Big 12: Scotty Young

Wes Lunt's exit from Oklahoma State surprised a lot of people, but what kind of results can he expect over the rest of his career?

Here's an update on the Big 12's recent notable transfers. The results are all over the map.

Garrett Gilbert, transferred from Texas to SMU in 2011: Struggled in 2010 during Texas' 5-7 season, despite a strong showing in relief of Colt McCoy in the 2009 national title game against Alabama. Earned a starting position in June Jones' offense in Dallas and threw for 2,932 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season. He'll start as a senior in 2013.

Keith Nichol, transferred from Oklahoma to Michigan State in 2008: Nichol was a superstar recruit but lost a quarterback competition to some guy named Sam Bradford. After taking his talents to Lansing, he earned some time at quarterback as a sophomore in 2009, but found a home at receiver. He finished his career with 50 catches for 625 yards and four touchdowns, highlighted by a game-winning, Hail Mary touchdown to beat Wisconsin in 2011. He also threw for 826 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jevan Snead, transferred from Texas to Ole Miss in 2006: Played some in relief of Colt McCoy, but left for Oxford in search of playing time and found it. Carried the Rebels to a Cotton Bowl win and threw for 2,762 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2008. A year later, he tossed 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions and racked up 2,632 yards. He left Ole Miss early, but wasn't drafted.

G.J. Kinne, transferred from Texas to Tulsa in 2008: Kinne never cracked the field at Texas, but had a huge career as a Golden Hurricane. He threw for just under 9,500 yards, ran for 1,365 yards and accounted for 96 total touchdowns in three seasons as starter. He went undrafted and hasn't caught on in the NFL, but is under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Connor Wood, transferred from Texas to Colorado in 2011: Wood couldn't get on the field at Texas, but sought playing time in Boulder, and it looks like he's found it. After Nick Hirschman transferred last week, Wood is Colorado's likely starter in 2013, and has three years of eligibility remaining.

Jacob Karam, transferred from Texas Tech to Memphis in 2012: Was eligible immediately because he had already received his degree. He won the Tigers' starting job and threw for 1,895 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He'll be a senior, and the starter again in 2013.

Scotty Young, transferred from Texas Tech to Louisiana Tech in 2012: Never got on the field for the Red Raiders and sat out the 2012 season at Louisiana Tech. He's in good position to be the Bulldogs' starter next season, replacing Colby Cameron.

Drew Allen, transferred from Oklahoma to Syracuse in 2013: Allen served as a backup his entire career, but after receiving his degree, started looking for a place to play out his career. He believes Syracuse is the place to do it, and he'll compete for the starting job in the fall.

Jared Barnett, transferred from Iowa State to Illinois State in 2013: Barnett earned a place in ISU lore when he led the Cyclones to a win against undefeated, BCS No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011, but struggled after that and throughout 2012. He finished the season on the bench behind Sam Richardson and elected to become a Cardinal after the season. He's eligible immediately, because his new team is an FCS school.

Bobby Reid, transferred from Oklahoma State to Texas Southern in 2007: Reid was the subject of Mike Gundy's infamous "I'm a man, I'm 40!" rant, and later said he felt like that rant ended his "life", though Gundy was defending his player. He threw for 1,791 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions at Texas Southern in 2008, but he and Gundy seem close again. He joined Gundy's staff in an administrative role this year.

Rhett Bomar, transferred from Oklahoma to Sam Houston State in 2006: Bomar's transfer wasn't his choice. Bob Stoops famously kicked Bomar off the team in the wake of reports that he had received payment from a local car dealership without doing the work. That was an obvious NCAA violation. He played just 19 games over the next two seasons, but finished as the school's all-time leader in passing yards, with 5,564 yards. He was a finalist for the 2008 Walter Payton Award as the nation's best FCS player. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft by the New York Giants, but has been out of the NFL since May 2012.

Jordan Webb, transferred from Kansas to Colorado in 2012: Started two seasons for the Jayhawks, but left town when Charlie Weis brought Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps with him to Lawrence. He played 10 games last season, throwing for 1,434 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. He tore his ACL in spring practice, though, and is questionable to get back on the field this fall. He's not helping his case to regain his starting status by getting arrested on felony assault charges last weekend.
Signing day has come and gone, but we'll have plenty of coverage looking more closely at each Big 12 team's class. This morning, we're looking at how each team filled its needs. We ran down the top of the Big 12 alphabet earlier today. Here's the second half:

OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Needs filled: The Cowboys once again lost both starters at defensive end, and junior-college transfer Sam Wren could have an immediate impact. ESPN 300 member Vincent Taylor is a big presence and might contribute early, too. In all, OSU signed six defensive linemen. In this offense, you can never have too many receivers, especially gifted ones. Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples will have some fun in Stillwater.

Holes remaining: The Pokes lost one starter at linebacker and will have two seniors on next season's team, but didn't sign a linebacker in this class. We'll see if they can make up for that with development and recruiting in 2014.

TEXAS LONGHORNS

Needs filled: Texas is getting some big upgrades on the offensive line, headlined by the nation's No. 1 center, Darius James. Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson are also top-10 tackles nationally and guard Rami Hammad and juco tackle Desmond Harrison fill out the class, which was one-third offensive linemen.

Holes remaining: Texas kept striking out with defensive linemen and ended up signing zero, despite losing Alex Okafor and Brandon Moore, and with Jackson Jeffcoat a rising senior. That could be a problem soon, but the Longhorns lost Daeshon Hall and missed out on Andrew Billings, who went to Baylor.

TCU HORNED FROGS

Needs filled: The running backs were drained after last season, but the Frogs had one of the league's best hauls at the position, grabbing ESPN 300 member Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson, two of the best backs in Texas. The Frogs are also loading up on 6-foot, 200-pound linebackers who'll be able to cover in the open field. Paul Whitmill headlines that group, but the Frogs signed three linebackers with that profile.

Holes remaining: Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson are gone, and though LaDarius Brown and Brandon Carter will be there for 2013, you need a lot more big-time receivers than that to win in the Big 12. TCU signed four athletes, but no pure receivers in this class.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Needs filled: Receivers are always a must in this offense, and Tech got a pair of good ones in Dylan Cantrell and Justis Nelson. After Seth Doege graduated and Scotty Young transferred, Tech needed a quarterback to follow Michael Brewer and Davis Webb, the nation's No. 24 pro-style passer, could be that guy.

Holes remaining: The Red Raiders might be a little thin at defensive tackle after signing just one in this class. Kerry Hyder will be a senior and Leon Mackey graduated. Tech will have to develop that position and maybe put some weight on some defensive ends -- a position where Texas Tech is well-stocked.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

Needs filled: Defense, defense, defense. West Virginia needs some talent upgrades all over the field, and landed linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton and ESPN 300 member Darrien Howard. Hodari Christian is another talented linebacking prospect and Dontrill Hyman will try to have an immediate impact as a pass-rusher out of junior college. WVU signed four outside linebackers and two defensive ends.

Holes remaining: Where are the cover guys? WVU needs help in the secondary and got it in safeties Malik Greaves and Jeremy Tyler, but didn't sign a pure cornerback in this class.

Lunch links: Finding a new Big 12 commish

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
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She feels great. Her spirits are high, the whole family's high. There's your headline.

