Big 12: Elvis Fisher

Offseason to-do list: Missouri

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
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We're taking a look at what each program in the Big 12 needs to deal with during the offseason, whether it be in the spring, summer or fall preseason camp. Maybe all three! Who knows?

Next up: The Missouri Tigers.

1. Figure out what/if the offense has to change. The Tigers, like Texas A&M, are headed for the SEC, and there are plenty of questions about how well Mizzou's wide-open, fast-paced attack will work in their new league, which is known for having the biggest, strongest and fastest defenses in all of college football. This season especially, those defenses were responsible for the league winning its sixth consecutive national title.

2. Solidify the defensive line. Mizzou's defensive line was the most talented in the Big 12, but was somewhat underwhelming in 2011. It was good, far above average for the Big 12, but nowhere near dominant. Well, defensive lines in the SEC are like quarterbacks in the Big 12: The grade is much stricter. The Tigers lose Jacquies Smith and Terrell Resonno, as well as one of the Big 12's most productive tackles, Dominique Hamilton. Brad Madison is back after a 2011 that had him slowed by injury, but this unit will face much different offenses in 2012, and needs to be better.

3. Develop chemistry on the offensive line. Left tackle Elvis Fisher's status for an additional year from the NCAA after a preseason knee injury is still in flux, but if he's gone, Mizzou's big hole gets even bigger. Guards Jayson Palmgren and Austin Wuebbels are gone, as is right tackle Dan Hoch, one of the team's top talents. The line of scrimmage is where games are won, and though Mizzou's been really solid on the offensive line the past few years, that will have to continue against tougher defensive lines in the SEC.

Preseason vs. Postseason All-Big 12 team

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
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It's always fun looking back on what we thought in the preseason, and today, we'll take another look.

Here's who made the postseason team.

How did our All-Big 12 preseason team stack up at season's end?

OFFENSE

QB: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
  • Led the Big 12 with 4,328 passing yards and threw 34 touchdown passes. Only the postseason All-Big 12 QB, Robert Griffin III, had more. He was named the second-team All-Big 12 QB by both the coaches and media.
RB: Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
  • Gray was sidelined late in the season with a stress fracture in his shoulder, but rushed for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. That ranked fifth in the Big 12, and Gray earned second-team All-Big 12 honors by the coaches and media.
RB: Christine Michael, Texas A&M
  • Michael tore his ACL against Oklahoma, derailing another likely 1,000-yard season. He still rushed for 899 yards and averaged better than six yards per carry.
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
  • Blackmon won his second consecutive Biletnikoff Award and earned unanimous All-Big 12 first-team honors after catching 113 passes for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns.
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
  • Broyles caught 83 passes for 1,157 yards before tearing his ACL in the ninth game of the season. He still cracked the coaches' first team and my first team, but was relegated to second team by the media.
TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri
  • Egnew kept on keeping on, leading all Big 12 tight ends with 47 catches for 484 yards and three touchdowns, earning unanimous All-Big 12 first-team honors.
OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
  • Adcock cracked a few All-American teams and earned unanimous All-Big 12 first-team honors.
OL: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
  • Osemele landed on SI.com's All-American team and earned unanimous first-team honors.
C: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State
  • Garner cracked SI.com's All-American team and landed on the media's first team, but was pushed to the second team by Baylor's Philip Blake on the coaches All-Big 12 teams.
OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
  • Taylor didn't crack any All-Big 12 postseason first teams.
OL: Elvis Fisher, Missouri
  • Fisher suffered a ruptured patellar tendon before the season and didn't play, and is waiting on an NCAA waiver for a sixth year of eligibility.
We'll take a look at the defense later today.

Lunch links: TCU-Big 12 reaction

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
12:00
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It's like watching The Breakfast Club on TBS.

Missouri dealing with the cost of injuries

September, 12, 2011
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After Missouri's first drive against Arizona State, all De'Vion Moore could do was watch from the sideline with his ankle wrapped in ice.

