Big 12: Tim Beckman

Colleague Brad Edwards had an interesting ESPN Insider post looking at the top coaching trees around the nation Insider, and two from the Big 12 made his list of the top five, with plenty more mentioned.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops grabbed the top spot in the league at No. 2, behind only Ohio State's Urban Meyer.

No arguing that spot, in theory. Stoops has four former assistants who jumped from OU to become head coaches: Kevin Sumlin (Houston, now at Texas A&M), Mike Leach (Texas Tech, now Washington State) and Kevin Wilson (Indiana).

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini spent 2004 as the co-defensive coordinator before eventually getting the Huskers job in 2008 after three years coordinating LSU's defense.

Not bad, and that's without even mentioning other guys from Stoops' tree who have been fired since becoming head coaches. Mark Mangino is out at Kansas now, and brother Mike Stoops is back as defensive coordinator after nearly a decade as the head man at Arizona.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach even gets credit for his own tree. He checked in at No. 4 on the list for spawning Art Briles (Baylor), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech) and West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.

Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy just missed the list, but may join it soon with former coordinators Larry Fedora (North Carolina), Holgorsen and Tim Beckman (Illinois) in charge of big-time programs.

Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville and Kansas State's Bill Snyder just missed the list. Snyder's tree begat Stoops and Wisconsin's Brett Bielema, which is impressive enough on its own. Without Snyder, plenty of the guys mentioned in this post wouldn't be the coaches they are today.

What other coaches' trees impress you?

Ten good minutes with OSU's Perrish Cox

November, 27, 2009
11/27/09
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Oklahoma State cornerback/punt returner Perrish Cox can’t wait for Bedlam.

The Cowboys have a strong chance to qualify for their first BCS bowl in school history with an impressive win Saturday at Oklahoma.

[+] EnlargePerrish Cox
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiPerrish Cox returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown against Colorado.
Cox has developed into one of the Big 12’s most productive players. He leads the nation in passes defensed per game (1.9) and ranks among the top five in the Big 12 in punt return average (11.3 yards per return), kickoff return average (21.5 ypr) and interceptions per game (0.4).

We caught up with Cox earlier this week to talk about the development of his team’s defense, his strong recent play and how important it would be to Oklahoma State to make a trip to a BCS bowl during his senior season.

What’s this season been like? Could you have ever imagined your team going 9-2, considering you’ve lost Orie Lemon and Jamal Mosley for the entire season and Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter for large parts of it?

Perrish Cox: Truthfully, I don’t know if I could have imagined it. But it’s something you have to live with and improve as you go. We might have looked at this team a little differently at the start of the season. But we’ve tried to play hard to overcome everything that’s happened to us.

Where does the resiliency your team has shown this season come from?

PC: I can say that we have good leadership and leaders who know what to say and what to show to young players. We never quit and when you do that, anything can happen. We’ve had a lot of different people step up and make big plays for us. And our leadership from across the board has helped us out.

It’s kind of a little weird the role reversal in this week’s game against Oklahoma. You guys are the one needing a win to get to the BCS game and they are the one needing a win for bowl momentum. Is that a little unusual to you?

PC: It would be huge for us in a lot of ways. First of all, a lot of people look at Oklahoma State as stepbrothers to OU. It would be great for us to leave the seniors with a win over them and get bragging rights.

The Cowboys are going to face the huge challenge of Oklahoma’s nation-best 29-game home winning streak. How do you think you’ll be able to combat that?

PC: I guess their home-field advantage is pretty big and they have a different mind frame and thought to everything when they play there. You battle a little harder when you’re trying to protect your home field. But getting a victory would be pretty big to all of us. It’s something that would really help this program.

You’ve had a strong season, leading the nation in passes broken up. But it seems that some teams have been unwilling to test you in recent weeks. Is that a little disappointing?

PC: It’s kind of hard to stay focused sometimes. I get a laugh sometimes when I don’t get much action. You just play your game, keep trying to do what you have to do. Sometimes, I get a chance to go against the best receiver. I just try to stay focused and stay ready when my time comes around.

Oklahoma will test you with some pretty good receivers in Ryan Broyles, Adron Tennell and Dejuan Miller. Is your secondary ready for them?

