sides would love to continue the rivalry and we hope to do that.
Swope: There's so much tradition and history involved, it's going to be tough not to see Texas on the schedule, but it's a fun game. We're going to enjoy this one and we want to go out the right way.
Where you're from [Gilmer, Texas], are there a lot of Aggies?
David Snow, OL, Texas: Let’s just be honest — I’m the only one in my top 10 percent that came here. Everybody else is at A&M. Once they went to the dark side, I haven’t really stayed in that much contact with them. Changing my phone number and stuff.
Is there more pressure to win because it is the last one?
Snow: We have a lot of pressure every week to win, hell we’re Texas. You don’t expect to lose and you don’t want to lose.
Would you call it a nasty rivalry?
Snow: Yeah. I mean certain things happen there. When you hate two people certain cheap shots go on, especially on the other side. Never by us.
What's this rivalry mean to you?
Swope: It's a very personal game for me. I've got a lot of friends that are graduated from Texas or at Texas right now. Growing up in Austin, growing up a Longhorns fan, it's going to be real personal. My dad graduated from Texas. I have friends that go to school there and friends that are players for the other team.
Hawkinson: It's a great sense of pride for not only the university, but for the state of Kansas. It'd be a huge win not only for the university, but for the people that live in Kansas.
Moe: I didn't watch a whole lot of college football growing up, but when I did, it was Missouri-Kansas. It's a pretty special thing. It's been so close. It's almost tied up for the 100-something years we've been playing. It's just fun and something you look forward to. It doesn't matter if either team is bowl-eligible. We might have both gone winless and this game would still be special. It goes back to the Civil War days when it was a lot more serious than it is now.
What will you miss most about it?
Hawkinson: Getting prepared. The week leading up to it, this week, guys come in to practice and they're already excited. It's kind of an easy week to get pumped up for and practice hard for. Especially going up and playing at Arrowhead, it's a great environment, especially with two teams playing against each other with all the hatred toward each other. All that leading up to the game and one you get to the game, just playing in that atmosphere.
Swope: All the tradition and the history in this game. It goes back to the Bonfire and how big this game is and how much history it holds. It's one of those things. Everyone pulls tickets for this game. It's on Thanksgiving. It's a very traditional game being played and they've been doing it for so long, I think I'm just going to miss almost everything about the game.
Moe: If I miss a year of it, that's pretty sad. It's your rival. We had Nebraska, we lost them and we had Kansas. Those were our two big rivals. Now, of course, we'll move to the SEC and we'll kind of have A&M maybe as our new rival or whatever, but I don't know if it's ever going to be the same without Kansas because it has such deep roots, especially the guys on the team from Kansas City. They live in the war zone over there and it's pretty special to them.
I did my best to answer your questions. I've been more or less banned from speaking about Kansas this year, so I couldn't have a whole lot of fun.
The season began with Garrett Gilbert looking to rebound from an ugly 2010 campaign. By the second game, he had been benched. Weeks later, he underwent shoulder surgery and transfered.
Meanwhile, his replacements have been shuffled in and out like a pair of pistons firing in an engine.
Until last time out, anyway.
David Ash took all the snaps in practices preceding the week of a 38-26 loss to Oklahoma State and played the whole game. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 139 yards and two interceptions.
This week following a bye? Welcome back, Case McCoy.
"We’re still evaluating it day-to-day. We’ll watch them throughout this week and make that decision probably on Friday," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
That's not welcome news for a team in need of major growth at the most important position in football, one whose importance is amplified in a league with four of the nation's top seven passers.
But if that growth is going to happen, the Longhorns couldn't ask for a better opportunity Saturday.
Waiting for them at home is Kansas, who has given up more than 318 yards per game through the air. Only Texas A&M has given up more (335), but the Aggies lead the nation with 28 sacks.
Kansas has six. Only six teams in the FBS have fewer.
Receivers have had room. Quarterbacks have had time. The same should be true for the Longhorns. Who will take advantage?
