Big 12: Seth Littrell
- Seantrel Henderson tells Thayer Evans of the New York Times that Texas never tried to recruit him – not even one recruiting letter or brochure.
- Tommy Tuberville has hit the road to promote the healing process at Texas Tech, the Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton reports. And Tuberville also mentions that he has no preconceived notion about quarterbacks Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts heading into spring practice.
- Oklahoma added a 29th and final member of its recruiting class as Kenny Stills’ eligibility was approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, the Tulsa World’s John Hoover reports.
- Richard Tijerina’s excellent “Breakfast with Bevo” has an lookback with Austin American-Statesman staffers as what would have happened if Colt McCoy hadn’t gotten hurt against Alabama.
- Mike Gundy tells Bill Haisten of the Oklahoman that he was “stretched too thin” by his coaching duties, leading to the hiring of new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.
- Tom Lemming provides an in-depth analysis of Texas’ recruiting class for Alan Trubow of the Austin American-Statesman. And Trubow also looks at the Longhorns’ 2011 recruiting needs.
- The College Football News’ Pete Fiutak writes about Oklahoma’s recruiting class, which he thinks may have been the Big 12’s strongest class.
- The Denver Post’s Tom Kensler reports that Colorado will honor members of its 1990 national championship team at a 20-year reunion at the Oct. 2 game against Georgia.
- The San Jose Mercury-News’ Jon Wilner checks out Los Gatos High in Los Gatos, Calif., which has produced four college quarterbacks including Colorado’s Nick Hirschman.
- The Omaha World-Herald’s Rich Kaipust reports that Bo Pelini likes his emerging depth along the offensive line.
- Former Texas Tech assistants Bill Bedenbaugh and Seth Littrell were named by Arizona coach Mike Stoops as co-offensive coordinators, Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star reports.
- The Lincoln Journal Star’s Steve Sipple examines the potential positional fluidity for the members of Nebraska’s recruiting class.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Eric Russell was stunned last week when Mike Leach called his house wanting to talk about him joining his staff.
Russell hadn't heard about a vacancy on Leach's staff created when Seth Littrell recently left to join Mike Stoops' staff at Arizona.
"I didn't know anybody on the staff. I didn't even know there was a job open,'' Russell told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "I guess Coach Leach had some research and special teams rankings nationally in whatever system they used, and Louisiana Tech came out on top. I had a phone call at my house, and my wife answered the phone. I thought it was someone from Louisiana Tech and she said, no, Texas Tech.''
Russell had worked the last two seasons at Louisiana Tech after coaching at North Texas from 1994 to 2006. And after an interview earlier this week, Russell was hired as the Red Raiders' new special teams coach.
Leach said that analysis by his staff indicated that 8-5 Louisiana Tech had the best special teams in the nation last season. The Bulldogs ranked in the top 25 in punt coverage, kickoff coverage, kickoff returns and punt returns. Additionally, Louisiana Tech scored five special-teams touchdowns last season -- a kickoff return, two punt returns, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt.
"We studied all the teams and figured out, who had the best special teams in America last year? Louisiana Tech did,'' Leach told the Avalanche-Journal. "So we asked, who coaches their special teams? Is this a lucky year for him, or was he always good? At Louisiana Tech, he was. And he totally ruled at special teams at North Texas.''
Clay McGuire, who coached Texas Tech's special teams last season will move into Littrell's old job coaching running backs to make room for Russell.
It means the Red Raiders have a complete coaching staff as they prepare for the March 25 opening of spring practice.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The end of the 2008 season is barely six weeks finished, but spring work begins this weekend, among other topics of interest across the Big 12.
Texas, which came only a fraction of a percentage point from contending for the national championship last season, will renew its work when the Longhorns start spring practice Friday in Austin. Coach Mack Brown will welcome a strong returning cast headed by Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy and pass-rushing specialist Sergio Kindle.
Other Big 12 coaches probably wish they were as fortunate to begin their on-the-field work.
Veteran Kansas State coach Bill Snyder had another roadblock tossed in his way after offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig accepted a similar position on Jeff Tedford's staff at California. Ludwig had been on Snyder's staff for only six weeks.
