Big 12: Sergio Kindle

Lunch links: Unlikely NFL problem for RB

April, 21, 2011
4/21/11
12:00
PM ET
Pat is hilarious. I don't think she's paid taxes in 20 years, but very hospitable. Always has a deer in the freezer.

Thoughts on a history of top-flight recruits

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
1:30
PM ET
On Wednesday, we wrapped up our look back at the last five years of ESPNU 150 recruits that signed with Big 12 teams.

Here's a quick refresher course on every Big 12 ESPNU 150 signee:
I learned a lot in looking back on these classes, and the spectrum of results was fascinating. Here are a few thoughts:
  • There wasn't a Heisman Trophy winner among the bunch -- Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was a three-star recruit -- but there were plenty of All-Americans and All-Big 12 talents, as well as a few draft picks. It's interesting to note that the 2010 class was the only one in which more than one Big 12 Freshman of the Year came to campus as an elite recruit. Oklahoma State linebacker Shaun Lewis and Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson shared the defensive honors last season.
  • I'll count probable draft picks, but here's how many NFL draft picks emerged from each class. Obviously, the most recent classes won't be included, and it tapers off quite a bit as you reach the '08 class, which will have a few more drafted eventually. Any players after the 2008 class are ineligible for the draft.
  • 2006: 8
  • 2007: 3 (Dez Bryant, Sam Acho, Curtis Brown)
  • 2008: 1 (Blaine Gabbert)
  • Additionally, I don't have a ton to say about the 09-11 classes because, well, at this point, you can't have much to say. Oklahoma or Texas don't have too many four-year, or even three-year starters at too many positions. It's still very, very early to pass judgment on those guys.
  • Obviously there's still time, but the 2008 class looking back was pretty weak in comparison to those around it. It's easily the worst of the four classes, not including 2011. Two of the top five recruits have transferred. The other three in that group have yet to make significant contributions. Players like Jon Major, Cyrus Gray, Emmanuel Acho, Kendall Wright and Landry Jones join Gabbert as some of the best in the class, but guys like Jameel Owens, Kye Staley, Lynn Katoa and Justin Johnson aren't even with the teams they've signed anymore. Plenty of others haven't come close to the projected impact others would hope.
  • Compare that to the accomplished 2006 class, which was loaded at the top of the board. DeMarco Murray, Sergio Kindle, Jevan Snead, Gerald McCoy and Eddie Jones won't make anybody say, "Who?" That's a strong top 5. Mike Goodson, Jeremy Beal, Josh Freeman, and Jermaine Gresham could all have solid NFL careers, too. In my book, this is the class others will have to live up to.
  • One quick thought: Are Jevan Snead and Josh Freeman's careers the inverses of each other?
  • I'll give a full breakdown of the team totals later on next week, but I was shocked at how few Nebraska reeled in. From 2006-10, they had just three. S Rickey Thenarse signed in '06, OT Baker Steinkuhler signed in '08 and OG Andrew Rodriguez signed in '10. Steinkuhler, of course, has moved to defensive tackle since. For a team that's won the North the past two seasons and at times looked like a national title contender in 2010, that's a pretty solid endorsement of Bo Pelini's coaching. He's won 29 games in his first three seasons, and his nationally-ranked class in 2011 signed four ESPNU 150 recruits alone. For all you non-mathematicians out there, that's more than 06-10 combined. That has to give Nebraska fans a whole lot of confidence about the program moving forward, even if three of those four signees are from Texas, where Nebraska may struggle to recruit after its move to the Big Ten. That, however, is a whole different post and discussion.
  • As an overview of all this, I can't stand it when people decry the recruiting rankings system all together, declaring it worthless. It's not. I also can't stand it when others contend the rankings mean everything. They don't. The truth is right where it usually is: somewhere in the middle. Cite all the two-star recruits you want. I can come back with 10 more that showed in their college careers why they were two-star recruits. You can build a successful program on three and four-star signees, but the facts are this: if you keep reeling in top-level recruits, you've got a much, much greater chance of having big success. Bottom line, that's the truth. You'll encounter some busts among the five-stars. You'll encounter some gems in the two-stars. But recruiting rankings mean something, just not as much or as little as people like to think sometimes.
ESPN the Magazine had a fascinating feature looking back at the past 25 No. 1 high school recruits, where they are now and what the ranking meant to them. With apologies to Vince Young, there aren't a ton of Big 12 talents on the list, but there have been plenty of great recruits to come through the Big 12. We took a look on Thursday at how the All-Big 12 team stacked up as recruits, and you saw quite a mixed bag.

