Big 12: Jalil Brown

Wrapping up the Big 12's draft

May, 2, 2011
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The NFL draft has come and gone, and I hope you're all prepared for no more NFL anything for awhile. I know I'm not.

Anyway, here's how the Big 12 shook out over the weekend, with a few thoughts to follow.

First round (8)

Second round (2)
Third round (2)
Fourth round (6)
Fifth round (3)
Sixth round (1)
Seventh round (8)

Here's how the Big 12 teams ranked in terms of total draftees:

1. Nebraska - 7
2. Baylor - 4
2. Colorado - 4
2. Oklahoma - 4
2. Texas - 4
6. Missouri - 3
7. Kansas State -1
7. Oklahoma State - 1
7. Texas A&M - 1
7. Texas Tech - 1
11. Iowa State - 0
11. Kansas - 0

And the major conferences (counting where players actually played):

SEC - 38
Pac-12 - 33
Big 12 - 30
Big Ten - 29
ACC - 35
Big East - 22

  • Texas A&M had just one player drafted, but the Aggies will have plenty next year, including a handful of possible first-rounders. Cyrus Gray, Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller could all go very early in 2012, depending on what happens between now and then.
  • [+] EnlargeJeremy Beal
    Matthew Emmons/US PresswireOklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal was drafted in the seventh round by Denver.

  • Interesting that Miller went 245 selections before the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year, according to the media, Jeremy Beal. Also an interesting coincidence? The same team drafted both. I do think Beal will have a productive NFL career, and there's no denying what he did at Oklahoma, but the measurables were never quite there for Beal. What's not measurable? How difficult he is to block. That said, Miller was my vote for the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Good to see some hard-working, perhaps under-respected guys get drafted. This was an important year for that, considering those left over won't be able to get into NFL minicamps until the lockout ends and won't be able to do anything to further their NFL careers besides work out on their own. I'll have a post later today on some of those snubs. There's no guarantee that late-drafted guys like Baron Batch, Scotty McKnight, Jay Finley or Eric Hagg will catch on in the the pros, but I'd be willing to guarantee they'll do everything in their power to maximize what opportunities they get.
  • One of the most interesting selections? Mikail Baker. He wasn't invited to the combine, and played just one full season on defense at Baylor after working as a kick returner and a cornerback in 2009 before a season-ending knee injury. You don't see that kind of impressive athleticism at Baylor traditionally.
  • Let the debate continue: Kendall Hunter vs. DeMarco Murray. Murray getting drafted 40-some spots earlier only intensified that discussion, if you ask me.
  • Also, what's more impressive from Art Briles? That Baylor had four picks, the most in school history since 1996? Or that despite those four picks, Baylor's returning an even better team than last season, when it ended a 16-year bowl drought?
  • Colorado's draft, meanwhile? Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Dan Hawkins' coaching job in Boulder.
  • Alex Henery didn't win the Lou Groza Award, but his fourth-round selection makes him the earliest kicker draft pick since 2006. Will that end the state of Nebraska's blood feud against respectable OSU kicker Dan Bailey, who did win the Lou Groza Award? I doubt it. (Save your emails. For the 100th time, I agree, Nebraska fans. Henery > Bailey.)
  • A few guys who went way lower than I thought they would. In order of my surprise level: Beal, Gabbert, Amukamara, Hagg, Hunter.
  • A few guys who went way higher than I thought, in the same order: Aldon Smith, Batch, Gachkar, Baker.

Getting to know Colorado

February, 11, 2011
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Colorado is new to the Pac-12 but old to the Big 12, so it makes sense to check in with Big 12 blogger David Ubben to get his take on the state of the Buffaloes as they welcome new coach Jon Embree.

Just who are these Buffaloes? What are their strengths and weaknesses and how will they fit into the Pac-12, specifically the Pac-12 South?

We went looking for insights and Ubben obliged.

Ted Miller: Well, David you -- and the Big 12 -- have to say goodbye to Colorado, with the Buffaloes looking to their future out West in the Pac-12. First of all, give Pac-12 fans a CliffsNotes description of the state of the program. Things haven’t gone so well in Boulder lately. Why?

David Ubben: Colorado is certainly in rebuilding mode as they kick off a new start under coach Jon Embree after firing Dan Hawkins in the middle of the 2010 season. They bring back two stars in quarterback Tyler Hansen and running back Rodney Stewart. But fitting those guys into Embree's new system and greatly improving from their 5-7 record seems like asking a lot.

Hawkins came to Boulder promising big things but never delivered. As for why it didn't go well? Any number of reasons. One that angered fans is Hawkins' tendency to play less talented players who knew the system well over more talented players that maybe didn't have as solid of a grasp of what they wanted to do on the field. Embree has said he'll do essentially the opposite, so I guess that's a start in the eyes of fans.

TM: OK, let’s look forward then. Tell Pac-12 folks about Embree, his new staff and the talent the Buffaloes have returning. What are strengths and what are question marks heading into the 2011 season?

DU: He's stocked his coaching staff with quite a few Buffaloes, but most of the names would be more recognizable as players. The biggest name is his offensive coordinator, former Buffs great Eric Bieniemy, who spent the past few years coaching Adrian Peterson as the running backs coach at the Minnesota Vikings. They also swiped Bobby Kennedy, a Boulder native, from Texas to coach receivers.

Last year, they ran the ball pretty well, and Stewart is back. He's a small, shifty back that seems way, way underrated. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards last year, and the only Big 12 backs who had more were Daniel Thomas and Kendall Hunter, who should be drafted this year. They lose tackle Nate Solder, another first-round pick, but Ryan Miller is back, and he's an all-conference level guard.

The big question for them next season will be if their defense can stop the pass -- which my sources tell me, is pretty important in the Pac-12. Maybe not as important as in the Big 12, but still necessary for big success. Both corners from last year, Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith, should be drafted. They weren't great at stopping the pass last year (9th in the Big 12) so it's hard to see them being better at it next year.

TM: OK. Good stuff. Let’s wind it up. How would you have projected them in the Big 12 next fall? And do you have any feeling for how they might do in the new Pac-12 South?

DU: They definitely looked like a team in the bottom third of the Big 12 next year, and it seems like it'll be tough for them to finish in the top half of the Pac-12 South in 2011.

Right now, it's just about being competitive and maybe stealing a game or two that people didn't think they'd win. If that happens enough, a bowl game isn't out of the question. We don't have any idea what to expect out of an Embree-coached team, and that could be a good or a bad thing. We won't know for sure until next year, but if Embree can bottle up whatever Colorado had inside of them the way they played down the stretch last season after Hawkins was fired, it could be a real surprise 2011 for the Buffs.

Big 12 talent headed to the NFL combine

February, 4, 2011
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The NFL released its list of invitations to the scouting combine late this month, and plenty of Big 12 players should be taking part.

