Big 12: Jamar Wall

Texas Tech spring wrap

May, 6, 2010
5/06/10
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2009 overall record: 9-4

2009 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters: Offense (7), Defense (6) P/K (2)

Top returners: QB Steven Sheffield, WR Detron Lewis, QB Taylor Potts, RB Baron Batch, WR Alex Torres, CB LaRon Moore, DT Colby Whitlock, LB Brian Duncan, LB Bront Bird

Key losses: DE Brandon Sharpe, OL Brandon Carter, CB Jamar Wall, OL Marlon Winn, LB Marlon Williams, DE Daniel Howard

2009 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Baron Batch* (884 yards)

Passing: Taylor Potts* (3,440 yards)

Receiving: Detron Lewis* (844 yards)

Tackles: Brian Duncan* (87)

Sacks: Brandon Sharpe (15)

Interceptions: Franklin Mitchem*, LaRon Moore*, Jamar Wall (2)

Three spring answers

1. Business as usual. The offense will remain the same under new coordinator Neal Brown, like he said it would. Other than differences in terminology and how plays are relayed to the quarterback, the offense will be similar to former coach Mike Leach’s. One big difference is that quarterbacks will have the green light to tuck the ball and run if the opportunity arises.

2. Let's run this town. Brown says the Red Raiders will run more next season. The main reason is his offense’s depth at running back. Texas Tech has three running backs who could be factors in leading rusher Baron Batch, as well as sophomores Harrison Jeffers and Eric Stephens. The pass will still be king in Lubbock, but the running game will likely be featured more than it ever was under Leach.

3. Taking out their aggression. Former defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill is gone to East Carolina. He took with him his bend-but-don’t-break defensive approach. Now, Texas Tech will be dictating the action with former Alabama linebackers coach James Willis coordinating the defense. He helped the Crimson Tide win a national title in 2009 with his blitz-happy schemes that force defenses to make difficult throws instead of preventing the big play at the cost of giving up underneath passes.

Three fall questions

1. What happens once the QBs become healthy again? Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts’ battle for the QB job ended early this spring when Sheffied re-broke his foot and Taylor Potts suffered a serious laceration to his throwing hand. Both underwent surgery midway through the team’s 15 practices and did little to settle the quarterback debate. Sheffield likely had a slight edge when the two were injured, but they’ll pick up where they left off—this time with more urgency—in the fall.

2. What happens if Brown’s offense stalls? The offense, even directed by two inexperienced quarterbacks, flourished late in the spring. But if Sheffield or Potts are unable to complete a high enough percentage of their passes or move the ball, will the Red Raiders depend even more on the run? If the offense doesn’t continue its run of piling up gawdy numbers against Big 12 defenses, will the spread return in 2011?

3. Will Tech fans embrace Tommy Tuberville? Mike Leach was perhaps the most beloved figure in the history of the program. Among the fans, at least. Will the fans cozy up to his less colorful, less quotable replacement? If he wins, it’ll be easy. Tuberville’s been historically more successful than Leach, but the bar in Lubbock has been set by Leach, who won more games than any coach in Texas Tech history.

Sorting out the draft for the Big 12

April, 26, 2010
4/26/10
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The Big 12 had 30 players drafted over the weekend, fifth most among the major six conferences.


Here's a look at who went where when:

First round (9):
1. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (St. Louis)

2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (Detroit)

3. Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma (Tampa Bay)

4. Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma (Washington)

6. Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State (Seattle)

14. Earl Thomas, DB, Texas (Seattle)

19. Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri (Atlanta)

21. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma (Cincinnati)

24. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State (Dallas)

Second round (2):

43. Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas (Baltimore)

44. Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas (Oakland)

Third round (3):
80. J.D. Walton, C, Baylor (Denver)

84. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas (Cincinnati)

85. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas (Cleveland)

Fourth round (4):

110. Darrell Stuckey, FS, Kansas (San Diego)

115. Phillip Dillard, LB, Nebraska (New York Giants)

121. Keenan Clayton, LB, Oklahoma (Philadelphia)

131. Roddrick Muckelroy, LB, Texas (Cincinnati)

Fifth round (6):

135. Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma (Atlanta)

137. Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State (Denver)

141. Joshua Moore, DB, Kansas State (Chicago)

160. Larry Asante, SS, Nebraska (Cleveland)

162. Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma (Indianapolis)

165. Kerry Meier, WR, Kansas (Atlanta)

Sixth round (4):

191. Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas (Cincinnati)

196. Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech (Dallas)

198. David Gettis, WR, Baylor (Carolina)

202. Jordan Pugh, DB, Texas A&M (Carolina)

Seventh round (2):

228. Reggie Stephens, OL, Iowa State (Cincinnati)

250. Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State (New England)

When you arrange those by team, Oklahoma comes out on top, with seven selections.
1. Oklahoma (7)

2. Texas (6)

3. Oklahoma State (4)

T-4. Nebraska (3)

T-4. Kansas (3)

6. Baylor (2)

T-7. Iowa State (1)

T-7. Kansas State (1)

T-7. Missouri (1)

T-7. Texas Tech (1)

T-7. Texas A&M (1)

12. Colorado (0)

Big 12 South breakdown: Will Texas repeat?

March, 5, 2010
3/05/10
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I hope you didn't think we were done after I posted my predictions for the North earlier today. Here's how I think the South will look after next season.

1. Texas

Texas and Oklahoma are in similar situations entering 2010. Both lose franchise quarterbacks, even if Oklahoma's watched most of the 2009 season from the sideline. Both lose a handful of defensive stars with promising young players ready to step into the spotlight. But Texas has the advantage over Oklahoma. Even though the winner of the Red River Rivalry hasn’t advanced to the title game in two of the past four years, the winner always gets the inside track. Texas has dominated Oklahoma at the State Fair, winning four of the past five. Can’t pick Oklahoma to win the South until Bob Stoops’ teams get back some of the swagger they had in five straight defeats of Texas from 2000 to 2004.