Mailbag: Rising powers, underrated players

August, 5, 2011
8/05/11
11:00
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Another short Friday. Thanks for all the e-mails this week, folks. Have a great weekend.

Christian Gulker in Manhattan, Kansas asked: Who do you think is a team that could be a legit contender for a big 12 title in 2 years other than the teams that are already powerhouses (OU, OSU, TAMU,UT)?

David Ubben: I don't think Texas Tech is getting enough attention for what it's building under Tommy Tuberville. This year's team won't scare anyone, but the defensive line is on the rise in a big way, the secondary will mature, and he's recruiting some big-time receivers in the 2012 class to go with some good talent already on campus.

Additionally, and most importantly, they're going to be set at quarterback. This should be Seth Doege's team for the next two years, but when he's gone, you're going to see a big-time quarterback race between Jacob Karam, Scotty Young and Michael Brewer. They'll have great depth, similar to what they had last year.

The future is definitely bright for the Red Raiders, who could flirt with a Big 12 title as soon as next season.

Philip in Columbia, Mo. asked: David, how can you hate Mizzou so much? Saying they have no chance to make the B12 Championship Game...All kidding aside, when do you think everyone will realize there is no championship game? When they fly to Dallas and are heartbroken to find out that they are an idiot?

Ryan in St. Louis, Mo. asked: Sorry about all the Missouri fans who seem to not realize that we don't have a Big Xii Championship game anymore. Ill try to round them up and show them a film about why there isnt one and what happens now that we dont have one. Now to my question. I have noticed that your preseason top 25 list hasnt had one former north team player other than Missouri. Is that going to continue and does that show just how bad the former north teams, other than Missouri of course, are?

DU: Ha, I enjoyed having a little fun with a few misguided Mizzou fans this week, but I'm sure they're in the minority. I hope no one has tickets to Dallas booked for the first weekend in December this year.

I'd offer to show you around town as a consolation prize, but I'm sure I'll be on my way to Stillwater for an epic Bedlam matchup that weekend.

(Feel free to bookmark this post for an obvious jinx midseason.)

Alex in CR asked: Is A.J Klein overlooked and under-appreciated? Knott may have great numbers but he isn't the only play maker on defense.

DU: I definitely think he is. As little respect as Jake Knott gets nationally and even in his own conference, Klein gets even less, and we're talking about the Big 12's third-leading returning tackler, behind Knott and Texas A&M's Garrick Williams.

Klein had 111 stops of his own, and though I think Knott's physical skills are superior, those two guys turned potential into big-time reality in just one season as starters. They're going to get even better. Iowa State has other problems, but linebacker is going to be a strength for at least a couple more seasons.

Mailbag: TT, bad unis, trap games, future

June, 29, 2011
6/29/11
4:15
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I've been gone for awhile, but your emails didn't stop. Here's a few that landed in my box while I was away.

Scott in Lubbock, Texas, asked: David, its my birthday today. Because you're so kind-hearted, I figured you'd give me a birthday present of saying the 3 most positive things on any angle about Texas Tech (recruiting, the direction of the program, upcoming season etc) Thanks!

David Ubben: Ha, I’ve got you covered, Scott. I’ve always liked Tommy Tuberville for this job, but I didn’t think the transition would be seamless. It wasn’t, but the hardest parts are over. He’s got the program heading in the right direction, and with his résumé, you know this story is not going to end with Tech taking a nose dive and Tuberville ultimately getting fired. That’s just not how college football works. He’s proven himself.

Secondly, Tech has a strong stable of quarterbacks on the field now, with a good backup and good players coming up at the most important position in the league. You’ve got to feel good about Seth Doege, and Jacob Karam should be a good backup. Better yet, once they learn the game it and slows down for them as they gain experience, Scotty Young and Michael Brewer have a good chance to be better than both of them.

Finally, I think Tech brought in one of the best rising coaches in the game in Chad Glasgow. There’s no arguing what he did at TCU in the secondary, and it’s not like he was doing it with gobs of NFL talent. Tejay Johnson was a Thorpe Award finalist and went undrafted, for various reasons. Combine his potential with Tuberville’s defensive pedigree, and you’ve got to be very optimistic about the program’s future.

Jeremy in Washington asked: DU: Great job as always with the blog. So looking back at your amusing post about best conference uniforms, do you think they have an influence on recruiting and a team's perception, and can you use your immense journalist powers to influence a change to my Cyclones hideous uni's?

DU: Ha, I don’t think they’ll consult me on uniform advice, but I think their influence on recruiting and overall perception is somewhat overrated.

I think most would agree that Iowa State’s uniforms are a fairly shameless ripoff of USC (stopped by Heritage Hall last week, by the way. Looked a little empty.), but I don’t think any recruit is making his decision based off of that. I do think teams with great uniforms might have a slight influence, but it’s not a major one.

Andre S. in San Antonio, Texas, asked: What's going to be the trap games for major contenders in the conference? i.e. how Troy almost got my Pokes and the same could be said for Air Force almost getting OU after they trampled FSU last year...

DU: Interesting question here. I’ve got a few.

The one that jumps out to me is the season opener for Texas A&M against SMU. The Ponies are a good team, and as we’ve learned so many times, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in A&M when the lights are brightest. It sprung great upsets against Nebraska and Oklahoma last year, but when it was still in the thick of the Big 12 race early in the year, it self-destructed in the second half against Oklahoma State (giving up 28 consecutive points after leading 21-7 at half) before rallying to tie and eventually lose the game. Only when most had written the Aggies off (note: I was not one of those) did they rally and tie for a Big 12 South title.

Few people think SMU’s going to win that game, but they’re definitely capable of doing it. If A&M loses the turnover battle or opens the season flat, that game could come down to a few plays in the fourth quarter. You don’t want that in a game you should win by double digits.

The only other game in which a team will be solidly favored but could lose: Oklahoma State at Tulsa on Sept. 17.

Jon in KCMO asked: Missouri has got to be upset that Nebraska didn't leave 5 years ago, because if they did Missouri would have had a 50% chance of being National Champions. If you remember in the 2007 season, Missouri was ranked No. 1 going into the Big 12 Championship, but lost to Oklahoma. If Nebraska would have left sooner, we wouldn't have had to play that game and would have only had to beat Ohio State to be National Champs. I guess it was just bad luck for the Tigers. Your thoughts?

DU: I’d say your oversimplifying things a bit here. In theory, yes, that’s true. However, Missouri also avoided playing a top 15 Texas team that year because of Big 12 scheduling. In the new Big 12, you’ve got to play everyone, and I have my doubts about whether the Tigers were ready to knock off a team like that. Don’t forget, the next year, with Chase Daniel still at quarterback, Missouri trailed 35-0 in the first half against the Horns in Austin.

Missouri’s 2007 team was better than the 2008 team, obviously, and Texas’ 2008 team was better than the 2007 team, but that much better? I’m taking Texas in that game.

Kevin in San Antonio asked: maybe u answered this but I didn't see it. BIG XII conference is dead. The conference will try to built the year on ONE GAME.... Other than the one game give me another game of interest in the conference, Kansas vs Iowa St, TT vs Baylor... er how about this for a powerhouse game, UT vs KSt....

DU: See, folks? There’s still a wide sect of people who believe this, and it’s the same sect of people who aren’t paying attention. Sure, Michigan-Ohio State is still the most storied game in the Big Ten, but that doesn’t make it the best game. Michigan’s been down for quite some time and hasn’t even beaten the Buckeyes since 2003. There are other great games in that conference, even if the best current teams aren’t as powerful historically.