Texas has to figure that out, but the criteria sounds simple.
"We’re trying to figure out who can get us in the end zone the most," Brown said.
Last week, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein got his offense in the end zone seven times and threw for a career-high 195 yards. That was the second lowest output of the season for the Jayhawks, who lost, 59-21. The other? A 164-yard performance against Georgia Tech ... who ran for 604 yards.
"I think all of our quarterbacks are really more confident, I really do," offensive lineman David Snow told reporters this week. "Getting to see David grow up a little bit in the last couple games, [it's] been good to see."
Heading into Saturday's game, there's reason to be confident.
Brown has warned his team though, citing last year's loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones had been walloped by Utah and Oklahoma when they came to Austin angry.
Kansas has lost five consecutive games, including the previous three by more than 30 points.
Texas lost to that Iowa State team, but solid quarterback play from Ash and McCoy could keep Kansas from pulling a repeat.
Considering the trends from Kansas' defense, that seems likely.
Here's what we've covered so far:
This group is subject to more change during the season than perhaps any other position. You never quite know how chemistry will develop, and in these rankings, you really have to rely heavily on experience, similar to quarterbacks. It's not the only factor, but you have to acknowledge that it's a major one.
So, here's how I rank them:
2. Baylor: The Bears might be a bit of a surprise here, but Baylor's strong skill-position talents wouldn't look nearly as good without this group, which lost a first-round pick at left tackle in Danny Watkins. However, Philip Blake is one of the league's best centers and four starters return from a line that helped Baylor finish second in the Big 12 last season in yards per carry, just behind Nebraska but nearly a half-yard more than Oklahoma State, the third-place team.
3. Missouri: The Tigers suffered a big loss in center Tim Barnes, a three-year starter and the offensive line's leader, but they return four starters from last season line and have the most career starts on the line of any team in the Big 12, with 105, which ranks 11th nationally.
4. Texas A&M: A&M's rising sophomore tackles, Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, had to learn on the go last season, but their development should be fun to watch this season on an offensive line blocking for the Big 12's best overall collection of skill-position talents. The line returns four starters, replacing only center Matt Allen.
5. Oklahoma: The Sooners' goal-line problems last season cost them a game at Texas A&M, but this line was very solid the rest of the season and has plenty of upside. Likely starter Jarvis Jones won't be available until perhaps October, so the Sooners will turn to touted redshirt freshman Daryl Williams at right tackle in the interim. Center Ben Habern and tackle Tyler Evans add a lot of experience.
6. Texas Tech: Tech boasts one of the Big 12's best guards in Lonnie Edwards, but don't be surprised if Mickey Okafor grabs the Big 12's first-team spot at right tackle by season's end. The Red Raiders return all five starters, and will have to play well to support new faces at every skill position on offense.
7. Kansas: Four of the Jayhawks' starters are juniors and another is a senior, and for all of KU's struggles last season, it did have some success running the ball in spots, even though its 1,615 total rush yards were the fewest in the Big 12. James Sims (742 yards, 9 TDs) returns and KU adds a possible home-run threat in Darrian Miller, but the offensive line returns 97 total starts, 15th-most in college football and second-most in the Big 12. That has to pay off eventually, if not this season.
8. Iowa State: The Cyclones boast the league's best left tackle, Kelechi Osemele, but center Ben Lamaak is gone and ISU might turn to redshirt freshman Tom Farniok as his replacement. Brayden Burris is solid at right tackle, but sophomore Ethan Tuftee, who has very little experience (just five appearances total), enters fall camp as the starter at right guard.
9. Texas: No, I don't know how this happens. But it's hard to deny. Run blocking has been a struggle for Texas, and new position coach Stacy Searels will have to change that for the Longhorns, who have kept quiet about any real depth-chart developments throughout the spring and into fall camp. Tray Allen's health is a concern, but Mason Walters played well in 2010 and David Snow has a lot of experience at center with 19 starts and 39 appearances. If this group can't ascend in these rankings during the season, Texas' turnaround from last season 5-7 campaign will not happen. Texas, though, has the fewest career starts in the Big 12, with 36, which ranks 105th nationally.