2. Oklahoma

The Sooners will be ready to erase the memory of a frustrating 2009 when about everything went wrong, even though they still managed an eight-win season. Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles were a reliable connection in 2009, and there’s not much reason to think that won’t be the case again this season. Broyles caught 89 passes for 1,120 yards and a Big 12-most 15 touchdowns. And that’s even after Broyles fractured his shoulder blade on the opening drive against Miami and missed the rest of that loss as well as a win over Baylor, the only game Sam Bradford finished all season. The Sooners' success is tied closely with what Broyles can do in his junior season.

Still a concern is a shuffling offensive line that could be filled with young players once again in the fall.

3. Texas A&M

Everyone’s dark horse to win the South could benefit from a season in which Oklahoma and Texas aren’t virtual guarantees to compete for the national championship. Jerrod Johnson will sling it like he did 497 times last season, and heralded running back recruit Christine Michael returns for his second season.

For the Aggies to climb into the Big 12 South’s top two spots, new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s defense will need to improve from 2009, when the Aggies were last in the Big 12 in scoring defense.

4. Oklahoma State

Dana Holgorsen brings his spread offense to Stillwater with 26-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden expected to run it. Running back Kendall Hunter darted around defenders for 1,555 yards rushing in 2008, but was hampered by an ankle injury in 2009 and failed to reach 400 yards as a junior. Hunter missed five games last season, and failed to rush for 100 yards even once. He’ll want to finish his career with a flourish, but the Cowboys could be swallowed up in the always-deep Big 12 South.

5. Baylor

Robert Griffin returns, but as an athlete, the concern is his torn ACL could reduce him to a player unequal to the freshman Robert Griffin that made headlines in 2008. Will his quickness and shiftiness still be there? Additionally, will he still be as apt to scramble after the injury? He says he will, but no one will know for sure until he makes his return to the field next fall. If the Bears want to leave their usual post in the Big 12 South cellar, Griffin will have to carry them on his back with a reconstructed knee.

6. Texas Tech

The Tuberville experiment in Lubbock will begin this spring, but for all the changes in personnel within the program, the Red Raiders will be without a few other stars. Hard-hitting defensive back Jamar Wall is gone and so are three starting offensive linemen, including (ex) Twitterer/face-painter/offensive lineman Brandon Carter.

Tuberville and the Red Raiders making a bowl game wouldn't surprise me , but they also have the highest potential for disaster of any team in the Big 12.

Big 12 pre-spring power rankings

February, 10, 2010
2/10/10
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With spring practice set to begin soon -- Texas opens its camp on March 2 -- here’s a quick look at how I have the teams ranked heading into spring practice. In formulating my rankings, I took into account returning players, transfers, arriving freshmen and a teams’ schedules.

1. Texas (14 starters back: 6 offensive, 7 defensive, 1 special teams). Garrett Gilbert got a head start on replacing Colt McCoy with his considerable playing time in the national title game, an invaluable learning experience for a young player. The Longhorns return most of the defense that improved in its second season under Will Muschamp. The biggest chores will be for offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who has to boost running game production and find a replacement for record-breaking wide receiver Jordan Shipley.

2. Nebraska (18 starters back: 8 offensive, 8 defensive, 2 special teams). Bo Pelini has the Cornhuskers positioned for a potential top-10 preseason ranking. Most of the offensive weapons will be back from a unit that sputtered down the stretch before breaking out in the Holiday Bowl victory. Quarterback Zac Lee will miss some of spring practice as he recovers from postseason surgery. Cody Green and Kody Spano will get most of the work until Lee returns. Nebraska coaches think the defense can be better this season, even without the up-the-middle strength of Ndamukong Suh, Phillip Dillard, Larry Asante and Matt O’Hanlon.

3. Oklahoma (15 starters back: 9 offensive, 4 defensive, 2 special teams). The Sooners overcame a debilitating run of injuries last season to finish with a flourish, knocking Oklahoma State out of a BCS game and winning the Sun Bowl in their final two games. Landry Jones will be infinitely better in his second season as a starter and Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray may be the best one-two receiving/running back combination in the conference. Bob Stoops will be facing a big renovation on defense where key players like Gerald McCoy and Dominique Franks left early for the NFL draft. Look for Travis Lewis to be the key to a defense that will need to improve by the time Big 12 play begins if the Sooners are to have any hope of claiming a seventh Big 12 title this season.

4. Missouri (19 starters back: 9 offensive, 9 defensive, 1 special teams). The Tigers will miss Danario Alexander and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who were arguably the best players at their positions in the conference last season. But Blaine Gabbert is back for a second season as starting quarterback and some talented recruits are expected to emerge on defense. A key for the Tigers’ success will be a more productive running game and consistency from the offensive line. Improvement on both will be critical for coordinator David Yost during the spring.

5. Texas Tech (15 starters back: 7 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 special teams). New coach Tommy Tuberville immediately will have to sort through a potentially difficult decision at quarterback between Taylor Potts and fan favorite Steven Sheffield. New coordinator James Willis hopes to install a 3-4 defense that should be a haven for athletic linebackers. But the group’s success will hinge on replacing Jamar Wall at cornerback and finding some pass-rushing threats to replace Brandon Sharpe, Richard Jones and Daniel Howard along the front.