PC: It will be a big challenge to go against them because they will have some pretty good receivers. We just have to stay focused on doing what we can to stop them. I think we’ll be ready.

Are you surprised that Oklahoma has struggled so much this season?

PC: It’s shocking to see how their season is going for them and for them to be 6-5. That doesn’t usually happen to them. But our goal was to go out with a bang and get to a BCS bowl. That was one of our bigger goals this season. And we have the chance to do that on Saturday.

You’ve become one of the most accomplished special-teams players in the league. Why have you become so proficient running back kicks?

PC: Special teams are a big part of winning games and I want to be a part of it. You just have to think you can do it. It’s always been a big thing around Oklahoma State and was something they talked to me about before I even got here. That’s been my focus going forward.

Saturday’s game will be your last regular-season game. Does it feel like the time has gone by quickly during your career?

PC: Actually, it does. When I first got here, the seniors all told me it would go by very quickly. As you have your career, you don’t think much about it until it’s about time to leave. I’m about time to leave. It’s kind of sad because it went so quick.

Your new defensive coordinator, Bill Young, has come in and helped transform this defense. What has his presence meant to your team and your defensive unit?

PC: He means a lot and he’s a little different from our old defensive coordinator, Tim Beckman. He was the kind of guy you didn’t want to mess up because there was all that yelling and cursing he would bring. But Coach Young is a little different. He lets us do what we do and play straight. He’ll get on you, but it’s a little more measured. I think we’ve responded to it.

Another big improvement you’ve seen this season has been the work of your defensive line. How has that helped your secondary's play?

PC: Our defensive linemen have never gotten to the quarterback like they have this season. The numbers overall are better for defense across the board and that’s a big reason. We can play comfortable in the back end. In the years before this one, we would have to stay in our coverage from five to eight seconds. That’s tough to play good defense for so long and to stick with the receivers while they are scrambling around. This year our defensive line has stepped up and really taken the pressure off of us.

There’s been a lot of speculation that your team could end up in the Fiesta Bowl if you can win Saturday. What would it be like for you and the seniors to finish your career playing in a game like that?

PC: I would feel like I’ve accomplished almost every goal we’ve set. The main thing we wanted to do is go to the national championship game, or at least a BCS bowl. We had talked about making it to the Big 12 championship, but if we can’t do that, we’d rather go to a BCS game. For my class to be the ones to be able to help accomplish that would really give us something to leave school very proud about.

Rhoads, Snyder rank among leaders in first-year turnarounds

November, 16, 2009
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Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads and Kansas State coach Bill Snyder both will receive a lot of mention for Coach of the Year honors in the Big 12.

That honor is understandable, considering what the conference's first-year coaches have been able to accomplish.

Rhoads leads all first-year coaches in win improvement from last season. And Snyder is tied for fifth.



Interestingly, three of the coaches on the list have associations with the Big 12. Gene Chizik was the head coach at Iowa State who preceded Rhoads. Dave Christensen served as the offensive coordinator at Missouri before accepting the Wyoming job. And Tim Beckman was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State before taking the Toledo head job.

Ten good minutes with OSU LB Donald Booker

November, 13, 2009
11/13/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma State middle linebacker Donald Booker never thought he would be starting for the Cowboys this season.

[+] EnlargeDonald Booker
Manny Flores/Icon SMIDonald Booker credits new defensive coordinator Bill Young for his success this season.
Booker was thrust into the Cowboys’ lineup when projected starter Orie Lemon sustained a season-ending knee injury the week before the season started. The 5-foot-11, 236-pound Booker has emerged as a key defender, producing 32 tackles and starting every game for the 7-2 Cowboys.

We checked in with Booker to talk about his personal growth in Bill Young’s defense, how the Cowboys have prepared for Texas Tech’s spread offense this weekend and how his team has persevered through a troubling string of injuries in 2009.

What’s been the biggest reason why you have flourished once you took over the starting job?

Donald Booker: It’s mostly because my teammates have been helping me out. It came easy with all of the work and they all helped me progress in the defense. And that’s happened for me on and off the field.

Coming into fall practice, did you have any idea your season would turn out like it has?

