Big 12: Tony Jerod-Eddie

Big 12 sending 17 alums to Super Bowl

January, 22, 2013
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The Super Bowl doesn't kick off for almost two weeks, but the Ravens and 49ers have officially booked their tickets to the game. How many Big 12 alums are heading to the game? Let's take a closer look.

For the purposes of this post, I only included players who played their college ball in the Big 12. This kind of thing gets complicated, but I'm including former Big 12 teams and not TCU and West Virginia. These guys all actually played in the Big 12.

Baltimore Ravens
San Francisco 49ers

To rank it by team:

T-1 .Texas - 4

T-1. Oklahoma State - 4

T-3. Iowa State - 2

T-3. Texas Tech - 2

T-3. Missouri - 2

T-6. Colorado - 1

T-6. Nebraska - 1

T-6. Texas A&M - 1

The Big 12 and the Senior Bowl

January, 30, 2012
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Senior Bowl week has come and gone, and now we wait for the combine (starts Feb. 22) for the next big moves prior to the NFL draft.

Here's how the Big 12 participants did, with a few thoughts to follow.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
  • 5-9, 56 yards, 2 INT, sack
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
  • five carries, 14 yards; two catches, 8 yards
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M
  • three catches, 19 yards
Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
  • one catch, 14 yards
Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
  • made field goals of 39 and 24 yards. No misses. Two touchbacks on four kickoffs.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
  • four tackles, forced fumble, interception (off Weeden)
Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
  • one pass breakup
Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
  • five tackles
Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
  • three tackles
Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas
  • three tackles
Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
  • two tackles, tackle for loss
Tony Jerod-Eddie, DE, Texas A&M
  • two tackles
A few thoughts:
  • A certain bit of symmetry in Fleming picking off Weeden late. From The Oklahoman: "I told him I owed him one," said Fleming, referring to the Cowboys' 44-10 rout of the Sooners in December. "And I got him." No doubt a rough outing for Weeden, who threw his other interception off an awkward drop back, but I wouldn't worry too much about one game. The practices mean a lot more than spotty game time for everybody in this game, and Weeden impressed a lot of people this week. A big day means just as little as an awful day in this game.
  • What a day for Fleming, though. He grabbed the interception late, but forced a fumble from Arkansas' Joe Adams on the opening drive.
  • Has Weeden taken over the No. 3 spot among QBs behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III? Ryan Tannehill was hurt this past week and couldn't play, but this could be an interesting race. No doubt there's disagreement among NFL teams on where to slot Weeden.

What to watch in this week's Senior Bowl

January, 24, 2012
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We've got plenty of folks on the ground in Mobile, Ala., at this week's Senior Bowl practices and Saturday's games, and we'll offer updates as the week goes along.

Until then, our analyst Todd McShay fills you in on a few players to watch this week Insider.

Here's the full roster of who's playing, though Baylor's Kendall Wright and Oklahoma State's Levy Adcock will be sitting out. Texas A&M DE Tony Jerod-Eddie was a late addition to the roster.
Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden Insider
(Grade: 79):
He has a quick release and strong arm, but Weeden's accuracy and decision-making were spotty in 2011. He got away with a lot of questionable throws and decisions due to the Cowboys' wide-open offense and the ability of WR Justin Blackmon Insider to bail him out. How will Weeden perform on a level playing field compared to other top prospects?

McShay says one big Big 12 player is under the radar.
Iowa State OT/G Kelechi Osemele (84): Osemele lined up at left tackle in college and should get some reps there this week, but don't be surprised if he struggles to protect the edge. He doesn't show great lateral quickness on film. On the other hand, Osemele has the tenacity, size and power to turn heads when he slides inside to guard, and that's where he might fit best in the NFL.

Osemele weighed in at 333 pounds, the third-heaviest player in Mobile this week. His 35 1/4-inch arms were the longest of any player at the Senior Bowl. Jerod-Eddie was fifth with 34 3/8-inch arms. Osemele's wingspan was predictably the longest as well, at 85 1/2 inches.

You can watch the practices this week on the NFL Network.

The 2011 Big 12 All-Bowl team

January, 13, 2012
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Here's the All-Bowl team from the Big 12, recognizing the best single-game performances from this year's bowls.

QB: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Weeden threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns (it could have been four if a game-winning TD pass to Colton Chelf hadn't been overturned) on 29-of-42 passing. His first pass was intercepted, but he had an otherwise solid night and ran for his first career touchdown in the 41-38 win against Stanford.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Ganaway
AP Photo/Darren AbateBaylor's Terrance Ganaway rushed for five TDs in the Alamo Bowl.
RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor: The Big 12 rushing champion ran for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Bears' 67-56 win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl.