6. Texas A&M (19 starters back: 8 offensive, 9 defensive, 2 special teams). With Jerrod Johnson, Jeff Fuller, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Christine Michael back, the Aggies shouldn’t have trouble scoring points, although the line needs to do a better job of protecting Johnson. But the Aggies’ success will depend on the returning starters quickly taking to new coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s teachings. The group was blistered for at least 35 points in seven games last season and allowed at least 30 points in two other games. So needless to say that even with nine starters back, DeRuyter has his work cut out.

7. Kansas (16 starters back: 7 offensive, 7 defensive, 2 special teams). New coach Turner Gill inherits an uncertain quarterback situation, but has the framework for a strong running attack with all of his starting linemen back, along with Toben Opurum and heralded back Brandon Bourbon as running threats. The Jayhawks will need to fill in for the loss of Darrell Stuckey in the secondary, but new coordinator Carl Torbush should find the elements for a blitzing, attacking defense among the returnees. But the biggest reason the Jayhawks might be bound for a bowl game in Gill’s first season is swapping Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma for Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor in their cross-divisional schedule.

8. Iowa State (13 starters back: 8 offensive, 4 defensive, 1 special teams). Paul Rhoads returns most of the offensive weapons that led the Cyclones to the Insight Bowl, most notably quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson. But the team loses all of its starting linebackers; veteran coordinator Wally Burnham will be challenged to cobble together a serviceable unit. The Cyclones could actually be a better team in 2010 but post a worse record. A tougher schedule featuring nonconference games against Utah, Iowa and Northern Illinois and the addition of South Division powers Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech will make last season’s bowl trip much tougher to duplicate.

9. Oklahoma State (10 starters back: 4 offensive, 4 defensive, 2 special teams). The Cowboys must find replacements for key players like Zac Robinson, Keith Tosten, four offensive linemen (including Outland finalist Russell Okung) and six of their back seven on defense. New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen finds an uncertain quarterback situation but will lean heavily on a healthy Kendall Hunter. A manageable nonconference schedule should have them in bowl contention, but this should be a step back from Mike Gundy’s last two teams.

10. Kansas State (15 starters back: 7 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 special teams). The Wildcats missed out on a bowl trip last season only because they scheduled two FCS teams, but they surprisingly challenged for the Big 12 North title up to their last game of the season. It might be tougher to do that this season, although Daniel Thomas will provide the foundation on offense. Carson Coffman has the inside track at quarterback, but keep an eye out for Oregon transfer Chris Harper at either that position or wide receiver. Players like Jeffrey Fitzgerald and John Houlik will be missed on defense, but all four starters are back in the secondary.

11. Colorado (16 starters back: 8 offensive, 7 defensive, 1 special teams). Dan Hawkins’ seat is the hottest in the Big 12 and arguably in college football after missing a bowl for a second straight season last year. Tyler Hansen returns as the starting quarterback, but the Buffaloes need to find some help in the backfield with only three scholarship backs in spring practice. The defense was young last season and should be improved, but will miss the leadership provided by Jeff Smart and Cha’pelle Brown. A bowl trip likely will be necessary to save Hawkins’ job and a tough nonconference schedule featuring games at California and against Hawaii and Georgia will prove troublesome even before Big 12 play begins.

12. Baylor (14 starters back: 6 offensive, 6 defensive, 2 special teams). The Bears’ hopes of stopping the conference’s longest bowl drought will hinge largely on the health of Robert Griffin, who is recovering from knee surgery that forced him to miss the final nine games of the 2009 season. New offensive lineman “Big” Robert Griffin will have to protect his quarterback if coach Art Briles has any hope of making a bowl trip. Jay Finley and Kendall Wright are underrated offensive threats, but the Bears will miss key defensive leaders like Joe Pawelek and Jordan Lake who were stalwarts for several years.

NFL combine list dotted by Big 12 players

February, 3, 2010
2/03/10
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The NFL has released its final list of late additions to its annual pre-draft player combine, which will take place in Indianapolis from Feb. 24 to March 2.

The Big 12 is well represented on the list of invited players, with every team but Iowa State and Texas A&M having at least one representative.

Here's the final list. The late invitations, typically from underclassmen who declared for the draft, are listed in bold.

BAYLOR (2)

WR David Gettis

C J.D. Walton

COLORADO (1)

TE Riar Geer

KANSAS (3)

WR Dezmon Briscoe

WR Kerry Meier

S Darrell Stuckey

KANSAS STATE (3)

WR Brandon Banks

TE Jeron Mastrud

CB Joshua Moore

MISSOURI (4)

WR Danario Alexander

G Kurtis Gregory

WR Jared Perry

LB Sean Weatherspoon

NEBRASKA (4)

S Larry Asante

LB Phillip Dillard

C Jacob Hickman

DT Ndamukong Suh

OKLAHOMA (9)

QB Sam Bradford

RB Chris Brown

OLB Keenan Clayton

TE Brody Eldridge

CB Dominique Franks

TE Jermaine Gresham

CB Brian Jackson

DT Gerald McCoy

T Trent Williams

OKLAHOMA STATE (6)

S Lucien Antoine

WR Dez Bryant

CB Perrish Cox

T Russell Okung

QB Zac Robinson

RB Keith Toston

TEXAS (7)

DT Lamarr Houston

DE Sergio Kindle

QB Colt McCoy

LB Roddrick Muckelroy

WR Jordan Shipley

S Earl Thomas

T Adam Ulatoski

TEXAS TECH (2)

G Brandon Carter

CB Jamar Wall

All-Big 12 teams show recruiting hits and misses

February, 2, 2010
2/02/10
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As we all pore over the recruiting ratings of each school for the next few days, it's wise to take all of these rankings and ratings with a healthy grain of salt.

Recruiting is, always has been and always will be an inexact science. For every can't miss product, there are others who emerge out of nowhere to become standout players.