The Tigers were down another starter -- they entered Friday night's game without six -- and a backfield with four ready running backs was reduced to one.

Two offensive linemen were sidelined, including starting center Travis Ruth with a sprained knee. All-Big 12 left tackle Elvis Fisher will miss the season after injuring his patellar tendon in fall camp.

Senior linebacker Will Ebner also missed the game after suffering a high-ankle sprain against Miami (Ohio), right before Jacquies Smith went out with a dislocated elbow. Kendial Lawrence also suffered a broken fibula, and Jerrell Jackson dressed for Friday's loss but didn't play because of a hamstring injury.

"This is my 21st year as a head coach, and I’ve been fortunate enough not to be in this situation. But we handle it around here," said coach Gary Pinkel. "Obviously, we’re a different football team than we were August 1st."

It might be a team forced to do some unconventional things in the near future to adjust. Receiver T.J. Moe gets some touches in Missouri's running game with jet sweeps and direct snaps, but that role might be a bigger one with 190-pound Henry Josey the last man left standing with any experience in the backfield.

"We’ve discussed that we can do some things with T.J. Obviously, he can do a lot of things," Pinkel said. "We’ll put plays in for him, hopefully from a preparation standpoint, just a backup."

Moe joked after Friday's loss that he could line up at running back, but Pinkel says more work will be available for 250-pound walk-on fullback Jared Culver, as well as freshman back Greg White.

"Big game, a big arena, he has not carried the football once. I did not want to [play White]. Bottom line," Pinkel said.

Missouri hosts FCS opponent Western Illinois on Saturday after suffering the Big 12's only loss through two weeks of play.

"We’re not going to have excuses. Players understand that people have got to step it up," Pinkel said. "We live with reality. The kiss of death to me is feeling sorry for ourselves or for anybody within our organization. We don’t do that here."
Ouch. Those are the losses that hurt the most for fans.

Missouri stormed back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth-quarter, but settled for a deep field-goal attempt late in the fourth quarter and -- in what's sure to be a controversial decision -- iced its own kicker.

Grant Ressel missed the 48-yard kick and the game went into overtime, where Missouri couldn't match Arizona State's touchdown and lost, 37-30.

Let's start with the nasty stuff.