Here's who got invitations:
That's a pretty solid (and lengthy) list. Add it up, and it's 36 players from 11 of 12 Big 12 schools, excluding Kansas. It's a little surprising that Missouri center Tim Barnes wasn't on the list. It's possible it was a mistake, but the first-team All-Big 12er and Rimington Trophy watch lister was named as one of the top centers in the draft last spring by Mel Kiper. Barnes had also earned some favorable reviews at the NFLPA Bowl this week.

It was good to see Aggies quarterback Jerrod Johnson get a shot to show scouts if he's regained any more strength in his arm, too.

Here's how it ranks by team, as well.

1. Nebraska - 9
2. Oklahoma State - 5
2. Texas - 5
4. Oklahoma - 4
5. Colorado - 3
5. Missouri - 3
7. Baylor - 2
7. Texas A&M - 2
9. Iowa State - 1
9. Kansas State - 1
9. Texas Tech - 1

Big 12 performances in the Senior Bowl

January, 31, 2011
1/31/11
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You've seen the Big 12 players in the Senior Bowl up close throughout their careers. You've heard how they measured up to the competition during the week.

There was no Jerrod Johnson in this game, a high-profile player who hadn't seen extended playing time for several weeks, so there's not much else to say, but here's how all of the Big 12 talent in the Senior Bowl did in Saturday's game.

Actual game performances aren't nearly as important as the week of practice that precedes it, so don't put much stock into these numbers as they relate to each player's overall draft stock. However, it's still interesting to see how they do while perhaps wearing their school's helmet for the final time.

Baylor:
  • Phil Taylor, DL - started, no stats.
  • Danny Watkins, OL - started.
Colorado:
  • Jalil Brown, DB - started, made three tackles.
  • Nate Solder, OL - started.
Nebraska:
  • Pierre Allen, DL - one tackle.
  • Eric Hagg, DB - one tackle.
  • Alex Henery, P - punted six times for an average of 42.8 yards and made an extra point. His longest punt went for 49 yards and one pinned the South team inside its 20-yard line.
  • Roy Helu Jr., RB - two carries for 3 yards.
  • Mike McNeill, TE - started, no stats.
  • Niles Paul, WR - caught one pass for 5 yards, returned a kick 29 yards. Also made a tackle.
Oklahoma:
  • Quinton Carter, DB - no stats.
  • Jeremy Beal, DL - made four tackles and one sack for minus-7 yards.
  • DeMarco Murray, RB - two carries, minus-4 yards.
Oklahoma State:
  • Kendall Hunter, RB - two carries, zero yards. One reception, 2 yards.
Texas:
  • Sam Acho, DL - Named MVP of the South team. Made three tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and forced a fumble.
  • Curtis Brown, DB - started, made a tackle.
Texas A&M:
  • Von Miller, LB - started, named the game's defensive MVP. Four tackles on the day, including two tackles for loss.

Recruiting needs: Big 12 North

January, 26, 2011
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Signing day is exactly a week from today, and it's time to take a look at who needs what in its 2011 class.

Some schools have addressed these with their current class. Some haven't. Others are still trying.

We'll kick things off with the artists formerly known as the Big 12 North and examine the South later today.

COLORADO

Cornerback: Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith were pretty reliable for the Buffaloes, but both are headed to the NFL, and the Buffaloes could definitely use some depth behind their first-year starters. It's not quite as pressing of an issue considering their move to the less pass-happy Pac-12, but they still like to sling it out west.

Receiver: Colorado isn't exactly starving anywhere on offense, but receiver sticks out a bit. Toney Clemons was good, but maybe not quite what the Buffaloes hoped he'd be in 2010, but they caught a break in getting Paul Richardson back after a great freshman season. The Buffaloes need some complementary pieces around Clemons and Richardson to replace departed pass-catchers Scotty McKnight and Travon Patterson. Next year, that should be tight end Ryan Deehan and receiver Will Jefferson.

IOWA STATE

Receiver: It's been a struggle for Iowa State in recent years, but they have to get better outside to help out their quarterback. Sedrick Johnson's transfer only worsens the Cyclones depth at the position, but Jake Williams and tight end Collin Franklin, the team's leading receiver, are gone. Shontrelle Johnson looks ready to become a big factor in the offense, but the Cyclones filling the space at receiver will make it easier for Johnson to replace running back Alexander Robinson.

Safety: Both starters, David Sims and Zac Sandvig, are gone. So is the Cyclones top reserve at the position, Michael O'Connell. Sims was a top-notch talent that will be tough to replace, but Iowa State needs more depth here. They should be solid at corner with Leonard Johnson, Ter'ran Benton, Jeremy Reeves and Anthony Young, which could make the new safeties' jobs easier.

KANSAS

Defensive line: KU is losing three of four starters on the line, including the team's only All-Big 12 talent, defensive end Jake Laptad. Turner Gill wants more speed, and this is a place to install it. Tackles that tip the scales at 320 pounds aren't too necessary in this league, but speed on the edge can go a long way in stopping the pass.

Quarterback: Neither Jordan Webb or Quinn Mecham look like long-term answers at quarterback for the Jayhawks. Mecham will be a senior, and Webb might develop into a better player as a sophomore next year, but Kansas needs other options. The Jayhawks hope Brock Berglund, the top-rated recruit in Colorado, is the solution to the problem.

KANSAS STATE

Running back: I hear your cries for Bryce Brown, Wildcats fans, but K-State can't expect to hitch their wagon to the former blue-chip recruit turned Tennessee transfer in the same way it did for Daniel Thomas. Thomas and his backup, William Powell, are gone, and the Wildcats need some depth at running back to show up.

Interior offensive linemen: K-State loses both guards and its center from an offense that produced the Big 12's leading rusher in 2010. Don't expect them to do it again in 2011 without Wade Weibert, Kenneth Mayfield and Zach Kendall, as well as Thomas and Powell, but finding some new talent behind them will help them come close.

Cornerback: David Garrett emerged as a budding star in 2010 ready for a breakout senior year in 2011, but the Wildcats lose Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison, as well as safety Troy Butler. Like we've mentioned earlier, good secondaries are a must for success in the Big 12, and K-State had one of the league's worst in 2010.

MISSOURI

Receiver: Missouri has some good ones ready to suit up in 2011, namely Wes Kemp, Jerrell Jackson and T.J. Moe, but the Tigers don't have a true gamebreaker. They have some younger players in Marcus Lucas and Jimmie Hunt who they hope will develop into big-time, All-American caliber receivers, a la Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander. In Missouri's system, though, adding a few receivers is always a good idea. They certainly don't need any more running backs.