This trend was shown after I analyzed the first- and second-team All-Big 12 teams from the 2009 season and went back to check their original ESPNU grades. On some, the service hit. But on many others, it missed like Sean Weatherspoon and Danario Alexander.

Both had scores of 40 when they came out in their recruiting class. Weatherspoon weighed 195 pounds. Alexander was projected as a safety. And both put aside their dubious recruiting marks to develop into two of the best players in the country at their position over the course of their college career. I thought it was interesting to go back and look at the best players in the conference and see where they were ranked coming into college.

The ESPNU ratings database goes back only to 2006. That does not allow us to get ratings for players who took a redshirt year during their college careers. But it gives a pretty accurate picture about the crap shoot that college recruiting really is.

Here's a look at the Big 12's coaches' first and second teams for 2009. The positional rankings, typically listed second for most players, are national rankings.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB: Colt McCoy, Texas: Class of 2005, no information available.

RB: Daniel Thomas, Kansas State: Junior college class of 2009.

RB: Keith Toston, Oklahoma State: 77 rating; ranked 44th among all safeties; ranked 73rd in state.

FB: Bryant Ward, Oklahoma State: Walk-on.

WR: Jordan Shipley, Texas: Class of 2004, no information available.

WR: Danario Alexander, Missouri: 40 rating (as safety), ranked 229th in state.

WR: Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas: 40 rating, ranked 363rd in state.

TE: Jeron Mastrud, Kansas State: 40 rating, ranked 13th in state.

OL: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State: 73 rating, ranked 61st among all tackles, 138th in state.

OL: Trent Williams, Oklahoma: 76 rating, ranked 22nd among all guards, 78th in state.

OL: Nick Stringer, Kansas State: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Brandon Carter, Texas Tech: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Nate Solder, Colorado: 40 rating (as tight end), ranked 48th in state.

PK: Grant Ressel, Missouri: Walk-on.

KR/PR: Brandon Banks, Kansas State: Junior college class of 2008.


FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: Class of 2005, no information available.

DL: Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: 89 rating, ranked 2nd among all defensive tackle, ranked first in state, ranked 21st in nation.

DL:Von Miller, Texas A&M: 77 rating, ranked 37th among all defensive ends, ranked 52nd in state.

DL: Brandon Sharpe, Texas Tech: Junior-college class of 2007.

DL: Jared Crick, Nebraska: 73 rating, ranked 86th among all defensive ends, ranked seventh in state.

LB: Jesse Smith, Iowa State: Class of 2005, no information available.

LB: Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri: 40 rating, ranked 294th in state.

LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma: 75 rating, ranked 86th among all running backs, ranked 96th in state.

DB: Earl Thomas, Texas: 71 rating, ranked 75th among all cornerbacks, ranked 170th in state.

DB: Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State: 77 rating, ranked 25th among all cornerbacks, ranked 57th in state.

DB: Dominique Franks, Oklahoma: 74 rating, ranked 53rd among all cornerbacks, ranked 15th in state.

DB: Prince Amukamara, Nebraska: 78 rating, ranked 31st among all running backs, ranked fifth in state.

DB: Larry Asante, Nebraska: Junior college class of 2007.

P: Derek Epperson, Baylor: 76 rating, ranked 15th among all kickers, ranked 87th in state.


SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB: Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M: 79 rating, ranked first among all athletes, ranked 29th in state.

RB Roy Helu Jr., Nebraska: 73 rating, ranked 113th among all running backs, ranked 97th in state.

RB: DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma: 92 rating, ranked first among all running backs, ranked first in state, ranked sixth in nation.

FB: Jamie McCoy, Texas A&M: Class of 2005, no information available.

WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma: 77 rating, ranked 58th among all wide receivers, ranked fourth in state.

WR: Kerry Meier, Kansas: Class of 2005 , no information available.

WR: Brandon Banks, Kansas State: Junior college class of 2008.

TE: Riar Geer, Colorado: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: J.D. Walton, Baylor: Class of 2005, no information available (transfer from Arizona State).

OL: Chris Hall, Texas: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Kurtis Gregory, Missouri: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Adam Ulatoski, Texas: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Brody Eldridge, Oklahoma: Class of 2005, no information available.

OL: Lee Grimes, Texas A&M: Class of 2005, no information available.

PK: Alex Henery, Nebraska: Walk-on.

KR/PR: Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State: 77 rating, ranked 25th among all cornerbacks, ranked 57th in state.


SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL: Sergio Kindle, Texas: 92 rating, ranked first among all outside linebackers, ranked second in state, ranked seventh in nation.

DL: Lamarr Houston, Texas: 78 rating, ranked seventh among all fullbacks, ranked fourth in state.

DL: Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma: 80 rating, ranked 11th among all defensive ends, ranked 17th in state, ranked 137th nationally.

DL: Jaron Baston, Missouri: Class of 2005, no information available.

DL: Daniel Howard, Texas Tech: Junior college class of 2007

LB: Joe Pawelek, Baylor: Class of 2005, no information available.

LB: Roddrick Muckelroy, Texas: Class of 2005, no information available.

LB: Phillip Dillard, Nebraska: Class of 2005, no information available.

DB: Jamar Wall, Texas Tech: 72 rating, ranked 79th among all safeties, ranked 142nd in state.

DB: Quinton Carter, Oklahoma: 77 rating, ranked 39th among all safeties, ranked third in state.

DB: Brian Jackson, Oklahoma: Class of 2005, no information available.

DB: Jordan Lake, Baylor: Class of 2005, no information available.

DB: Cha’pelle Brown, Colorado: 40 rating, ranked 287th in state.

DB: Trent Hunter, Texas A&M: 68 rating, ranked 90th among all cornerbacks, ranked 250th in state.