THE BAD
  • Argue the statistics surrounding icing kickers all you'd like. It's dubious if not counterproductive. But I've never seen a coach ice his own kicker, and unless Ressel explicitly asked for Pinkel to do it, I don't see the benefit. Additionally, Missouri went superconservative offensively once it was in field goal range, instead of fighting to get an easier attempt. Both of those decisions are ripe for second-guessing, and will be digested to no end throughout the week for the black-and-gold inclined. Outside of being embarrassingly unconventional, I don't see the huge harm of the kicker icing. I do think the Tigers needed to keep running their usual offense and ride the wave of momentum that got them there, rather than settle for a big kick from Ressel, who is usually reliable and a legitimate Lou Groza Award candidate.
  • Ouch, secondary. It was out of position a lot throughout the night, and failed to make plays when it was in position several times. E.J. Gaines especially had a rough night, getting burned twice for scores by Aaron Pflugrad, who finished with eight catches for 180 yards. The secondary solidified late in the game, which was good to see, but Missouri took a huge step defensively under coordinator Dave Steckel last season. It looks like this year, with young corners, it may take a step back. There's lots of room for growth, sure, but the Tigers better do it fast. There are a lot better offenses than Arizona State waiting for the Tigers in the Big 12. Osweiler would probably be the fifth or sixth best QB in the Big 12, and he finished with 353 yards, three TDs, no turnovers and completed 24 of 32 (77 percent) passes. Not good.
  • The flip side of those secondary struggles? Where was the defensive line? The Tigers are the most talented in the Big 12, but didn't look like it on Friday. It didn't reach Osweiler often, and where was top pass-rusher Brad Madison? His spin move wasn't working and he was quiet when Missouri needed him to step up. The defense was much better late when momentum turned, but Osweiler picked apart the defense for the better part of the night, in part because of the lack of pressure up front.
  • Awful luck for Missouri at running back. Henry Josey was great (9 carries for 94 yards), but we'll see how long De'Vion Moore is out. He injured his ankle on the opening drive and didn't return. Missouri had four great backs to begin fall camp. Now, with starter Kendial Lawrence sidelined with a broken fibula, Moore out and Marcus Murphy likely done for the season with shoulder surgery, Josey may be leaned on a whole lot more. Those guys combined for 1,557 yards and 19 TDs last year, but two games into the season, only one is standing. Josey accounted for 437 yards, five scores and 76 carries as a freshman in 2010.
  • Arizona's penalties stole the show, but Missouri was undisciplined, too. The Tigers had 11 for 114 yards, compared to Arizona State's 12 for 110 yards. Bad, bad, bad.
THE GOOD
  • What a difference a week makes for James Franklin. He's going to be sporadic all year, but he's going to improve fast, too. He had some awful throws, yes, but he had a lot more good ones, and kept Missouri alive with a handful of high-pressure passes in big positions. It's a loss, and he didn't make a play in OT when Mizzou needed it most, but you've got to feel good about the future behind Franklin. His mechanics looked better, he was more accurate, and did a decent job of running when he needed to. Very good signs.
  • Missouri needed more receivers to show up and help out T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew with a banged-up Jerrell Jackson in uniform, and they answered. Marcus Lucas had a huge catch in the fourth quarter to get the Tigers into scoring position, and finished with four catches for 87 yards. L'Damian Washington also had a big catch in traffic on a beautiful throw from Franklin to cut the lead to 30-23 in the fourth quarter. He finished with three catches for 39 yards. Six different receivers had at least two receptions, and Josey caught two for 51 yards. All good things for Missouri's offense.
  • The offensive line looked rough late in the game, but without left tackle Elvis Fisher and center Travis Ruth, the patchwork line had a pretty good game, especially against a good front seven. Vontaze Burfict wasn't running wild, which is a nice start. The offensive line didn't play so well in overtime, but Franklin had room to operate for most of the game and wasn't rushed too often. Not great, but good. Like Franklin, they'll get better as they move along without Fisher for the season and whenever Ruth returns from his sprained knee.

Big 12 Stock Watch: Week 2

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
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Let's take a little look around the markets across the Big 12 after one week of games.

Rising: All of Baylor's everything

With Friday night's win over No. 14 TCU, Baylor jumped from a team that didn't receive a single vote in either poll to begin the season, to No. 20 in the media poll and No. 26 in the coaches poll. Who says moving games to Friday nights is a bad idea? It paid off huge for Baylor. After the win, quarterback Robert Griffin III made the short trip up I-35 to Cowboys Stadium for an appearance on "College GameDay" Saturday morning. The Bears were also named the Fiesta Bowl's national team of the week. Is there a hotter team after Week 1? And how much of that fire would be doused if the Bears had played on Saturday afternoon?

Falling: Missouri's outlook

Maybe more than it should, but the Tigers were unimpressive offensively, even if the blame for it fell too heavily on first-time starter James Franklin's shoulders at quarterback. But the fact remains: Missouri's offense isn't very explosive, and won't be more explosive with the loss of its biggest home-run hitter, Kendial Lawrence. Lawrence raced for a 71-yard touchdown against Texas Tech last year. He broke his fibula on Saturday, and the Tigers will be without defensive end Jacquies Smith, linebacker Will Ebner, left tackle Elvis Fisher, center Travis Ruth and wide receiver Jerrell Jackson when they play Arizona State on Friday. All were starters.

Rising: Darrin Moore

I'm not going to use the "M-C" word about the Texas Tech senior who was a junior college transfer, but was Saturday night the beginning of something huge? I wouldn't rule it out. How many players in the country can rack up 12 catches, 221 yards and a touchdown against anyone? Yeah, it was against Texas State, but Justin Blackmon had eight catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns against Washington State last year. At 6-foot-4, and 214 pounds, keep an eye on Moore.