Defensive backs: Mizzou doesn't have any huge holes that need to be filled with recruiting, but the Tigers lose both corners, Carl Gettis and Kevin Rutland from their 2010 team. Kip Edwards and E.J. Gaines look likely to fill those roles, but the Tigers could use some depth and keep recruiting in the secondary to help add some talent around Tavon Bolden and Matt White, safeties who will replace departed Jarrell Harrison, who actually had to play some linebacker in 2010 because of injuries.

NEBRASKA

Every kind of kicker: Alex Henery, the team's punter and kicker is gone. So is kickoff specialist and lover/producer of touchbacks, Adi Kunalic. Fan favorite Henery was hardly underappreciated by the Nebraska faithful, but they'll miss him even more if the Huskers can't find a suitable placekicker and punter. Bo Pelini was reportedly after Wake Forest commit Mauro Bondi this week.

Receiver: Niles Paul and Mike McNeill are gone. The Huskers need Brandon Kinnie to come through with another good year and it'd be nice if Quincy Enunwa broke through in 2011, but Taylor Martinez needs some more help at wide out, and a couple new recruits could provide it as Martinez's passing prowess matures.

Husker DB Hagg a late Senior Bowl addition

January, 24, 2011
1/24/11
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The Senior Bowl isn't until Saturday, but practices this week will be televised on NFL Network and there will be plenty of Big 12 talent taking part.

Nebraska's Eric Hagg was added to the roster on Sunday, but here's another quick look at the now 18 players from across the league who will be on the field on Saturday.

The Huskers' six participants are the most of any team this year.

Baylor: Phil Taylor, DL; Danny Watkins, OL

Colorado: Jalil Brown, DB; Nate Solder, OL

Kansas State: Daniel Thomas, RB

Nebraska: Pierre Allen, DL; Eric Hagg, DB; Alex Henery, P; Roy Helu Jr., RB; Mike McNeill, TE; Niles Paul, WR

Oklahoma: Quinton Carter, DB; Jeremy Beal, DL; DeMarco Murray, RB

Oklahoma State: Kendall Hunter, RB

Texas: Sam Acho, DL; Curtis Brown, DB

Texas A&M: Von Miller, LB

Senior Bowl finalizes roster, 17 from Big 12

January, 19, 2011
1/19/11
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The Under Armour Senior Bowl has finalized its roster, which features 17 participants from the Big 12.

The game is set for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff on Jan. 29 at Ladd-Peebles Satdium in Mobile, Ala. You can see it, and the entire week of practices, on the NFL Network.

Here's who'll be on the field if you tune in:

Baylor: Phil Taylor, DL; Danny Watkins, OL

Colorado: Jalil Brown, DB; Nate Solder, OL

Kansas State: Daniel Thomas, RB

Nebraska: Pierre Allen, DL; Alex Henery, P; Roy Helu Jr., RB; Mike McNeill, TE; Niles Paul, WR

Oklahoma: Quinton Carter, DB; Jeremy Beal, DL; DeMarco Murray, RB

Oklahoma State: Kendall Hunter, RB

Texas: Sam Acho, DL; Curtis Brown, DB



Texas A&M: Von Miller, LB

Big 12 players in the Senior Bowl

January, 3, 2011
1/03/11
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The Senior Bowl won't be played until Jan. 29 in Mobile, Ala., but the roster is beginning to take shape. Players can be added or subtracted to the roster between now and game week when NFL scouts flood to the South, but here's who's playing from the Big 12.

Baylor
  • Danny Watkins, OT
  • Phil Taylor, DT
Colorado
  • Nate Solder, OT
  • Jimmy Smith, CB
  • Jalil Brown, CB
Kansas State
Nebraska (UPDATED 4:17 p.m.)
  • Niles Paul, WR
  • Prince Amukamara, CB
  • Mike McNeill, WR
  • Roy Helu Jr., RB
  • Alex Henery, K
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Texas
  • Sam Acho, DE
  • Curtis Brown, CB

Weighing in on the All-Big 12 teams/awards

November, 30, 2010
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For reference, here are the awards and here are the All-Big 12 first and second teams. Voting took place before last week's Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game.

My thoughts:
  • Defensive Player of the Year is definitely an interesting choice, and one that inspires a lot of discussion. No, that's not a euphemism for "bad." Prince Amukamara doesn't have the numbers that show up on a stat sheet, but all he does is blanket every receiver he lines up across every week. Gotta love that. Nebraska sent out a stat -- last week or a bit earlier, I believe -- that he had been thrown at 40 times this year, and gave up 11 receptions. Five of those came via the Offensive Player of the Year Justin Blackmon. That's impressive. Guys like Von Miller, Orie Lemon, Lavonte David and others were racking up the tackles and fumbles and plays that get the fans going, but I don't have a problem with Amukamara winning the award. It all comes down to what you value. The Associated Press awards and All-Big 12 teams are scheduled for release on Thursday. My guess is the media won't vote the same way.
  • I sense that what happens late in conference play isn't as weighted as what happens early. The two victims in this case are Nebraska kicker Alex Henery and Colorado running back Rodney Stewart. Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey made his first 18 kicks (more than Henery attempted all year), but missed four kicks in three games before last week's Bedlam game. He was the runaway winner early in the season, but Henery's lack of attempts (15-of-16 on the year) isn't his fault. Additionally, as a member of the All-Big 12 second team as a punter, the combination should have given him enough oomph to best Bailey. I don't have a major gripe with the selection, but if it were up to me, Henery deserved Special Teams Player of the Year.
  • Stewart's absence is my biggest gripe, and the timing of his rise has a lot to do with it as well. Stewart ranks third in the Big 12 in rushing yards (1,310) and leads the league in carries with 290, and though he's a low-profile player in the league, he didn't get enough respect with his late charge. Nebraska limited him to 88 yards, but in the three games prior, he racked up a combined 493 yards and five touchdowns. I can deal with him being left off the first team, but it's unbelievable he was left off even honorable mention. Roy Helu Jr. has a gaudy 6.75 yards a carry, which landed him on the second team, but I've got no idea how Stewart didn't at least garner honorable mention.
  • DeMarco Murray's spot on the first team was a little surprising at first, considering he ranks sixth in the league in rushing, but the coaches rightfully took his receiving prowess under consideration. Murray leads all running backs with 64 receptions for 535 yards, which is a good season for any receiver, and Murray topped 1,000 yards rushing, too. The next-best running back when it came to catching passes was Oklahoma State freshman Joseph Randle, with 35 catches for 399 yards. Most of Murray and Randle's yards came on screen passes and swing passes, but those are extensions of running plays that aren't much different than pitches. Murray has accounted for 1,598 yards of offense with 19 touchdowns.
  • The only unanimous selections were Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter and receiver Justin Blackmon, as well as Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles.
  • Just how important is recruiting for Turner Gill? Look no further than the Jayhawks lack of a single player on the first or second teams, and just three players earned honorable mention. Worse, one of them was a kick returner and another was a punter. The other was defensive lineman Jake Laptad. Seriously, the importance of the next couple February signing days cannot be understated for Kansas.
  • I'm a little surprised at Landry Jones absence on the first or second teams, especially considering his performance in conference play, but I imagine it was pretty close between him and Robert Griffin III for the final spot. Jones probably deserved a spot, but there's no doubt that Griffin is infinitely more important to his team's success. My guess is the coaches took that under consideration. We'll see how the media votes later this week.
  • All in all, a pretty good set of teams. Snubs like Henery and Stewart are minor complaints, but it's not difficult to see the reasons why the guys above them were given the nod.
  • Here's a few guys I didn't mention who were All-Big 12 caliber, but would be tough to argue over players who did make the team: Byron Landor, S, Baylor; Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado; Ryan Miller, OL, Colorado; A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State; DeJon Gomes, DB, Nebraska; Keith Williams, OL, Nebraska; Andrew Gachkar, LB, Missouri; Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma; Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas; Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M; Michael Hodges, LB, Texas A&M; Trent Hunter, DB, Texas A&M; Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M; Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech; Lyle Leong, WR, Texas Tech

