Big 12: Maurice Lucas
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I've gotten a couple of messages today wondering where all of the Big 12's free agents have ended up.
- Texas A&M DE Michael Bennett -- Seattle Seahawks
- Kansas State DE Ian Campbell -- St. Louis Rams
- Missouri LB Brock Christopher -- Atlanta Falcons
- Oklahoma C Jon Cooper -- Minnesota Vikings
- Texas WR Quan Cosby -- Cincinnati Bengals
- Missouri QB Chase Daniel -- Washington Redskins
- Iowa State T Doug Dedrick -- Houston Texans
- Texas G Cedric Dockery -- New Orleans Saints
- Baylor T Don Gay -- San Diego Chargers
- Texas A&M CB Danny Gorrer -- New Orleans Saints
- Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell -- Cleveland Browns
- Oklahoma S Lendy Holmes -- Washington Redskins
- Colorado DT George Hypolite -- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Kansas LB James Holt -- San Diego Chargers
- Colorado DE Maurice Lucas -- Atlanta Falcons
- Nebraska I-back Marlon Lucky -- Cincinnati Bengals
- Missouri QB Chase Patton -- Chicago Bears
- Nebraska WR Todd Peterson -- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Nebraska DE Zach Potter -- New York Jets
- Oklahoma State S Ricky Price -- Kansas City Chiefs
- Kansas LB Mike Rivera -- Chicago Bears
- Kansas State K Brooks Rossman -- St. Louis Rams
- Colorado C Daniel Sanders -- St. Louis Rams
- Nebraska DT Ty Steinkuhler -- Cincinnati Bengals
- Nebraska WR Nate Swift -- Denver Broncos
- Colorado WR Patrick Williams -- Green Bay Packers
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Every team is green someplace. Here are the specific areas of the most inexperience for each Big 12 team.
Baylor offensive tackle: The Bears need to break in two new starters after losing Jason Smith and Dan Gay.
Colorado defensive line: Help is needed along the defensive front where the Buffaloes lose starting defensive end Maurice Lucas, starting defensive tackle George Hypolite and starting nose tackle Brandon Nicolas.
Iowa State defensive line: Coach Paul Rhoads desperately wants somebody to emerge on the defensive line where the Cyclones lose starting defensive tackle Michael Tate, starting defensive end Kurtis Taylor and top backup defensive back Travis Ferguson.
Kansas linebackers: Even as Mark Mangino is contemplating going to a two-linebacker base defense because of the Big 12's spread offenses, he still needs to find those two players. The Jayhawks lose starters James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen at the position from last season.
Kansas State quarterback: Josh Freeman departed for the NFL early, leaving Carson Coffman and junior college transfer Daniel Thomas to compete for the starting job. It's not a pleasant introduction back to football for returning KSU coach Bill Snyder.
Missouri skill-position players: The Tigers need a quick infusion of playmakers after losing quarterback Chase Daniel, wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Maclin and tight end Chase Coffman. All of them arguably were the greatest players at their respective positions in Missouri history. Blake Gabbert will receive first look at quarterback and Andrew Jones will work at tight end. It could take several players to fill in for what Maclin did.
Nebraska quarterback: It will be tough for the Cornhuskers to replace all that Joe Ganz did for them, both as a playmaker and a leader at quarterback. Zac Lee will get the first shot, along with freshman Cody Green and redshirt freshman Kody Spano. Maybe the Cornhuskers really could use former Miami quarterback Robert Marve next season.
Oklahoma offensive line: The departure of starting center Jon Cooper, tackle Phil Loadholt and guards Duke Robinson and Brandon Walker means that Sam Bradford will have an inexperienced group protecting him next season. Trent Williams moves to left tackle and Bob Stoops likes his incoming talent, if not its early work habits.
Oklahoma State defensive tackles: The Cowboys ranked last in the conference in sacks last season and lost starting defensive tackles Tonga Tea and Jeray Chatham. It will mean that new defensive coordinator Bill Young will need somebody to step up in the trenches to help shore up that weakness.
