Big 12: Ray Polk

Michael, Smith, Way head All-Big 12 freshman team

December, 8, 2009
12/08/09
6:58
PM ET
Along with my All-Big 12 team, I thought it would be fun to also pick a team made up of freshmen and redshirt freshmen.

There are a couple of gaps. There was only one center, Oklahoma's Ben Habern, on the two-deep rosters on Big 12 rosters. And there are also no kickers, either.

And I'll also go one step further. I'll pick Christine Michael of Texas A&M as my Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, Aldon Smith of Missouri as my Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and Tress Way of Oklahoma as my Big 12 Freshman Special Teams Player of the Year.

Here's a look at my all-freshman team for offense, defense and special teams.

Offense:
QB: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
RB: Christine Michael, Texas A&M
RB: Toben Opurum, Kansas
WR: Uzoma Nwachukwu, Texas A&M
WR: Alex Torres, Texas Tech
TE: Ben Cotton, Nebraska
OL: Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas
OL: Bryce Givens, Colorado
OL: Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M
OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
C: Ben Habern, Oklahoma

Defense:
DL: Aldon Smith, Missouri
DL: Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma
DL: Will Pericak, Colorado
LB: Kyle Manghan, Texas A&M
LB: Huldon Tharp, Kansas
LB: Sean Fisher, Nebraska
LB: Will Compton, Nebraska
DB: Cody Davis, Texas Tech
DB: Chance Casey, Baylor
DB: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
DB: Ray Polk, Colorado

Special teams:
KR: D.J. Monroe, Texas
PR: Austin Zouzalik, Texas Tech
P: Tress Way, Oklahoma
ST: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

Big 12 links: Pelini wants tougher nonconference schedules

August, 14, 2008
8/14/08
7:55
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

New Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's attitude is all about swagger. But it's hard to build that kind of confidence playing some of the weak sisters that will dot his future nonconference schedules.

It seems that Pelini isn't exactly excited about the schedule he inherited from former athletic director Steve Pederson and former coach Bill Callahan.

Nebraska assistant athletic director for football Jeff Jamrog told the Omaha World-Herald that he's actively seeking upcoming games -- and only against Division I opponents.

The Cornhuskers will be playing Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State next season, and Western Kentucky, Idaho and Football Championship Subdivision power South Dakota State in 2010.

"It looks like they wanted to schedule a bunch of wins," Jamrog said. "We can't do anything about it. We can't do anything about the guarantees that were set, unless you want to cancel the contracts. But we aren't interested in doing that."

Pelini is in favor of taking on all comers in the future.

"That's what the fans want to see," Pelini said. "That's the shame of the BCS. Fans aren't seeing the games they used to see in September. We want to play those games. I don't want to shy away from anyone."

Assuredly, this is very refreshing attitude for a new football coaching staff to have. But something tells me that Pelini will prefer his schedule of Western Michigan, New Mexico State and San Jose State this season before facing Virginia Tech than if he had switched to a tougher one.

Hope that Pelini is up to the challenge of tackling a few morning links, too.

  • Versatile WR Quan Cosby has had to argue to convince Texas coach Mack Brown to use him as a punt returner in the past. But his role looks assured heading into this season.
  • Converted QB Jeremy Sanders has thrived at his new position at RB, Waco Tribune-Herald reporter John Werner writes.
  • Colorado LB Jon Major, one of the top two in-state recruits for Colorado last season, has been lost for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
  • One of the real treats of covering the Big 12 each week is Kansas City Star beat writer Mike DeArmond's priceless Vlog from Missouri's camp. But how come I always think of "Sex, Lies and Videotape" when I watch his sometimes brutal weekly assessments of the Tigers?
  • Kansas State DE Ian Campbell is back at his original position after an abortive stab at linebacker last season. I wonder what took KSU coaches so long to move him back, comparing his performance last season to the previous one.
  • Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell showed quick dexterity with the new clock rules, running a no-huddle offense during all of his snaps in the Red Raiders' first scrimmage. Harrell needed only 14 plays to produce three 60-yard scoring drives, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.
  • Converted RB Cody Glenn is getting a few extra tips in his conversion to linebacker from a long-lost relative, legendary former Nebraska LB Broderick "The Sandman" Thomas.
  • Joe Kines, a 64-year-old coaching veteran with 40 years of experience, is facing an ultimate challenge of trying to resuscitate Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew" defense, Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News reports. 
  • It seems Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is a big fan of the Olympics. "All of them, I like watching all of it," Stoops told the Oklahoman.  "What's so neat about it is you get that one moment to be at your best. That's what I love about boxing as well. You get that one shot. And if you happen to have over-trained, or you don't hit it just right..." Sounds a bit like playing in a bowl game, doesn't it?
  • Oklahoma State WR Jeremy Broadway appears to be making the most of his last chance with the Cowboys after his suspension last November.
  • Tulsa World reporter John Hoover wonders if Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias is the most underappreciated player in the Sooners' football history. Hoover's statistics make a good case.
  • Veteran Nebraska offensive line coach Barney Cotton told Lincoln Journal-Star that his current group might be the deepest in talent he's ever coached.
  • Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News profiles Oklahoma's defense. Buried deep in the story is the quote of the day from Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who isn't exactly enthusiastic about the development of his young linebacking corps. I'm not ready to puke yet," Venables said.
  • Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler said Kansas' rapid ascension last year is providing hope to Oklahoma State players. "After what Kansas did last year, everybody realizes just how close the Big 12 [race] is and no games are given to you anymore," Oklahoma LB/S Andre Sexton said. "We're pretty much in the same situation now as they [the Jayhawks] were in last season."
  • Construction-worker-turned OLB Mike Balogun has been thrust into the mix as Oklahoma scrambles for a replacement for injured Austin Box.
  • If new Troy WR Josh Jarboe is declared immediately eligible at Troy, he still might play in the state of Oklahoma this season. The Trojans will face Oklahoma State Sept. 27 in Stillwater.
  • Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the battle to replace Tony Temple in the Missouri backfield. Sophomore Derrick Washington from the strangely-named hometown of Peculiar, Mo., appears to have nailed down the starting job -- mainly because of his receiving skills. "
  • 5-foot-6 freshman RB Rodney Stewart is t
    urning heads
    at Colorado's practice -- despite his diminutive size and the presence of heralded RB Darrell Scott in the Buffaloes' camp. And along with fellow freshman Ray Polk, all apparently will receive playing time this season.

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