DB: No, I didn’t. I expected to play a lot. It’s unfortunate that Orie went down when he did. And because of that, I had to step up and help my teammates when my chance came.

What were some of your initial thoughts when you took over the starting position?

DB: The first thing I thought about was about Orie and his career. And then, what I had to do for my team and just make plays for them when I had the opportunity. I was determined to do that when I got the opportunity.

How has your role in the defense gotten easier with more playing time?

DB: I’m a lot more comfortable. I was nervous at the beginning of the year, but playing in this defense is something that seems to be coming to me naturally.

I think about that almost every day. Last year I had some problems getting acclimated. But now it’s like second nature to me. I’m just trying not to mess up when I’m out there.

How has the arrival of your new defensive coordinator, Bill Young, helped out in your personal growth as a starter?

DB: He’s been a big help to me. When I do something wrong, he explains what is wrong in a way that I can understand it. He’s been a good coach for a long time. He helps me out so much.

What I like most about Coach Young is that he treats you like a man. He’s not a screamer but he’ll definitely get his point across. He’ll have his moments sometimes, but the way he coaches is so good. He’s helped me out on what I’ve done.

Before the season started, many observers had your defense pegged as a weakness of your team. How has your group emerged over the course of the season where now you appear to be an underrated strength?

DB: We knew this would be a good defense. Obviously, it would take a lot of hard work to get there. But it’s been rewarding for us to prove that we are a good defense and that we’ve been able to develop like we have.

What specific challenges are you expecting from Texas Tech on Saturday?

DB: It’s going to be a big challenge for us. They are a spread team and do a good job of moving the ball. It will be one of the most difficult offenses that we’ve faced all season. Obviously, we played Houston earlier in the season and they run almost the same offense. We’ve come a long way from that earlier game.

How has your defense emerged since those earlier struggles against Houston?

DB: Playing that game forced us to become a better defense. And ever since then, we’ve really stepped up as a pass defense. I’m excited about the challenge of playing Tech to see how far we’ve come.

Your team has overcome a lot this season with the loss of key players like Dez Bryant, Kendall Hunter, Orie Lemon and Jamal Mosley over the course of the season. How can you explain the perseverance that your team has shown throughout the season?

DB: It’s hard and everybody thinks a lot about those guys, but we can’t look back. The guys who are left are coming together and we’ve had others to step up and fill those spots. We can’t dwell on it because we still have a job that needs to be done.

How would you describe Coach Young’s defensive philosophy and why has your team been so successful in operating it in his first season.

DB: He has our linemen doing certain things to help create gaps. They then open things up for me to go through. His ideas have helped us a lot. It seems like the scheme is more understandable than what we did around here before.

Working with [former OSU defensive coordinator Tim Beckman] was kind of frustrating because you had to learn it first. Coach Young added some things and we’ve just put it all together. But Coach Young has made it where it’s easier for all of us to understand.

How do you think that confidence will make things different this season against Texas Tech, especially after the game they had against you in Lubbock last season?

DB: It will help us a lot. Coach Young’s defense will have us ready. We don’t have to think as much, but just react. He’ll have us in the right spots and ready to go.

Colorado's season slides from bad to worse

September, 12, 2009
9/12/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


The Glass Bowl continues to be a chamber of horrors for Big 12 teams.

 
 AP Photo/J.D. Pooley
 After an 0-2 start, Dan Hawkins may regret his “10 wins with no excuses” statement.
But even those earlier losses weren’t anything like the humiliation that Dan Hawkins and Colorado endured for nearly four hours Friday night.

Toledo upset its third Big 12 team in four seasons at its home stadium as the Rockets hammered Colorado in a convincing 54-38 victory.

No matter how you spin this debacle, it was a humiliating performance for the Buffaloes.

Even after Colorado scored a couple of late touchdowns in garbage time to make the final score appear more presentable, it won’t make this one go down any easier.

Hawkins’ prospects for hanging on to his job took a hit when his team was blown out in the first half. And his son, Cody, endured a devastating helmet-to-helmet tackle on Colorado’s final touchdown run that knocked him out of the game.

Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt came into the game leading the nation in passing after one game. His built on those statistics with a strong effort as he passed for 319 yards and four touchdowns and added 109 rushing yards and two touchdown runs. Opelt had a hand in Toledo’s first six touchdowns.

Former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman claimed his first victory as Toledo’s head coach. And if his team plays like it did Friday night, they will be legitimate challengers to win the Mid-American Conference’s West Division.

Before letting up on the last possession, Toledo moved the ball at will against the pedestrian Colorado defense. The Buffaloes allowed 624 yards in the game -- the most they have permitted since yielding 639 yards against Missouri in 1984.

Those struggles made Hawkins' job security appear more tenuous. After a disappointing home loss to Colorado State last week, the Buffaloes have started 0-2 for the second time in the last four seasons.

His “10 wins with no excuses” prediction for this season appears to have bitten him in the backside pretty quickly. His team might be mathematically eliminated from being able to accomplish that feat before October.

And if the Colorado message boards and fan forums are any indication, Buffalo fans aren't happy about that possibility after the first two weeks of the season.

Cowboys in tune with Young's relaxed attitude

August, 14, 2009
8/14/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Veteran defensive coordinator Bill Young has brought an attitude change to Oklahoma State that seems to mesh well with his group's veteran players.

His old-school mentality and gentler approach stand in contrast to the high-intensity, frenetic attitude that former defensive coordinator Tim Beckman employed with the unit last season.

"Coach Young brings in this laid-back mentality where the players can play more freely and not be worried about making mistakes and getting yanked off the field," Oklahoma State senior linebacker Andre Sexton said. "He comes and coaches us in a nicer way than the previous coach did. I think the players have been adjusting to that well."

Sexton said that Beckman's attitude caused Oklahoma State defenders to play tentatively at times because they were worried about his reaction to the mistakes. He said Beckman's attitude was like that of a pit bull when he was coaching.

"It's kind of hard to get comfortable in game situations when you are worried too much about making mistakes and not able to play in a natural rhythm," Sexton said. "Coach Young does that to us. That's something that we as players need because everybody adjusts to different things."

Beckman has moved on to the head-coaching job at Toledo. But experience gained under Beckman, as well as the gentler coaxing from Young, should have the Cowboys better prepared this season.

Oklahoma State's defense wore down late last season, allowing an average of nearly 585 yards per game in late-season losses to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oregon that dropped them to 9-4. The Cowboys started the season 8-1.

"Last year, we had a lot of success early in those big games, but as the season went on, I don't know if we're quite ready to tackle the rest of them," Sexton said. "This year, with that experience we gained and what we've learned going through it along with Coach Young, I think we'll be better prepared."

My Big 12 dream schedule for 2009

May, 8, 2009
5/08/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season and the games that the Big 12 will provide.

During a flight of fancy last night, I sat down and plotted my ultimate dream schedule if I could watch what I now consider the best game every week.

Here's my list, including a running total of the miles I would travel from my San Antonio home:

Week 1: Georgia at Oklahoma State, Sept. 5 -- This might be the best nonconference game of the season for a Big 12 team as Mike Gundy's Cowboys face the Bulldogs. It should be a clash of two top 20 teams in the season opener. We'll get an early opportunity to see whether the Cowboys are as legitimate as their preseason publicity might suggest.

  • Other games I considered: Oklahoma vs. Brigham Young (at Arlington), Illinois-Missouri (at St. Louis), Colorado State at Colorado.
  • Round-trip mileage from San Antonio to Stillwater: 934 miles

(Read full post)

Blog ranks Christensen's hiring by Wyoming as best in nation

April, 30, 2009
4/30/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Web site Coacheshotseat.com is one of my must reads every day. They always have an interesting spin on various college football topics and a lot of original content.

One post this afternoon was particularly interesting. The Web site ranks the 22 hirings of new FBS head coaches since the end of last season.

Here's a list of hirings of all new Division I head coaches. The ones that are highlighted have Big 12 connections. 