It means that Snyder will be sorting through resumes for a replacement as the Wildcats prepare for an April 6 start for spring practice. He does get a break in that the Wildcats' start will be the latest of any team in the conference, although Kansas State currently has only one offensive assistant in place.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel appears to have a replacement in hand after Matt Eberflus appears to be close to joining the Cleveland Browns as their linebackers coach. Eberflus' promotion hasn't been announced by his new employer, although he reportedly was working with Cleveland coaches over the weekend at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
Pinkel appears set to name Dave Steckel to replace Eberflus, who would be Pinkel's second coordinator to leave since the end of the season. Earlier, former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen assumed the head coaching position at Wyoming.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach returns to work after settling a new five-year contract with the school last week. Leach's first responsibility will be filling in the vacancy on his staff when running backs coach Seth Littrell left to join the staff of Mike Stoops at Arizona two weeks ago.
Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler is in the mix for the vacant defensive coordinator position at South Florida after interviewing with USF coach Jim Leavitt last week.
And Baylor will wrap up its final week of offseason work before starting spring practice on March 3.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The new contract negotiated for Mike Leach comes with a caveat for members of his staff.
Leach insisted, and received, $400,000 in additional pay for his assistants.
That boost will enable the Red Raiders to come closer to traditional powers like Texas and Oklahoma, which traditionally have paid their staff more than other Big 12 schools. Oklahoma State has also made big boosts in assistant coaches' salaries in recent seasons as well.
It's still to be determined whether that contract boost would enable the Red Raiders to re-hire Seth Littrell from Mike Stoops' staff at Arizona.
Littrell, a former Oklahoma running back who was considered one of the Big 12's best recruiters, decided last week that Stoops' staff provided more stability than Leach's, which looked tenuous at that time.
It remains to be seen if he will return to Texas Tech after Leach's new contract.
If not, it means that Leach will be scrambling to add another member to his staff before spring practice starts.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's hard to believe how things have changed at Texas Tech in less than four months.
On Nov. 1, the spotlight was focused on the school in remote West Texas with a national television broadcast, ESPN's College GameDay and all the rest. Members of the national media scrambled to unprecedented lengths to get to the Texas-Texas Tech game -- some flying from several hours away and driving across miles of Texas highways for a chance to watch the Big 12 South Division showdown.
|Douglas Jones/US Presswire|
|We may know more about Mike Leach's coaching future by the end of the week.|
The game didn't disappoint as Tech claimed a pulsating 39-33 comeback victory, capped by a game-winning catch by Michael Crabtree with one second left. It assuredly was the most memorable play of the season and might have been the biggest play in Big 12 history.
Those memories now seem like they happened years ago -- especially in the fallout of Texas Tech's announcement Tuesday that the school will conduct a teleconference of its board of regents to decide topics "including, but not limited to the position of the football head coach."
That doesn't sound like the group will be talking about Taylor Potts' ability to replace Graham Harrell, does it?
The board could accede to coach Mike Leach's wishes and grant him a $12.7 million, five-year contract extension. But it would be hard to believe they would go along with Leach's hopes on the wording and length of the buyout clause in his contract, his ownership of his personal property and naming rights, and how money from his speaking engagements would be divvied up.
It could let things lie as Leach has two years left on his existing contract. But that decision would cripple the school's recruiting after unprecedented recent success with the incoming class of 2009.
Or it could start the process of looking for Leach's replacement.
There really appears to be no middle ground. Either Leach's contract gets done to his wishes or he's out of there -- despite the most successful run in recent Tech history.
Amazingly, Leach could be fired by the end of the week -- despite matching the school single-season record for victories with an 11-2 record last season. The Red Raiders earned a share of their first Big 12 South Division title last season. And that's after taking Tech to the rarefied air of a No. 2 national ranking late last season.
Leach has directed the program to attendance and graduation rate records and a steadily escalating national public perception. The Red Raiders have been to nine bowl games during his nine-season tenure there. He was even the subject of a laudatory "60 Minutes" piece where he was called "The Mad Genius of College Football" for his unconventional strategy and his interest in pirates and history.
That national cachet hasn't been marketable in his own office where his contract talks have stalled. It appears it's more than money in this long-simmering personality battle between Leach, athletic director Gerald Myers and Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance.
Interestingly, Tech has just signed a multimillion-dollar sports marketing deal with Learfield Communications that will be worth at least $20.3 million to the school, providing rental of stadium suites and a new video screen at Jones AT&T Stadium. Tech was the last school in the Big 12 that outsourced its sports marketing business.
