Big 12: Rashaan Salaam

Lunch links: Catching up with Mike Leach

January, 25, 2011
Charm that snake? What does that mean?

It means reinvent your image in a desperate attempt at relevance!

Whatever happened to the Big 12's Heisman winners?

August, 12, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Back in my former life at the newspaper in San Antonio, there was a wildly popular weekly column we used to run every Sunday called "Where Are They Now." A veteran staffer with loads of institutional knowledge tracked down some of the area's most memorable athletes and found out whatever happened to them after their athletic careers finished. 

The concept has always been intriguing. It's why the list I found today at was so interesting to me (hat tip to the

And heck, it's even topical with today's stories highlighting all of our Heisman Trophy stories.

Lost Letterman lists what has happened to all 73 previous Heisman winners. It's fascinating to see what men who had such football success have done with the rest of their lives.

Here's a list of the Heisman Trophy winners from Big 12 schools along with what happened to them after their college careers.

1952: Billy Vessels (Oklahoma) -- Worked in the horse racing business and real estate in South Florida before dying of heart failure in 2001 at the age of 70.

1957: John David Crow (Texas A&M) -- Former college coach and athletic director, now retired and living in College Station, Texas (age 74).

1969: Steve Owens (Oklahoma) -- CEO of a real estate company, Steve Owens & Associates, in Norman, Okla. (age 61).

1972: Johnny Rodgers (Nebraska) -- Owns JetWear kid's bedroom store in Omaha, Neb. (age 58).

1977: Earl Campbell (Texas) -- Assistant to the vice president of student affairs at Texas (age 54).

1978: Billy Sims (Oklahoma) -- Owns a chain of Billy Sims BBQ restaurants in Oklahoma (age 53).

1983: Mike Rozier (Nebraska) -- Stay-at-home dad living in Sickerville, N.J. (age 48).

1988: Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State) -- Retired from the NFL in 1998. Currently resides in West Bloomfield, Mich. (age 41.) His son, Barry Sanders Jr., is currently a high school star in Oklahoma City.

1994: Rashaan Salaam (Colorado) -- Promotes martial arts fights in China. Currently resides in San Diego, Calif. (age 34).

1998: Ricky Williams (Texas) -- Member of the Miami Dolphins (age 32).

2001: Eric Crouch (Nebraska) -- Owns playground equipment business called "Crouch Recreation" in Nebraska (age 30).

2003: Jason White (Oklahoma) -- Owns memorabilia stores in Norman, Okla., and Oklahoma City (age 29).

2008: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) -- Starting quarterback at Oklahoma (age 21).

It's hard for me to believe the Steve Owens, a player who I avidly followed when I was a kid growing up, is now 61 years old.

And in a way, I can see Mike Rozier as a stay-at-home dad. He was always one of my favorite players to deal with when I was covering the Houston Oilers back in the day. I'm sure he a great dad -- and a very colorful one at that.

Eight Big 12 players on Walter Camp Award watch list

August, 7, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Big 12 players dominated the Water Camp Player of the Year watch list announced Friday with eight players, including 2008 winner Colt McCoy of Texas.

The Big 12's number was double of any other conference. The Pac-10 and Southeastern Conferences were next with four players apiece.

Among the Big 12's nominees were quarterback Sam Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham of Oklahoma, running back Kendall Hunter and wide receiver Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State, McCoy and wide receiver Jordan Shipley of Texas, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri and quarterback Todd Reesing of Kansas.

Oklahoma State, Texas and Oklahoma were among five schools to have two players nominated to the list. The others were Florida and Penn State.

McCoy became the fourth Big 12 winner of the award. Earlier winners included Ricky Williams of Texas in 1998, Josh Heupel of Oklahoma in 2000 and Nebraska's Eric Crouch in 2001.

Other winners from current Big 12 schools before the conference started included Oklahoma's Steve Owens in 1969, Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers in 1972, Oklahoma's Billy Sims in 1978, Nebraska's Mike Rozier in 1983, Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders in 1988 and Colorado's Rashaan Salaam in 1994.

Seven Big 12 RBs on Doak Walker Award watch list

August, 4, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray head a seven-member contingent of Big 12 backs who were announced Tuesday on the initial watch list of the Dallas-based Doak Walker Award.

Other Big 12 running backs to make the list include 2008 conference rushing leader Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State, Baron Batch of Texas Tech, Roy Helu Jr. of Nebraska, Jake Sharp of Kansas and Cyrus Gray of Texas A&M. They were nominated to the 44-member watch list by their respective schools.