Texas defensive line: The major question dogging the Longhorns' national title hopes will be rebuilding a defensive front that loses All-American defensive end Brian Orakpo, defensive tackle Roy Miller, defensive tackle Aaron Lewis and defensive end Henry Melton from last season.
Texas Tech offensive line: New quarterback Taylor Potts will be relying on a retooled offensive line protecting his blind side after left tackle Rylan Reed, left guard Louis Vasquez and center Stephen Hamby all departed from last year.
Texas A&M running backs: The Aggies' offensive backfield will need to restock players: Michael Goodson left school early to declare for the NFL draft and fullbacks Jorvorskie Lane and Nick LaMantia are gone. Look for Cyrus Gray to get most of the work this spring with heralded freshman Bradley Stephens arriving in the summer.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is brimming with his confidence about his team for next season.
Despite the Buffaloes' 2008 struggles that resulted in a 5-7 season and four losses in their final five games, Hawkins didn't hesitate to predict his team would win "10 games with no excuses" in the upcoming season at the team's post-season banquet.
To get there, Hawkins will have to make a late recruiting charge much like last season, when he beat Texas for running back Darrell Scott as the most heralded recruit of his tenure.
An increase in finding depth and talent will be important after the Buffaloes suffered 10 season-ending injuries, lost three players to academic ineligibility and fielded the conference's youngest team in 2008. The team's final two-deep roster featured 27 freshmen or sophomores.
Hawkins' most pressing concern will be retooling a defensive front that loses starting defensive end Maurice Lucas, defensive tackle George Hypolite and nose tackle Brandon Nicolas. Behind them are three freshmen and a sophomore in the two-deep roster that is talented but lacks experience.
Starting outside linebacker Brad Jones and free safety Ryan Walters are Colorado's only personnel losses among the starting back seven. But additional depth at the position is needed as projected starting linebackers Jeff Smart and Shaun Mohler, who both will seniors in 2009.
The Buffaloes desperately need depth in their offensive line. Many of their offensive problems last season stemmed from early season-ending injuries that required surgery for tackle Ryan Miller and guards Mike Iltis and Maxwell Tuioti-Mariner. Their losses helped explain why the Buffaloes ranked 86th nationally in rushing, 100th in scoring in 102nd in sacks allowed.
After burning the redshirt of freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen late in the season, the Buffaloes should have healthy competition for the starting job with Cody Hawkins. An offensive is mandatory after Colorado produced just one 200-yard rushing game and was the only Big 12 team without a 300-yard passing game last season.
Considering the other personnel losses across the North Division, the Buffaloes could bounce back into title contention like their coach has predicted if they can find some more players and stay healthy.
But that could be a big if.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
While scanning the Omaha World-Herald's Web site this morning looking for something new from Tom Shatel, I came across a very cool feature that was buried deep on the newspaper's site.
The World-Herald has done a laborious job archiving game stories and pictures from each of the Cornhuskers' 44 bowl games.
My favorite was reading about Nebraska's trip to the 1941 Rose Bowl led by Coach Biff Jones. Game reporter Gregg McBride referred to the coach as "The Biffer" in his game notes. I also enjoyed reading about how the Cornhuskers met with film star Robert Taylor, a native of Filley, Neb., after the game.
For Cornhusker fans who want to remember how much fun it is to spend late December away from the frigid Midwest, it's probably the next best thing to a trip to San Antonio or Shreveport.
And it's a pretty good reminder of what will be expected on a regular basis from Bo Pelini.
But before we look forward to December bowl trips, let's serve up some morning links from around the Big 12. Happy munching.
My take: Rock-star greetings are fine in July, but Gundy would prefer fans cheering for him like that in December or January -- after bowl games.
- Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler tracked down Bob Stoops in Jackson, Miss., where he was attending the New Orleans Saints practice. Interestingly, Stoops spent much of his time studying the defense of Saints coordinator Gary Gibbs, one of his predecessors as Oklahoma's coach.
My take: So much for fishing or golf. Stoops is already in football-mode when many other coaches are squeezing in their last couple of days of vacation.
- Campussqueeze.com ranks Iowa State among the 11 schools with the worst uniforms in college football.
My take: The Cyclones are ripped for their gold pants, which the Web site compares to those worn by M.C. Hammer. I'm sure Gene Chizik is more old school than that, aiming more to clothing worn by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- The Bleacher Report compares Bo Pelini to Pete Townshend as it likens the once- mighty Cornhuskers to the historically great but recently struggling band The Who.
My take: Both the Cornhuskers and The Who have had Hall of Fame production in the past but have fallen on hard times. But I'll know there's something to the comparison if Pelini starts smashing Gatorade coolers after games like Townshend does with his guitars.
- Foxsports.com isn't buying the early preseason hype that Texas Tech is receiving and doesn't think Texas A&M will be as bad as most prognosticators predict.
My take: Funny, most predictions are going the other way on this. The Foxsports.com guys are going to look awfully smart or awfully foolish on this one.
- Baylor-bound K Ben Parks' 41-yard field goal with 25 seconds left boosted the North to a 16-15 victory over the South in the Texas High School Coaches' Association All-Star Game last night in San Antonio. Texas signee D.J. Monroe earned offensive MVP honors after rushing for 107 yards and a touchdown.
My take: I can only hope to see a few games as exciting as this one later this season. The North scored three times in the final 98 seconds to win the game. And the South's chances were snuffed out when Drew Nelson's 45-yard field goal with time expiring was blocked.
- No more "Mr. Nice Guy?" Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman says that a hard-edged Mack Brown might be what Texas needs this season.
My take: It seems the Longhorns responded better to Brown's boot than his former Kumbaya-singing ways -- at least if the Holiday Bowl is any indication.
- Dugan Arnett of the Lawrence Journal-World spells out a multitude of reasons why the Big 12 has the nation's best collection of quarterbacks.
My take: I enjoyed Arnett's story, but I really thought the illustration that accompanied the story was neat. It showed quarterbacks Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell and Todd Reesing as the four faces of "Mount Passmore," a takeoff of the historical site Mount Rushmore. Good idea, but where was Colt McCoy?
- Boulder Daily Camera reporter Kyle Ringo said that Colorado needs improvement from WR Patrick Williams, CB Gardner McKay, DE Maurice Lucas and massive 6-foot-8, 298-pound TE Nate Solder for a big season.
My take: I think Ringo forgot about the most obvious player on the roster. As QB Cody Hawkins plays, so will go the Buffaloes.
- Senior Iowa State RB J.J. Bass remains indefinitely suspended as the Cyclones prepare for their first day of practice.
My take: The best indicator about Bass' status can be found in the Big 12's media guide. He's not listed on Iowa State's roster.
- Terrance Harris' Texas A&M blog in the Houston Chronicle gives an early look at Mike Sherman's 2009 recruiting class.
My take: So much for those thoughts about teaching an older dog new tricks. Sherman appears to have gravitated to recruiting -- at least if 25 commitments is any indication.
- Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News details Art Briles' efforts to change the culture at Baylor.
My take: Briles is a proven winner, but he'll be facing the challenge of his career at his new job.
- Former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill had some high praise for Texas-bound QB Garrett Gilbert of Lake Travis, Texas, saying he's the best quarterback prospect he's seen since Dan Marino.
My take: I know Sherril
l is a media member now, but hyperbole has never been part of his schtick. This kid must be pretty good.
- Mack Brown and Mike Sherman give their thoughts on how the new 40/25 clock rules will affect play once the season begins.
My take: I know the television networks love the rule, but I don't. I'd rather savor and celebrate college football's differences from the NFL rather than make it more like the "No Fun League."