1. Dave Christensen, Wyoming

2. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

3. Rich Ellerson, Army

4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

5. Brady Hoke, San Diego State

6. Steve Sarkisian, Washington

7. Doug Marrone, Syracuse

8. Danny Hope, Purdue

9. Mike Locksley, New Mexico

10. Ron English, Eastern Michigan

11. Mike Haywood, Miami (OH)

12. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State

13. Chip Kelly, Oregon

14. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

15. Gene Chizik, Auburn

16. Gary Anderson, Utah State

17. Frank Spaziani, Boston College

18. Tim Beckman, Toledo

19. Stan Parrish, Ball State

20. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green

21. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

22. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee

It's particularly interesting to look at the difference between former Missouri coordinator Dave Christensen and former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

They believe that Christensen's success bringing his version of the spread to Wyoming will pump new life into the Mountain West Conference. And they compare that to the largely unknown Beckman, who will be challenged to succeed in the balanced Mid-American Conference.

The switch from Gene Chizik to Paul Rhoads appears to be a wash, as Rhoads' hiring is ranked No. 14 while Chizik checks in at No. 15.  

But the most interesting comments to me were how the Web site viewed Bill Snyder replacing Ron Prince at Kansas State.

21. Bill Snyder for Ron Prince at Kansas State

"We could have gone either way on the firing of Ron Prince, but bringing Bill Snyder back to Kansas State? No, we cannot understand that move by KSU. OK...Bill Snyder was a great football coach, but that was in another time and another place. Snyder put up some great seasons at K-State, but in his last two years, which happened to correspond to the rise of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Missouri in the Big 12, Snyder went 4-7 in 2004 and 5-6 in 2005. There is a reason that Bill Snyder was fired after the 2005 season and that reason has not changed and we believe K-State will regret hiring Snyder because he will not move the football program forward in what has become a much tougher Big 12. Instead of Bill Snyder, we would have hired Buffalo's Turner Gill, Oklahoma's Brent Venables, Illinois Mike Locksley, Missouri's Dave Christensen or even Dennis Franchione over bringing back Bill Snyder and we believe Kansas State will regret this coaching move."

I would criticique Coacheshotseat.com for saying that Snyder was fired after the 2005 season. He actually resigned. But I'm still intrigued by their comments.

It will be interesting to see how Snyder's return to KSU plays out. Either it will be a home run or a colossal flop.

I'm betting that Snyder's work ethic and his return of a veteran group of coaches familiar with the KSU program will work and work to ensure the program's success.

But even that might not be enough, considering the Big 12's strength.

Competitive OSU scrimmage marked by gadget plays

April, 20, 2009
4/20/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Fans who attended the Orange-White scrimmage at Oklahoma State at least could believe they were watching a game where real stakes were being competed for.

Quarterback Zac Robinson played three series in Saturday's scrimmage and fans got the feeling that opposing OSU coaches were scheming against each other to try and win the scrimmage.

They even got a chance to see tailback Keith Toston throw the first pass of his college career, a 41-yard scoring toss to Justin Horton that might keep any lurking coordinators from around the Big 12 on their toes. That's on top of a couple of throwback passes to quarterbacks that also were cooked up, much to the delight of about 12,000 fans who attended the free scrimmage.

The biggest concern for the Cowboys was their defense. Specific concerns were the development of Richetti Jones and Darius Hart at defensive end. Jones is bouncing back from a hip injury and has been slowly returning to shape. And Hart, a transfer from Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, appears ready to contribute.

This is good news for new OSU coordinator Bill Young, who has dialed back some of the demands for the OSU defense from those of his predecessor, current Toledo coach Tim Beckman.

That obviously will be important for a Cowboys defense hasn't ranked better than 74th nationally in total defense in coach Mike Gundy's tenure -- including 93rd last season. OSU can't afford to play like last season when it allowed 159 points in losses to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oregon to finish 2008.

Another question was the backup quarterback behind Robinson. Former minor-league baseball player Brandon Weeden appeared to have pulled ahead early in camp although Alex Cate charged back in the last several practices to keep Gundy from declaring a backup -- yet.

"For a while there, I thought Weeden was gonna step up and take that role, but I'm not sure he did," Gundy told reporters after the scrimmage Saturday night. "We'll probably go through the summer and let those guys compete."

Weeden was pleased with most of his work this spring learning the offense.

"Overall, I thought I had a great spring," Weeden told the Daily Oklahoman. "By the end, I felt like I knew the offense a lot better.