Falling: Skepticism around Texas' return to prominence

Count me among those that is starting to become a believer. I don't think BYU will be as good as I thought they'd be this offseason, but I'm starting to come around on the Longhorns this year. I thought they'd have more success running the ball than most people thought, but the emergence of Jaxon Shipley is a huge deal for them, and gives Garrett Gilbert even more help. So, here's my pledge, Texas: Beat BYU, and you're in my top 25. Blow them out? In my top 20.

Big 12 players on and off the field this week

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
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Lots of personnel news across the Big 12 on Monday.

Missouri loses two more

Missouri is already playing without senior left tackle and captain Elvis Fisher, who will miss the season with a torn patellar tendon. So far this season, the Tigers are dealing with more injuries than any team in the Big 12.

Starting senior linebacker Will Ebner will miss Friday's game against Arizona State with a high ankle sprain, Gary Pinkel announced on Monday. He sprained the ankle in the first half of Saturday's win over Miami (OH) and did not return.

Defensive end Jacquies Smith will also miss Friday's game after dislocating his elbow in Saturday's game.

The Tigers already were playing without center Travis Ruth, and he won't make his return on Friday.

Marquise Goodwin in

Texas receiver Goodwin missed the spring and looked like he'd miss the first part of fall camp to compete on the track.

So, he decided to redshirt and return to the team in 2012. Until Monday, that is, when Goodwin announced he'd be returning to the team and be in practice on Tuesday.

"Words can't even explain how I excited I am right now to be getting back on the football field," Goodwin said in a release. "When I was overseas, I was missing football, the guys and being a part of the team so much. I thought about how they were getting ready for the season, working hard and pulling together, but it really hit me when I was in the airport on my way back from Seoul."

Goodwin caught 31 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore in 2010.

Tech starter out with 'deflated lung'

Defensive end Leon Mackey was one of the most hyped newcomers on Texas Tech's team, but he made just four tackles before being injured in Saturday's win over Texas State. On Monday, coach Tommy Tuberville announced the injury was a "deflated lung," suffered on a big hit.

The injury forced him to spend 24 hours in the hospital.

"It's up in the air how long he'll be out," Tuberville told reporters Monday. "Probably several weeks, maybe more."

Notes/thoughts from the Big 12 two-deeps

August, 29, 2011
8/29/11
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A few teams across the Big 12 updated their depth charts in preparation for the season. Here's what you ought to know.