Big 12 predictions: Week 6

October, 7, 2010
10/07/10
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Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

I'm making my way to Manhattan, Kan. today for tonight's game between the Wildcats and Huskers, but I'll be back in Dallas in time to see the Aggies and Hogs go at it in The House That Jerry (or some guys he paid) Built.

Last week was a rough one for the Big 12 Blog, with my missed picks equaling my total from the previous four weeks. You knew the breakdown had to come sometime.

I missed my upset pick of Texas A&M over Oklahoma State and whiffed on a couple of swing games in Ames and Boulder.

Here's how I stand:

Last week: 2-3 (.400)

Overall: 41-6 (.872)

Let's get to this week's picks:

THURSDAY

No. 7 Nebraska 31, Kansas State 21: This thing smells like another possible upset, and Kansas State should be able to move the ball pretty well with Daniel Thomas, but the Wildcats don't have the talent or speed in the front seven to slow Taylor Martinez's legs. Look for defensive backs Emmanuel Lamur, Troy Butler and Tysyn Hartman to make a lot of tackles, on Martinez and receivers Brandon Kinnie and Mike McNeill. That's not a good thing. Martinez wasn't rattled in the passing game in his first road start, and him throwing a couple of costly interceptions is the only thing that turns this in Kansas State's favor.

FRIDAY

No. 22 Oklahoma State 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 20: The Sun Belt has some good teams. The Ragin' Cajuns are not one of them. Georgia lost at Colorado on Saturday night, but beat these guys 55-7 in Athens for its only win of the season. Puntos, puntos, golly.

SATURDAY

Baylor 27, Texas Tech 24: This is definitely the toughest pick of the week. Comparing the depth charts, Texas Tech looks like the better team, but Baylor is getting it done and has all the momentum and confidence. Texas Tech looks lost on defense and inconsistent on offense. In 2008, the Bears almost took down the best Tech team in recent history, losing 35-28 after taking a lead into the fourth quarter. They almost did it again in 2009 in Cowboys Stadium. With Robert Griffin back, they get it done this time. Enjoy the corny dogs, Bears.

No. 11 Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 28: Come back later today for a video of me explaining my pick of the week.

No. 24 Missouri 41, Colorado 17: Colorado says it's sick of getting blown out by the Tigers. They'll still be sick on Saturday night after hitting the road for the first time since a 52-7 loss at Cal. All of the Buffaloes' wins have come over mediocre teams. Missouri's running backs have carried the load so far this year, but Blaine Gabbert has his first big game, staying away from big-time corners Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown in favor of more bubble screens to the flats and underneath routes to T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew. The Buffaloes can stop Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson. Good luck with the rest of the Tigers' offense.

No. 10 Utah 24, Iowa State 21: I really do think Iowa State has a great chance to upset the Utes. I just don't have the guts to pick it. Iowa State's offense is better, but it's not "hang 52 points every week" better. Two of the Cyclones' touchdown drives were less than 40 yards, and another score came on an onside kick return. One other scoring drive was a one-play, 61-yard run by Shontrelle Johnson. Can't count on those every week.

Idle: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas.

Buffaloes looking to avoid early stumbles

August, 31, 2010
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Colorado couldn't have started 2009 much worse. First came the season-opening loss to in-state rival and Mountain West member Colorado State. The Buffaloes let their in-state rivals score the game's first 17 points and made the final 23-17 score respectable with a touchdown in the final two minutes.

A week later, on a national stage, Colorado went to Toledo and fell behind 30-3 and 54-24 in the second half before losing 54-38.

[+] EnlargeDan Hawkins
John Albright/Icon SMIDan Hawkins attributed last season's early struggles to adjusting to changes on defense.
The plan this time around: Don't do that.

The best way to avoid it: Get Rodney Stewart and the running game rolling.

"We did not run the ball well against Colorado State last year, to be sure," said coach Dan Hawkins.

The Buffaloes' running backs finished with just 68 yards on 16 carries. That will have to change, whether the offensive line can do it or quarterback Tyler Hansen can use his new receivers to relax the defense and open up lanes for his runners.

At least now they'll avoid the short week by facing Colorado State on Sunday and Toledo on Friday. This year, the game at Invesco Field against the Rams is on Saturday before the team travels to Berkley, Calif., to face future conference mate California.

Hawkins points to defensive changes as the reason for the early struggles last season.

"I think it took us a while to settle in that way," he said. "I think we’re just a little more acquainted with what we’re trying to do and have guys that have done that. I think experience is a big factor there."

Colorado State's top two running backs rushed for 151 yards on 34 carries. The problems against Toledo spread to the passing game.

"We had some huge gasher plays. I think momentum was not in our favor for sure the first couple games, and I think that dented us a little bit," Hawkins said.

Toledo's top two running backs helped the offense rack up 624 yards of total offense, rushing for 269 yards on just 28 carries. Rockets quarterback Aaron Opelt needed just 15 completions to reach 319 yards, and threw four touchdowns with no interceptions.

This year, one of Colorado's strengths should be the secondary, with a pair of corners who possess NFL potenttial in Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown, as well as experienced junior safety Anthony Perkins, who led the team with 77 tackles last season.

Though the biggest hope for the Buffaloes is quarterback Tyler Hansen, who didn't play until the conference season last year.

"You have a couple breaks go your way and just had some momentum issues. In the Colorado State game, we started coming back a little bit and then we had kind of a bang-bang play and instead of a big play for us, it ended up being a turnover for them," Hawkins said.