P: Tress Way, Oklahoma: 78 rating, ranked sixth among all kickers, ranked sixth in state.

It's interesting to note that only four members of the two teams were ESPNU top 150 selections: Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Jeremy Beal and Texas' Sergio Kindle.

Lawrence, Stuckey, Wall shine at East-West Shrine Game

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
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Several Big 12 players likely helped themselves in the upcoming NFL draft with big performances at the East-West Shrine Game. Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey bounced back from some positional struggles earlier in the week to lead the West team in tackles in the East team's 13-10 victory in the 85th annual game Saturday in Orlando, Fla. Here's a look at former Big 12 players and what they did in the game. All of them played for the West team.

  • Stuckey notched a team-high six solo tackles and seven tackles total.
  • Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall had six total tackles (five solo, one assist) and broke up three passes.
  • Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence converted a 47-yard field goal in his only attempt, added a point after touchdown and averaged 62 yards on three kickoffs.
  • Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing completed 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards and also rushed twice for 11 yards.
  • Oklahoma State running back Keith Toston rushed four times for 9 yards.

McCoy wins DCTF honors

January, 22, 2010
1/22/10
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Dave Campbell Texas Football's winter edition will hit the newsstands in the next several days.

One of the interesting things about the magazine's winter edition is their annual All-Texas team for players from colleges across the Lone Star State.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes were named as the offensive and defensive players of the year.

Here's a look at the other selections for the magazine.

All-Texas first-team offense

QB: Colt McCoy, Texas

RB: Donald Buckram, UTEP

RB: Charles Sims, Houston

WR: Jordan Shipley, Texas

WR: Emmanuel Sanders, SMU

WR: James Cleveland, Houston

TE: Dan Buckner, Texas

OL: Brandon Carter, Texas Tech

OL: J.D. Walton, Baylor

OL: Chris Hall, Texas

OL: Marshall Newhouse, TCU

OL: Marcus Cannon, TCU

K: Hunter Lawrence, Texas

All-Texas first-team defense

DL: Von Miller, Texas A&M

DL: Brandon Sharpe, Texas Tech

DL: Lamarr Houston, Texas

DL: Jerry Hughes, TCU

LB: Daryl Washington, TCU

LB: Sergio Kindle, Texas

LB: Joe Pawelek, Baylor

DB: Earl Thomas, Texas

DB: Rafael Priest, TCU

DB: Jordan Lake, Baylor

DB: Jamar Wall, Texas Tech

P: Chase Turner, Houston

Ret: Jeremy Kerley, TCU

The magazine all selected other awards for specific positional groups.

Best passer: Case Keenum, Houston

Best runner: Donald Buckram, UTEP

Best offensive lineman: Marshall Newhouse, TCU

Best receiver: Jordan Shipley, Texas

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, TCU

Best linebacker, Daryl Washington, TCU

Best defensive back: Earl Thomas, Texas

Most versatile: Von Miller, Texas A&M

DCTF also picked an all-Texas second team as well

All-Texas second-team offense

QB: Andy Dalton, TCU

RB: Lance Dunbar, North Texas

RB: Shawnbrey McNeal, SMU

WR: Jeff Moturi, SMU

WR: Tyron Carrier, Houston

WR: Kendall Wright, Baylor

TE: Justin Akers, Baylor

OL: Adam Ulatoski, Texas

OL: Jarve Dean, Houston

OL: Mike Aguayo, UTEP

OL: Lee Grimes, Texas A&M

OL: Charlie Tanner, Texas

K: Ross Evans, TCU

All-Texas second-team defense

DL: Scott Solomon, Rice

DL: Tyrell Graham, Houston

DL: Daniel Howard, Texas Tech

DL: Sam Acho, Texas

LB: Tank Carder, TCU

LB: Marcus McGraw, Houston

LB: Craig Robertson, North Texas

DB: Nick Sanders, TCU

DB: Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, UTEP

DB: Blake Gideon, Texas

DB: Brandon Brinkley, Houston

Ret: Tyron Carrier, Houston

P: Derek Epperson, Baylor

Note: All Big 12 players are listed in bold facing.

Texas Tech's all-decade team

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
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Despite its isolated location, Texas Tech became one of the prime stories in college football during the last decade.

Tech was an underrated program on the field, qualifying for a bowl game in every season under Mike Leach.

In building his program, Leach was known for his love of pirates and Sherlock Holmes and many other things that had little to do with football. He was a breath of fresh air in the coaching fraternity.

When he was fired after the 2009 regular season, it was a national story because of its abrupt nature.

The Red Raiders claimed 85 victories during the decade, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas. All but one of those wins was earned by Leach, who was fired shortly before Tech’s Valero Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State.

The Red Raiders certainly were the Big 12's most entertaining program with a high-powered offense and the quirky Leach in charge. And when they were at their very best, the Red Raiders had an underrated defense directed by Ruffin McNeill that accentuated the team’s offensive firepower.

Here’s a look at my selections for the top moments and players for Tech from the last decade.

OFFENSE

QB: Graham Harrell

RB: Taurean Henderson

RB: Baron Batch

WR: Michael Crabtree

WR: Joel Filani

WR: Wes Welker

OL: Brandon Carter

OL: Rylan Reed

OL: Luis Vasquez

OL: Daniel Loper

C: Dylan Gandy

DEFENSE

DL: Aaron Hunt

DL: Adell Duckett

DL Brandon Sharpe

DL: Brandon Williams

LB: Lawrence Flugence

LB: Mike Smith

LB: Marlon Williams

DB: Dwayne Slay

DB: Kevin Curtis

DB: Darcel McBath

DB: Jamar Wall

P: Alex Reyes

K: Alex Trlica

Ret: Wes Welker

Offensive player of the decade: WR Michael Crabtree. Despite playing only two seasons, he became the most productive receiver in Tech’s history. He was a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award with 231 receptions and 41 TD grabs setting an NCAA record for two seasons of production.

