Big 12: E.J. Manuel

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, his first national award of the season.

He beat out fellow finalists Matt Barkley of USC, EJ Manuel of Florida State, AJ McCarron of Alabama and West Virginia's Geno Smith to win the award.


Which player will win the 2012 Heisman Trophy?


Discuss (Total votes: 351,208)

To be eligible, quarterbacks must be nearing completion of their college eligibility or be a fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with the recruiting class he signed with.

Klein carried Kansas State to an 11-1 record and its first Big 12 championship since 2003 by throwing for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns, adding 22 more touchdowns on the ground with 890 rushing yards.

Klein was also named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Monday.

"Collin is not just a tremendous athlete and leader on the field, but an MVP off the field as well, who repeatedly has been recognized for his numerous contributions to the community and to the spirit of sportsmanship," said John C. Unitas Jr., president of The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 6

October, 2, 2012
We've played five weeks of football, and here are the Big 12's best hopes at bringing the Heisman back to the league for a second consecutive season.

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith played one of the best games we've seen in a long time in a 70-63 win over Baylor, and finds himself all alone and way ahead of the pack in the Heisman race. If voting happened today, Smith might collect every No. 1 vote from across the country. Who else is even in the mix at this point? Smith has four more touchdown passes than anybody else and leads the passer rating statistic by more than 20 points. At this point, he's playing even better than RG3 did a year ago. There's a lot of football left to play, and Smith has a lot of tough opponents ahead. This race is far from over, but there's no doubt about the front-runner right now.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was off last week, but he's definitely in the mix for this race, too. He won't be able to make any moves this week against Kansas, but his stock probably will parallel Kansas State's record. Klein isn't able to put up the type of numbers Smith can.

3. David Ash, QB, Texas: Ash looks like a new man this year, and debuts on the Big 12 Heisman Watch this week after a 300-yard game with a handful of clutch throws in a 41-36 win over Oklahoma State on the road. So far, Ash is second in the Big 12 in passer rating and second in completion percentage, with the league's second-best touchdown-interception ratio. Ash has 10 scores and threw his first interception on Saturday in Stillwater.

4. Casey Pachall, QB, TCU: Pachall got stuck in a downpour Saturday night, and had his worst game in a long time. The Frogs got the win, but you can't take a lot from Pachall's numbers, which didn't affect his stock all that much. For now, TCU is just hanging around. Pachall's stock will either skyrocket or crash and burn on the final half of TCU's schedule.

5. Tavon Austin, WR/KR, West Virginia: Austin leads the Big 12 with 48 catches and he's third in the league with 560 yards. He has been quiet this year in the return game, but to this point, Stedman Bailey's probably been even better than Austin. Still, without return yardage, Bailey's got no shot to win. Justin Blackmon has taught us this. The Biletnikoff, though? Bailey's in the driver's seat.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, a weekly poll of 15 ESPN experts and analysts:
  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  4. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
  5. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 5

September, 25, 2012
Here are the Big 12's best hopes for the Heisman through four weeks of football:

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is the front-runner for the entire race, and with that come a whole lot of eyes. He has yet to throw an interception this year and has accounted for 13 touchdowns. Smith completed 30-of-43 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-21 win over Maryland. His completion percentage came down to earth, but he was still pretty good, despite being pressured more than he had all season. The reason: WVU's running game stalled without Shawne Alston.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein helped engineer the Wildcats' 24-19 win over Oklahoma with another solid game, even if his numbers aren't going to turn any heads. He's easily in the national top five for the Heisman after completing 13-of-21 passes for 149 yards and running 17 times for 79 yards and a touchdown.

3. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Austin had his best game of the year in the win over Maryland, catching 13 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns, earning the Big 12's player of the week honors. Austin's start/stop acumen was on display, and he's easily the quickest guy in the Big 12.

4. Casey Pachall, QB, TCU: Pachall makes his debut on our Big 12 Heisman Watch. It's still early for the Frogs, but despite some turnover issues in the red zone, Pachall has been really, really good and really underrated on the national scene so far this season. He completed 21-of-32 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns and an interception last week. Pachall is completing 76 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns, and the interception was his first of the season.

Here's how I voted in our ESPN Heisman Watch this week, a panel of 15 voters that previews the award each week:
  1. Geno Smith, QB, WVU
  2. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
  3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  4. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
  5. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

Three keys for Oklahoma in Tallahassee

September, 15, 2011
Oklahoma heads to Florida State this weekend for the game of the week. What has to happen for a Sooner victory?

I'm so glad you asked.

1. Keep contain on EJ Manuel early. Manuel likes to pass first. Don't think otherwise. But are his accuracy and efficiency good enough to beat Oklahoma on their own? He had a nice game against Virginia Tech's stout defense last year (23-of-31, 288 yards, TD, 2 INT) but if Oklahoma's linebackers let Manuel beat them with his legs too, it could be a long day for the defense. That's true of plenty of running quarterbacks, but Manuel is a much more balanced passer than the majority of scramblers. If the Sooners get burnt early with broken plays and end up having to assign a defender to constantly spy Manuel, he's got the ability to beat them with his arm.

2. Don't make the big mistake. As it stands, Oklahoma has about a 60-70 percent chance of winning this game. The turnover battle is important in any game, sure, but for a favored team on the road with a lot on the line, it's doubly important. Oklahoma survived a pick-six from Landry Jones at Oklahoma State last year with the Big 12 South in the balance. It might not be as fortunate this time. Maybe the big mistake is another turnover that turns into points. Maybe it's awful punt coverage on the always dangerous Greg Reid. Either way, plays like that shift momentum, and if Oklahoma wins the turnover battle in this game, that 60-70 percent chance only grows. If it's the opposite? Well, you know.