One of Learfield's biggest competitive rivals is IMG, a leading collegiate marketing and licensing company that also represents football coaches.
And one of IMG's top clients is Mike Leach -- making it understandable why the thought of a school-managed representation deal for Leach became such a contentious topic in his contract negotiations.
It was telling earlier this week when former Texas Tech running back coach Seth Littrell, considered Leach's top recruiter, left for a job on Mike Stoops' staff at Arizona.
Stoops' job security had been tenuous until a late run last season, capped by a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl.
But it appears that Littrell sees more stability among the saguaros in the desert on Stoops' staff than by staying on the High Plains working with Leach.
It all adds up to what should be a fascinating meeting on Friday for the trustees and an even more interesting result when the board finally makes its decision.
No predictions on the outcome here, but I'm guessing we might be seeing the end of those wild drives across the West Texas plains by my friends among the national football media corps.
And I wouldn't expect the Texas Tech band to be decked out again in their pirate regalia in a halftime tribute to their quirky coach anytime soon, either.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Taurean Henderson's hotly debated touchdown against Oklahoma in 2005 was more significant than merely providing Texas Tech with a controversial victory to finish that regular season.
The Red Raiders' conquest in that game was the first time that Mike Leach had beaten his mentor Bob Stoops in six tries. Most significantly, it helped establish belief that the Red Raiders could play with the Sooners on a consistent basis.
"That was a huge play for this program," Tech running backs coach Seth Littrell said. "It gave us a lot of confidence that we could play with anybody. And if you can beat those guys, you've got a chance to be really special."
|Douglas Jones/US Presswire|
|Mike Leach and the Red Raiders visit Oklahoma riding a 12-game winning streak.|
The Red Raiders have taken that play and used it to skyrocket to a place among national powers. They enter Saturday's game in Norman with a school-record 12-game winning streak this season and are sniffing at the school's first Big 12 South title and their first berth in a BCS bowl if they can keep winning.
But in order to continue their improbable run to an undefeated season, they will be facing the tallest of orders. Namely, to snap the longest home winning streak in college football as try to subdue the two-time defending Big 12 champions.
In the past, such thought would have been laughable considering the earlier struggles that Leach's team had with the Sooners.
Leach lost his first five games against the Sooners in games that were seldom competitive by a combined margin of 200-89. The Sooners outgained the potent Tech offense by an average of 138.5 yards per game the first four times that Leach coached against Stoops. Leach's pass-heavy offense barely dented a ferocious Oklahoma defense in its first three games against it, producing 8.7 rushing yards per game as the Red Raiders averaged 0.4 yards per carry in those games.
But the change in attitude among the Tech program is noticeable to Littrell, a former Sooner player who arrived in 2005 and has seen Tech's attitude transformed in recent seasons.
"It's always important to get that first win and that game was huge in that respect," Littrell said. "It got us to believing that those things are possible."
From there, the Red Raiders' confidence has only soared. They ran off 17 straight points in Norman in 2006, leading at halftime before losing 34-24.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
|Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images|
|Running back Shannon Woods, pictured, and teammate Baron Batch are leading the Red Raiders two-headed rushing attack.|
With good reason, considering the Red Raiders' potent passing game that leads the nation with an average of 433.7 yards per game.
But the Red Raiders have quietly developed more balance than any of Mike Leach's previous teams with the installation of a formidable running game heading into Saturday's pivotal South Division showdown at Oklahoma.
Texas Tech's running game averages 132.6 yards per game, good for 73rd in the nation. A two-pronged attack featuring Shannon Woods and Baron Batch have helped the Red Raiders' running game become more than just an afterthought.
Running behind a massive line that averages 313 pounds per man, the Red Raiders have produced more yardage and a higher yard-per-carry average than any previous team in Leach's nine-season tenure.
"It's clear we're running the ball more consistently than we have since I've been here," said Batch after the Red Raiders' 56-20 victory over Oklahoma State where they rushed for 113 yards. It was the 10th straight game that the Red Raiders produced at least 100 yards rushing.
Batch (667 yards, 7.2 yards per carry, five touchdowns) and Woods (588 yards, 5.1 yards per carry, 11 TDs) both are on pace to better the Red Raiders' rushing total produced as a team last season. Texas Tech ranked dead last nationally, averaging only 59.3 yards per game and 3.13 yards as a team as they produced 771 yards during the season.