KANSAS STATE
  • Bill Snyder's depth chart for the team's game notes heading into next week's game against Eastern Kentucky? A work of art.
  • Snyder said he'll be releasing the depth chart tomorrow. More later on the Wildcats.
OKLAHOMA
  • Oklahoma didn't have any huge surprises, but the biggest news: Jamell Fleming has officially reclaimed his spot above Gabe Lynn at the boundary corner spot, despite missing all of spring practice after leaving the university.
  • Three true freshmen also broke the lineup. Kameel Jackson will back up Trey Franks at receiver, and recently added linebacker Kellen Jones is a co-backup with Jaydan Bird behind Tom Wort at middle linebacker. Nila Kasitati is a co-backup behind Tyler Evans at right guard.
  • Doubt the committee approach at running back? Brennan Clay, Dominique Whaley and Roy Finch are all co-starters at the position. Finch is listed last on that group, but we'll see how carries are distributed in Week 1 vs. Tulsa. Whaley is a walk-on who has had big days in the spring game the past two seasons.
  • Ronnell Lewis is listed as the starter at defensive end, but the university has yet to officially clarify his eligibility status. Kenny Stills is likely suspended for Saturday's game after an offseason arrest, but he's listed as the starter at receiver.
TEXAS TECH
  • Texas Tech has pair of hyped defensive linemen, and both cracked the two-deep. Leon Mackey, a juco transfer, will start at defensive end in Week 1 for the Red Raiders against Texas State. Meanwhile, former UNC signee and recently cleared true freshman Delvon Simmons will back up Kerry Hyder at defensive tackle in Chad Glasgow's 4-2-5 scheme, fresh from TCU.
  • Glasgow will lean on a true freshman for one of his two linebacker spots. Blake Dees had a huge impact in the spring and solidified his starting spot during fall camp.
  • Receiver Marcus Kennard, a juco transfer, looks like he'll redshirt after not showing up on the two-deep, but Darrin Moore will grab the Z receiver spot for the Red Raiders.
OKLAHOMA STATE
  • The rumors have been officially proven correct at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys return all five starters on the offensive line, but juco transfer Michael Bowie has crashed the starting lineup at left tackle. He'll replace Nick Martinez, who'll back up Lane Taylor at right guard now. The Cowboys offensive line is the league's best, and clearly, Bowie's hyped arrival gives it a whole lot more than depth.
  • Justin Gilbert has officially usurped Devin Hedgepeth as the corner opposite Brodrick Brown. No surprise there. Gilbert's ceiling is sky high.
  • Caleb Lavey was the likely starter at the spot, but he'll officially start the year as Orie Lemon's replacement at middle linebacker, where he began spring camp.
MISSOURI
  • Justin Britt replaces Elvis Fisher at left tackle. The sophomore had been inside, but the team saw him moving outside eventually. He'll take that spot now with Fisher out for the season with a torn patellar tendon.
  • Hyped juco transfer Sheldon Richardson? Fifth on the depth chart no more. The recently cleared big man moved to No. 2 at defensive tackle behind Terrell Resonno.
  • Center Travis Ruth is out for the opener against Miami (OH). Jayson Palmgren fills his void.
  • Starting corner Kip Edwards is doubtful. Trey Hobson is listed as the starter.
  • Receiver Jerrell Jackson is also doubtful. Marcus Lucas will get the nod if Jackson can't go.
  • True freshman Corbin Berkstresser grabbed the No. 3 quarterback spot behind James Franklin and returning backup Jimmy Costello, who left the team and planned to join the Army, but re-joined after Tyler Gabbert's transfer.
IOWA STATE
  • Iowa State made it official on paper: Steele Jantz is the starting quarterback. His backfield? Crowded, but led by Shontrelle Johnson, as expected.
  • I'm not sure if it means he's playing for sure just yet, but Darius Reynolds is listed as the starter at one of the three receiver spots, despite suffering a broken toe earlier in fall camp.
  • A.J. Klein, meanwhile, has moved to middle linebacker next to weak side linebacker Jake Knott. Matt Tau'fo'ou started at middle linebacker spot last year, but after suffering a broken leg, he's backing up Klein in the middle. C.J. Morgan, a freshman, takes over at strong side. I haven't seen Morgan play, but at 207 pounds vs. Klein's 243, he'd presumably offer some more, much-needed speed at the position. Jacob Lattimer? Starting at defensive end, despite a March arrest and suspension.

Big 12 power rankings: Week 1

August, 29, 2011
8/29/11
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Oh, yes. It is game week.

Today is Monday, which means we'll kick off our weekly power rankings and continue doing so each week throughout the season.

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are clearly the class of the Big 12 but will have to start proving it early with a hyped trip to Tallahassee to face a Florida State team that yours truly thinks is a bit overrated. Saturday, though? Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles will open the season at home against an underrated Tulsa team that won more games in 2010 than Florida State but will travel to Norman perhaps without its top playmaker, Damaris Johnson. G.J. Kinne is great, but he'll have to be spectacular for the Golden Hurricane to be a serious threat.

2. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys gave college football fans a treat with the return of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, who will kick off their encore seasons against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that spawned Weeden's trust in Blackmon originally last season. The opener should be a snoozer, but next week's rematch of the Alamo Bowl against Arizona could produce big fireworks on a Thursday night national broadcast.