Well, it's the same for the recruits who came to campus with high rankings and high profiles. Going back to 2006, here's how every Big 12 commit from the ESPNU 150 turned out. We'll look at 2006 in this post before eventually reaching 2010 and the current class, 2011, by signing day.

2006

No. 6: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma. Murray set the school records for touchdowns (64) and all-purpose yards (6,498) as a Sooner. He's projected to be drafted on the first day of this year's NFL Draft.

No. 7: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas. Kindle was a finalist for the Butkus and Hendricks Awards and was a two-time All-Big 12 performer with 176 career tackles. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round last year's NFL Draft, but missed his rookie season after fracturing his skull in a fall on the stairs at his home.

No. 13: Jevan Snead, QB, Texas. Lost a quarterback battle to Colt McCoy following the 2005 season. Played sparingly as a freshman before transferring to Ole Miss. Went undrafted in 2010. Now plays for Arena League's Tampa Bay Storm.

No. 21: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma. McCoy was a Lombardi finalist, a three-time All-Big 12 performer, a two-time All-American who left Oklahoma after his junior season and was selected No. 3 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

No. 22: Eddie Jones, DE, Texas. Jones just finished his career at Texas with an All-Big 12 honorable mention year in 2010. Finished his career with 111 tackles and 13.5 sacks.

No. 34: J'Marcus Webb, OT, Texas. Webb played one year at Texas before transferring to Navarro College and eventually West Texas A&M. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 draft and spent the season with the Chicago Bears.

No. 36: Adron Tennell, WR, Oklahoma. Tennell finished his four-year career at Oklahoma with 40 catches, 505 yards and five touchdowns.

No. 42: Dustin Earnest, LB, Texas. Earnest finished his career in 2010 with 84 tackles and a sack for the Longhorns.

No. 45: Mike Goodson, RB, Texas A&M. Goodson was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2006 with his career high 847 yards. He finished with 1,966 yards and 13 TDs in three seasons before being drafted in the fourth round by the Carolina Panthers.

No. 67: Phillip Payne, WR, Texas. Caught his first career pass in 2009, his third year at UT, before transferring after the season.

No. 75: Derek Burton, DE, Oklahoma State. Started 15 games in four years for the Cowboys, recording 67 career tackles.

No. 82: Ben Alexander, DT, Texas. Made four career starts, with 51 tackles and half a sack in 38 career appearances.

No. 104: Terrance Anderson, CB, Oklahoma State. Made 96 tackles in four years with the Cowboys. Had four career interceptions.

No. 110: Jonathan Nelson, CB, Oklahoma. Started all 14 games in 2010 for the Sooners after earning All-Big 12 honorable mention as a junior in 2009. Finished career with 155 tackles and five interceptions.

No. 111: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma. Caught 111 passes for 1,629 yards and 26 touchdowns in three seasons, including an All-American season in 2008. Missed all of 2009 with knee injury. Drafted No. 21 overall in the 2010 draft by Cincinnati Bengals.

No. 137: Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma. Had 224 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, and 29 sacks in four seasons, including three All-Big 12 seasons, an All-American season and was a Hendricks Award finalist in 2009. Projects as middle-round pick in 2011 NFL Draft.