10. Kansas State: Kansas State has had the Big 12's leading rusher the past two seasons, but he's gone and so are three offensive linemen, including the unit's best blocker, guard Zach Kendall. Center Wade Weibert and guard Kenneth Mayfield also are gone, leaving gaps in the interior. Senior Zach Hanson joins Manese Foketi and Clyde Aufner on a unit that returns just 42 career starts, second-fewest in the Big 12 and 97th-most in college football.
Well, it's the same for the recruits who came to campus with high rankings and high profiles. Going back to 2006, here's how every Big 12 commit from the ESPNU 150 turned out. We'll eventually get to 2010 and the current class, 2011, around signing day, but here's how the 2008 class breaks down. Jermie Calhoun, RB, Oklahoma. Has 242 yards and a touchdown on 56 carries. Missed final two months of sophomore season in 2010 after tearing ACL against Colorado on Oct. 30.
No. 9: Darrell Scott, RB, Colorado. Transferred to South Florida after 2009 season because of lack of playing time. Ran for just 95 yards on 23 carries as a sophomore after running for 343 yards and a touchdown on 87 carries as a freshman in 2008.
No. 11: R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma. Has seven tackles and half a tackle for loss in two seasons after redshirting his first year on campus.
No. 16: D.J. Grant, WR, Texas. Redshirted in 2008, missed all of 2009 season with knee injury. Still trying to fully recover from injury, per former offensive coordinator Greg Davis at a November news conference.
No. 17: Dan Buckner, WR, Texas. Caught 50 passes for 526 yards in two seasons, including 45 for 442 as a sophomore in 2009. Transferred to Arizona after the season, less than 24 hours after an arrest in College Station, Texas.
No. 38: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Two-year starter who threw for 6,822 yards and 40 touchdowns in his three-year career, which featured two All-Big 12 seasons. Projects as early first-round pick in 2011 draft.
No. 57: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M. Earned All-Big 12 honors in 2010 with seven consecutive 100-yard games to close the season. Has 2,253 yards and 18 touchdowns for his career. Also caught 72 passes for three touchdowns and more than 500 yards.
No. 66: Jarvis Humphrey, DT, Texas. Forced to withdraw from the University of Texas because of a kidney condition.
No. 72: Jameel Owens, WR, Oklahoma. Caught four passes for 44 yards in 2008 before transferring to Tulsa after the season.
No. 79: David Snow, OG, Texas. Appeared in all 38 career games, including 13 starts at center (11 in 2010) and five at right guard.
No. 84: Stephen Good, OT, Oklahoma. Became a starter in 2009 and was second on the team in knockdowns that season. Part of the Sooners' rotation at guard in 2010.
No. 91: Derrick Hall, ATH, Texas A&M. Did not qualify academically. Enrolled at Navarro College before signing with Tulsa out of junior college.
No. 92: Daniel Franklin, ILB, Oklahoma. Reserve linebacker has seen playing time on special teams.
No. 95: DeSean Hales, WR, Texas. Has 11 career receptions for 77 yards. Appeared in 20 games over three seasons.
No. 98: Jon Major, LB, Colorado. Missed entire freshman season with torn ACL in fall camp. Became a starter in 2010. Has 54 career tackles with three pass break-ups and two tackles for loss.
No. 100: Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas. Has 11 career starts and was an All-Big 12 performer in 2009 as a sophomore. Has 135 career tackles, 21 tackles for loss, four sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
No. 114: Nolan Brewster, OLB, Texas. Reserve safety has appeared in 27 games, including special teams, over career. Has 32 tackles, one interception and two tackles for loss.
No. 117: Kye Staley, RB, Oklahoma State. Missed all of 2009 with knee injury and left the team before the 2010 season.