The same is true in the Big 12. Want examples? Uh, how about the three teams in the Big 12 that will open the season in the top 15 and none of them is Texas. Want other big games?

Oklahoma State-Texas A&M in September may ultimately decide a BCS berth. Bedlam in December may decide the Big 12. Oklahoma-Missouri should be another great game, just like last year. Texas A&M-Missouri should be good, and Texas A&M will get a good shot at trying to end Oklahoma’s crazy home winning streak, now at 36 games.

Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12’s big names, but it’s obvious: If you think that’s the only game in the league that matters, you’re being ignorant.

Taylor in Waco, Texas, asked: You have to be kidding me!!! Please explain how you have Ryan Tannehill AND Seth Doege before RGIII in your latest big 12 qb rankings??? Tannehill impressed everyone by managing the TX a&m offense as a converted WR, but was never the focus of the offense, anyone who could effectively throw to jeff fuller and hand off to cyrus gray would be a good qb there! Seth Doege has no experience at all, why would you rather have Doege with no experience than RGIII who has been one of the most effecent and productive passers over the past three years?!?!?!

DU: Easy, Taylor. Easy. As I said when I first made the rankings, I’m factoring in depth. I didn’t rank Seth Doege above any of those guys.

Texas Tech has two guys that are ready to play in the Big 12 right now, and two more in the fold that could be future stars. That’s a better group than what Baylor has or what Texas A&M has.
We'll kick off our look today at the position rankings for each team in the Big 12 before looping back around to rank the top 10 at every position in the Big 12.

We'll start at the most obvious position: Quarterback, a position that I'd argue is more important in the Big 12 than in any other conference.

Depth will be a huge factor in these rankings, though at quarterback, it's the toughest to gauge, considering how little we see of backup quarterbacks.

Here's how each Big 12 team ranks at the quarterback position:

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireLandry Jones leads the Big 12's deepest and best group of quarterbacks.
1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma learned the hard way in 2009 about the importance of the backup quarterback, but even in his limited experience, Drew Allen has impressed Bob Stoops after narrowly losing out on the backup job behind Sam Bradford in 2009. Landry Jones is a great one, and with his opportunities, has become a Heisman Trophy favorite. Could Allen have done the same if he had beaten out Jones in 2009? Blake Bell, the nation's No. 3 quarterback in the 2010 class, will likely be Oklahoma's No. 3 in 2011.

2. Oklahoma State

Brandon Weeden's profile spiked when he led the Cowboys to a comeback win over Colorado on a Thursday night game in 2009. He took over as the starter shortly after, but going into that game Weeden was a third-stringer. Alex Cate transferred after it became evident that Weeden would be the starter in 2010, and behind Weeden is Clint Chelf and two solid recruits: Johnny Deaton and J.W. Walsh, who was the nation's No. 10 QB (just outside the ESPNU 150) in 2011 and enrolled early.

3. Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill is entrenched at the starting spot, with a lot of youth behind him. Matt Joeckel and Jameill Showers will try to hold off incoming freshman Johnny Manziel for the No. 2 spot this fall. Manziel was impressive during the spring, and will contend for the starting job in 2012, but he'll likely redshirt unless he wins the backup job.

4. Texas Tech

Seth Doege looks ready to grab the reins for two seasons, barring injury. Jacob Karam is probably ready to start in the Big 12 right now, he's just not as good as Doege. Behind them are two promising prospects with upside and development to do: Scotty Young and Michael Brewer. The Red Raiders are the last of the Big 12 teams who have truly solid depth at quarterback.

5. Baylor

Robert Griffin III will probably hold every school record for quarterbacks by the time he leaves Waco, but the Bears need to find a true replacement behind him. Nick Florence filled in well in 2009 when Griffin missed the final nine games with a knee injury, but he's a junior like Griffin and their eligibility will expire simultaneously. Redshirt freshman Bryce Petty and 2012 commit Jared Johnson could battle for the spot in 2013.

6. Missouri

The Tigers depth took a hit after Tyler Gabbert's transfer following spring practice, but expectations are high for sophomore James Franklin, who got a bit of experience in 2010 behind Blaine Gabbert. Senior Jimmy Costello quit the team after last season to focus on an impending fall enlistment in the Army, but rejoined after the Gabbert brothers' departures from Columbia. He's likely to be the backup, with Ashton Glaser and walk-on Ryan Howerton filling out the rest of the quarterback spots. Corbin Berkstresser, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound quarterback from Kansas City that ESPN ranked No. 43 at his position, will arrive in the fall, too.

7. Texas

How long until we see a quarterback make the kind of plays Garrett Gilbert made against Alabama in the national championship? Those kinds of long scores were rare last year, but the Longhorns will have a competition this fall that sounds like it's pretty open heading into camp. If Gilbert wins, he'll likely have a much shorter leash in 2011 than he did in 2010, before Case McCoy or Connor Wood gets a crack, and dark horse true freshman David Ash could make things interesting, too.

8. Kansas State

Collin Klein made a nice move toward winning the job with a strong spring game performance. But coach Bill Snyder says he still didn't see a ton of separation between Klein and his backups, Sammuel Lamur and Boston College transfer Justin Tuggle, who spent last year replacing Cam Newton at Blinn College in Texas.

9. Iowa State

James Capello transferred after the spring, but Iowa State's race has likely boiled down to two men: Jerome Tiller and Steele Jantz. Jantz, a juco transfer, is the wild card and Tiller will need to show that his struggles in spot duty last season were temporary. He didn't show the progress you'd expect from a maturing player when he played for an injured Austen Arnaud in a few games early and late in 2010. Jared Barnett is still battling in Ames, but him winning the job would be a huge upset.

10. Kansas

The Jayhawks could use a couple more years of Todd Reesing. The Jayhawks saw a huge drop off at the quarterback position in 2010, as Jordan Webb, Quinn Mecham and Kale Pick all got time under center. Kansas will likely run its offense through a strong group of running backs, but unless newcomer Brock Berglund shows potential and proves he's the best of the group, expect Kansas to remain near the bottom of the Big 12 by the end of 2011.

Texas Tech spring wrap

May, 6, 2011
5/06/11
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TEXAS TECH

2010 overall record: 8-5

2010 conference record: 3-5

Returning starters: Offense (5), Defense (8) P/K (0)

Top returners: RB Eric Stephens, WR Alex Torres, S Cody Davis, CB Tre Porter, CB Jarvis Phillips, S D.J. Johnson

Key losses: QB Taylor Potts, WR Lyle Leong, WR Detron Lewis, RB Baron Batch, DT Colby Whitlock, LB Brian Duncan, QB Steven Sheffield. LB Bront Bird

2010 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Baron Batch (816 yards)

Passing: Taylor Potts (3,726 yards)

Receiving: Lyle Leong (926 yards)

Tackles: Bront Bird (106)

Sacks: Brian Duncan (7)

Interceptions: Jarvis Phillips* (4)

Three spring answers

1. Quarterbacks all but settled. It’s not official, per se, but Seth Doege looks likely to slide into the starting spot as the next in a long line of Texas Tech quarterbacks. He has just one career start, but the junior is the most experienced among four Red Raiders quarterbacks vying for the job. He beat out Jacob Karam and Scotty Young this spring, and that figures to continue in the fall.