No. 141: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. Threw for 8,078 yards and 44 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in 35 career games. Also ran for 404 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. Drafted No. 17 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Lunch links: Beebe's radical agent solution

July, 26, 2010
7/26/10
12:30
PM ET
Football, Cornell-Hofstra. Slaughter. Then quick nap at my place, and we hit the tizzown.

Lunch links: Huskers galore

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
12:30
PM ET
I hope none of you stayed up all night to hear the Clippers will be allowed to make a presentation to LeBron.

Mailbag: UT hype, NU offense and revenue

May, 26, 2010
5/26/10
1:44
PM ET
There's no chat this week, so here's a mid-week mailbag. Send me your questions if you want to make an appearance in Friday's mailbag.

Dru in Oklahoma City, Okla. writes: Why are people giving Texas so much hype for next year? They have a quarterback who really hasn't proven anything, Texas lost most if not all of the major supporting cast for GG to throw to, and Texas has not had a running game since Jamaal Charles was in the backfield.

DU: The people giving Texas hype are the same ones looking at Mack Brown's track record, and not Texas' offensive depth chart. Nine consecutive 10-win seasons is tough to argue with, and he's had plenty of seasons with more turnover than the one he'll face in 2010. Part of the reason is how well (even if it's unfairly easy) Texas has recruited over the past decade. Texas doesn't have a lot of proven offensive talent, but they have guys you have to, at the very least, feel comfortable with, starting with Garrett Gilbert.

And I notice you didn't have much to say about the Longhorn defense. Nebraska taught us last season just how far you can get with a world-class defense: 10 wins. Even after Earl Thomas and Sergio Kindle's departure, among others, Texas will be fine. Don't expect the 10-win streak to end this season, and if you're winning 10 games, you're only a couple bounces of the ball away from tripping into the national title game, especially if you start the season in the top 10 like Texas will.


Jonathan in Dallas,Texas writes: With Commissioner Beebe going on the offensive against the Big Ten and speaking specifically about why teams should stay in the Big 12, why didn't he once mention the uneven distribution of revenue amongst his conference members? Not once (since that's one of the key reasons, along with academics, that schools are looking to leave). How come?

DU: Probably because at the spring meetings two years ago, the Big 12's athletic directors voted to keep it. Now, it's a reason teams want to leave? The conference would require nine votes to change the policy, so it's possible Nebraska and Missouri were among those trying to change it, but it didn't happen. Former commissioner Kevin Weiberg said when he left his post in 2007 that revenue distribution could become a more contentious issue in the future. He sounds a bit like Nostradamus these days. But I don't think that alone is going to be a reason for teams to leave. In 2007, Texas made $10.2 million from the Big 12's revenue. Nebraska made $9.1 million. Missouri made $8.4 million. That's not a huge difference -- or at least one that's going to push them out the door. The difference they're leaving for is a reported $22 million payday from the Big Ten.


Allan in Cambridge, Mass. writes: Where are Niles Paul and Roy Helu on the rankings for best fantasy players? Seems insane not to have them on there, especially seeing some of the guys who made it on the list. What's your take on why they're left off?

David Ubben: Even the Harvard folks can't get enough Husker football, I guess. I actually agree wholeheartedly with both, and I'll start with the simplest one: Niles Paul. He's a good receiver, sure. Almost 800 yards receiving, four touchdowns. Those are great numbers in the NFL. But he's not playing in the NFL. He's in college, and those numbers put him at No. 96 nationally last season, and No. 14 in the Big 12. Maybe if he has a big start, you could pick him up, but I'm not drafting him if I'm playing college fantasy. Twenty-nine players had 1,000 receiving yards last season.

As for Helu, I would have taken him early last season, and the Huskers could still have big problems at quarterback this year, making them rely on the running backs. But, note the word "backs" there. Helu isn't alone anymore, and nothing nosedives a running back's fantasy value more than a young upstart. Example: Felix Jones and Marion Barber III. Nebraska clearly has plans to use Rex Burkhead in a big way, and showed it late last season once he got healthy. I'd expect them to get equal carries, and that could mean neither of them hits -- or gets too far past -- the 1,000-yard barrier, a number 53 running backs crossed in 2009.