No. 118: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Two-time All-Big 12 performer has 194 career catches for 2,341 yards and 16 touchdowns.
No. 122: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma. Became starter as redshirt freshman in 2009 after Sam Bradford injured a shoulder in the season opener. Earned All-Big 12 honors in 2010. Has 7,916 career yards with 64 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
No. 125: Justin Johnson, RB, Oklahoma. Transferred in June 2009 to Abilene Christian after playing sparingly as a freshman in 2008.
No. 138: Dravannti Johnson, LB, Texas. Made 21 tackles in 2010 after redshirting in 2008 and not playing in 2009.
No. 143: Rodrick Davis, DT, Texas A&M. Reserve lineman redshirted in 2008, accumulated no stats in 2010.
No. 150: Lynn Katoa, OLB, Colorado. Transferred in May 2009 after academic issues. Was ineligible for 2008 season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Starting Texas center Chris Hall has returned to practice after missing the final two games of the season with a knee injury.
Hall expects to be ready to go for the Longhorns' Jan. 5 game against Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
"I feel great," Hall said. "It's been really good to be back out there and doing live snaps again. Everything has felt really good. I can't complain about a thing."
True freshman David Snow ably filled in for Hall while he missed games against Kansas and Texas A&M.
"Having Chris back is great," Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said. "David did a great job of filling in. We couldn't have asked more from him. He was tremendous during that two-game stretch. But having Chris back is good, too. And we can use David in other areas of the rotation. It's all good."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are a few tidbits from around the Big 12 this week.
The biggest change in recent weeks is that Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is trusting in his scheme and the players who are operating it. Earlier this season, Pelini crafted a gimmick defense when he played Missouri. Now, he's more willing to let his talent play. Of course, the recent surge by the Nebraska front four is helping him feel that way, too. The Cornhuskers have notched nine sacks in their last two games after producing only five in the first five Big 12 conference games.
Two recent losses to Texas A&M has Texas coach Mack Brown searching for ways to better prepare for his traditional rival. One change that will help will be enthusiasm from his young players. Brown has been pleased with the contribution of young players in recent weeks. The list includes safety Christian Scott, center David Snow, defensive tackle Kheeston Randall and defensive ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones. All had big games in the Longhorns' 35-7 triumph over Kansas last week. And the excitement of playing next week for a possible BCS berth should do the trick, too.
Oklahoma will be scrambling against Texas Tech's massive offensive line without two key pass rushers this week as defensive ends Auston English and Alan Davis both will be out with knee sprains. To build depth at the position, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has moved converted linebacker J.R. Bryant to one backup spot and seldom-used Pryce Macon will serve at the other position behind starters Frank Alexander and Jeremy Beal. The Sooners are also bracing to use the nickel formation as their base against Tech's collection of wide receivers. That would mean extensive use for backup safety Quinton Carter, who made his first career start against Kansas last month. And Nic Harris will likely remain at safety with redshirt freshman Austin Box continuing to start at middle linebacker for Ryan Reynolds, out for the season with a knee injury.
Chase Coffman is unquestionably one of the most valuable receivers in the conference, but does the Missouri system play just a little part in his success? Freshman backup Andrew Jones produced seven catches last week against Iowa State as the Cyclones hardly missed Coffman, who was out with a sprained toe.
Iowa State has gotten to the final game without quarterback Austen Arnaud sustaining an injury, with only freshmen Jerome Tiller and Brett Bueker behind him as backups. If Arnaud should become injured against Kansas State, coach Gene Chizik has a plan. Chizik said he would insert freshman wide receiver Darius Darks, a converted high school quarterback and the team's leading receiver last week against Missouri, into the quarterback position. Chizik also said that the Cyclones have worked on an emergency package that includes direct snaps to the tailback. He remains adamant about saving the redshirts for both Tiller and Bueker after not playing either of them this season after the midseason departure of former backup quarterback Phillip Bates.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has got to be hoping that Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips and Washington athletic director Scott Woodward have watched the first half of Longhorns' game today against Kansas.