This year, the Buffaloes hope those plays go their way with Hansen under center. They'll need them too. After Colorado State and Cal, the schedule doesn't get any easier with Hawaii and top 25 SEC foe Georgia ready to invade Folsom Field in Boulder.

What to expect for media days: Day 3

July, 28, 2010
7/28/10
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IRVING, Texas -- More good stuff from media days on Tuesday that you can't find on the blog is up on our notebook page, so head over and check that out. Pat Forde and I will be on hand again today, and things are scheduled to get started in about an hour, barring plane troubles like yesterday.

Here's today's schedule, and once again, the proceedings will be carried live from Big12Sports.com: (all times ET)

10:00 Kansas: Coach Turner Gill, DE Jake Laptad, CB Chris Harris, OL Brad Thorson.

10:45 Oklahoma: Coach Bob Stoops, DE Jeremy Beal, LB Travis Lewis, WR Ryan Broyles, RB DeMarco Murray

11:30 Colorado: Coach Dan Hawkins, CB Jalil Brown, WR Scotty McKnight, OL Nate Solder.

12:15 Texas: Coach Mack Brown, QB Garrett Gilbert, OT Kyle Hix, DE Sam Acho, DT Kheeston Randall.
  • All of Kansas' star power has left Lawrence, but if the Jayhawks make it to Dallas this week, I think we can all agree Kansas isn't literally under the radar. Two linemen and a cornerback don't exactly move the meter (Kansas and Baylor were the only schools to bring no offensive skill players), but if Kansas is going to win this year, they'll have to do it up front with guys like Jake Laptad and Brad Thorson. And Kansas' real main attraction, new coach Turner Gill will get his first real time in front of a massive group of media, and situations like this are where he excels, so look for the first-year coach to earn some big points early in the day.
  • Oklahoma will hear plenty about its string of injuries and the recent shift of power to Austin in the Red River Rivalry, after the Longhorns have taken four of the past five matchups. Bob Stoops didn't bring his quarterback, but he'll still hear plenty of questions about Landry Jones' progression and his first chance to truly grasp the starting quarterback position full-time.
  • The waiting-to-be-finalized exit date for the Buffaloes will probably be discussed at some point, as well as general thoughts about the exit to the recently renamed "Pac-12." The big question for the Buffaloes' likely last season in the Big 12 is simple, even though coach Dan Hawkins hasn't talked as big of a game as he did before last season: Why will this season be different than the first four in Hawkins' time in Boulder? How well they can answer that -- and then deliver -- will decide how the Buffaloes fare in 2010.
  • With media covering the other 11 teams in the conference, Texas might end up being grilled about the perception -- real or otherwise -- that after this summer's realignment, it's more powerful than ever before, and able to get whatever it wants. If that happens, I've got no idea what the Longhorns response would be, other than to suggest that none of that affects the game on the field. I'll be shocked if three questions pass before the words "national championship" or "Alabama" come up in a question, either about the defense or Brown's new quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, who made the trip to Dallas.

Big 12 Media Days schedule

July, 14, 2010
7/14/10
11:35
AM ET
Big 12 Media Days in Irving, Texas are only a couple weeks away, and the schedule for the three-day gabfest has been released.

First thing I noticed: Nebraska (first) and Texas (last) are as far away as possible. Though I don't think the week is going to be as conducive to fireworks as some believe, it should still be plenty entertaining.

Media Days run July 26-28, and here's when to look for who on your team. (all times ET)

Monday, July 26

2:00 Nebraska: Coach Bo Pelini, WR Niles Paul, DE Pierre Allen, CB Prince Amukamara

2:45 Baylor: Coach Art Briles, LB Antonio Johnson, OT Danny Watkins

3:30 Iowa State: Coach Paul Rhoads, QB Austen Arnaud, RB Alexander Robinson, DE Rashawn Parker

4:15 Texas A&M: Coach Mike Sherman, QB Jerrod Johnson, LB Von Miller, DT Lucas Patterson

Tuesday, July 27

10:00 Missouri: Coach Gary Pinkel, QB Blaine Gabbert, RB Derrick Washington, CB Kevin Rutland

10:45 Oklahoma State: Coach Mike Gundy, QB Brandon Weeden, LB Orie Lemon, DE Jamie Blatnick

11:30 Kansas State: Coach Bill Snyder, RB Daniel Thomas, S Tysyn Hartman, OL Zach Kendall

12:15 Texas Tech: Coach Tommy Tuberville, QB Taylor Potts, QB Steven Sheffield, DL Colby Whitlock

Wednesday, July 28

10:00 Kansas: Coach Turner Gill, DE Jake Laptad, CB Chris Harris, OL Brad Thorson

10:45 Oklahoma: Coach Bob Stoops, DE Jeremy Beal, LB Travis Lewis, WR Ryan Broyles

11:30 Colorado: Coach Dan Hawkins, CB Jalil Brown, WR Scotty McKnight, OL Nate Solder

12:15 Texas: Coach Mack Brown, QB Garrett Gilbert, OT Kyle Hix, DE Sam Acho, DT Kheeston Randall

A few quick thoughts:
  • Definitely surprised that Texas' Garrett Gilbert will be making the trip. I saw firsthand how well-spoken he was this spring on my visit to Austin, but I'm still surprised Brown would trot out his first-year starting quarterback for the media horde outside Dallas. Although his presence guarantees there should be plenty to talk about with the Longhorns.
  • Tommy Tuberville probably had to bring two or none of his quarterbacks, lest he tip his undecided hand at his starter and get people talking about a nonexistent decision. He chose the former. Interesting to note that Colorado's Dan Hawkins went with the latter.
  • Not sure why DE Jamie Blatnick will be one of Oklahoma's State's representatives instead of DE Ugo Chinasa or S Markelle Martin. Chinasa is a senior two-year starter heading into his third, while Blatnick is a junior who started only part-time last season. Martin is one of the conference's rising stars.
  • Baylor is the only team in the league bringing just a three-man contingent, and in Waco, they're the closest team to Media Days. A little surprised that Robert Griffin III won't be making the short drive, but at least that forces everyone to ask questions not about Griffin's knee. For that, I thank you, Art. But throwing WR Kendall Wright in the car at the last minute wouldn't be a terrible idea.
  • Meanwhile, Texas is the only team with a five-man crew. Everything's bigger.
  • Pretty good representation elsewhere, no real complaints. What do you think?