Afternoon links: Kendall Hunter...draft sleeper?

May, 10, 2010
5/10/10
2:00
PM ET

Texas spring wrap

May, 6, 2010
5/06/10
7:00
AM ET
2009 overall record: 13-1

2009 conference record: 8-0

Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense(7) P/K (1)

Top returners: CB Chykie Brown, CB Aaron Williams, S Blake Gideon, WR James Kirkendoll, RB Tre’ Newton, DE Sam Acho, DT Eddie Jones, DT Kheeston Randall

Key losses: QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, DE Sergio Kindle, S Earl Thomas, DT Lamarr Houston, OL Adam Ulatowski, OL Charlie Tanner, LB Roddrick Muckelroy, WR Dan Buckner (transfer)

2009 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Tre’ Newton* (552 yards)

Passing: Colt McCoy (3,521 yards)

Receiving: Jordan Shipley (1,485 yards)

Tackles: Roddrick Muckelroy (84)

Sacks: Sam Acho* (7)

Interceptions: Earl Thomas (8)

Three spring answers

1. Check out the new style. Texas is going under center. And while offensive coordinator Greg Davis warns the style change isn’t as radical as some believe, it’s still a departure from the spread attack under the accurate Colt McCoy, which was a departure from the zone read scheme under the athletic Vince Young. If the running game materializes, everything else will come easier for the Longhorns.

2. National Championship was no fluke. The hype surrounding Garrett Gilbert’s impending ascension to starter this spring was expanded tenfold by his performance in the national championship game after McCoy was sidelined with a shoulder injury. This spring, as best he could, he validated that hype. He’s taken control of the team, and performed solidly all spring, capped off by an impressive 10-of-13 for 165 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game.

3. Secondary strengths. After this spring, Mack Brown believes his secondary has three NFL-bound defensive backs in Chykie Brown, Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams. They could terrorize Big 12 quarterbacks this season, even though they lost safety and first-round pick Earl Thomas to the NFL last season.

Three fall questions

1. Will the broken record fix itself? The past couple springs have been all about establishing the running game in Austin. The past two falls have come and gone without a solid, consistent runner for Texas. This year, Tre’ Newton and Fozzy Whittaker have separated from a talented group of running backs as the featured runners in the offense heading into fall. If they’re not productive, we’ll be right back here again next spring.

2. What receivers will fit where? Other than Jordan Shipley, no Texas receiver could be counted on for Colt McCoy. Now, players like Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, DeSean Hales, Marquise Goodwin and John Chiles will try to change that. But when fall comes, so does the nation’s best receiving class. Texas signed two of the top three receivers and three of the top 11, as well as ATH Demarco Cobbs, who could also play receiver. Mike Davis, Darius White and Chris Jones will be nipping at the heels of any older receivers who slip up in preseason camp.

3. Will the dominance over Oklahoma continue? The Red River Rivalry has favored the south side, Texas, in four of the past five seasons. As usual, the Sooners and Longhorns will meet again at the Cotton Bowl in October, and Oklahoma will be hungry to reverse their fortunes against the burnt orange. How Texas responds will have a big impact on the South race, even though a victory in the 2008 game didn’t put the Longhorns into the Big 12 title game.

Sorting out the draft for the Big 12

April, 26, 2010
4/26/10
1:15
PM ET
The Big 12 had 30 players drafted over the weekend, fifth most among the major six conferences.