The Texas defense has been magnificent in the first half, limiting Kansas to four first downs and 105 yards to help spark the Longhorns to a 14-0 lead.
Muschamp's unit came up big on two different occasions in the first half, turning away Kansas on fourth down after the Jayhawks had assumed possession in Texas territory. Add a fumble recovery and this one has almost looked like an informercial for Muschamp's future job hopes.
Other things I've noticed in the first half, from the overstuffed comfort of my recliner:
- Freshman Texas safety Blake Gideon has been all over the field. His blitz on fourth down helped spark one of Texas' key stops and he also recovered the fumble to account for the turnover.
- You would think the running games would be utilized more in a game where the weather conditions are so raw. Surprise. Texas has rushed for 36 yards in the first half and Kansas has been limited to 4 yards.
- It's really not surprising that the Big 12's wealthiest school takes care of the creature comforts for its players, is it? With wind chill well below freezing at Memorial Stadium, the Longhorns are keeping their tushes toasty along the sidelines sitting on heated benches.
- Freshman center David Snow made only one really noticeable error when his exchange was fumbled with Texas quarterback Colt McCoy the first time they went in a non-shotgun formation. But it didn't matter because Texas' defense turned the momentum around on the ensuing drive.
- Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier has had a rough first half, producing three catches for 14 yards. Meier looked like he tweaked his hamstring early in the game and was shaken up after a solid crunching in the Texas secondary late in the first half.
- Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo has been limited to spot duty in certain pass-rushing situations in the first half because of his knee injury. And Texas cornerback Chykie Brown didn't enter the game until late in the second quarter.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The most important Big 12 game today will be the first one. Texas travels to Kansas in the only game in the conference today with any real Bowl Championship Series consequences.
The Longhorns need a convincing win over the Jayhawks and some style points along the way wouldn't hurt. And Texas struggled in an almost identical situation four seasons ago.
In 2004, Texas needed some heroics from Vince Young and a questionable offensive pass-interference call on Charles Gordon to escape with a 27-23 victory in that game. Kansas coach Mark Mangino complained bitterly and was even fined by the Big 12 for his postgame comments, but the Longhorns kept winning and later advanced to their first BCS berth that season.
It will be a similarly bitter-cold day at Memorial Stadium, but I'm betting that's where the coincidences end. The Longhorns should have a decided advantage in the trenches, even though they will be missing starting center Chris Hall with a sprained knee. Freshman David Snow gets his first career start.
Texas sack specialist Brian Orakpo is listed as questionable for the game, as is Lamarr Houston. But I still think Texas' substitutes should be able to generate enough pressure to keep Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing discombobulated, particularly if the Jayhawks don't protect him any better than they did against Nebraska's defensive front last week.
The Kansas game is also important because of the North Division title ramifications for later in the evening. If Texas can win, it will provide Missouri a chance to wrap up its second-straight Big 12 North title-game berth by winning at Iowa State.
So I'm betting that the Longhorns have a lot of fans in the "Show-Me State" for the next few hours.
Kickoff is just around the corner, so let's go check it out.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are some of the things I'll be watching for in Big 12 games tomorrow.
1. Kansas State fans' reaction to Ron Prince: The lame-duck Kansas State coach -- whose tenure will end up as the second-shortest in Big 12 history behind only Baylor's Dave Roberts -- will make his first home appearance since his dismissal last week. KSU fans seemed to have little excitement for the program during blowout home losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma earlier this year. Will that attitude change against Nebraska, a traditionally bitter rivalry that once was the prime North Division battle? It would be hard to tell this season, considering there are still seats available for Saturday's game.
2. Kansas' beleaguered offensive line against Texas' athletic defensive front: The Jayhawks allowed five sacks against Nebraska last week and 13 in the last four weeks. Texas pass-rushing specialist Brian Orakpo is back to create havoc for starting Kansas freshman tackles Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes. But a bigger worry might be Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller against Kansas senior guard Chet Hartley, who struggled mightily against Nebraska bull-rushing nose tackle Ndamukong Suh last week. More of the same might be waiting him again this week against Miller.