3. Texas A&M: This is an absolute coin flip. Until the teams meet on Sept. 24, I'll probably flip OSU and A&M depending on who was more impressive the previous week. The Aggies will have the best chance to impress with a Sunday nighter against an underrated SMU team coming to Kyle Field with a crowd that could get a huge boost from the prospect of a future in the SEC, which might be announced later this week.

4. Missouri: We'll get our first real look at James Franklin when the Tigers suit up against Miami (Ohio). After struggling early in spring camp during his competition with Tyler Gabbert, Franklin has only gotten better. This week will be big for the Tigers' offensive line, which has to find a suitable replacement for stalwart left tackle Elvis Fisher, a 40-game starter who will miss the season with a torn patellar tendon. The Tigers' first big test is just six days from Saturday, when they travel to Tempe, Ariz.,to play Arizona State.

5. Baylor: Baylor's new-look defense will get a pretty good test from TCU. The Bears are the Big 12's lone team matched up with a ranked opponent in Week 1. A win against the defending Rose Bowl champs with the nation's eyes watching a Friday night ESPN broadcast could be a big coming-out party for Art Briles and Robert Griffin III on a national scale.

6. Texas: obody knows what to expect from the Longhorns, but we might find out who'll be starting at quarterback for the Horns later today. The defense, which has led the Big 12 in total defense the past four seasons, should still be stout in spite of a young secondary, but an amorphous offseason depth chart will take shape this week.

7. Texas Tech: There are a lot of new faces on the field for the Red Raiders, but Year 2 under Tommy Tuberville will probably get off to a yawn-worthy start with FCS Texas State heading to Lubbock for the opener. Tech is a bit of a wild card that might be as good as the league's fourth-best team. This is probably as low on the power rankings as you'll see the Red Raiders all season.

8. Kansas State: The Wildcats caught a break with Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown being given limited immunity by the NCAA and avoiding eligbility issues from the mess at Miami, but we'll finally get a chance to see K-State's hyped transfers take the field. Arthur Brown emerged as one of the defense's top playmakers during the spring, but what will Bryce Brown have to offer? And has Collin Klein improved enough as a passer to help the Wildcats claw into the next tier of Big 12 teams?

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones might be better than this, but they're going to have to prove it. No one above them in the power rankings finished with a worse record last season. The Big 12 had only one team (Kansas) that finished with a record worse than 5-7. New quarterback Steele Jantz, replacing three-year starter Austen Arnaud, should be fun to watch.

10. Kansas: Improvement is the name of the game for the Jayhawks, who dropped a game to an FCS team in Week 1 last year. It's doubtful we'll see a repeat against McNeese State this time around, but how much better will Kansas be? We'll get a better sense when the Jayhawks tangle with an underrated Northern Illinois team in Week 2 and ACC foe Georgia Tech the next week.

The Big 12 Twitter must-follows for 2011

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
1:15
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The season is upon us, and things have started heating up everywhere. That includes cyberspace, too. Not just the gridiron. For those of you on Twitter (which really, should be all of you) here are the best Tweeters in the Big 12, in no particular order.

You can, of course, follow me on Twitter here.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (@bweeden3)

Weeden, a walk-on for the Cowboys top-tier golf program, will periodically make you jealous with tweets from the golf course during the middle of the week in the offseason. He'll also make you laugh more than most in the league and tweets back at his fans constantly. Also, his dog is awesome, and is known to sport his owner's OSU jersey.

Sample tweet: Me & the Duke man have the place to ourselves this weekend. @MelanieWeeden is n Vegas so were gonna hold the fort down! http://yfrog.com/kfb6fsbj


Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma (@TonyJefferson1)

Jefferson will make you laugh, too, and he's been known to (somewhat harmlessly) stir the pot with his tweets from time to time, specifically with a few aimed in Oklahoma State's direction.