Defensive player of the decade: S Kevin Curtis. A fiery, hard-hitting safety, Curtis was the most decorated and one of the most versatile defensive player of the decade for the Red Raiders. Curtis earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 1999 and 2000 and second-team all-conference honors in 2001. He was a second-team All-American in 2000 while playing strong safety and a second-team All-America choice in 2001 after moving to free safety.

Coach of the decade: Mike Leach. He perhaps was the most influential coaching figure in Big 12 history as he helped push the conference from a stodgy run-based attack to one where cutting-edge passing attacks predominated. He also became a national figure because of his personality and his guest appearances on television shows as diverse as “Sixty Minutes” and “Friday Night Lights.”

Moment of the decade: Michael Crabtree’s late touchdown grab beats Texas in 2008. Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree was one second left helped push Tech to an area it had never been before. It not only boosted them to a 39-33 triumph over Texas but also served as a national coming-out party for Leach, Crabtree and the rest of the Tech program. In the process, the Red Raiders earned an unprecedented share of the Big 12 South title that season.

Big 12 to send 16 to East-West Shrine Game

January, 14, 2010
1/14/10
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Sixteen Big 12 players hoping to better their draft status will be participating in the East-West Shrine Game Jan. 23 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek, Iowa State offensive lineman Reggie Stephens, Kansas State defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald, Oklahoma State running back Keith Toston, Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall, Texas Tech guard Brandon Carter, Colorado tight end Riar Geer, Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing, Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey, Missouri defensive tackle Jaron Baston, Nebraska safety Larry Asante, Oklahoma running back Chris Brown, Oklahoma cornerback Brian Jackson, Texas defensive tackle Lamarr Houston and Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence are on the West team's roster.

Every Big 12 program except Texas A&M will be represented in the annual all-star game, which will be played for the 85th time.

It will be particularly critical for players like Pawelek, Fitzgerald, Reesing and Toston as they perform before professional scouts in practices next week leading up to the game.

And keep an eye out for Stephens, who plans to work at guard after serving as a center for the Cyclones this season.

Thirty-two invited to combine from Big 12

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
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The Big 12 will be well represented when the NFL holds its scouting combine in Indianapolis.

The official list has not been released, although SportingNews.com has accounted for most of the early players. The list does not include juniors and other players who might be invited late to the festivities, which will begin Feb. 24 in Indianapolis.

I would think Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek, Baylor safety Jordan Lake and Texas center Chris Hall all will be invited later.

And I would expect eligible juniors such as Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant to get their opportunity at the combine.

Baylor: WR David Gettis, C J.D. Walton.

Colorado: TE Riar Geer.

Iowa State: None.

Kansas: WR Kerry Meier, S Darrell Stuckey.

Kansas State: WR Brandon Banks, TE Jeron Mastrud.

Missouri: WR Danario Alexander, G Kurtis Gregory, WR Jared Perry, LB Sean Weatherspoon.

Nebraska: S Larry Asante, LB Phillip Dillard, C Jacob Hickman, DT Ndamukong Suh.

Oklahoma: RB Chris Brown, TE Brody Eldridge, TE Jermaine Gresham, CB Brian Jackson, T Trent Williams.

Oklahoma State: CB Perrish Cox, T Russell Okung, QB Zac Robinson, RB Keith Toston.

Texas: DT Lamarr Houston, DE Sergio Kindle, QB Colt McCoy, LB Roddrick Muckelroy, WR Jordan Shipley, OT Adam Ulatoski.

Texas A&M: None.

Texas Tech: G Brandon Carter, DB Jamar Wall.

All-Big 12 bowl team dotted by seven Cornhuskers

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
11:00
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It was a forgettable bowl season for much of the Big 12.

But there were still enough top producers to fill out a team of top performers from the conference's 4-4 bowl season.

Here's a look at my top performers:

OFFENSE

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Passed for career-best 418 yards and added three passing TDs to direct Sooners’ Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

RB Alexander Robinson, Iowa State: Rushed for 137 yards -- his sixth 100-yard game of the season -- to pace Cyclones’ victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

RB Baron Batch, Texas Tech: Rushed for 100 yards, scored two TDs and produced six receptions for 85 yards in Red Raiders’ comeback victory in the Alamo Bowl over Michigan State.

WR Jordan Shipley, Texas: Overcame slow start to produce 10 catches for 122 yards and two TDs against Alabama, becoming Texas’ leading career receiver.

WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma: Produced career-best totals of 13 receptions, 156 receiving yards and also matched career high with three TD receptions to help beat Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

TE Trent Ratterree, Oklahoma: Grabbed three receptions for 86 yards, including pivotal 38-yard catch that was Jones’ longest pass of game in Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

OL Ricky Henry, Nebraska: Helped Cornhuskers dominate in the trenches in biggest Cornhuskers' bowl victory since 2000.

OL Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State: Dominant effort helped Cyclones claim first bowl victory since 2004 and only third bowl victory in school history.

OL Jacob Hickman, Nebraska: Cornhuskers’ center set the tone for easy victory over Arizona.

OL Brandon Carter, Texas Tech: Colorful lineman helped Tech roll up school bowl-record 31 first downs, 579 total yards against Michigan State.

OL Trent Williams, Oklahoma: All-American moved from tackle to center and didn’t miss a beat in the Sooners’ Sun Bowl triumph.

DEFENSE

DL Sergio Kindle, Texas: Had his best game of the season with eight tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses against Alabama.