Here's a look at who went where when:

First round (9):
1. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (St. Louis)

2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (Detroit)

3. Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma (Tampa Bay)

4. Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma (Washington)

6. Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State (Seattle)

14. Earl Thomas, DB, Texas (Seattle)

19. Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri (Atlanta)

21. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma (Cincinnati)

24. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State (Dallas)

Second round (2):

43. Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas (Baltimore)

44. Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas (Oakland)

Third round (3):
80. J.D. Walton, C, Baylor (Denver)

84. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas (Cincinnati)

85. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas (Cleveland)

Fourth round (4):

110. Darrell Stuckey, FS, Kansas (San Diego)

115. Phillip Dillard, LB, Nebraska (New York Giants)

121. Keenan Clayton, LB, Oklahoma (Philadelphia)

131. Roddrick Muckelroy, LB, Texas (Cincinnati)

Fifth round (6):

135. Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma (Atlanta)

137. Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State (Denver)

141. Joshua Moore, DB, Kansas State (Chicago)

160. Larry Asante, SS, Nebraska (Cleveland)

162. Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma (Indianapolis)

165. Kerry Meier, WR, Kansas (Atlanta)

Sixth round (4):

191. Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas (Cincinnati)

196. Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech (Dallas)

198. David Gettis, WR, Baylor (Carolina)

202. Jordan Pugh, DB, Texas A&M (Carolina)

Seventh round (2):

228. Reggie Stephens, OL, Iowa State (Cincinnati)

250. Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State (New England)

When you arrange those by team, Oklahoma comes out on top, with seven selections.
1. Oklahoma (7)

2. Texas (6)

3. Oklahoma State (4)

T-4. Nebraska (3)

T-4. Kansas (3)

6. Baylor (2)

T-7. Iowa State (1)

T-7. Kansas State (1)

T-7. Missouri (1)

T-7. Texas Tech (1)

T-7. Texas A&M (1)

12. Colorado (0)

Big 12 set to flex in NFL draft's first round

April, 22, 2010
4/22/10
4:00
PM ET
Sam Bradford/Ndamukong Suh/Gerald McCoyUS PresswireSam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are expected to be the first three players selected in tonight's first round of the NFL draft.
We're only a few hours away from tonight's first round of the NFL draft, one that could be unprecedented for the conference.

As many as five of the first six picks could come from the Big 12.

Oklahoma's Sam Bradford is the assumed first pick. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy should follow. As will offensive tackles Trent Williams (Oklahoma) and Russell Okung (Oklahoma State).

Considering where the conference has been in recent years, that's not a surprise to the coaches sending those players to the next level.

"I don’t think there’s any question it’s been excellent, evidenced by what, us and Texas in the last couple national championship games," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who was forced to play most of 2009 without Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner. "And year in and year out we’ve been there. I’ve known that for a long time and it’s obvious the talent in this league is second to none and its throughout the league and it’s exciting."

Texas coach Mack Brown could also have a pair of Longhorns go in the first round: defensive back Earl Thomas and defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle. Both are Texas natives, with Thomas hailing from Orange and Kindle from Dallas.

"More of the kids are staying at home and wanting to play in the Big 12 area, where one of our schools is traditionally playing for the national championship, so we’re in the mix each year," Brown said. "And I also feel like since we’ve won in this league and we’ve been in the final game more often, that more national kids are starting to look at our schools more readily than before."

Missouri's program has reached new heights in the last few years, winning 12 games in 2007 and another 10 in 2008. Missouri's two first-round draft picks last season, receiver Jeremy Maclin and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, helped make those seasons possible. The Tigers also had safety William Moore drafted in the second round of last year's draft.

"I remember Don James, my mentor who I worked for at Washington, he told me about three or four years ago, he says, ‘When you start getting more players drafted, a lot more high draft choices, you’re going to win a lot more games.’ And at this level, as it was at Washington, that’s the way it is," Pinkel said. "You’re not going to get six drafted every year, but certainly, if you’re going to win at this level, you’re going to get more players that go on and play in the NFL."

He could add another first-round pick, his third in two seasons, tonight in linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, giving the Big 12 as many as 10 selections among the first 32 picks.

"It shows schools are recruiting quality young men and good football players," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.

Lunch links: Former Husker makes amends

April, 15, 2010
4/15/10
12:30
PM ET

Kiper/McShay stock first round with Big 12 talent

April, 8, 2010
4/08/10
8:30
AM ET
ESPN's resident draft experts, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, posted their fourth mock draft Insider in preparation for the real deal on April 22. You might remember this year's draft will be stretched over three days, with the first round scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

As you might expect, there's plenty of Big 12 talent across several schools in the conference.