3. Todd Reesing challenging his childhood favorites: The Kansas quarterback was reared in central Austin only a couple of long touchdown passes away from Royal Memorial Stadium. He grew up watching Texas games with his father, a Texas alumnus. Like most Big 12 schools, the Longhorns didn't recruit Reesing heavily in high school because of his size. He's left the state to flourish as Kansas' career passing leader. And a bigger career achievement for him personally might be knocking the Longhorns out of the BCS race.
4. Baylor in a rare position as favorite in a Big 12 favorite: The Bears will be coming into Saturday's game against Texas A&M as a favorite for only the fourth time since 2002, according to football guru Phil Steele. Their pregame point spread is also the highest for the Bears in a Big 12 game since a 1996 game against Missouri. The Bears shouldn't assume anything just because Vegas expects them to win, considering they are 1-20-1 in the last 22 games against the Aggies.
5. Missouri's trip to a traditional snake pit, Iowa State: The Tigers could have a shot to wrap up the Big 12 North if Texas beats Kansas earlier in the day. But Missouri has traditionally struggled against Iowa State, losing three of its last four games there, including a 2006 game that was the Tigers' most recent loss to a Big 12 North foe. But this matchup appears to decidedly favor the Tigers, particularly if Chase Daniel is on. A struggling Iowa State pass defense that has been blistered for an average of 358 passing yards and given up 13 touchdown passes in its last three games. The Cyclones will be supremely challenged by all of Missouri's offensive weapons.
6. Texas playing without starting center Chris Hall: The Kansas defensive front has not been a particular challenge for most teams this season. But the Longhorns' depth will be lessened after Hall suffered a knee injury in practice earlier this week that will keep him out of Saturday's game. The Longhorns' depth at the position already is depleted after Buck Burnette was kicked off the team last week for posting an inflammatory comment about President-elect Barack Obama on his personal Web page. It means freshman center David Snow will make his first career start with starting tight end Greg Smith serving as his backup. It's not the best of situations, especially if Texas has to rely on shotgun exchanges in a tight ballgame.
7. Oklahoma State's reaction to the crushing Texas Tech loss last week: The Cowboys' blowout loss in Lubbock snuffed out their BCS hopes. But they still have an opportunity for a New Year's Day bowl appearance with a strong finish. On Saturday, they must beat resurgent Colorado, which still has bowl hopes, too. It will be important for the Cowboys to use the same balanced offense that has typified their season. And it wouldn't hurt to get playmaking wide receiver Dez Bryant off to a quick start after his early struggles last week.
8. Jerrod Johnson vs. Robert Griffin: Two of the Big 12's most spectacular young players will spice up "The Battle of the Brazos" between Texas A&M and Baylor. We could be seeing this personal battle continue for the next several seasons. It will be interesting for both players on Saturday as they try to rebound from ugly performances last week.
9. The Colorado quarterback rotation: Cody Hawkins is expected to get the start Saturday night against Oklahoma State after his second-half rally helped the Buffaloes storm past Iowa State last week. Freshman Tyler Hansen is still expected to get some snaps as a change of pace against an Oklahoma State defense that has had trouble pressuring opposing passers throughout the season.
10. Nebraska's defense after receiving its Blackshirts: Coach Bo Pelini finally presented those coveted trinkets to his defense after it racked up five sacks against Kansas last week. The Cornhuskers might be in for a stiffer challenge than expected against quarterback Josh Freeman, a one-time Nebraska commitment who spurned the team to attend Kansas State. The Cornhuskers will be limited defensively without starting linebackers Cody Glenn (suspension for a violation of team rules) and Phillip Dillard (ankle). The backups need to pick up the slack against an underrated Kansas State offense that ranks 17th nationally in passing, 20th in scoring and 28th in total offense.