2. Defensive vision is clear. Texas Tech brought in new defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow from TCU, and he spent the spring installing his 4-2-5 -- a move away from the 3-4 under James Willis last year. That third safety spot, a nickel back, if you will, should be occupied by Terrance Bullitt, who drew praise from coaches for his effort during the spring.

3. More receivers found. The Red Raiders’ top two receivers, Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis, are gone, but Texas Tech did a good job of filling their roles during the spring. Alex Torres, Eric Ward, Austin Zouzalik and Darrin Moore are the starters, but there’s even more buzz surrounding backup Marcus Kennard, who showed up this spring from junior college.

Three fall questions

1. Is the secondary still a problem? Texas Tech’s secondary gave up more passing yards than all but two teams in college football last year. This offseason was about upgrading the pass rush and improving the speed in the secondary. It’s still early in Tommy Tuberville’s time in Lubbock, and his secondary is still young after injuries forced them to play last year, but we’ll see how much last year’s experience pays off.

2. How good is Seth Doege? It’s easy to assume Doege will step in and be solid, but will that be the case? Taylor Potts was a senior who had played for Mike Leach extensively. Doege is a newbie who hasn’t played extensively since his sophomore year of high school, after being sidelined by a pair of injuries. If Texas Tech’s offensive tradition is going to continue, Doege will keep it going. If it begins to decline, it will do it with Doege. My bet is on the former, but I’d caution assuming that’s the case.

3. Is the running game for real yet? Texas Tech isn’t known for its ability to run the ball, but Tuberville wants that half of the offense to be more efficient and more powerful moving forward. The Red Raiders have a good set of capable backs, and the entire offensive line returns. Does that mean the running game will get a boost?

Big 12 spring game recap: Texas Tech

March, 28, 2011
3/28/11
10:30
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What happened:

  • Junior quarterback Seth Doege threw for 317 yards and four touchdown on 20-of-35 passing. He also had an interception for the only turnover of the day, picked off by Daniel Cobb, who returned it 22 yards.
  • Safety D.J. Johnson and linebacker Cqulin Hubert led the team with eight tackles each. Hubert had a sack and led the team with 2.5 tackles for loss. He also broke up a pass.
  • [+] EnlargeTramain Swindall
    Mark D. Smith/US PresswireTexas Tech receiver Tramain Swindall, who had 33 receptions last season, had a 55-yard touchdown catch in the Red Raiders' spring game.

  • Doege's day was highlighted by a pair of long throws. He hooked up with new outside receiver Tramain Swindall for a 55-yard score and hit Alex Torres for a 63-yard gain on Torres' only catch of the day.
  • Ben McRoy led the team with 61 yards on seven carries, but likely starter Eric Stephens had 48 yards on seven carries.
  • Texas Tech had hoped for 25-30,000 fans, but 12,400 made their way into Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday. Among them: New athletic director Kirby Hocutt and basketball coach Billy Gillispie.
  • As with all these spring games, it doesn't matter much, but the Black team beat the Red team 27-26. It's not out of character for these games, but players switched teams often. Doege, for instance, was 12-of-23 for 231 yards and three scores for the Red team. For the Black team, he was 8-of-12 for 86 yards and a score. Saboteur!
What we learned:

  • Doege did everything he could to maintain a stronghold on the starting job over backup Jacob Karam. Coach Tommy Tuberville won't make an official announcement until midway through fall camp, but Doege was receiving the majority of the snaps in practice this spring. It would be very, very surprising if he didn't lock up the job for sure in fall camp. Barring injury, he should finally get his shot next season. "Seth is definitely in front right now,” offensive coordinator Neal Brown told reporters on Saturday. "He’s making better decisions, leading the offense better at this point. Not to a point where he’s the bona fide starter, but there is a difference. Then Jacob and Scotty [Young] are right there duking it out right now to be in that second position and come up and battle Seth."
  • Red Raiders fans have to be happy about the contributions from the newcomers. Juco receiver Marcus Kennard enrolled early and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Doege in the second quarter. True freshman Ronnie Daniels had impressed all spring, and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Young. Kennard finished with two catches for 32 yards. Daniels finished with 34 yards on 11 carries. The touchdown was his only catch of the day. Another early enrolling freshman, linebacker Blake Dees, had seven tackles and half a tackle for loss.
  • The defense still has plenty of work to do, giving up five pass plays of longer than 25 yards, but the Red Raiders are going to be a work in progress on that side of the ball all season. Defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow and Tuberville have been preaching it: It's all about speed for this defense. Part of that comes with recruiting. Part of it comes with making players comfortable with the defense's schemes and playing without thinking. Both of those take time. Glasgow's new scheme puts a heavy emphasis on winning one-on-ones, and the Red Raiders have a lot to prove in showing they can do that consistently in Big 12 play.
They said it:

"Right now Seth is ahead, but we want to give (Jacob Karam) a chance to throw his name in there. We're not looking for just one quarterback, we're looking for two. We lost both quarterbacks last year. Both of these guys will step up and compete and make each other better." -- Tuberville.

Notes from a visit to Texas Tech

March, 23, 2011
3/23/11
4:15
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LUBBOCK, Texas -- Not having an indoor facility is a lot like having a leaky roof. Most of the time, it's not a problem. But when it rains, it's an annoyance that's too late to fix to do any good.

Tuesday, of course, it was the wind that postponed Texas Tech's practice until today. As a result, I didn't get to see Texas Tech practice, but I spent a long while with coach Tommy Tuberville and a few players during my time in Lubbock.

Tuberville is mildly irritated with the lack of an indoor practice facility, and sometimes the Red Raiders are able to practice at Frenship High School, but that poses a whole new set of problems. In fact, when I sat down in Tuberville's office, he had a mock-up of an indoor facility on his desk, a rough draft of something he had drawn up to gauge the possibility of building an indoor facility in the future.

[+] EnlargeTommy Tuberville
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTexas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville is mildly irritated with the school's lack of an indoor practice facility.
"It's not a necessity, but it's something that would really help," he said. "I just had somebody draw that up just to get the feasibility of whether it would fit here and how big it needs to be, height, and a lot of them use it for different things."

Tuberville cited his nickname of the Riverboat Gambler, which apparently transcends the field and carries over to spring practice as well. Last year, Tuberville began spring practice in mid-March, partially because he needed time to get his feet on the ground after being hired in January. This year, Tech's spring game is set for Saturday, the first in the Big 12.

"I started spring practice about three weeks before anybody even thought about spring practice," he said. "I did it for the simple fact that we've got to have more offseason. If we go 4 to 5 weeks of offseason and then have spring practice and then 2 to 3 weeks of offseason, it breaks it up too much. We've got to get stronger and quicker."

Last year, the late spring practice meant players like LaRon Moore couldn't make it back for the fall because of injuries suffered in the spring. So the gamble, of course, was that the weather in West Texas would cooperate.

"The weather was rough last year. I said, 'We can't have two years bad weather like that back-to-back, and we haven't. We've had great weather," he said. "Until today. We've got a mini-hurricane out there."

Winds were up to 50 miles per hour throughout Tuesday.

"No sense in going out there if you can't get anything done," he said.

Regardless, we touched on a wide variety of topics, and we'll have more on the Red Raiders later this week, but here's some of what Tuberville had to say.