Head over to ESPN Insider to check out the full draft, including where and when each player's drafted. Here are the Big 12 players they have being drafted in the first 32 picks.\.

Mel Kiper

  • Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
  • Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
  • Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
  • Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State
  • Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma
  • Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
  • Earl Thomas, DB, Texas
  • Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
  • Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
  • Sean Weatherspoon, OLB
Todd McShay

  • Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
  • Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
  • Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
  • Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State
  • Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma
  • Earl Thomas, DB, Texas
  • Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
  • Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
  • Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
  • Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri

A few notes from Austin

April, 1, 2010
4/01/10
2:10
PM ET
I suppose the title is somewhat misleading, since I'm actually in College Station today, but nonetheless, here's a few things from my visit to Austin Wednesday.

  • The team's energy is, of course, reaching a crescendo with the spring game on Sunday. The players said having past Longhorns like Quan Cosby on campus for pro day only accentuated that. Hardly a distraction, but seeing guys who are where they want to be injected some energy into Wednesday's practice.
  • Mack Brown feels pretty good about accomplishing his three big points for the spring. Among those:
  • Getting the punt return/block game back where it was in past years. Brown's really emphasizing that in the spring, and working defensive backs Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown, as well as receiver James Kirkendoll as returners. If the season began today, Williams would be the return man, and since they do, you know, have a game (kind of) on Sunday, look for Williams to get plenty of time back returning punts.
  • Re-establishing the offense. Much has been made of the Longhorns' move under center, but the style change is almost as big of an issue as the personnel changes Texas has undergone this spring. Brown doesn't know just yet exactly whom he wants to feature in the offense, but a big game on Sunday with plenty of eyes watching could give a receiver or running back a leg up heading into the fall. I'll have plenty more on that tomorrow, when we'll feature Texas on the blog.
  • Replenishing the defensive line. It really is remarkable how much talent has come through the defensive line at Texas in just the past couple of seasons. Kheeston Randall, Sam Acho and Eddie Jones will try to make the most of their time this season, but Roy Miller, Henry Melton and Brian Orakpo are all in the NFL. Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston should join them very soon.
  • Texas plans on making a conscious effort to prepare to be ... prepared if it loses a key player like it lost Colt McCoy in the national championship game. You'd expect the entire team to be kind of shaken when it loses a leader like that in that type of situation, and the Longhorns' play in the first half suggested that was the case. Brown's not looking for a repeat of that in any game in 2010.
  • Brown compared this team to his 2008 team, acknowledging that with all of the question marks, expectations will be lowered. Not that there isn't plenty of potential on both sides of the ball, but most of that potential is unproven. "This year, there’s so many unknowns, we’re not taking anything for granted," Brown said. "We’re making sure that we’re covering every little detail." In 2008, those question marks were answered to the tune of a BCS bowl win and just one loss.

Mailbag: Nebraska's option, Stoops vs. Brown

March, 19, 2010
3/19/10
4:30
PM ET
Welcome to The Mailbag where -- and I’m not exaggerating -- 75 percent of the questions came from Nebraska fans.

Lincoln really is immune to hoops fever, isn’t it?

I’ll resist the urge to make this a highlight reel of complaints (of varying levels of intensity/unintentional humor) about the lack of North coverage and get started.

Trevor from Nebraska asks: DO you think we could See a wildcat Formation with Burkhead As QB and Helu as RB with some options??

David Ubben: Maybe, but how about this: Why not commit to putting Cody Green at quarterback and implement the Florida triple option with Helu Jr. as the underneath inside option and Burkhead outside? That would be pretty tough to defend.

Justin Carter in Columbia, MO wins for best hardwood crossover lineup from yesterday’s post:

PG - DJ Monroe, WR Texas

SG - Robert Griffin, QB Baylor

SF - Aldon Smith, DE Missouri

PF - Baker Steinkuhler, OL Nebraska

C - Jarvis Jones, OL Oklahoma

How about this for a lineup. Thunder and Lightning.