DL Pierre Allen, Nebraska: Set the tone for Nebraska’s pass rush with two sacks, four tackles, forced a fumble and notched a quarterback hurry in the Cornhuskers’ shutout over Arizona -- first for a Big 12 team in a bowl game in conference history.

DL Christopher Lyle, Iowa State: Insight Bowl defensive MVP produced five tackles, including two for losses and one sack to lead Cyclones’ victory over Minnesota.

DL Rajon Henley, Texas Tech: Four tackles, four quarterback hurries, one sack against Michigan State.

LB Phillip Dillard, Nebraska: Produced team-high seven stops, broke up one pass in Cornhuskers’ shutout over Arizona.

LB Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma: Produced 12 tackles (three solo, nine assists), two quarterback hurries and one tackle for loss against Stanford.

LB Andre Sexton, Oklahoma State: Produced 10 tackles, two interceptions and one tackle for a loss in Cotton Bowl loss to Mississippi.

DB Matt O’Hanlon, Nebraska: Earned Holiday Bowl defensive MVP honors with five stops, a 37-yard interception and a pass broken up against Arizona.

DB Ter’ran Benton, Iowa State: In his first game back after recovering from mid-season broken leg, notched five tackles and game-clinching fumble recovery in Cyclones’ Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota.

DB Jamar Wall, Texas Tech: Produced six tackles, broke up two passes and one interception against Michigan State.

DB Quinton Carter, Oklahoma: Notched eight stops (five tackles, three assists) and added an interception in Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

SPECIALISTS

P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State: Averaged 50.2 yards per punt on his eight punts, including four punts inside 20 in Cotton Bowl.

K Alex Henery, Nebraska: Converted all four field goals of 47, 50, 43 and 22 yards to set the Holiday Bowl record. His big night gave him a Nebraska single-season record of 24 for the season.

RET Niles Paul, Nebraska: The Holiday Bowl offensive MVP amassed 94 yards in returns, including a 49-yard kickoff return and a 28-yard punt return. He also added four catches for 123 yards, including a clinching 74-yard TD grab from Zac Lee.

Robinson unlikely to start tonight for OSU

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
7:18
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It looks like Zac Robinson won't be making his 35th consecutive start at quarterback tonight for Oklahoma State.

Citing unnamed team sources, the Tulsa World is reporting that Robinson is in uniform, but will not start and likely will not play in the Cowboys' game against Colorado that will be starting in a few minutes.

The World reported that about an hour ago, OSU quarterbacks gathered on the field for their typical pass-and-catch drills as part of pre-game warmups. Robinson was not with them.

If Robinson can't go, he would be replaced by fourth-year junior Alex Cate, who will be making his first start since the 2005 season at Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Robinson and Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall were involved in a violent, head-to-head collision near the end of the Cowboys' 24-17 victory over Texas Tech last week. OSU officials have never disclosed if Robinson sustained a concussion on the play.

Thursday's game is critical for the BCS at-large hopes of 8-2 OSU, which desperately needs a victory to improve its resume.

Look for OSU coach Mike Gundy to dial up a conservative gameplan that will feature heavy doses of running backs Keith Toston, Kendall Hunter and Beau Johnson.

Things to watch when Colorado meets OSU

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
3:51
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Here are some things I'll be watching when Colorado travels to Oklahoma State for tonight's game (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET).

What I'm looking for from Oklahoma State:

  • Will Zac Robinson be ready to play? Only five days after a vicious head-to-head shot from Texas Tech defensive back Jamar Wall, Robinson’s condition is questionable coming into tonight’s game. Robinson has displayed a lot of toughness and moxie over his career and undoubtedly would like to play on his Senior Night. But the Cowboys likely won’t need him to beat the struggling Buffaloes. Backup Alex Cate would be ready to play if needed and the Cowboys have a consistent running game keyed by Keith Toston, Kendall Hunter and Beau Johnson to carry the team. It might not be really fancy, but that ground game could take a lot of pressure of a first-time starting quarterback -- if it was needed.
  • Oklahoma State’s shot at the national spotlight: Tonight’s game provides the Cowboys and the Big 12 with a rare shot at Thursday night exposure. And a big performance is important as OSU attempts to prove its worthiness for the first BCS at-large berth in school history. If the 8-2 Cowboys can beat Colorado tonight and then defeat Oklahoma in Norman next week, their argument for an at-large berth would be strong. But in order to cement those hopes and likely make a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, Mike Gundy’s team needs a strong performance.
  • Bill Young’s emerging OSU defense: Oklahoma State’s defense under veteran coordinator Bill Young has really made strides in recent weeks. The Cowboys will attempt to handcuff a Colorado offense that has sputtered with the exception of wide receiver Markques Simas, who has produced 14 catches in his last two games. All-Big 12 candidate Perrish Cox, the Big 12’s current defensive player of the week, will get the first shot at stopping Simas. It should be an intriguing battle between an emerging receiver and one of the nation’s most underrated lockdown cornerbacks.
What I’m looking for from Colorado:

  • The play from streaky quarterback Tyler Hansen: Colorado's starting sophomore quarterback appeared to be headed for a redshirt season earlier this year as he rode the bench behind Cody Hawkins. But Hansen got the call midway through the season and has been alternately strong and struggling. He provides the Buffaloes more of a run-pass option than Hawkins and his teammates appear to gravitate to his inspirational leadership. But he’s thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three) and will likely face a huge amount of pressure from the underrated OSU defensive front.
  • Can Colorado get anything from its offense? The Buffaloes have sputtered all season long, ranking 105th in total offense, 112th in rushing and 94th in scoring. They will need to produce something from their running game, particularly fumble-prone starter Rodney "Speedy" Stewart to keep OSU honest. And nothing from the past few weeks is indicative they will be able to do that. If they don’t start fast, this one could turn ugly for the Buffaloes.
  • How Dan Hawkins approaches the game: With speculation swirling about potential replacements, the Colorado coach is coaching to keep his job. His teams have been one of the most penalized groups in the country, ranking 119th among the 120 FBS teams. He even had members of his operations staff dress in striped shirts at practice throwing penalty flags. The Buffaloes are at a huge competitive disadvantage as they try to stem a 10-game road losing streak against a team that is fighting for a spot in the BCS. The Buffaloes are the only team in the conference to already be eliminated from bowl contention. It will be a massive coaching effort to keep this group involved if they have some early problems. Can Hawkins keep his team close in the game? We’ll have to see.