Offense playing catchup

Tuberville readily admitted that the offense is behind where it was a year ago at this point, but what would you expect? Last year's team had two senior quarterbacks, a senior running back and two senior receivers. Even though this is spring No. 2 for Tuberville, he's working with a much younger offense as a whole this time around.

He feels like he's starting back at ground zero a bit, but the eventual upside with this group is obviously higher since they won't be here one year and gone the next like most of last year's offense.

This year will come with a few changes, but Tuberville has a good idea of what he wants. He didn't have to worry about having two quarterbacks that were ready last year, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield came with the job. This time around, Tuberville wants to make sure he has two quarterbacks, and it may be a bit more difficult, but Jacob Karam and Seth Doege have separated themselves. It's not over yet, but Doege taken the early lead with his consistency and is getting the vast majority of reps in practice with the first team. Tuberville said, barring injury, Michael Brewer will redshirt. Like last year, Tuberville plans to officially name a starter during the second week of fall two-a-days. More on the quarterbacks is coming later.

[+] EnlargeTexas Tech's Seth Doege
Dustin Bradford/Icon SMITexas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has been getting most of the reps with the first team.
He also wants his tight ends to get involved more as blockers to help establish a running game he believes the Red Raiders need. That's good news for touted recruit Jace Amaro's future, but for now, the duties have gone to Adam James, who has put on a bit of weight to fill the need.

Spring game expectations

Texas Tech had about 12-15,000 fans show for last year's spring game, but Tuberville says they're hoping for 25-30,000 to show for Saturday's game if the weather is good, which it's supposed to be.

Giving the attendance a boost, Tuberville hopes, is a visit from the "king of country music" for a concert later that night at United Spirit Arena.

"George Strait," he said with a laugh and a point to an autographed photo on the wall of his office. "George Strait, Reba McEntire and LeAnne Womack, yeah. It just happens to be the night of. It sold out in 30 minutes. Wish I could sell out a football game in 30 minutes."

Personally, you'd have to drag me to a country music concert, but this is Texas, and Texans love their country music--especially West Texans. That love could help a few more Red Raiders fans spend the day on Texas Tech's campus. The school also has a baseball game slated for Saturday against Nebraska.

"I'm hoping, our goal is 30,000-plus," he said.

Freshmen LB, RB impress early

Two early-enrolling freshmen have stolen the show in spring scrimmages, and Tuberville provided a bit of insight on both.

Linebacker Blake Dees has racked up tackles in both scrimmages and should be a part of the rotation at middle linebacker along with Sam Fehoko. For Dees, who Tuberville admitted has surprised him with his early impact, the coaches simplified his responsibilities, allowing his natural linebacker instincts to take over.

"He's really catching on well. He might not be a starter, but he'll play," Tuberville said. "We put him at linebacker and he plays run first. It's cut his responsibilities down and really helped him."

Simplicity in his 4-2-5 scheme is what Chad Glasgow has preached since he took the job, and with so many young, inexperienced players all over the defense, it's going to be necessary for the defense.

Another quick note: Tuberville sees safety as the strength of the defense, thanks to new nickel back Terrance Bullitt and Cody Davis. D.J. Johnson has also moved to safety from cornerback.

Running back Ronnie Daniels led the team in rushing with 80 yards on 13 carries in the second scrimmage, and the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has made it obvious he'll play as a freshman along with Eric Stephens and Aaron Crawford. Tuberville has expressed his desire to run more two-back formations with one as a runner and the other as a blocker, and the Red Raiders have developed solid depth at the position.

Daniels had 3,000 yards as a senior in high school.

"He's just been so raw at running back, sometimes that's the best kind to have. You don't tie them down with reads and things he has to do," Tuberville said. "He just came in and just turned it loose. He's got a good frame, he's tall and physical and he's got good hands. He can play in this offense and he's been a breath of fresh air."

No Championship Weekend for Tech-Baylor, other schedule notes

Texas Tech and Baylor are set to finish the season against each other in Cowboys Stadium, and since the Big 12 Championship game no longer exists, Tech was open to the idea of moving their game to that weekend. Other games like the Lone Star Showdown and Bedlam may end up on that weekend, but the Bears and Red Raiders won't. After the championship was kaput, Jerry Jones filled the stadium with another event.

The Big 12 schedule is still in flux, but Texas Tech knows it will open its season with Texas State, have an off week and then play 11 consecutive games.

Doege not ceding lead in Tech QB race

February, 28, 2011
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Texas Tech coaches acknowledged that junior Seth Doege (DAY-gui) was the clubhouse leader in the quarterback race to begin spring practice, and he kept his distance from the competition in the first scrimmage of the spring.

The Red Raiders took to the field on Saturday and Doege impressed his coaches.

The junior completed 17 of 26 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

"He threw the ball pretty well and made good decisions,” coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters. "We’re expecting a lot from him. I think a lot of people are. You’ve got to remember he hasn’t played in a long time, as consistent as what he’ll play."

Doege missed his final two seasons of high school football with injuries and has one start in three seasons at Texas Tech.

"I intentionally put him against the wind just to see how he would handle it," Tuberville said, "and he did well."

The coaches may be touting Doege as the leader with what they're saying, but they're proving it on the field, too. The division of reps in scrimmages like these can give anyone a good feel for how the quarterback race is shaking out.

Doege threw 26 passes and sophomore Jacob Karam threw just 17, completing eight for 116 and two touchdowns with a pair of fumbles.

Quarterbacks Scotty Young and Michael Brewer threw just 11 and seven passes, respectively.

Doege has a chance to grab a pretty good hold on the job by spring's end and spend the summer emerging as one of the team's leaders on and off the field in offseason voluntary workouts. He could be well on his way to doing exactly that if he continues playing like this on the most important days of spring practice.

Roundup: Tech offense, UT-A&M moving?

February, 22, 2011
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Texas Tech's spring practice only started on Friday, but there's already plenty of news coming out of Lubbock.

Most importantly, there looks like a clear leader in the quarterback race: junior Seth Doege (get used to it: it's pronounced DAY-gee, with a hard "G").

That's no big surprise. Excuse the (very true) cliché, but there's no replacement for experience, and as the oldest player in the race, he clearly has plenty over the competition, sophomore Jacob Karam and a pair of freshmen, Scotty Young and Michael Brewer.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown told reporters after the first practice that Doege led by a decent margin. As long as he keeps doing what he's doing, I'd be surprised if he didn't win the job.


According to a report in the Austin American-Statesman, the Lone Star Showdown may move from its annual date on Thanksgiving to championship weekend, possibly being played alongside the in-state rivalry to the north, Bedlam.

Both sides told the Statesman they're open to the move "if it's critical to the television deal."

If I remember correctly (and usually I do), I suggested this needed to happen months ago when the league first started talking about moving games to championship weekend. The response:

"RABBLERABBLETRADITIONRABBLERABBLE!!"

Look: I get that "it's the way it's always been done." The game has been centered around Thanksgiving weekend every year since 1901 and played on Thanksgiving 63 times.

That said, there's no concrete reason it has to be. We're not talking about the Red River Rivalry, which has to be in early October to be part of the State Fair of Texas, which provides the game a uniqueness found nowhere else in college sports.