"Last year, we struggled a little bit in consistently running the ball for a lot of reasons," Texas Tech running backs coach Seth Littrell said. "During the offseason, coach Leach came to me and said we wanted to work on improving the running game. And we've tried to do that."
One reason for the struggles last season were that both Batch and Woods struggled through disappointing 2007 seasons. Batch redshirted last season after he tore a ligament in his ankle that required surgery. His rehabilitation took a hit when a bone infection developed in the injured ankle. His football career was in jeopardy after he underwent seven surgeries to repair the ankle.
But he attacked his recovery with zeal and started turning heads during his late-season work with the practice squad after his recovery was complete.
"You could see he was ready to come back," Littrell said. "He really came on with our scout team last year and probably could have played with us but we didn't want to take his redshirt off late in the season. There wasn't much doubt he would come back, but he came back stronger than we would have ever thought after what he went through."
Woods battled his way in and out of Leach's doghouse last season after a strong sophomore season in 2006. He went from leading the Big 12 in all-purpose yards to being benched for the final four regular-season games last season. Additionally, Woods was sent home from the Gator Bowl because on an undisclosed violation of team rules late last season.
"It was hard, there ain't no lying about it," Woods told reporters earlier in the season. "It was tough to play and then not to be able to. That was hard. But I'm happy with myself. I stuck with it."
Woods returned for his senior season with renewed purpose that was clear to Leach from the beginning of spring practice.
"I think he was officially out of the doghouse as soon as I saw how hard he worked," Leach said. "And he just kept getting better as the season went on."
The improved running game has caught the attention of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who said the running game makes it more difficult to defend the Red Raiders.
"We always felt in playing them that handling their running game is a factor. This year, in particular," Stoops said. "Their backs do a great job working in space and they're great at finding seams. They just do a great job running the football."
Littrell, a starting fullback on the Sooners' 2000 national championship team, knows a little about running the ball. He said the Red Raiders finally are fulfilling his goal set before the season to build more reliability in their rushing attack.
"I challenged them and myself to work hard to get more production out of the position," Littrell said. "At times we had done some good things, but we hadn't consistently had gotten it done. We're more consistent this year than any since I've been here."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I was struck looking at some pictures on the Oklahoman's web site of Bob Stoops and how he has changed as he begins his 10th season coaching the Sooners.
I recalled interviewing Stoops soon after he took over the Sooners' job. His reputation preceded him after a strong run as Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at Florida. But I will still struck at how young Stoops appeared to be back then -- barely older it seemed than some of his players.
His career has provided for much of the juice in the Big 12. He led the Sooners to a bowl game his first season and to the national championship the next -- the first time a Big 12 team ever claimed an undisputed football national championship.
Since Stoops started, 13 Big 12 coaches have come and gone and every job in the conference has turned over with the exception of Texas.
All of those coaches were fired except for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who helped give Stoops his start.
Today, three Big 12 coaches -- Kansas' Mark Mangino, Texas Tech's Mike Leach and Nebraska's Bo Pelini -- once worked for Stoops. And another, Baylor coach Art Briles, is a second-generation descendant of the Stoops' coaching tree after earlier working with Leach at Texas Tech.
The beginning of Stoops' 10th season has prompted a week-long series of stories this week in the Oklahoman. The first two days were compelling reads and I'm expecting the rest to be as similarly strong.
Oklahoman sports columnist Berry Tramel started the series Sunday with a definitive analysis of Stoops' place in Oklahoma's storied football history.
Today's group of anecdotes about Stoops gave an interesting picture about him from those who know him best. My favorites included how Stoops demanded a practice field with no more chicken bones; his fastidious nature he inherited from his father: how he once stood up to Spurrier; and how he got his point across to the 2000 championship team to eat their breakfasts before practice. Good stuff.
Stoops' place in Big 12 history is secure. But looking at those pictures sure did make me think about how quickly time slips away.
Here are today's links. I can only hope they can have the staying power of Stoops.
- Texas Tech running backs coach Seth Littrell hasn't set a timetable for settling on a starting tailback. Shannon Woods, Aaron Crawford and Baron Batch are hooked up in a tight battle for the job.
- Bryan-College Station Eagle columnist Robert Cessna liked what he saw from Texas A&M's offense at their most recent scrimmage. TB Mike Goodson looked recovered from a tweaked groin muscle after scoring on an 80-yard screen pass from Stephen McGee.