All of the backs appear to have earned their honor though strong performances last season. But Gray rushed for the fewest yards of all but two backs on the watch list with 363 yards in 2008. Additionally, he's expected to face a strong challenge from freshman Christine Michael to keep his job as the Aggies' starting tailback.

Meanwhile, a couple of deserving Big 12 backs who outproduced Gray in 2008 were left off. Missouri's Derrick Washington, who rushed for 1,036 yards, isn't on this list. And neither is Jay Finley, who led Baylor with 865 rushing yards.

Hunter's total of 1,555 rushing yards last season was better than all but Ball State's MiQuale Lewis (1,736 yards) and Jahvid Best of California (1,580 yards).

The watch list was announced by the SMU Athletic Forum. The award recogonizes the nation's premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community.

The Doak Walker Award is the only major collegiate football award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.

Big 12 athletes have won the award four times since the conference was formed. Winners include Texas Tech's Byron Hanspard in 1996, Ricky Williams of Texas in 1997 and 1998 and Texas' Cedric Benson in 2004.

Also, Byron "Bam" Morris of Texas Tech in 1993 and Rashaan Salaam of Colorado in 1994 have won the Doak Walker Award since it was inaugurated in 1990.

Colorado's Mount Rushmore

February, 12, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

I can visualize several notable Colorado icons on a Mount Rushmore dedicated specifically to Colorado football players. How about this list of choices, with Ralphie charging by for inspiration for Colorado fans?

  • Bill McCartney -- There has to be a place for the coach who led the Buffaloes to a share of the 1990 national championship and still leads the school with 93 career victories.
  • Byron "Whizzer" White -- The late U.S. Supreme Court justice first gained acclaim as Colorado's first All-American player. He's a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and led the nation in scoring, rushing and total offense in 1937.
  • Rashaan Salaam -- The 1994 Heisman Trophy winner deserves a place on the mountain -- particularly after leading the nation with 2,055 rushing yards that season.
  • Joe Romig -- Two-time All-American player who was a two-way legend and later a Rhodes Scholar.

Four good selections in my opinion. It was hard to leave off the Anderson brothers -- Dick and Bobby -- and Kordell Stewart. But there's room for only four.

Anybody I missed?

Colorado season review

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

A season of early promise unraveled as the injury-riddled Buffaloes lost seven of their last nine games after starting the season 3-0. It helped them miss a bowl game for the second time in coach Dan Hawkins' three seasons.

Those injuries put demands on an offense that could ill afford them, helping account for a lack of explosiveness where Colorado ranked no higher than 81st in any of the NCAA's major offensive team statistical categories.

The biggest concern throughout the season was the erratic play of quarterback Cody Hawkins, the son of the coach. His struggles midway through the season led Hawkins to unexpectedly strip the redshirt from freshman Tyler Hansen during the Kansas State game.

Hansen helped lead Colorado to a dramatic victory in that game, but eventually struggled, leading to a return for Hawkins by the end of the season that finished with a 5-7 record.

The quarterback struggles were symptomatic of the problems that bogged down the offense all season. The Buffaloes scored more than 17 points in Big 12 play only twice this season. In a league where offenses were so dominant, that was a handicap that the Buffaloes' game defense never could overcome during the disappointing finish.

Offensive player of the year: KR-WR Josh Smith. After missing much of his freshman season with injuries, Smith rebounded to become the Buffaloes' biggest offensive weapon. Smith finished the season with 1,987 all-purpose yards, second-most in school history behind only Rashaan Salaam's 2,349 yards during his Heisman Trophy season in 1994.

Defensive player of the year: CB Cha'pelle Brown. On an underrated defense that kept Colorado in most games, Brown was the most consistent defender. He saw action on a team-high 827 plays, leading the team in passes broken up (10), third-down stops (14) and tying for the team lead with two interceptions. His game-winning interception return for a touchdown provided the margin of victory against Eastern Washington.

Turning point: The Buffaloes could ill afford another injury when tailback Rodney Stewart was lost for the season with a fractured fibula against Texas A&M on Nov. 1. Not only did it cost them their leading ball carrier and a shot to win against the struggling Aggies, it also snatched away the Buffaloes' most consistent offensive weapon.

What's next: It would behoove the Buffaloes to spend a lot of time in conditioning during the offseason so the rash of injuries doesn't bite them against next season. And an interesting quarterback battle is brewing in the spring between Hawkins and Hansen.

Big 12 links: Texas reaches out to storied past

August, 16, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Few schools have the rich historical base of Texas. And that's why the recent addition at Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium is so neat.