As long as the Aggies and Longhorns close their regular seasons against each other, I don't see the big deal. As cool as it is to have the game on TV on Thanksgiving night, it's still a bit inconvenient to have an on-campus game during a holiday break.

This move should happen, featuring two of the best rivalries in the Big 12 on championship weekend, giving the league plenty of relevance while the Pac-12 and Big Ten debut their championship games next season.


The Apocalypse hasn't quite arrived, Texas Tech fans. But perhaps it's close.

The shotgun is taking a few steps closer to center. The Pistol could be a bigger piece of the Texas Tech offense this year.

By 2013, Tommy Tuberville will have the triple option installed and he'll have swindled you all!

Or something like that.

Tuberville has made it clear he wants to run the ball, but that's a lot more fun when the run is effective. To do it, Tuberville wants a different kind of running game that isn't so east-west.

"We’ve got to do something a little bit downhill," Tuberville told reporters after spring practice over the weekend. “We did that a little last fall and it worked pretty good. We’re kind of looking at different things in the running game."

The Red Raiders have the backs to establish a downhill run with hard runners like Eric Stephens, Aaron Crawford and Harrison Jeffers, but it won't matter if they can't block it.

With all five starters back on the offensive line, Tech fans have to feel good about running it at least a little better than they did in 2010.

Who's set and who's not at quarterback?

February, 17, 2011
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We took a look at the Big 12's spring storylines yesterday, and for several teams, that involves the quarterback. For others, it doesn't. But heading into the spring, which starts as early as Friday at Texas Tech, here's how the Big 12's teams rank in terms of certainty at quarterback.

LOCKED AND LOADED

Baylor: Baylor's offense runs entirely through the Bears' Robert Griffin III. He rebounded well last season from the knee injury that made him miss most of the 2009 season, and became a much, much better passer. We'll see if that continues in 2011, but it would take a serious injury to knock him off his starting spot.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Weeden
John Rieger/US PresswireBrandon Weeden enters next season as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback.
Oklahoma State: Brandon Weeden started every game for the Cowboys last season and earned All-Big 12 first-team honors. He's back. Look elsewhere for quarterback controversy. The backup race between Clint Chelf, Johnny Deaton and early enrolling freshman J.W. Walsh could be interesting, though.

Oklahoma: Landry Jones will effectively be a third-year starter for the Sooners next season, and a strong contender for All-Big 12 honors and possibly the Heisman. It's his offense for sure in 2011.

Texas A&M: Ryan Tannehill would be the easy front-runner even if he hadn't started the second half of the 2010 season. But he did, went 5-1 in his starts, and has the Aggies sniffing the top 10 in the preseason.

BETTER LOCK IT DOWN, KID

Texas: Garrett Gilbert had a horrible first year as starter in 2010, but he'll need to show his coaches -- new and old -- he'll be better in 2011. Grasping new coordinator Bryan Harsin's system will be key in keeping the junior ahead of his competition, Case McCoy and Connor Wood. Coach Mack Brown said last month that the job was open.

Missouri: James Franklin is the likely lead dog in the race, but only because he got more time and experience playing the game and adjusting to the speed of the game. He'll need to clearly be the best quarterback Missouri has to leave the spring as the projected starter. Tyler Gabbert and Ashton Glaser might steal the title with standout springs, but if all three aren't getting it done, incoming freshman Corbin Berkstresser could theoretically crash the party in preseason camp.

Iowa State: Jerome Tiller has five starts in two seasons because of injuries to Austen Arnaud, including an historic, albeit ugly, 9-7 win at Nebraska in 2009. But Paul Rhoads signed juco transfer Steele Jantz, and he'll have a great chance to win the job, too. James Capello and Jared Barnett will try to make splashes in the spring.

WHICH END IS UP?

Texas Tech: Tech, as usual, is likely to get good play out of whoever wins the job, but it's a near guessing game at this point. Seth Doege and Jacob Karam impressed coach Tommy Tuberville last spring working with the first team after Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts were hurt, but Doege and Karam will have to hold off younger talents Scotty Young and Michael Brewer to win the job.

Kansas: The Jayhawks never settled on a quarterback, and battled injuries at the position last year. Kale Pick was moved to receiver during the 2010 season, and Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham will be the main competition this year, despite a lack of truly inspired play for much of 2010. If incoming freshman Brock Berglund, who enrolled early, can show flashes of potential and outplay Webb and Mecham, he might be the guy best suited to help Kansas win right now and in the future.

Kansas State: The Wildcats' presumptive starter might not even be playing the position in 2011, and we've seen very, very little of the three quarterbacks hoping to replace the departed Carson Coffman. Justin Tuggle, a juco transfer, started three games at Boston College and has a good shot to win the job. Newcomer Daniel Sams could win the gig eventually, or it could be the returning Sammuel Lamur, who threw all of three passes last season (completing all three!) as the third-stringer.

What to watch in the Big 12 this spring

February, 16, 2011
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Springtime is almost here. And here's a look at what to expect across the Big 12 when it gets into full swing here in the next couple weeks.

BAYLOR BEARS

Spring practice starts: February 28

Spring game: April 2

What to watch:
  • Big changes on defense. Baylor brought in Phil Bennett as its new defensive coordinator, and he says his scheme will be multiple, built to fit the Bears' personnel. Considering the Bears' recent recruiting successes in the secondary, look for a 4-2-5 type of look.
  • Recruiting stars: time to shine. Both safeties, Tim Atchison and Byron Landor, are gone. Baylor, though, has two former ESPNU 150 recruits at safety who would be well served to start filling their potential. Prince Kent was a reserve last season and at one time, the nation's No. 51 overall recruit who originally signed with Miami. Ahmad Dixon, meanwhile, was the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2010 class. The opportunity is there. Baylor needs big talent at the position. Briles has recruited it. Can they develop into players who make Baylor a contender?
  • Running back competition. Jay Finley topped 1,200 yards in 2010, but he's gone. Who steps into his void? Terrance Ganaway is a bowling ball at 5-foot-11, 235 pounds, but the shifty Jarred Salubi could get a good amount of carries, too. They could begin to share carries this spring.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES

Spring practice starts: March 22

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Quarterback competition. It should be a good one in Ames this spring. Jerome Tiller is the name most recognize after getting lots of meaningful time and starts because of injuries to Austen Arnaud over the past two seasons. But juco transfer Steele Jantz sounds confident he can win the job. Rising sophomore James Capello and redshirt freshman Jared Barnett will compete, too.
  • Paging Cyclone receivers. Iowa State had one of the most underwhelming receiving corps in the league during the past season, and three of its top five pass-catchers won't return in 2011. Of those three, however, one is a tight end (Collin Franklin) and another is a running back (Alexander Robinson). The new quarterback will need some help, and Darius Darks and Darius Reynolds will need to provide it as seniors.
  • Shontrelle's time or not? Freshman Shontrelle Johnson looked like the running back with the most pop behind Robinson for most of 2010, but two other freshmen running backs jockeyed for carries, too. Paul Rhoads is hardly handing the job over to Johnson, but spring could be the time when he really separates himself from the pack.
KANSAS JAYHAWKS