Colorado spring wrap

May, 6, 2010
5/06/10
11:00
AM ET
2009 overall record: 3-9

2009 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (7) P/K (1)

Top returners: QB Tyler Hansen, WR Scotty McKnight, RB Rodney Stewart, OT Nate Solder, DB Anthony Perkins, WR Markques Simas, DB Jalil Brown

Key losses: TE Riar Geer, RB Darrell Scott (transfer), DB Cha’pelle Brown, LB Jeff Smart, DB Benjamin Burney, LB Marcus Burton

2009 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Rodney Stewart* (804 yards)

Passing: Tyler Hansen* (1,440)

Receiving: Scotty McKnight* (893 yards)

Tackles: Anthony Perkins*, Jeff Smart (77)

Sacks: Marquez Herrod* (6.5)

Interceptions: Benjamin Burney (2)

Three spring answers

1. Get to know Toney Clemons. The Michigan transfer made a big splash this spring, impressing his team enough to be the top pick in the draft when the Buffaloes split for the spring game. Clemons has size and speed, but 2010 will be about turning that into on-field production.

2. Stars staying strong. Colorado’s two most consistent players a year ago, offensive tackle Nate Solder and running back Rodney Stewart, both had good springs. Stewart was protected from contact often with dwindling numbers at running back, but Solder caught a touchdown pass in the spring game after being drafted with the No. 2 pick before the game.

3. Hawkins’ future not a distraction. Dan Hawkins will sit on maybe the hottest seat in the Big 12 this season, but he didn’t address it much during the spring as his team went about its business.

Three fall questions

1. Who’s the quarterback? After taking over for Cody Hawkins last season and finishing the year as the starter, most figured the job was all but Tyler Hansen’s entering spring. But Hawkins insists there’s a competition and that Hawkins and Hansen remain thinly separated. Colorado fans won’t be happy initially if Hawkins starts, but if he produces and the Buffs win a few games, few will be complaining. Some think the team would be better suited by naming a starter now and allowing him to embrace a leadership role over the summer. Hawkins wants competition.

2. Who’s catching the ball? Clemons will be a factor, but Colorado could end up having one of the conference’s most underrated corps of receivers in Clemons, along with last year’s leading receiver Scotty McKnight and Markques Simas. Kyle Cefalo could also be a player that emerges this fall after catching 12 balls for 144 yards in the spring game.

3. Can the Buffaloes defense improve? Colorado had the second-worst defense in the Big 12 last season, and with an underwhelming offense, it’s no surprise they won only three games. Defensive back Cha’Pelle Brown was the only Colorado player to make the All-Big 12 top two teams, and he graduated. Outside of Anthony Perkins, Colorado is replacing its top four tacklers and needs playmakers to emerge to improve on its 2009 season.

What to watch at Big 12 spring practices

February, 13, 2009
2/13/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big 12 should again be loaded in 2009. And the spring will feature several key positional battles and holes to fill that will go a long way in determining whether Oklahoma can make history and claim a fourth-straight championship this season.

Here a look at each team and three major items to watch in spring practice.

NORTH DIVISION

Colorado Buffaloes

Spring practice begins: March 31

Spring game: April 25

What to watch:

  • The health of the team: The Buffaloes' players lost a combined total of 121 games to due to illness or injury last season. Some players like tight end Riar Geer, guards Devin Head, Maxwell Tuioti-Mariner and Mike Iltis, linebacker Jon Major and cornerback Jalil Brown will be limited during the spring because of past injuries. But others like tackle Ryan Miller, tailback Rodney Stewart and cornerback Benjamin Burney should be good to go throughout the spring. Coach Dan Hawkins won't push things, but it will be good to have as many regulars as possible practicing again.
  • The return of Darrell Scott: The conference's most publicized running back recruit of 2008 never could get untracked, rushing for disappointing totals of 343 yards and 3.9 yards per carry last season. The spring will give him a chance to show why he was one of the nation's top recruits in the Class of 2008.
  • Settle the kicking game: After Colorado kickers combined to shank 11 of 17 attempts last season, it might be the last chance for Aric Goodman or Jameson Davis to show what they can do after their struggles last season and the arrival of heralded recruit Zach Grossnickle in the fall.

Iowa State Cyclones

Spring practice begins: March 24

Spring game: April 18

What to watch:

  • Paul Rhoads' early assimilation: After his hiring last Dec. 23, Rhoads has concentrated on recruiting and building a coaching staff. Being able to work on the field with his team will likely be a relief for him after such a hectic start.
  • Help in the secondary: The Cyclones lose starters Chris Singleton and Brandon Hunley from a unit that ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in pass efficiency defense and pass defense. Rhoads' specialty is defense, but he'll have his work cut out with his new unit.
  • Finding another starter at wide receiver: Darius Darks is back after an impressive freshman season, but Rhoads needs to find a replacement for 2008 leading receiver R.J. Sumrall. Look for Sedrick Johnson, Marquis Hamilton and Houston Jones all to have their chances at the starting unit during the spring.

Kansas Jayhawks

Spring practice begins: March 9

Spring game: April 11

What to watch:

  • Finding starters at linebackers: The Jayhawks must completely rebuild their linebacking corps as James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen all are gone from last season. Arist Wright and Dakota Lewis are in the mix because of their experience. A bigger wild card could be converted running back Angus Quigley, who turned heads with his defensive instincts and tackling in work before the Jayhawks' bowl game last season.
  • Get a consistent kick returner: The mystifying struggles of Marcus Herford last season resulted in a drop of more than 8 yards per kick return as the Jayhawks fell from seventh in 2007 to 118th nationally last season. Dezmon Briscoe showed flashes of being a productive returner late in the season, but more work from different players will be needed in the spring to shore up the area.
  • Rebuild the center of the offensive line: Losing starting guards Chet Hartley and Adrian Mayes along with center Ryan Cantrell will be the biggest offensive concern this spring for the Jayhawks. Carl Wilson and Sal Kapra should get a long look at guard and Brad Thorson will given the first shot at center.

Kansas State Wildcats:

Spring practice begins: April 6

Spring game: May 2

What to watch:

  • Bill Snyder's return to coaching: The wily Snyder will be facing the biggest challenge of his professional career after returning after a three-year coaching sabbatical. The Wildcats aren't as bad as they were in 1989 when Snyder originally took over, but the Big 12 is a much tougher than the Big Eight was in those days. And it will test the patience and legendary work ethic of Snyder to get the Wildcats back into Big 12 title contention in the immediate future.
  • The quarterback battle: New offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig is one of the conference's most notable hirings after his strong recent work at Utah. Ludwig will be challenged as he looks at Carson Coffman or junior-college transfer Daniel Thomas to replace Josh Freeman as his starting quarterback.
  • Looking for a defensive turnaround: The Wildcats were woeful last season, ranking among the bottom 10 teams nationally in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense and 106th nationally in pass defense. It will likely try the patience of new coordinator Chris Cosh, who will be looking for replacements along the defensive front for Brandon Balkcom and Ian Campbell. One potential playmaker could be Jeff Fitzgerald, who started 13 games for Virginia in 2007.

