Big 12: Maxwell Tuioti-Maxwell
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Luck is part of football success, sometimes as important a part of winning as corned beef, cabbage and green beer are to St. Patrick's Day.
Here are several Big 12 coaches and players who could stand to benefit from an extra four-leaf clover or two to improve their good fortune this season.
- Dan Hawkins, Colorado: No Big 12 squad faced more injuries last season than Hawkins' Buffaloes. Losses in the offensive line to Ryan Miller and Maxwell Tuioti-Maxwell and Rodney Stewart's broken fibula helped cripple the Buffaloes' title hopes. Another similar run of injuries could put Hawkins' job in jeopardy.
- Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: A veteran offensive line helped power Bradford to the Heisman Trophy last season. How much different will it be in 2009 with four new starters along the offensive line? Bradford hopes he won't have too much green in the form of grass stains on his jersey from opposing team's hits, as his young protectors must grow quickly into their new roles.
- Art Briles, Baylor: The only coach in the conference who makes green part of his game-day garb could use some good fortune to hope nothing happens to Robert Griffin. If Griffin can stay healthy and productive, the Bears can contend for a bowl berth. If not, it will be another long season in Waco.
- Jordan Shipley, Texas: Injuries have cost him two seasons of eligibility. When healthy, he plays like one of the most explosive wide receivers in the nation. He will be particularly important this season as Colt McCoy's veteran receiving threat and a potential kick-return menace every time he touches the ball. Just ask Oklahoma.
- Barry Turner, Nebraska: The Cornhuskers' top pass-rushing weapon sustained a broken leg in the second game last season and missed the rest of the season. His return and good health could provide a much-needed outside pass-rushing threat for the Cornhuskers and take some of the double-team pressure away from massive defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said that he "feels terrible" about the play in which Colorado freshman tailback Rodney "Speedy" Stewart suffered a fractured right fibula last Saturday.
Stewart was injured on a horse-collar tackle by Aggies linebacker Von Miller, who was flagged on the play for a penalty in Texas A&M's 24-17 victory over the Buffaloes.
"I've voted on this in the National Football League, and we really grabbed it (rule prohibiting horse-collar tackles) because players were breaking their legs," said Sherman, who formerly coached the Green Bay Packers. "I feel terrible that young man broke his leg with a horse-collar tackle."
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said that Stewart will be out for the rest of the regular season with a projected recovery period of four to six weeks. In his first eight games, Stewart was on a pace to break the Colorado freshman rushing record and was fourth in the conference in rushing with an average of 75.4 yards per game.
Stewart becomes the eighth Colorado player to be lost with a season-ending injury this season. Others include cornerback Benjamin Burney (knee), defensive end Drew Hudgins (knee), guard Mike Iltis (knee), linebacker Jon Major (knee), tackle Ryan Miller (broken fibula), guard Maxwell Tuioti-Maxwell (knee) and tight end Luke Walters (leg).
"That's part of football, part of life," Hawkins said. "It's a very sad deal that Speedy got hurt. We've had other guys step up and step in. It's kind of been our lot this year. It's like we're getting our Ph.D. in dealing with adversity."
Stewart's injury will mean that freshman running back Darrell Scott will receive more playing time. Scott told reporters after the Buffaloes' 24-17 loss that he's ready for more work.
Scott turned an ankle in the Texas A&M game, but still showed flashes of the potential that made him one of the most heralded running backs in the nation before coming to college. Scott raced for a 42-yard run against Texas A&M, Colorado's longest play from scrimmage this season.
"I'll just have to tough it out and try to make plays," Scott told the Denver Post. "I'll do what I can."