Spring practice starts: April 1

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • What are they doing behind center? Kansas never got much consistent play out of the quarterback position last year, but freshman Brock Berglund is one of the 2011 class' top recruits, and enrolled early to compete in the spring with Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham. With a building program like Kansas, there's perhaps some value in handing the program to a younger player like Webb or Berglund, but they'll have to earn it. Doing so will start in the spring, but don't expect the Jayhawks to have a set-in-stone starter by spring's end.
  • Top linebacker back on the field. Huldon Tharp missed all of 2010 with a foot injury, but he says he's 100 percent and ready to get back on the field. As a freshman in 2009, he was fifth on the team in tackles, with 59, and looked like one of the league's possible budding stars. Now, he'll get his chance to join fellow linebacker Steven Johnson as one of the team's top tacklers, and he'll do it as a sophomore after redshirting in 2010.
  • Toben rising? Turner Gill raised plenty of eyebrows when he moved his team's leading rusher in 2009, Toben Opurum, to linebacker in fall camp, and eventually slid him up to defensive end. But toward the end of 2010, Opurum started showing some major signs of growth at the position. We'll get a better idea this spring if he's one of the league's most unlikely new stars at defensive end.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Spring practice starts: April 6

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • Prodigal Kansan sons come home. There's no doubt that the Wichita native Brown brothers are the main attraction at Kansas State this spring, a season after transferring back home. Bryce Brown, the running back, was the nation's No. 8 prospect in the 2009 class. Arthur Brown, the linebacker, was the nation's No. 6 prospect in the 2008 class. Bryce transferred from Tennessee and Arthur from Miami. The Wildcats are pinning much of their hopes on the duo, and we'll get a good sense of what they can provide soon.
  • Quarterback competition. Carson Coffman is gone, and two new faces will challenge for the job: juco transfer Justin Tuggle and Daniel Sams. Sammuel Lamur is also up for the gig. Collin Klein may or may not be; Bill Snyder hasn't explicitly confirmed a past comment from Sams saying Klein had moved to receiver. Don't expect a starter to be named by spring's end, but a general order could start to form.
  • Can the defense show improvement? Kansas State had the Big 12's worst overall defense last year, and the worst rushing defense in college football, giving up 3,008 yards on the ground. Coordinator Chris Cosh looks like he'll still be around in 2011, and defensive backs David Garrett and Tysyn Hartman are solid pieces to try and build around. But this young maturing defense must get better to make a bowl game again with so many questions on offense. That starts in the spring.
MISSOURI TIGERS

Spring practice starts: March 8

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Franklin comes alive! Blaine Gabbert bolted to the NFL early, and Missouri has a gaping hole a quarterback. The position, however, is surrounded by a lot of quality talent that likely makes the Tigers a Top 25 team. There's no understating the importance of the position for the Tigers, and that will begin to be decided in the spring. James Franklin, a rising sophomore, saw spot duty in 2010 as more of a runner, and may have the inside track on the job, but Tyler Gabbert, Blaine's younger brother, and Ashton Glaser should make it an interesting competition in the spring. If neither of them impress early, don't count out incoming freshman Corbin Berkstresser.
  • Here is the new secondary. Same as the old secondary? After years of pass defense being one of the Tigers' biggest weaknesses, it became a strength in 2010 behind the leadership of senior corners Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis. But the Tigers lose them and safety Jarrell Harrison. Rutland emerged as one of the team's most impressive players last spring, but was Missouri's success in the secondary a one-time thing or the beginning of a welcome trend?
  • Time to dominate the trenches? Missouri played without likely first-round pick Aldon Smith for much of the previous season, but the defensive and offensive lines for the Tigers were as good as ever in 2010. How will they look in 2011? Impact juco transfer Sheldon Richardson won't be enrolled by the spring, but the four returning starters on the offensive line should get some solid work against Brad Madison, Jacquies Smith and Terrell Resonno.
OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Spring practice starts: March 21

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Freshmen on display. Coach Bob Stoops hasn't been shy about saying his 2010 recruiting class was his best ever, but it could look even better after this spring. Two of his best emerging recruits, Justin McCay and Geneo Grissom, didn't even play in 2010, and could start to make an impact. The same goes for Corey Nelson, who will try to earn some more time somewhere backing up star Travis Lewis.
  • Is there a golden boot in Norman? Jimmy Stevens was much more accurate in 2010, finishing 19-for-23, but his attempts outside 45 yards were sparse. The good news is he missed none of his 53 extra points. Field goals have been a bit of an adventure for the past couple years, but continuing in the spring what he started last year would be a good sign for Oklahoma. The Sooners are strong everywhere and need good special teams play to reach their lofty title goals.
  • Are the Sooners' backs back? Roy Finch missed the Fiesta Bowl with a stress fracture, and his durability is certainly questionable entering 2011. When he's healthy, he looks like the next star in the Sooners' backfield, but they'll need some depth behind the 5-foot-8, 173-pounder. Jermie Calhoun, Jonathan Miller and Brennan Clay have all looked good at times, but there should be some good competition from newcomers Brandon Wegher, an Iowa transfer who'll be in camp this spring and eligible next season, and blue-chip recruit Brandon Williams, who enrolled early.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Every piece of the offense. The spring in Stillwater is all about keeping or improving upon the status quo. Had it kept Dana Holgorsen, there'd be little doubt that would happen, but Oklahoma State must make the most of its five returning offensive linemen, quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon. The opportunity for a historic season is there, but they'll have to pick up the nuances of the new offense quickly in the spring like they did last year.
  • What about the kicker? Dan Bailey won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker in 2010, but he's gone. Oklahoma State needs to fill that role quickly, and we'll likely know who will get the nod after the spring.
  • Who steps up on the defensive line? The Cowboys lose three starters up front on defense, including All-Big 12 performer Ugo Chinasa and tackles Chris Donaldson and Shane Jarka. Can senior Richetti Jones become a star in the Big 12? We'll have a good idea if he, or any of the Cowboys' other defensive linemen, can by the end of April.
TEXAS LONGHORNS

Spring practice starts: February 24

Spring game: April 3

What to watch:
  • New coaches and their students/players. Texas has five new coaches. Although it's hard to get a good read early on, how they relate with the players on the field, in the film room and around the facilities will have a big impact on how the 2011 season plays out in Austin. The young-blooded coordinators could serve themselves well by relating to players and the players will need to spend plenty of extra time learning new schemes and plays.
  • Quarterback competition ... or not? Mack Brown says the gig is open and it is, for now. Garrett Gilbert can close it with a strong spring. If Garrett struggles on the field or has difficulty grasping the new system, the door will be wide open for Connor Wood or Case McCoy to step in and close it. Gilbert didn't get much help, but he did very little in 2010 to inspire a lot of breathing room with McCoy and Wood clamoring for playing time.
  • And you've got to defend the pass, too. Texas loses its top three cornerbacks to the NFL, and only Carrington Byndom and A.J. White got much meaningful playing time last season. Younger players can earn some rare early playing time with a strong spring. Will anyone step up?
TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Spring practice starts: March 22

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • New linebackers in the running. Spring isn't so scary when you bring back nine defensive starters, but the two Texas A&M lost were the heart of its defense. Linebackers Michael Hodges and Von Miller are gone. Kyle Mangan didn't look fantastic when forced into action during the Cotton Bowl, but the time is now for Damontre Moore and Dominique Patterson, a pair of sophomores, to make their impact.
  • Tannehill's tuning things up. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill played about as well as anyone could have hoped late last season, but he'll need it to continue his performance with a solid spring nailing down the timing with his receivers, who all return. He's already got a leg up on last year's quarterback, Jerrod Johnson, who was held out of team drills last spring after shoulder surgery that eventually derailed his senior season.
  • Christine's back. Christine Michael missed the second half of the season with a broken leg, giving way to Cyrus Gray's rise among Big 12 backs. It should make Texas A&M's depth at the position even more impressive, but we'll see how Michael looks coming back from the injury.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Spring practice starts: February 19