Missouri Tigers

Spring practice begins: March 10

Spring game: April 18

What to watch:

  • The changing of the guard on offense -- and then some: Gone are all-time greats like Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman, along with productive receivers Tommy Saunders and Earl Goldsmith. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen has left for the Wyoming coaching job, meaning that Dave Yost takes over as the coordinator along with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, Andrew Jones at tight end and Jerrell Jackson as the featured receiver. Collectively, it will be the largest transformation in Gary Pinkel's coaching tenure at Missouri.
  • Finding a pass rush: Three starters are gone along the defensive front as productive starters Stryker Sulak, Tommy Chavis and Ziggy Hood all are gone from last year. Look for redshirt defensive end Aldon Smith to get in the fight for playing time immediately, along with holdover Brian Coulter at defensive end if he can recover quickly from labrum surgery. Terrell Resonno and Dominique Hamilton will get a long look at defensive tackle before the arrival of heralded "tight end" Sheldon Richardson in the summer.
  • Secondary assistance: The Tigers need help after losing starting safeties Justin Garrett and William Moore and cornerback Tru Vaughns from last year's team. Considering all of the prolific offenses in the Big 12, this will capture much of defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' attention as newcomers like safety Jarrell Harrison and cornerback Robert Steeples will show what they can do.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Spring practice begins: March 21

Spring game: April 18

What to watch:

  • The battle for quarterback: One of the nation's most intriguing quarterback battles will play out during the spring. Incoming freshman Cody Green arrived in college early intent to battle for the starting job and become the first four-year starting quarterback for the Cornhuskers since Eric Crouch. Holdovers Patrick Witt, Zac Lee and redshirt freshman Kody Spanos all are in the hunt to replace Joe Ganz. Witt has more experience, but it's not much more than any other contender. It should be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Shawn Watson handles the competition.
  • Find starters at wide receiver: The Cornhuskers lose starters Nate Swift and Todd Peterson who combined for 125 receptions last season as the team's two major receiving threats. Menelik Holt has more experience than any other returner, although coaches are salivating about the chance to work with Antonio Bell, a 2008 recruit who wasn't on the team last season while he got his grades in order.
  • Rebuild the right side of the offensive line: Powerful blockers Matt Slauson at guard and tackle Lydon Murtha both are gone from last season, leaving a huge void for offensive line coach Barney Cotton to fill. Marcel Jones and D.J. Jones should get the first crack at the starting jobs during the spring.

SOUTH DIVISION

Baylor Bears

Spring practice begins: March 3

Spring game: April 4

What to watch:

  • Competition at offensive tackle: The Bears will be looking for two new starting tackles to replace Don Gay and Jason Smith along the offensive line. Sophomore Joe Korbel figures to get a look at one of the positions, but beyond him it's anybody's guess who will replace the talented pair that combined for 73 career starts.
  • New starters on the left side of the defensive line: Starting defensive end Leon Freeman and defensive tackle Vincent Rhodes both will be gone after their eligibility expired. The only holes in Baylor's front seven will be found there as Jameon Hardeman and Zac Scotton will challenge at defensive end and Sam Sledge at defensive tackle.
  • Better production in their pass defense: The Bears struggled mightily last season and could never seem to produce big plays when they needed them, ranking 103rd in pass defense, 84th in sacks and 109th in tackles for losses. Another spring learning the concepts of defensive coordinator Brian Norwood should benefit them and perhaps serve as a catalyst for a bowl berth with significant improvement.

Oklahoma Sooners

Spring practice begins: March 3

Spring game: April 11

What to watch:

  • Help at wide receiver: After losing Juaquin Iglesias, Quentin Chaney and Manuel Johnson from last season's BCS title-game runner-up, the Sooners desperately need some players to emerge this spring. Ryan Broyles assumes the No. 1 position, although junior college receiver Cameron Kenney will help, along with Brandon Caleb from last season's two-deep roster. It will also be noteworthy to watch the work of running back Mossis Madu, who will receive some work at slot receiver.
  • Competition in the offensive line: Trent Williams is the only returning starter from last season for a talented veteran group that will lose four starters who combined for 149 starts during their college career. The Sooners aren't devoid of talent, but it's just untested. It means they need a big lift this spring from players like tackle Cory Brandon, guards Brian Simmons and Alex Williams and center Jason Hannan.
  • New look at safety: Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes seemingly had been at Oklahoma since
    the days of Brian Bosworth. That's a little bit of an exaggeration, but the Sooner duo combined for 83 starts and provided steady, efficient defense throughout their careers. Quinton Carter and Desmond Jackson appear poised to take over for them, although it will be impossible for the Sooners to match their experience.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Spring practice begins: March 9

Spring game: April 18

What to watch:

  • Bill Young's work: Oklahoma State has the offense to challenge for the Big 12 championship. But the success of the season ultimately will be determined by the defense generated by new defensive coordinator Bill Young. The Cowboys return six starters but must improve drastically after last season's late collapse that saw them blistered for 56, 61 and 42 points among their final three games of the season.
  • Help at safety and defensive tackle: The Cowboys lose starters Tonga Tea and Jeray Chatham at tackle and starting safeties Quinton Moore and Ricky Price. Those key positions in the heart of Oklahoma State's defense will command much of Young's attention. He's particularly excited about the play of Swanson Miller and Shane Jarka and Johnny Thomas at safety. But other players need to step up when they get their chance.
  • Develop depth at wide receiver: Dez Bryant accounted for a larger percentage of completions than any other wide receiver in the Big 12. His absence this spring as he recovers from knee surgery will enable others to have a chance to play and become acclimated with the first-string offense. The Cowboys' depth at the position is aggravated after Bo Bowling was suspended after his arrest earlier this week. It will provide players like Hubert AnyiamJosh Cooper and DeMarcus Conner an opportunity to work with Zac Robinson while Bryant and Bowling are gone.

Texas Longhorns

Spring practice begins: Feb. 27

Spring game: April 5

What to watch:

  • Build consistency in the running game: The Longhorns ranked 41st nationally in rushing last season -- their worst national ranking since 2002 -- and relied on Colt McCoy as their primary running threat. That dangerous strategy has to change this season if the Longhorns have any legitimate national title contenders. Key tasks during the spring will be to build cohesion in an offensive line that loses only starter Cedric Dockery from last season and additional work for Fozzy Whittaker, who struggled with injuries most of his freshman season last year.
  • Rebuild the defensive front: The Longhorns had the nation's most productive pass rush, leading the country with an average of 3.62 sacks per game last season. It will be a challenge to replace key players like Brian Orakpo, Roy Miller and Henry Melton. But defensive coordinator Will Muschamp liked what he saw in limited playing time for players like Sam Acho, Russell Carter, Ben Alexander, Michael Wilcoxson, Kheeston Randall and Eddie Jones. Those players, along with possibly Sergio Kindle getting more playing time at defensive end, will be key to Texas' defensive hopes this season. And incoming freshmen Dominique Jones, Alex Okafor and Kyle Kriegel all arrived at college early to challenge for immediate playing time.
  • Build confidence with young receivers: Leading receiver Quan Cosby graduated and Jordan Shipley will miss spring work after recovering from shoulder surgery. It will give McCoy a chance to build confidence in some of the younger members of his receiving corps, most notably Brandon Collins, Dan Buckner, Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll.