Sample tweet: It's not fun being broke. But it's crazy how yu fight through and try to find ways to make it work. Mamma always told me work with wat u got


Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (@JustBlack81)

Unlike his efforts on the field, Blackmon isn't the most consistent tweeter, but you've got to get a look inside the life of the game's best receiver, right?

Sample tweet: 1st day of class...hope all my #OkState fam has a good 1st day

T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri (@TJMoe28)

Moe is a good mix of insight, life lessons and comedy, mixed with general observations of college life and football. Check him out.

Sample tweet: I try to stay away from desserts, but when there is carrot cake in the dining hall, I have no hope.


Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma (@KStills4)

Stills endured a Bob Stoops-induced hiatus from the site in the offseason, but he's back with an entertaining vengeance this fall. His argument on the site that his teammate, Ryan Broyles, was a better receiver than Justin Blackmon got blown completely out of proportion, but he's not shy about his opinions, and loves saying hello to his best friends on campus: Compliance.

Sample tweet: Got some twitter tips for student athletes in my locker.. Lol the last tip is dont let the rules prevent you from having fun w your twitter.

By the way, here's that list, if you're curious. All good advice.


Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M (@CyrusGray32)

Gray's got the best avatar of the bunch, a styling photo from a trip with former teammate Von Miller to the NFL draft in April. He'll retweet fans that tweet at him more than any other player in the league.

Sample tweet: Find something that pushes you harder each day! Before you have Pleasure you got to go through Pain!


Drew Allen, QB, Oklahoma (@DrewAllen1)

Allen is Landry Jones' backup, but his account far surpasses that of the Sooners' starter. (That's @LandryJones12, by the way.) Allen's got a strong case as the league's most humorous tweeter.

Sample tweet 1: My teacher... Mr. Swagg http://lockerz.com/s/132495156

Sample tweet 2: For obvious reasons RT @txsportzfan: @DrewAllen1 why did you take a pic of your teacher?


Trent Hunter, S, Texas A&M (@TrentHunter01)

Hunter is good about giving fans a look inside the life of a senior Aggie, and hey, it doesn't hurt when he retweets articles from yours truly.

Sample tweet: Day 1 starts in 10 minutes. I can't even think about sleep right now lol


Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State (@jknott20)

Knott's account requires him to approve you to follow him, but he's still one of the league's most entertaining tweeters.

Sample tweet (from before Big 12 Media Days): all members of the media sporting any ISU gear will have an in n out burger in their hands by the end of the day.


The remains of AJ Steward (@Jizzle_11) and Daymond Patterson (@DP4Heisman), Kansas receivers

Both players are off the site per team rules, and Patterson's account is suspended. However, their offseason video efforts (and ensuing Twitter promotional blitz) landed the pair on College Football Live.

Sample tweet: The person I'm looking most forward to going up against during camp is @TOTrey5. Gotta love a good challenge. We'll make each other better


Elvis Fisher, LT, Missouri (@ElvisFisher72)

Fisher is out for the season with a knee injury, but he's most likely to carry on the Missouri tradition of tweeting photos of himself after he's caught a fish, a Blaine Gabbert Twitter staple.

Sample tweet: My college degree! http://twitpic.com/65kpbl


Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas (@qdiggs28)

Diggs, a true freshman, could be a rising star in this league. For now, he gives you a look inside what it's like being a freshman Longhorn.

Sample tweet: Just had a nice karaoke night with the team! I love our team!


Eric Stephens, RB, Texas Tech (@EricStephens24)

Stephens may be a household name in the Big 12 this time next year. You'd be best served to follow him while he does it.

Sample tweet: I need to find something else I love to do besides football

Offering insight into the Big 12 O-lines

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
2:30
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The Rimington Trophy, given annually to college football's top center, is starting up its own blog soon, and asked yours truly for a little insight into the Big 12 offensive lines.

Here's what I had to say:

What is the overall strength of the offensive lines in the Big 12?