School officials have installed an exhibit in the stadium's north end zone that will list and honor the five retired numbers in the school's football history. Players who have been honored include Vince Young, Ricky Williams, Bobby Layne, Earl Campbell and Tommy Nobis.

Other schools have done this. I always have a fond remembrance of the past when I see Johnny Roland's or Kellen Winslow's number at Faurot Field or Rashaan Salaam at Folsom Field. It's a great way to recall the past.

I'm still waiting for some school to erect its own version of Monument Park like I saw at Yankee Stadium. Walking up to the bronze plaques of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle left me with a lump in my throat. And I don't even like the New York Yankees.

Here's hoping that the Texas architects have arranged for these retired numbers to be prominently displayed where it will occasionally be noticeable on television broadcasts and be clear enough for people in the stadium. Because schools need to remember great players and their history.

And hopefully, these links will be as similarly cherished in 50 years.

  • Colorado G Devin Head has adopted a scruffy, unkempt look. He's done it to honor the wife of his former high school coach, who recently died from breast cancer.
  • Iowa State will generate more than $2.4 million in new revenue after the addition of new luxury boxes and club seating at Jack Trice Stadium. Only one of the 47 new suites remains unsold.
  • Kansas coach Mark Mangino announced that redshirt freshmen Jeff Spikes and Jeremiah Hatch will be his starting offensive tackles for the Jayhawks Aug. 30 opener against Florida International. Spikes, who will replace Outland Trophy finalist Anthony Collins, might be the most adept 300-pound-plus saxophonist this side of Clarence Clemons.
  • Veteran Lawrence Journal-World sports columnist Tom Keegan writes that Kansas QB Todd Reesing throws the most accurate ball in practice he's seen since he watched Troy Aikman at UCLA.
  • "Mad" Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star takes a clue from Alfred E. Neuman in his most recent video log as he breaks down several recent calamities that have hit Missouri.
  • Heralded RB Jocques Crawford took most of his repetitions Friday with Kansas' first-string offensive unit. And Mangino isn't bemoaning his depth although he's working with only four scholarship running backs.
  • Missouri coach Gary Pinkel tells the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter he can tell a difference in his team's attitude after watching the end of another intense practice. "About six years ago, hardly anyone would have cared who won those things," Pinkel told Matter. "Now it's like venom. They're in attack mode."
  • After producing a Big 12-worst 13 sacks last season, new Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini is intent on juicing production in his pass rush.
  • The Oklahoman reports that former Oklahoma WR Josh Jarboe isn't currently eligible at Troy. Oklahoma officials said they didn't refuse Jarboe admission, meaning that Jarboe now is being treated as a transfer student, Troy coach Larry Blakeney said.
  • WR William Cole will miss the upcoming season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Oklahoman's Scott Wright analyzes the Cowboys' options after his injury.
  • Tulsa World beat writer John Hoover reports that Oklahoma TE junior Jermaine Gresham isn't giving much consideration to jumping to the NFL after this season. That would be good news for Bob Stoops, after losing four players early to the NFL in his last two seasons.
  • Missouri QB Chase Daniel tells Terrance Harris of the Houston Chronicle that unfinished business brought him back to Missouri for his senior season.
  • Dallas Morning News columnist Chuck Carlton had a great line describing Texas high school relations and player development director Ken Rucker, calling him  Jiminy Cricket in burnt orange.
  • Speaking of mirth and whimsy, Texas Tech's new "Elf" formation has been developed to get the ball in diminutive WR Eric Morris' hands more often.
  • Texas A&M DT Lucas Patterson might be unassuming, but he's emerging as his team's most underrated player. "Lucas is quiet, and so people tend to overlook him," A&M defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt told Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News. "That's a mistake."
  • Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is remembering his roots, reaching out to 50 retired high school coaches and retired college assistants he invited to practices this weekend.
  • Missouri K Jeff Wolfert, who has a streak of 16 consecutive field goals, is getting some rest in training camp. Coaches are limiting his kickoff duties to keep him fresh for the Tigers' Aug. 30 opener against Illiniois in St. Louis.
  • Freshman WR Kendall Wright is making a successful transition after a stellar career as a high school quarterback. And he tells the Waco Tribune Herald's John Werner he plans to join the Baylor basketball team after the football season ends.
  • Kansas announced its 2009 football schedule, with non-conference home games against Southern Mississippi, D
    uke and Northern Colorado and a road game at UTEP. Site for the "Border War" game against Missouri remains undetermined, although it's slated to be a home game for the Jayhawks.