Spring game: March 26

What to watch:
  • Past defending that pass defense. Texas Tech had the Big 12's worst pass defense last season, but has a pair of big potential players at cornerback in rising sophomores Tre Porter and Jarvis Phillips. Starters LaRon Moore and Franklin Mitchem are gone, but if returning starters Cody Davis and Will Ford can continue to mature, the defense should improve in the area most important for success in the Big 12.
  • And they're off! There's a four-man quarterback derby set in Lubbock this spring between Seth Doege, Jacob Karam, Michael Brewer and Scotty Young. I don't expect it to be settled until midway through fall camp, similar to last season, but there should be a solid front-runner and more clarity after spring. Coach Tommy Tuberville was extremely impressed with Doege and Karam last spring after Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield went down with injuries.
  • Time to find new stars. Most of the big names on Texas Tech's defense are gone. Colby Whitlock, Bront Bird, Brian Duncan will all continue their careers elsewhere. The leaders on the defense will have to begin to emerge in the spring. Is it Scott Smith? Cody Davis? A younger, unexpected player? We'll find out. Sometimes these types of situations aren't as easy to predict as they might seem, like Missouri's strength in 2010 emerging in the secondary.
Tags:

Baylor Bears, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Colby Whitlock, Corey Nelson, Ahmad Dixon, Brennan Clay, Jacob Karam, Darius Reynolds, Christine Michael, Von Miller, Alexander Robinson, Kyle Mangan, Chris Cosh, Steven Sheffield, Turner Gill, Tysyn Hartman, Bill Snyder, Bront Bird, Case McCoy, Brandon Williams, Dan Bailey, Justin Blackmon, Franklin Mitchem, Richetti Jones, James Capello, Connor Wood, Shane Jarka, Ryan Tannehill, Terrance Ganaway, Byron Landor, Cody Davis, Travis Lewis, Cyrus Gray, Scotty Young, Chris Donaldson, Bryce Brown, Jerome Tiller, Brian Duncan, LaRon Moore, Toben Opurum, Darius Darks, Paul Rhoads, Brad Madison, Art Briles, Kevin Rutland, Carrington Byndom, Sheldon Richardson, Bob Stoops, Jerrod Johnson, Blaine Gabbert, Jay Finley, Jared Barnett, Taylor Potts, Huldon Tharp, Jimmy Stevens, Arthur Brown, Mack Brown, Jarvis Phillips, Garrett Gilbert, Tyler Gabbert, Jordan Webb, Jermie Calhoun, Collin Franklin, Phil Bennett, Jacquies Smith, Jarred Salubi, Collin Klein, Tim Atchison, Carl Gettis, Seth Doege, Ugo Chinasa, Terrell Resonno, Carson Coffman, Aldon Smith, Brandon Weeden, David Garrett, Justin McCay, James Franklin, Corbin Berkstresser, Geneo Grissom, Quinn Mecham, Scott Smith, Tre Porter, Shontrelle Johnson, Prince Kent, Damontre Moore, Michael Brewer, A.J. White, Brock Berglund, Ashton Glaser, Michael Hodges, Brandon Wegher, Steele Jantz, Jonathan Miller, Justin Tuggle, Daniel Sams, Dominique Patterson

Early 2011 Big 12 Power Rankings

January, 11, 2011
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I haven't had a chance to break down who has how many number of starters returning or a number of other factors, so this list could very easily (and probably will) change before we kick off spring practice in a few months, but with 2010 officially in the books, here's how the new-look Big 12 sits heading into 2011.

1. Oklahoma The Sooners look every bit the part of a national championship contender on paper. Proving it will be difficult come September.

2. Texas A&M The Aggies don't have the momentum heading into 2011 they'd like after losing the Cotton Bowl, but those six starts at the end of the year will pay off for Ryan Tannehill. Don't expect a dropoff from the defense, either, and the offensive line will continue to improve.

3. Oklahoma State If Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon both come back, I'll probably move the Cowboys up to No. 2, but for now, the wild-card Cowboys hang on to No. 3. Lots of exciting freshmen could become household names in 2011. Namely, RB Joseph Randle, CB/KR Justin Gilbert and LB Shaun Lewis.

4. Missouri Replacing Blaine Gabbert will produce growing pains, but the Tigers defense can be leaned on a bit next year with what should be a dominant defensive line. And, the truth is, the middle of the Big 12 is pretty fluid, not unlike 2010.

5. Texas. The talent is still there. New, young coaches with a lot to prove and a new purpose have made a new arrival. That could make a big difference for the Longhorns in 2011. Does Garrett Gilbert have some redemption in store for his junior year after a sophomore season that was nothing short of a disappointment (10 TD, 17 INT)? No quarterback in college football threw more picks.

6. Baylor. Look out for the Bears. The offense brings back an absolute ton of talent at the skill positions, and if new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett shores up a leaky defense, they could surprise a lot of people next year. Nine...perhaps 10 wins? Not impossible. Opening the season against TCU doesn't help, but the Bears will be fun to watch in 2011.

7. Texas Tech. The Red Raiders don't have a defensive coordinator or a quarterback...yet. That's not a recipe for success. File these guys under "Wait and see." Get ready for another year of a quarterback derby between Seth Doege, Jacob Karam, Michael Brewer and Scotty Young.

8. Kansas State. The Wildcats livelihood in 2010 was Daniel Thomas. He's gone. K-State fans have plenty of faith in the Wichita native Brown brothers, running back Bryce and linebacker Arthur, who transferred from Tennessee and Miami, respectively after being top-flight recruits. I'll wait and see. The upside is there, but right now, that's all it is: upside. Neither brother really tore it up at their previous address.

9. Iowa State. The Cyclones don't have a sure-thing quarterback, either, but Jerome Tiller should emerge from a three-man race that kicks off this spring. Linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein exceeded expectations in 2010, and should be exciting to watch as juniors in 2011.

10. Kansas. Last place by default as of now. The Jayhawks found a piece to build around in running back James Sims. They need a few more. Kansas has some receivers who can get it done. But in the Big 12, you need a quarterback. KU needs Brock Berglund to be as good as advertised.

QB jersey confusion on game day

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
3:35
PM ET
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has just taken the field in red jerseys and white pants, and there's little to note in pregame, but it has to be a special debut for true freshman quarterback Scotty Young.

Not everybody can suit up for their first college game ever and see fans everywhere wearing his jersey.

Of course, there's a reason for that. Young wears No. 15, the same number today's starting quarterback, Taylor Potts wore last season. Potts made a switch to No. 12 before this season and a red No. 12 jersey sounds like a tough find in Lubbock.

Coach Tommy Tuberville's requested red out looks like a success, as the vast majority of the crowd got the memo and followed the new head man's orders.

Tuberville led the team onto the field in a red polo shirt with his guns very clearly up.

Time to kick it off. After missing out on a gameday atmosphere yesterday, I'm ready. I'm sure Texas Tech's players, fans and coaches are, too.

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