What to watch for in the Big 12, Week 12

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
7:37
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Here are some items of interest heading into this week's Big 12 games:

Will Zac Robinson play tonight for Oklahoma State? Robinson has made 34 consecutive starts for the Cowboys and is their unquestioned team leader. He’s developed into more of a running threat in recent weeks, reverting to the form that he showed earlier in his career. But his condition is iffy after a brutal head-to-head collision with Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall at the end of last week’s game. Robinson’s return to the lineup will be critical as the Cowboys try to win their way into the BCS this season. And if he can’t go tonight, junior Alex Cate would get the first start of his career against Colorado in a huge game in the national spotlight for the Cowboys.

Colorado responds to its role as a spoiler: The Buffaloes are the only Big 12 team without any bowl hopes heading into this week's games. Dan Hawkins predicted before the season that his team would “win 10 games with no excuses.” That dream has long been dashed, but can the Buffaloes ruin Oklahoma State’s BCS at-large hopes before a national television audience? In order to do so, they will have to play their best game of the season.

Big 12 title game or bust for Kansas State: It’s all or nothing for the Wildcats heading into their winner-take-all showdown with Nebraska for the North Division championship Saturday in Lincoln. If the Wildcats can notch an upset, they will qualify for their first championship game berth since 2003 and would qualify for a bowl. If they lose, they are through for the season. KSU coach Bill Snyder said he’s never had a team in these circumstances in his 41-season career as a coach. The Wildcats have won only once at Nebraska since 1968 and will be battling huge odds to extend their season.

Can Roy Helu Jr. continue his recent running binge? Helu has bounced back from an earlier shoulder injury to become the Cornhuskers' most consistent offensive threat, averaging 147 rushing yards per game in his last two games. His strong effort last week seemed to perk up the Cornhuskers’ entire offense in a 31-17 triumph over Kansas. Another big game will be important as the Cornhuskers attempt to claim their first championship game berth since 2006.

Colt McCoy’s last home game: It will be an emotional game Saturday in Austin when McCoy concludes his home career at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium against Kansas with the rest of his senior class. McCoy also can notch his 43rd career victory, giving him the NCAA record over David Greene. And the Longhorns can clinch a title game appearance this week with either an Oklahoma State loss or their own victory over the reeling Jayhawks.

Kansas responds to all of the off-the-field dramatics around the program this week: Coach Mark Mangino’s job appears to be in serious jeopardy after reports surfaced of an internal investigation by the school of Mangino’s coaching methods. The slumping Jayhawks have dropped their last five games after starting the season 5-0 and soaring as high as No. 16 in the national polls. A victory would qualify the team for its third straight bowl appearance under Mangino -- a feat that has never occurred in the 120-season history of the program. But a loss would mean Kansas would have to qualify for a bowl game next week with a victory over Missouri, or stay home from the bowls entirely.

Can Oklahoma halt its road woes? The Sooners are 1-4 away from Owen Field this season and have seen their scoring average plunge from 49.8 points at home to 16.8 points in games away from home. They need a big effort and a more consistent running game in order to beat Texas Tech in Lubbock for the first time since 2003. Bob Stoops will try to avoid his first three-game losing streak in any conference facility. Stoops has lost three consecutive games in the Orange Bowl, but has never endured a streak like that inside any rival Big 12 home stadium.

Who starts at quarterback for Texas Tech? Mike Leach admitted earlier this week that he made a mistake by taking Taylor Potts out of the game last week when he removed him for Steven Sheffield midway through the Red Raiders’ loss at Oklahoma State. Sheffield was game, but showed the effects of foot surgery he underwent only a month earlier. Will Leach start Potts against the talented Oklahoma defense and will he show more patience in sticking with him after an early mistake or two? Or will he prefer a lift from Sheffield, who seems to provide his team with a boost with his running abilities when he enters the game?

The Battle of the Brazos -- with legitimate bowl ramifications for a change: It’s been a long time since both Baylor and Texas A&M both had bowl hopes in a game between the two old rivals late in the season. The Aggies can wrap up their first bowl berth since 2007 with a victory. And the Bears can grab an improbable bowl berth -- thought to be an impossibility after the earlier season-ending injury to Robert Griffin -- by winning against the Aggies and beating Texas Tech next week in Arlington. Baylor will be facing some long odds as it attempts to beat A&M at Kyle Field for the first time since 1984. A victory here would clearly be Art Briles' biggest triumph since his arrival at Baylor.

Can Danario Alexander do it again? Missouri's talented senior wide receiver has developed into the league’s biggest offensive weapon in recent weeks after posting back-to-back 200-yard receiving games against Baylor and Kansas State. He will be gunning for a third straight 200-yard game -- a feat that would tie him with Tulsa’s Howard Twilley and Nevada’s Trevor Insley for an NCAA record. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be leaning on Alexander a little more with the injury to starting wide receiver Jared Perry. But the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Alexander’s hopes should be boosted by the fact he will be playing against an undersized Iowa State starting secondary that averages only 5-foot-9.

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