- Baylor struggled through a turnover-fest at its most recent scrimmage, upsetting new coach Art Briles. "It (the turnovers) just makes you sick to your stomach," Briles told the Waco Tribune-Herald. said. "I'm not sure if we were as mentally prepared as we needed to be ... We've got to perform better, but I'd rather this happen now than on Aug. 28."
- Colorado sophomore TB Demetrius Sumler has emerged as the Buffaloes' likely starter against Colorado State in their season opener with heralded freshman Darrell Scott set for goal-line and short yardage duty.
- Scott and his uncle, Colorado WR/PR Josh Smith, still flashed some big-play potential at the Buffaloes' most recent scrimmage. Scott contributed kickoff returns of 50 and 47 yards, while his uncle, Josh Smith, returned a punt 44 yards for a score and added a 62- yard kickoff return.
- Iowa State coach Gene Chizik has beefed up his secondary with the realization that every Big 12 North opponent will be playing a spread offense this season.
- Sign of the times? Lawrence Journal-World columnist Tom Keegan predicts that Kansas' football team will be better than its defending national championship men's basketball team.
- Check out the Kansas City Star's video log of a recent Kansas practice to see how Coach Mark Mangino doesn't like to be crowded during a media scrum. Ah, coach, that's what happens when you start having a winning team.
- Kansas State coach Ron Prince doesn't know what to think about his team's top 25 ranking in Playboy Magazine -- its only top 25 preseason ranking this season. "I'm not even going to try to say anything clever regarding that," Prince told the Topeka Capital-Journal. There are six Big 12 teams ranked in the magazine's preseason issue, or so I've been told. Oklahoma is No. 1, with Missouri fourth, Kansas 10th, Texas Tech 11th and Texas 13th among the top 25 heading into the 2008 campaign.
- No catchy nicknames yet for the package where Texas QB Colt McCoy and QB John Chiles both are in the lineup for the Longhorns. Coaches, for now, are referring to it as the "Q Package."
- So much for all of the talk about open football practices at USC. Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido recently got booted from a Trojan workout at the L.A. Coliseum.
- Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne recently made a trip to the Omaha World-Herald offices to chat up members of the Fourth Estate. Osborne had an interesting comment to World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel. "There are some places where they have a Boone Pickens -- they are always going to be OK," Osborne said. "I think we'll be in good shape, as long as that football stadium stays filled. If that goes south, it could be a problem." Interesting comments from the leader of a school that had a near 100 percent renewal rate in season tickets.
- Andrew Hartsock of the Lawrence Journal-World analyzes Kansas' options in replacing Brandon McAnderson at tailback. Heralded 2007 national junior-college rushing leader Jocques Crawford had an interesting take: "It puts a lot of pressure on me," Crawford said. "You look at the status of the numbers he put up, how he helped the team, I've got big shoes to fill. But everyone's replaceable."
- Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was perturbed with his team's performance after a sloppy, turnover-filled second scrimmage. I told our football team, 'We've got to get better.' It was sloppy in a lot of ways," Pinkel
told the Kansas City Star. And offensive coordinator Dave Christensen was even madder. "I can understand having some type of those errors with the twos, threes and fours, but it's intolerable with the No. 1 offense," Christensen told the Star.
- Natalie England of the San Antonio Express-News has an interesting retrospective of Mack Brown's first 10 years coaching at Texas.
- The defensive effort by Missouri was a little brighter. The Tigers' first-team defense held its opponents out of the end zone for the second-straight scrimmage. And All-Big 12 LB Sean Weatherspoon provided a pair of interceptions, including one to punctuate the scrimmage.
- The Kansas City Star serves up a passel of position ratings. Most interesting findings included Kansas State's Josh Freeman ahead of Texas' Colt McCoy at quarterback and Texas A&M's Stephen McGee ranked 10th, behind Colorado's Cody Hawkins and Nebraska's Joe Ganz.
- Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News analyzes the preponderance of top quarterbacks in the Big 12.
- Oklahoma RB Chris Brown says he's finally healthy after struggling with a right knee injury that requred microfracture surgery after the season.
- The Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue suggests that Coach Gene Chizik play both Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates in the Cyclones' Aug. 28 opener against South Dakota State.
- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini went through a box of Sharpies as he pressed the flesh at the Cornhuskers' annual Fan Day. Attendance was 8,125.
