Big 12: Johnnie Johnson

Big 12 morning inks: New Aggie president loves her Hawks

July, 18, 2008
7/18/08
8:53
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin 

New Texas A&M president Elsa Murano is saying all the right things to the most tradition-steeped of all fan bases in the Big 12. Murano told the San Antonio Express-News' Brent Zwerneman that she has developed into a big sports fan since arriving in the country from Cuba in 1961.

Murano has quickly embraced all things dealing with Aggie athletics since taking the job. She's had members of A&M's women's basketball team over to her office for cake and ice cream.

And she's told new A&M football coach Mike Sherman she's pining for a victory over the college team from her hometown when the Aggies meet Miami on Sept. 20.

"I'm counting on a win," Murano told Zwerneman. "I've told Coach Sherman if you win nothing else, you've got to win this game for me."

But one thing that might give Aggie fans some concern are Murano's favorite professional teams she follows. It's understandable she would follow the recently downtrodden Miami Dolphins, considering its her home town. But she lists the Atlanta Hawks as her favorite basketball team - particularly those of the Spud Webb/Jon Koncak vintage in the late 1980s.

I've followed the NBA for 40 years. And I can legitimately say that I've never heard anyone from outside the greater Atlanta area ever claiming that the Hawks were their favorite team.

Here are some stories that had me thinking from around the conference this morning.

  • Natalie England of the San Antonio Express-News catches up with Ken Rucker, Texas' new director of high school relations and player development. The new job should be ideal for the Longhorns' former running backs coach, who was diagnosed with and overcame prostate cancer last season.

My take -- This is a great move for one of the nice guys in the coaching profession. It will also help the Longhorns to have a mentor like Rucker around the program. 

My take -- It's just not right seeing a recent Heisman Trophy winner as a retail manager so close to the end of his playing career.

My take -- Chip is right, or there's no telling what kind of tantrums that could be in store for Mike Gundy.

  • Former Texas Tech assistant coach Dave Brown will be among this year's class enshrined Saturday into the College Football Hall of Fame. Others with Big 12 titles in the 2008 class include Oklahoma center Tom Brahaney and Texas defensive back Johnnie Johnson.

My take -- Although he played at Michigan, Brown's legacy as a leader has been embraced at Texas Tech as if he were an original Red Raider.

My take -- So does Mack Brown.

My take -- It's not a good time to be a defensive coordinator in the Big 12.

  • Nine of 12 Big 12 coaches arrived with offensive backgrounds, according to Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart. Stoops, however, is one of three national championship winners during the BCS era with a defensive pedigree.

My take -- Another reason why it's not a good time to be a Big 12 defensive coordinator.

My take -- The Cornhuskers need a surge defensively from a lot of people this season.

My take -- Me, too. I was kind of surprised that DeMarco Murray beat out Mike Goodson for the second running back slot. But maybe the rest of the media knows more about A&M's offensive line than I do.

  • Missouri junior-college transfer defensive end Brian Coulter has earned the nickname "Godzilla II" before his first game with the Tigers. The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond writes that some Missouri fans are already saying that Coulter could develop into a pass-rushing threat like the original "Godzilla," Justin Smith. 

My take -- Coulter might talk a good game, but he'll have a long way to go to match the production of Smith, who might be the pass rusher in Missouri history.

  • The web site Pro Fantasy Sports rates Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree as the best potential quarterback and wide receiver -- for fantasy purposes -- in the conference this season. Other top choices include Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, Missouri kicker Jeff Wolfert and the Oklahoma defense.

My take -- C'mon, fantasy football for college players? Give me a break.

My take -- Great idea. When your football is as loaded as Missouri's should be for the next couple of years, strike while it's hot. Cha-ching!

My take -- Gundy probably envisions Hudson adding 40 pounds or so after arriving at college and learning about the merits of extensive weight training and midnight burritos.

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