3. SHHHHHHHH. The crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium is going to be jacked. This is one of the biggest games in recent program history, and a whole lot is on the line. A win validates Florida State's rise and stamps them as a national title contender after last year's 10-win season -- Jimbo Fisher's first season at the helm. Seminoles fans know that. They want that. The Sooners will hear it early. The best way to counter it? Take the ball from the snap, score on the opening drive and quiet the crowd. Florida State did it to Oklahoma last year. Here's guessing the Seminoles don't bounce back with 44 consecutive points for a blowout win like Oklahoma did in 2010.

Lunch links: Congrats, Big 12. You all lose

September, 15, 2011
You are looking live ... at the Big 12 blog.

Mailbag: Test, new QB, coaches, UT slide?

May, 4, 2011
Thanks for the questions, all. Let's get started.

Little Stoops in Tallahassee, Fla asked: With my brother coming into town week 3 of the season. What match up's on myside of the ball should I have an advantage on, even tho OU's Offense looks better than last years?

David Ubben: Well, I don't see too many. And either way, Oklahoma will find a way to exploit the places on offense that it has the advantage.

Spoiler alert: If anyone beats Oklahoma this year, it's going to have to put up a ton of points or hope for turnovers. Landry Jones should be better than ever, and he's throwing to a deep corps of receivers, deeper than he's ever had.

The offensive line wasn't fantastic last year, but the only spot that it really struggled was trying to get pushes up front in short-yardage situations against good defenses. On the whole, it was pretty good, and Stoops raved -- unprompted, mind you -- about their progress this spring.

E.J. Manuel is going to have to have a heck of a game if Florida State is going to avenge last year's embarrassment in Norman.

Greg in Texas asked: Which first year coordinator has the most to prove? Which will be most successful?

DU: Most to prove is an interesting question. I'll go with Bryan Harsin at Texas, just because so many people still hate Boise State and don't buy that what the program has done is authentic. Having one of its coaches go off and be successful out from underneath the shadow of Chris Petersen could go a long way for both Harsin and the Boise State program.

As for most successful? In year one, that looks like it'll probably be Todd Monken by a long ways, mostly because of the talent he's inheriting. Success is different than impact, I suppose. He could have the same success that Dana Holgorsen had last year, but I don't think many would consider it the same kind of "impact." Does that matter? Well, that's up to you.

As for long-term success? I'll go with either Josh Heupel or Manny Diaz. Both are on the fast track to becoming head coaches very soon and both are in positions that should be conducive to big-time success.

Emperor Norton in San Francisco asked: In an interview with San Francisco radio station and Niner flagship, KNBR (THE Sports Leader!), Aldon Smith let slip that Niner Coach Jim Harbaugh gave him a 49 question test on football history. Questions included "How wide is the football field and who is Knute Rockne?" I guess Smith passed but what question(s) would you put on such a test?

DU: Yeah, I don't think that's a big deal. Aldon Smith said the field was 50 yards wide. It's 53 1/3. As long as he can see the white lines and understand that if he has the ball, he can't go outside of them, he'll be fine. Not an issue. He also didn't know who Knute Rockne was. Just guessing: He's not the only guy on his team who couldn't place Rockne.

That test isn't any kind of predictor for on-field success. All it is is a tool for a coach to get to know the kind of player he has, and what he needs to do to coach him. Harbaugh's a smart guy. Players will, more often than not, tell a coach what he wants to hear.

I imagine Harbaugh learned a lot by administering that test. Apparently, so did his players.

Chet Anderson in Ames, Iowa asked: What do you see as the realistic best and worse case scenario coming out of Iowa State's QB competition going into the season?

DU: We've seen Jerome Tiller. He didn't look great last year. He's good enough for them to win some games next year and maybe get to a bowl game, but he's not a game-changer.

Steele Jantz? He's still a bit of a wild-card. Best-case scenario: The receivers look completely different this year, Jantz is able to hit them and use his legs to make plays and Iowa State wins 7-8 games.

Worst-case scenario: Iowa State's quarterback position becomes a revolving door with no real optimism for the future. (See: Kansas, 2010)

Adam Penny in Austin, Texas asked: Did the draft prove that the problem at Texas last year was a simple lack of talent.they did not have any first round picks and Baylor had 2. If you look at the 2005 squad almost the entire team is in the NFL

DU: No, not necessarily. On offense, I agree with you, but Texas had three corners drafted, as well as DE Sam Acho. Next year, there should be more Longhorns defenders in the draft. Aaron Williams was pretty close to a first-rounder, too.

People want to point to recruiting rankings, but folks who watched Texas play last year have to be able to see the discrepancy on the two sides of the ball.

Defensively, Texas is still solid, and should have another good year.

Offensively, though? From quarterbacks to running backs to receivers to offensive line, Texas was definitely in the bottom third of the Big 12 in all three last year. Recruiting stars don't equal yards.

Luke in Corpus Christi, Texas asked: Should any of the teams in the Big 12 be calling former NC State QB Russell Wilson? If so which ones?

DU: I don't see it happening. Unlike what we thought in the preseason with Nebraska last year, there aren't any great Big 12 teams in need of a quarterback. Wilson will want to play for a contender. Additionally, he's a North Carolina native and as far as I can tell, has no ties to Texas or any other Big 12 states.