Big 12: Riar Greer
2009 conference record: 2-6
Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (7) P/K (1)
Top returners: QB Tyler Hansen, WR Scotty McKnight, RB Rodney Stewart, OT Nate Solder, DB Anthony Perkins, WR Markques Simas, DB Jalil Brown
Key losses: TE Riar Geer, RB Darrell Scott (transfer), DB Cha’pelle Brown, LB Jeff Smart, DB Benjamin Burney, LB Marcus Burton
2009 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Rodney Stewart* (804 yards)
Passing: Tyler Hansen* (1,440)
Receiving: Scotty McKnight* (893 yards)
Tackles: Anthony Perkins*, Jeff Smart (77)
Sacks: Marquez Herrod* (6.5)
Interceptions: Benjamin Burney (2)
Three spring answers
1. Get to know Toney Clemons. The Michigan transfer made a big splash this spring, impressing his team enough to be the top pick in the draft when the Buffaloes split for the spring game. Clemons has size and speed, but 2010 will be about turning that into on-field production.
2. Stars staying strong. Colorado’s two most consistent players a year ago, offensive tackle Nate Solder and running back Rodney Stewart, both had good springs. Stewart was protected from contact often with dwindling numbers at running back, but Solder caught a touchdown pass in the spring game after being drafted with the No. 2 pick before the game.
3. Hawkins’ future not a distraction. Dan Hawkins will sit on maybe the hottest seat in the Big 12 this season, but he didn’t address it much during the spring as his team went about its business.
Three fall questions
1. Who’s the quarterback? After taking over for Cody Hawkins last season and finishing the year as the starter, most figured the job was all but Tyler Hansen’s entering spring. But Hawkins insists there’s a competition and that Hawkins and Hansen remain thinly separated. Colorado fans won’t be happy initially if Hawkins starts, but if he produces and the Buffs win a few games, few will be complaining. Some think the team would be better suited by naming a starter now and allowing him to embrace a leadership role over the summer. Hawkins wants competition.
2. Who’s catching the ball? Clemons will be a factor, but Colorado could end up having one of the conference’s most underrated corps of receivers in Clemons, along with last year’s leading receiver Scotty McKnight and Markques Simas. Kyle Cefalo could also be a player that emerges this fall after catching 12 balls for 144 yards in the spring game.
3. Can the Buffaloes defense improve? Colorado had the second-worst defense in the Big 12 last season, and with an underwhelming offense, it’s no surprise they won only three games. Defensive back Cha’Pelle Brown was the only Colorado player to make the All-Big 12 top two teams, and he graduated. Outside of Anthony Perkins, Colorado is replacing its top four tacklers and needs playmakers to emerge to improve on its 2009 season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma S Nic Harris has faced a long road to playing college football.
John Hoover of the Tulsa World tells a riveting story about Harris' determination to succeed, despite being shuttled among family members throughout his childhood.
That resolve has helped him bounce back from early struggles in his college career into one of the nation's top defensive backs. His memories about the Oregon game two years ago -- still fresh because of the Sooners' trip to the Pacific Northwest this week -- show how far he has come.
It's a terrific story that I can't recommend more highly. Spend some time reading it.
Here what's making news across the Big 12 this morning:
- Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's halftime pep talks must be intense. The Longhorns haven't allowed a point in the second half this season.
- Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson is ready to play wherever the Aggies need him.
- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini sees no disadvantage alternating three I-backs. And Nebraska long snapper T.J. O'Leary is excited about facing New Mexico State, where he started his football career in 2004.
- Oklahoma isn't intimidated by its first road game Saturday at Washington -- despite the Sooners' struggles away from home last season. But the Sooners still must avoid the potholes that have marked their recent trips away from Owen Field.
- Iowa State coach Gene Chizik is bracing for his first visit to Kinnick Stadium. While Sean Keeler, amongst an array of other goodies, writes about why ISU QB Phillip Bates will be important against Iowa.
- Missouri TE Chase Coffman isn't grounded on the football field. It's why Mike DeArmond has started calling him "The Birdman of Missouri."
- TE Riar Greer is close to returning to practice, providing Colorado with one of its top playmakers.
- Kansas coach Mark Mangino is surprised that teams are stacking the line against his team. His most consistent run producer has the unlikely first name of Anguschristopher.
- Josh Freeman's pass-efficiency rating has shot through the roof after his first two games -- especially compared to his first two seasons at Kansas State.
- Oklahoma State is one of the nation's most balanced offensive teams as one of two teams nationally with at least 500 yards rushing and passing this season. Those big numbers have helped the Cowboys also post some impressive ones at the box office.
- The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Don Williams wonders if Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell is hurting?
- Baylor coach Art Briles said that Washington State is much better than it appeared in a 66-3 home loss last week to California.