David Ubben: Not bad, but your shooting guard has a slightly gimpy knee and your center is coming back from a fractured heel. Have to measure their minutes, and I hope you’ve got a solid bench. Otherwise, it’s one-and-done for you.

Jordan in Norman asks: Is it just me or is Stoops getting beat on recruiting by Mack Brown? He has pulled in a lot of 4 and 5 stars, while Stoops is having a little trouble getting some guys. OU's recruiting in Texas is not like it used to be. It seems like Mack is picking who he want then OU, OSU and A&M get the rest.

David Ubben: The short answer is yes, Bob Stoops is getting “out-recruited.” Recruiting experts have ranked Texas’ class above Oklahoma’s in four of the past five seasons.

Over that same span, both teams have been in the top 15 each year, and, more often than not, the top 10. Recruiting is almost a complete crapshoot, only slightly less so than the NFL Draft. When you’re consistently landing classes that high, there’s not a ton of difference. Some guys will turn out. Some won’t. All programs can do is develop them the best they can. Oklahoma’s best players the past two seasons -- Ryan Broyles in 2009 and Sam Bradford in 2008 -- were three-star recruits. Gerald McCoy was a five-star recruit. Sergio Kindle was a five-star recruit. Colt McCoy: three-star.

Some players are going to be better than coaches and recruiting experts thought. Some won’t be as good. But Oklahoma and Texas are evidence that, if you keep landing top 15 classes every year, you’re going to do pretty well.

Benson D. in Columbia, MO asks: Does MU still have the best Offense in the North this upcoming season in your estimation? And if so, could a more experienced defense give them their first shot at a Big12 title with the exodus of UT stars and OU stars if MU can get past Nebraska for the North?

David Ubben: They should. They bring back nine starters on offense, but lose their best weapon in Danario Alexander. Kansas actually led the North in scoring offense last year, but its defense and record in conference games was so bad, few noticed.

Blaine Gabbert’s maturation process looks on schedule, and he could have a big year if he stays healthy and young receivers like Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp can show some consistency. As for winning the Big 12, Nebraska has the inside track at the North since they host the Tigers, but it’s still pretty early to be definitively forecasting much. Gary Pinkel’s argument for a long time is you haven’t arrived until you’ve beaten Texas or Oklahoma. Pinkel is 0-11 against those two teams, and that will probably have to change in 2010 if Missouri wants a Big 12 title.

Alex in Des Moines asks: If iowa state is better team this year isnt it possible for them to take the north title. They did beat Nebraska and had a half time lead against missouri and beat colorado last season.

David Ubben: I don’t see it. Paul Rhoads admitted to me earlier this week that his team could be improved in 2010 and have a worse record. Iowa State’s schedule is extremely tough. They play Nebraska and Missouri at home, but have to go to Oklahoma and Texas in back-to-back weeks in October.
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville says a championship is coming to Lubbock. “Maybe two, maybe three, maybe four,” he says, according to Don Williams at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Arthur Brown, once considered the top high school linebacker in the country, will transfer to Kansas State from Miami, the Wichita Eagle's Kellis Robinett reports.

The Tulsa World’s John Hoover says 40 percent of the questions former Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox faced at the NFL scouting combine were about his Cotton Bowl suspension.

Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert says he’s not the next “Colt McCoy” or even the next “Texas Quarterback.” He wants to be the first Garrett Gilbert, says Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is adjusting to the changes that come with being the starting quarterback, says Brandon Chatmon of The Oklahoman.

Who was hot and who was not at the first open UT spring practice yesterday? The Austin American-Statesman’s Richard Tijerina breaks it down.

Jermaine Gresham and Sergio Kindle are among five players who may have vaulted into the first round of next month's draft after the NFL Scouting Combine, says Clifton Brown of The Sporting News.

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Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12