It's good, but not great. Oklahoma State is the league's best, and Baylor is really underrated on a national scale. I've got the Bears as the second best line in the league, closely followed by Texas A&M and Missouri, who both return four starters from good lines in 2010.

Which team in the Big 12 you think will be most impacted by the loss of last year’s senior center?

Probably Missouri. They look like they're going to put Travis Ruth, an experienced junior, in Tim Barnes' slot, but Barnes was a three-year starter and an All-Big 12 talent. His knowledge and ability to adapt is going to be tough to replace. (Post-script: That loss could be even more difficult to rebound from after losing All-Big 12 left tackle Elvis Fisher for the season with a torn patellar tendon.)

Are there any up and coming first year centers you think may exceed expectations?

It's a little early. We haven't heard a lot of these guys get a ton of credit from the coaching staffs, so we'll see.

What team in the Big 12 poses the biggest defensive threat to an offensive line?

Missouri, definitely. Their defensive line is loaded. It's deep and has the most top-end talent. If newly eligible Sheldon Richardson is the real deal, too? Offensive lines better look out.

Who do you think will emerge as the best center in the conference?

I think it'll be a close race between Ben Habern at Oklahoma, Grant Garner at Oklahoma State and Philip Blake at Baylor.

Lunch links: Aggies-SEC saga marches on

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
12:00
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For what it's worth, I was pretty impressed with R. Bowen Loftin on Monday. Didn't dodge any questions, but didn't reveal much. Good combo.
Missouri left tackle Elvis Fisher suffered what coach Gary Pinkel called a "serious" knee injury in Monday's practice, according to multiple reports.

“He’s got a very serious knee injury,” Pinkel told reporters after practice, which was open to the media. “It’s very serious. We’ll know more about it … and he’s probably getting an MRI as we’re talking right now. But it’s very significant.”

From the Columbia Tribune:
Fisher, who has started every game since 2008, went down during a 1-on-1 pass-rush drill against defensive end Michael Sam and instantly clutched his left knee and screamed in pain. The co-captain was helped off the field by two trainers and taken into the team facility.

Fisher has 40 consecutive starts for the Tigers, 10 short of the school record. He was on ESPN.com's All-Big 12 first team and also ranked No. 18 on our countdown of the top 25 players in the Big 12.

Fisher was replaced by Justin Britt at left tackle after the injury.

He's the second top talent in the Big 12 to go down in as many weeks. Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis, an All-America-caliber talent who's led the Sooners in tackles in each of the past three seasons, suffered a broken toe last week and will miss eight weeks, but is expected to be available for Oklahoma's date with Texas on Oct. 8.

Ranking the Top 25 Big 12 players: No. 18

August, 4, 2011
8/04/11
2:00
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The official list of the Big 12's top 25 players is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing the list day by day here on the blog. Here's a refresher on my exact criteria.

No. 18: Elvis Fisher, LT, Missouri

2010 numbers: Helped Missouri's offensive line pave the way for 2,033 rushing yards and 3,292 passing yards, while giving up just 21 sacks (fourth in the Big 12) and averaging 4.63 yards per carry.

Most recent ranking: Fisher was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Fisher: Fisher was perhaps never better than he was in the Tigers' season finale, a late loss to Iowa that featured 57 pass attempts for Blaine Gabbert, adding up to 434 yards. Fisher was lined up against Adrian Clayborn, a first-round pick and preseason All-American.

Fisher, however, dominated the night (Clayborn finished with one tackle) and has been one of the Tigers' most consistent starters on the offensive line for his entire career. Fisher missed the spring with shoulder surgery, but enters the season with 40 consecutive starts at left tackle, helping protect the blind side for Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert and now James Franklin. By season's end, he may have the most starts of any Missouri player ever, but after seizing the starting role in his redshirt freshman camp in 2008, Fisher has only improved as the most outstanding member of Missouri's offensive line, which returns four starters.

The rest of the list:

Video: Missouri OL Elvis Fisher

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
5:30
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David Ubben talks with Missouri offensive lineman Elvis Fisher.

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