Big 12: Leon Patton
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
There's nothing like compiling these links to the accompaniment of some early afternoon major-league baseball games.
Wednesdays are starting to become one of my favorite days of the work week because of that.
Here are some of the stories people are talking about this afternoon from around the Big 12.
- Colorado fans are bitterly complaining about a new parking plan around Folsom Field which is removing some from favored tailgating spots of many seasons, the Boulder Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo reports.
- Des Moines Register columnist Sean Keeler predicts Iowa State will finish 5-7 this season with the Cyclones playing for a potential bowl appearance in their season finale.
- The Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter examines the Hall of Fame prospects of several Missouri football legends, among other delectable tidbits, in his entertaining "Case of the Mondays on Tuesday" sports blog.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that former Kansas State football player Leon Patton was arrested earlier this week in connection with a battery in Manhattan.
- The blog Burnt Orange Nation predicts that tight end-fullback Barrett Matthews could wind up as one of the most important incoming recruits for Texas because of his versatility.
- Incoming Nebraska linebacker Chris Williams' rehab from knee surgery is coming along well. His high school coach told the Omaha World-Herald's Rich Kaipust that he saw him two-stepping at a school dance recently.
- Pete Fiutak of College Football News previews the 2009 Kansas State season.
- The Oklahoman's Jake Trotter reports that Oklahoma picked up two commitments from Texas players in the recruiting class of 2010. Guard Adam Shead of Cedar Hill picked the Sooners over Texas Tech and wide receiver Sheldon McClain of Cibolo chose the Sooners over Utah, SMU and Texas A&M.
- The Austin American-Statesman's Suzanne Halliburton gets to the bottom of why former Texas player Austin Sendlein's 2004 Rose Bowl ring ended up on eBay.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
There's a short turnaround time this morning as I'm rushing to hop into my car for my drive to College Station for this afternoon's Miami-Texas A&M game. Rather than miss the kickoff, let's get straight to the links.
- Former Kansas State RB Leon Patton is out of jail after posting $30,000 bond late Friday. Riley County Police Department spokesman Kurt Moldrup told the Wichita Eagle the case involves alleged injury after reportedly shaking a 2-month-old baby in July.
- Texas special teams coach Duane Akina has a special rewards system for Longhorns who block punts. It's worked as the Longhorns have blocked three punts in their first two games.
- Baylor players felt they gave one away in a tight 31-28 loss at Connecticut Friday night.
- What can Missouri QB Chase Daniel do to top his recent string of 13 straight scoring drives? How about trying to overcome Buffalo coach Turner Gill, who beat the Tigers three times as a starting quarterback while a member of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
- Six Kansas freshmen should play Saturday against Sam Houston State. They hope to juice production after the Jayhawks have been stymied with five field goal attempts inside the red zone in the last two weeks.
- Texas A&M players will be battling Miami's still-sizable mystique when the Hurricanes visit Kyle Field on Saturday.
- The San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger wonders if the Big 12 and SEC might be too strong for their own good.
- Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has been blistering Red Raider receivers all week after eight dropped passes last week against SMU.
- Iowa State is preparing for a big challenge of stopping UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton, a former fifth-string walk-on who has earned the Rebels starting job.
- Nice story this morning from the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson and Anthony Roberts about how Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson has overcome stuttering thanks to inspiration from his older brother.
- Nebraska takes a break Saturday, kind of the calm before the storm. The Cornhuskers next three opponents are a combined 8-1 in a gauntlet that will include Virginia Tech and nationally ranked foes Missouri and Texas Tech.
- The Oklahoman breaks down the five best in-state players from the state not named Sam Bradford.
- Oklahoman columnist John Rohde provides instructions for how fans can cope with a Saturday without games involving Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
- Colorado WR Josh Smith and RB Darrell Scott are bracing for an emotional return to Florida next week. Scott grew up rooting for next week's opponent, the Florida State Seminoles.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas State coach Ron Prince received a one-year contract extension earlier this month, despite watching his team crater down the stretch last season with four-straight losses to finish with a disappointing 5-7 record.
The pressure will be on the Wildcats to turn things around immediately with an infusion of 19 junior-college transfers. That group will be counted on to mend a leaky defense and provide playmakers at wide receiver and running back.
As the Wildcats build to their season opener Aug. 30 against North Texas, here are five questions that are keeping Prince concerned.
1. Can a running back be found?
Kansas State has no running backs with Division I experience after Leon Patton was suspended. Walk-on Keithen Valentine will get the first shot, with freshman Logan Dold poised for an opportunity if he should falter.
2. Can QB Josh Freeman find some consistency?
Freeman's development will be critical this season. People forget that he was thrust into a starting role as a freshman and had to learn as he went -- often behind a struggling offensive line. But he's shown enough flashes -- like those in victories against Texas the last two seasons -- that he needs to match those more often. If he can do that consistently, he might yet reach the NFL draftability that Prince has been talking up this summer.
3. Will a playmaker emerge to replace Jordy Nelson at receiver?
Only Deon Murphy has experience among Kansas State's wide receivers. Brandon Banks and Aubrey Quarles will get the first opportunities, but look for Murphy's numbers to rise dramatically as the Wildcats' featured receiver.
4. Improve the pass rush
The Wildcats produced 30 sacks last year, but tailed off dramatically late in the season. They didn't record a sack in three of the final six games of the season and notched only five during a four-game losing streak to finish the season. NT Brandon Balkcom and junior-college transfer Daniel Calvin need to emerge inside to help reduce the pressure on Ian Campbell, who returns to defensive end where he was an All-Big 12 player as a sophomore.
5. Hope the junior-college players come through
After signing 19 junior-college transfers this spring, Prince is hoping for an immediate talent infusion. The biggest question will be on defense, where Kansas State cratered last year, allowing 198 points in the final four games of the season. And the Wildcats will be tested by playing the Big 12's four highest-scoring offenses from last season -- Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Look for early contributions from CB Blair Irvin, a former minor-league baseball player, and inside linebackers Hansen Sekona and Ulla Pomele among the junior-college players. Prince hopes for more help as the season progresses.