Big 12: Tavaris Jeffries

Big 12 position battles to watch

February, 12, 2010
2/12/10
10:00
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There will be plenty of turnover in the Big 12 this coming season.

Texas has to replace quarterback Colt McCoy and star receiver Jordan Shipley. Oklahoma loses 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham, who didn't play much at all last season, and Oklahoma State said goodbye to quarterback Zac Robinson and receiver Dez Bryant.

With spring practice right around the corner, here's a look at five position battles to watch in the Big 12 this spring:

1. Oklahoma State quarterback

Robinson leaves after breaking most of the school's passing records. He'll probably be replaced by 26-year-old junior Brandon Weeden, who was a second-round draft choice of the New York Yankees in the 2002 amateur baseball draft. Weeden played well at times last season, when he filled in while Robinson was hurt. If Weeden can grasp new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's spread offense quickly, he should hold off heralded incoming freshman Nathan Sorensen during fall camp.

2. Texas defensive line

The bad news for Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp: star defensive end Sergio Kindle and tackle Lamarr Houston departed for the NFL draft. The good news: ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones, who combined for 15 sacks in 2009, are both coming back. Jones might be the leading candidate to replace Kindle, but he'll have to hold off Russell Carter and promising sophomore Alex Okafor. Replacing Houston's productivity might be more problematic. Sophomore Calvin Howell, who had four tackles and one sack in 2009, was the No. 2 tackle at season's end.

3. Oklahoma offensive line

The Sooners were banged up on the offensive line last season, which contributed to their unexpected slide to 8-5. Now, OU coach Bob Stoops has to replace left tackle Trent Williams, right guard Brian Simmons and center/tight end Brody Eldridge. Will the Sooners stick with their starting tackles against Stanford in the Sun Bowl? Converted tight end Eric Mensik and rising senior Cory Brandon started against the Cardinal. Junior Jarvis Jones, who split time between guard and tackle last season, is recovering from a broken heel and might not be ready for the start of spring practice. Junior Donald Stephenson, who was suspended all of last season, might be the wild card. Junior Stephen Good and senior Tavaris Jeffries have to get better in the interior line if OU is going to improve up front in 2010.

4. Kansas quarterback

Todd Reesing, who broke about every passing mark in the Kansas record book, is gone after starting the last three seasons. Sophomore Cale Pick might remind new coach Turner Gill of his playing days at Nebraska. Pick averaged 11.9 yards per rushing attempt in seven games last season, while throwing only five passes. Pick will have to hold off junior college transfer Quinn Mecham, who enrolled in classes in January. Mecham threw for 3,091 yards with 40 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at Snow College in Utah last season.

5. Nebraska defensive line

How do you replace one of the best defensive tackles in school history? That's the dilemma Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini will face when his team opens spring practice. All-American Ndumakong Suh is gone, along with senior defensive end Barry Turner. The good news for Nebraska is that it played several young players on the defensive line last season. Starting tackle Jared Crick had 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss and was a star in his own right. Sophomore Baker Steinkuhler and junior Terrence Moore will battle for the other tackle spot. Sophomore Cameron Meredith, who had five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in limited time last season, is the top candidate to replace Turner on the edge.

Productive Eldridge will miss A&M game for Oklahoma

November, 9, 2009
11/09/09
2:44
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday that versatile offensive lineman Brody Eldridge will miss Saturday's game against Texas A&M because of a shoulder injury sustained in the Sooners' 10-3 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.

His absence is another obstacle for Oklahoma's injury-riddled offense. The Sooners already are missing Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford (shoulder) and preseason All-America tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) with season-ending injuries.

Eldridge's absence will be particularly bad for an inexperienced Oklahoma offensive front struggling with penalties and productivity.

Both Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson have said that Eldridge has been the Sooners' highest-graded lineman since moving from tight end to guard before the Sooners' Oct. 17 game against Texas.

The Sooners could move right guard Stephen Good to left guard and move right tackle Jarvis Jones into Good's spot. Or they could insert freshman Tyler Evans, who has been struggling with an ankle injury since he claimed the starting job earlier in the season.

Or Tavaris Jeffries could be inserted back into the lineup. Jeffries started three games earlier this season before he was suspended before the Sooners' Oct. 24 victory at Kansas. Jeffries suited up the following week against Kansas State but missed the Nebraska game with a family emergency, team officials said.

Stoops also said that defensive end Auston English is questionable for the A&M game after injuring his ankle early in the Sooners' loss at Nebraska.

No Murray, no Jeffries, no worries for the Sooners

October, 24, 2009
10/24/09
5:40
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

A rapidly depleting roster doesn't seem to be bothering Oklahoma that much today.

The Sooners have jumped to a 21-6 lead over Kansas in a game where their post-Texas blahs don't appear to have materialized.

Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray tried to play before the game, but couldn't make it and is was watching the game from the sidelines because of a bum ankle. And the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that guard Tavaris Jeffries was left behind because of an undisclosed disciplinary matter.

The departures haven't mattered as the Sooners scored on their opening drive with Chris Brown featured as their top running back.

And the Oklahoma defense has been just as salty as expected. The Sooners have already intercepted Todd Reesing three times. Coming into the game, Reesing had thrown four picks in 243 attempts this season.

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