Texas A&M

Spring practice begins: March 26

Spring game: April 18

Spring practice ends: April 24

What to watch:

  • Additional development of young talent: The Aggies were one of the nation's youngest teams last season as 10 true freshmen combined to see action in 90 games and start in 41 of them. The spring will provide an additional opportunity for those young players and others on the roster to gain much-needed experience.
  • Improvement of the pass rush: The biggest hole on defense for the Aggies will be at defensive end where Michael Bennett, Amos Gbunblee and Cyril Obiozor accounted for most of the playing time last season from a group that ranked 11th in the Big 12 and 100th nationally in sacks. Paul Freeney is poised to assume one of the starting positions there. The other side looks like a wide-open battle that will play out throughout the spring and into summer camp.
  • Find a running back: Coach Mike Sherman will be looking at Keondra Smith, Cyrus Gray and Bradley Stephens for the role as the Aggies' featured running back -- for a few weeks anyway. Whoever wins that battle may celebrate a kind of pyrrhic victory as heralded running back Christine Michael arrives for fall camp as the Aggies' likely featured back. But Sherman likely will be working on building depth in the spring.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Spring practice begins: March 25

Spring game: April 18

Spring practice ends: April 20

What to watch:

  • Any passing game regression?: Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree rewrote the national record book as one of the most prolific pass-and-catch
    combinations in NCAA history. But yet, the Red Raiders always have always had a potent passing attack with Mike Leach in charge. It will be interesting to see Taylor Potts' development at quarterback and the growth of wide receivers like Detron Lewis, Lyle Leong, Edward Britton, Rashad Hawk and Tramain Swindall as they try to fill those big shoes for the Red Raiders.
  • Find a pass-rushing threat: Defensive end Brandon Williams is turning pro after leading the Big 12 with a school-record 12 sacks last season. McKinner Dixon was a big performer in spot duty last season and could be ready to emerge, as is junior-college transfer Daniel Howard.
  • Rebuild the left side of the offensive line: Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez were the two most decorated linemen in Texas Tech history during their careers. The productive duo will be missed, along with starting center Stephen Hamby. Chris Olson at left tackle and Lonnie Edwards at left guard aren't nearly as big or experienced as Reed and Vasquez. Growth during the spring for the unit will be important as the Red Raiders prepare for a difficult September schedule.
Tags:

Quentin Chaney, Houston Jones, Ian Campbell, Sergio Kindle, Lydon Murtha, Jerrell Jackson, Menelik Holt, Cyril Obiozor, Will Muschamp, Brad Thorson, Ziggy Hood, Nate Swift, Rodney Stewart, Mike Iltis, Brandon Balkcom, Lonnie Edwards, Barney Cotton, Brian Norwood, Riar Geer, Christine Michael, Justin Garrett, Joe Korbel, Don Gay, Ryan Cantrell, Andy Ludwig, Josh Cooper, Aric Goodman, James Kirkendoll, Trent Williams, Chris Cosh, Quan Cosby, Tru Vaughns, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Jameon Hardeman, Joe Ganz, Mike Rivera, Sam Sledge, Ryan Broyles, Roy Miller, Cameron Kenney, Bill Snyder, Kyle Kriegel, Eddie Jones, Sedrick Johnson, Baylor Bears, Chase Coffman, Brandon Williams, Ben Alexander, Leon Freeman, Texas Longhorns, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marcus Herford, Vincent Rhodes, Mossis Madu, Malcolm Williams, Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Kody Spanos, Jason Smith, Colt McCoy, William Moore, Stryker Sulak, Brandon Caleb, Johnny Thomas, Ryan Miller, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Michael Bennett, Tommy Saunders, Louis Vasquez, Quinton Moore, Cory Brandon, Adrian Mayes, Missouri Tigers, Darrell Scott, Colorado Buffaloes, R.J. Sumrall, Patrick Witt, Jason Hannan, Shane Jarka, Maxwell Tuiot-Mariner, Matt Slauson, Tommy Chavis, Chase Daniel, Cyrus Gray, McKinner Dixon, Zac Scotton, Chet Hartley, Eric Crouch, Devin Head, Dakota Lewis, Zac Lee, Robert Steeples, James Holt, Sal Kapra, Cody Green, Matt Eberflus, Chris Singleton, Dave Christensen, Oklahoma Sooners, Spring what to watch, Andrew Jones, Michael Wilcoxson, Manuel Johnson, Dan Hawkins, Todd Peterson, Mike Leach, Kansas State Wildcats, Tonga Tea, Russell Carter, Edward Britton, Dan Buckner, Darius Darks, Alex Williams, Michael Crabtree, Juaquin Iglesias, Angus Quigley, Shawn Watson, Marquis Hamilton, Carl Wilson, Paul Freeney, Paul Rhoads, Bradley Stephens, Kansas Jayhawks, Jon Major, Joe Mortensen, Stephen Hamby, Brian Coulter, Sheldon Richardson, Detron Lewis, Bo Bowling, Lendy Holmes, Bill Young, Zac Robinson, Hubert Anyiam, Sam Acho, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Collins, Jameson Davis, Antonio Bell, Taylor Potts, Daniel Thomas, Iowa State Cyclones, Alex Okafor, Desmond Jackson, Graham Harrell, Benjamin Burney, Keondra Smith, Brian Bosworth, Lyle Leong, Cedric Dockery, Dezmon Briscoe, Earl Goldsmith, Fozzy Whittaker, Nic Harris, Henry Melton, Brian Simmons, Amos Gbunblee, Daniel Howard, Dominique Jones, Jordan Shipley, Chris Olson, Rashad Hawk, Jarrell Harrison, D.J. Jones, Dave Yost, Brian Orakpo, Ricky Price, Jeray Chatham, Swanson Miller, Brandon Hunley, Jeremy Maclin, Terrell Resonno, Tremain Swindall, Josh Freeman, Carson Coffman, Gary Pinkel, Zach Grossnickle, DeMarcus Conner, Kheeston Randall, Aldon Smith, Marcel Jones, Dominique Hamilton, Arist Wright, Rylan Reed, Jalil Brown, Quinton Carter, Mike Sherman, Texas A&M Aggies

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