"I would have liked to have played better [in the spring game], but the sun will come up tomorrow and we'll get it on in the summer."

Gundy also hoped to find another receiver to complement Dez Bryant, who missed spring practice while recovering from knee surgery. Suspended contender Bo Bowling already was out of the mix, leaving Hubert Anyiam and Justin Blackmon with a chance to impress coaches during the spring.

Blackmon did so throughout the spring and Anyiam was the most impressive receiver in the spring game with six catches for 106 yards.

The spring work didn't answer all of Gundy's questions. But he came away with a better picture of his team and a stronger idea if they are really ready to compete for its first Big 12 South title.

"Our goal as a coaching staff is to let a lot of young players that hadn't competed much in a pressure situation in front of a crowd get out there and see what they could do," Gundy told reporters after the scrimmage. "They did a really nice job, and we were excited about some of the plays that those young guys made."

Colorado-Toledo set for Sept. 11 ESPN broadcast

March, 26, 2009
3/26/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado filled the final hole in its 2009 schedule with the announcement of a game Sept. 11 at Toledo.

The Friday night game will be nationally televised by ESPN and set for a 9 p.m. ET kickoff.

The announcement is significant because it fills a hole that originally was created when Miami backed out of a game with the Buffaloes in order to play a game against Kentucky at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on the same weekend.

And it provides another nationally televised game for Colorado against a Toledo team that will be breaking in a new coach with the arrival of former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

"Any time you have late changes to your schedule, it's a challenge and creates angst associated with your fans and your coaches," CU athletic director Mike Bohn told the Boulder Camera. "However, ESPN and many others were diligent, professional and committed to ensuring that all the pieces fit in the right place and for all the right reasons."

The Camera reported that the contract between Colorado and Miami originally called for damages of $750,000 to be paid if one school canceled on the other. But because a suitable replacement was found and the game still will be nationally televised, there will be no damages paid.

The Buffaloes do get one consideration as Miami will play a men's basketball game at Colorado without receiving any compensation, the Camera reported. With some road opponents commanding up to $80,000 for a basketball guarantee, it will represent a sizable savings for the Buffaloes.

It looks like a winnable game for the Buffaloes, but past history might be considered before they chalk anything up before their trip to the venerable Glass Bowl in Toledo.

The Rockets are 2-0 at home against Big 12 schools in the past three seasons, beating Kansas there in 2006 and Iowa State in 2007. They have also beaten BCS teams like Pittsburgh (2003), Minnesota (2001) and Purdue (1997), dating to the era when Gary Pinkel turned them into a solid Mid-American Conference power.

And the most notable victory in the history of the Toledo program came last season with a 13-10 triumph at Michigan. It was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing 3-9 season that eventually cost former Toledo coach Tom Amstutz his job.

Thursday's announcement fills the final scheduling hole in the Big 12 heading into the 2009 season.

Big 12 lunchtime links: Toledo trip could be CU's 12th game

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
12:44
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Have a green beer for me and a double helping of corned beef and cabbage while you are savoring these links. 

It will almost make you feel like you're at the Emerald Isle -- at least for a few minutes. And the green foam mustache left from the beer will put in the spirit of today, too.

Enjoy.

  • Colorado now appears to be headed to play at Toledo to fill its 12th game of the season. The game with the Rockets, coached by former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman, would be played on Friday, Sept. 11, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera reports.
  • Mike Gundy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his infamous 2007 rant has helped his school's recruiting.
  • Baylor offensive lineman Jason Smith checks in at No. 2 and Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree at 10th on the most recent draft board created by the Houston Chronicle's Lance Zierlein.
  • Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com lists the development of Oklahoma's offensive line, the return of Bill Snyder and the return of Oklahoma State coordinator Bill Young to the Big 12 among his 25 story lines to follow this spring.
  • Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal notes that Kansas State earned a pyrrhic victory when the Wildcats finished second to Tennessee in the Bryce Brown recruiting sweepstakes.
  • Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp spent some of his spring break last weekend visiting with his old boss, Alabama coach Nick Saban, Austin American-Statesman beat writer Suzanne Halliburton reports.  
  • Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Zac Robinson and Todd Reesing are listed among J.S. Hett's top 10 returning quarterbacks at opensports.com.