- Logan Dold and Keithen Valentine have emerged as Kansas State's top two running backs for the Wildcats Aug. 30 opener against North Texas.
- Texas coach Mack Brown refuses to get in a war of words with Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger, who reportedly called the Longhorns soft last week. "I haven't called anybody out in 56 years,'' he said. "And I'm not about to start now." But give Schnellenberger credit for one thing. His team will be earning $900,000 for the Aug. 30 game -- highest guarantee ever paid to a visiting non-conference opponent in Austin.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It wasn't that long ago that the bedrock of the Nebraska football program was its imposing offensive and defensive lines. The Cornhuskers' weight-training program was the foundation of a program that claimed a share of three national championships during a four-season period in the 1990s under former coach Tom Osborne.
Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steven Sipple had an interesting point today about why the Cornhusker program has atrophied in recent seasons.
The Cornhuskers haven't had an all-conference offensive lineman since Toniu Fonoti in 2001 and an all-league defensive lineman since Steve Warren in 1999.
Bo Pelini has his work cut out as he tries to rebuild the once-proud Cornhusker program. But here's a suggestion for the new Nebraska coach: Be sure your team gets a heaping dose of Big 12 links every morning. Because like Wonder Bread, they help build strong bodies 12 ways.
Here's a little nourishment this morning for the Cornhuskers -- and for everybody else.
- Texas LB Sergio Kindle is excited about his role in new coordinator Will Muschamp's defense. "I could scream, but I won't do that. I'm excited," Kindle told the San Antonio Express-News' Natalie England. "I love rushing. The quarterback is going to be my prey. I'm the predator."
- The Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue answered a variety of Iowa State questions in his weekly Tuesday afternoon chat. Among the notables, Logue gives QB Austin Arnaud a slight edge in the quarterback battle and says finding a kicker will be critical over the next two weeks.
- Wyoming transfer Aric Goodman is in line to earn Colorado's starting kicking job. And he's earned the nickname "Money" from his teammates because of his consistency so far in practice.
- Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said the construction date of the Cowboys' indoor practice facility likely will be pushed back because a hit in Boone Pickens' hedge fund caused by recent fluctuations in oil prices. Work had been scheduled to begin on Oct. 1.
- Ah, the days of summer. Colorado players are set for a trip to Water World Wednesday afternoon after cooling down following Tuesday's practice with a water balloon fight.
- Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray was back at practice Tuesday after missing two days with a sprained ankle.
- New Kansas State offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero has helped QB Josh Freeman become perhaps the most improved Kansas State player compared to last year, KSU coach Ron Prince told Jeffrey Martin of the Wichita Eagle. Yes, the same Freeman who set the school record with 3,353 passing yards last season.
- Missouri TE Chase Coffman is expected back in practice in about a week after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a broken right pinky finger.
- Special air-cooled vests developed by Nike are helping Oklahoma beat the heat at practice this summer.
- Derrick Washington is poised to emerge as Missouri's top running threat to replace Tony Temple. Washington's value, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter, is boosted by his pass-catching abilities.
- Kansas State coach Ron Prince's new contract gives him the ability to walk away to another job without a buyout, according to the Manhattan Mercury. Prince's new deal also substantially raises his potential bonuses and boosts his budget for assistant coaching salaries by $99,000 per year.
- Heralded Baylor WR David Gettis has never lived up to the recruiting hype. New coach Art Briles is intent on changing that. "God was good to him," Briles told the Waco Tribune-Herald's John Werner. "We need to make God smile."
- Missouri QB Chase Daniel thinks that EA Sports did a good job in replicating him in "NCAA Football 09."
- Texas coaches are toying with the use of bullish 255-pound TB Cody Johnson in some speciality situations.
- Texas Tech has broken a school record for season tickets with 41,173, and has sold at least 43,000 tickets for each of its seven 2008 home games.
- Texas Tech TB Aaron Crawford provides something a little different from the Red Raiders' glut of other backs. "The thing I like about him is he gets downhill hard," Tech running backs coach Seth Littrell told Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "He's not going to be a flashy guy, where he's going to make a bunch of jukes and stuff. He runs physical. He runs extremely hard. He makes plays just by being powerful."
- Baylor coach Art Briles told the Houston Chronicle's Joseph Duarte that he might delay his decision on a starting quarterback until just before pregame warm-ups of the Bears' Aug. 28 opener against Wake Forest. "Seriously, I wish I was kidding," Briles said.