Young charged by defensive rebuilding job at his alma mater

March, 16, 2009
3/16/09
9:17
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Bill Young feels like he's finally back home again.

 
  Sean Meyers/Icon SMI
  Bill Young is excited about returning to his alma mater.

The veteran defensive coach remembers when attending Oklahoma State more than 40 years ago that Stillwater was "pretty barren." It was long before the chain restaurants starting flocking there and even before venerable local institution Eskimo Joe's opened for business.

But coming back to his old stomping grounds has other benefits for the 62-year-old Young other than reconnecting with his past. His wife has family in the area. Young says he's long felt most comfortable here after a nomadic experience that has taken him to nine programs and one NFL franchise since starting his college coaching career with the Cowboys in 1976.

"This is a great opportunity to come back," said Young, who was hired after a year as defensive coordinator on Randy Shannon's staff at Miami. "There were a lot of reasons I considered, but one of them is that this program looks like it's really ready to explode."

Young saw the recent improvements to facilities at his alma mater as a big attraction. And OSU's impressive 9-4 record last season caught his eye, too.

"When you win nine games, that's a fantastic season," Young said. "And after having played them over the years, I always thought it was a heck of place with a lot of potential. It was a no-brainer for me."

The wily veteran coordinator will have his work cut out as he attempts to transform a defensive unit that allowed at least 400 yards in eight games last season and ranked 93rd nationally in total defense and 109th in pass defense.

With a strong returning offensive nucleus, it will be up to Young's defense to provide the improvement that could boost the Cowboys into contention for the program's first Big 12 South title and first BCS bowl berth.

"I don't think there's any question we have the talent to win here," Young said. "We've got a tremendous offense and we're much better on defense that people want to give us credit for. I've only been here a couple of months, but as an outsider coming it, it's a neat situation."

(Read full post)

Miami coordinator Young offered deal to come to OSU

January, 19, 2009
1/19/09
7:27
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Current Miami defensive coordinator Bill Young has been offered a megabuck deal that could pay him up to $700,000 per year to become the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

The Tulsa World follows up on a report by Canesports.com that Young, a former Kansas, Oklahoma State and Tulsa defensive coordinator, could be offered a record pact for the Cowboys.

Will Muschamp of Texas makes $1 million per year, but part of that salary was earned because he is the Longhorns' designated head coach after Mack Brown retires.

The World reports that former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman, who left for the head coaching job at Toledo, was paid $303,000 last season. And Joe DeForest, the Cowboys' special teams coach, is the highest paid member of Coach Mike Gundy's staff makes $319,000 per season.

Young, 62, played collegiately at Oklahoma State from 1965-67. He most recently served in the Big 12 during a six-season stint as defensive coordinator at Kansas on Coach Mark Mangino's staff from 2002 through 2007.

Barr heading back to OSU for third time

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
4:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy apparently has hired Johnny Barr, who will be joining the Cowboys' program for a third time, the Oklahoman has reported.

Barr is expected to fill the Cowboys' recruiting coordinator position that was vacated when Robert Matthews was hired to an assistant's position.

Barr first served as an assistant coach with Pat Jones when Gundy was a quarterback in the late 1980s. He later coached on Bob Simmons' staff with the Cowboys in 1995-96. Most recently, Barr worked as director of on-campus recruiting for Dennis Franchione when he coached at Texas A&M through the 2007 season.

Gundy still is considering options for his defensive coordinator position, but is not ready to name a replacement for Tim Beckman.

OSU assistant Curtis Luper appears headed to Auburn

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
8:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

New Auburn coach Gene Chizik has reached out to the Big 12 to help fill his staff at his new school.

The Oklahoman reports that OSU assistant head coach/running backs coach Curtis Luper will join the staff of Chizik, who served as head coach at Iowa State for two seasons before heading to Auburn.

Luper's role at his new job is undefined. Chizik has already hired former Tulsa offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn for that job on his staff.

The Cowboys already are looking for a defensive coordiantor after Tim Beckman left Coach Mike Gundy's staff for the head coaching job at Toledo.

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