RB: Ben Malena, Texas A&M: Malena stepped in for the injured Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael and had a solid game in the Aggies' 33-22 win against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. He finished with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, showcasing his physical running style. He also caught six passes for 36 yards.

FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma: Millard carried the ball four times for 21 yards but also helped pave the way for three Blake Bell touchdowns from the Belldozer formation.

WR: Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: Jeff Fuller had better numbers in the bowl, but it was aided by big catches late. Swope kept the Aggies offense humming for most of the game, with eight catches for 105 yards in the win against Northwestern.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State: Blackmon was the best offensive player in the Big 12 bowls, spearheading Oklahoma State's offense in the Fiesta Bowl win with eight catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

WR: Colton Chelf, Oklahoma State: Chelf made two huge catches over the middle early and a third nearly won the game, but his touchdown was overturned. Still, OSU doesn't win its first BCS bowl without Chelf's 97 yards on five catches.

TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri: By Egnew's standards, it was a quiet game, but he played well with a 25-yard grab and three catches for 39 yards in Mizzou's win.

OL: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State's offensive line is keyed by Garner, who helped the Cowboys handle Stanford's blitzes well and give Weeden plenty of time in the Fiesta Bowl win.

OL: Philip Blake, Baylor: Baylor ran for 482 yards and scored 67 points in its win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Blake's the man who keyed it all.

OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State: Adcock's the best overall talent on OSU's line, and he showed it in the win against Stanford.

OL: Dan Hoch, Missouri: Missouri rolled over one of the nation's best rush defenses, North Carolina, for 337 yards on the ground.

OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M: The Aggies' offense was potent for most of its win against Northwestern, and Joeckel was solid in run and pass blocking for the balanced attack.

DEFENSE

DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat made five tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Longhorns' 21-10 win against Cal. The Texas defense dominated, and the defensive line's play was the catalyst. He did it all with a torn pectoral muscle, too. He'll miss the spring after having it surgically repaired this week.

[+] EnlargeAdam Davis
AP Photo/Matt StrasenKansas State defensive end Adam Davis, 97, had two sacks and forced this first-half fumble by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson in the Cotton Bowl.
DL: Adam Davis, Kansas State: Davis sacked Arkansas' Tyler Wilson twice and had three tackles for loss with a forced fumble in the loss to the Razorbacks.

DL: R.J. Washington, Oklahoma: With Ronnell Lewis ineligible, Washington showed up big in the win against Iowa. He had two sacks and made three tackles.

DL: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M: Jerod-Eddie made eight tackles and had a sack in the win against Northwestern.

LB: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M: Moore was a monster in the season finale for the Aggies, making nine tackles and forcing a fumble on his lone sack.

LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State: Klein flew around for the Cyclones, making 15 tackles in a physical game against Rutgers, though the Cyclones lost.

LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas: Could this be a big piece of momentum heading into 2012? Hicks starred with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win against Cal.

CB: Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma: Fleming was the Big 12's best defensive player of the bowls and the best player on the field in the Insight Bowl, making seven tackles, intercepting a pass and returning it 21 yards. He also broke up three passes.

CB: David Garrett, Kansas State: Garrett made 10 tackles and had two tackles for loss in the loss to Arkansas.

S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: He hates the nickname Machete, but Vaccaro was hacking away at Cal. He made three tackles, including two for loss and a sack.

S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State: Even if it was illegal (it was), Martin had the hit of the bowl season with a huge blast on Stanford's Ty Montgomery that took Montgomery's helmet off on the opening drive. He finished with nine tackles and a tackle for loss, with a fumble recovery.

SPECIALISTS

P: Tress Way, Oklahoma: Way averaged 50 yards on his six punts, including a 67-yarder.

PK: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M: Bullock made all four of his field goal attempts, including two from beyond 40 yards.

PR: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M: Harris looked the part of the Big 12's best, returning a punt 35 yards and finishing with 54 yards on his four returns.

KR: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: Gilbert had a 50-yard return and returned his four kicks for a total of 136 yards.

Part II: Preseason All-Big 12 vs. Postseason

December, 14, 2011
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It's always fun looking back on what we thought in the preseason, and today, we'll take another look.

Here's who made the postseason team.

How did our All-Big 12 preseason team stack up at season's end?

DEFENSE

DL: Brad Madison, Missouri
  • Madison ranked 11th in the Big 12 with 4.5 sacks and 16th with 8.5 tackles for loss and didn't earn a spot on any All-Big 12 first or second teams, though his teammate, Jacquies Smith, cracked the media and coaches' second team.
DL: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M
  • Jerod-Eddie had four sacks and six tackles for loss with 47 total stops, but didn't crack any All-Big 12 first or second teams.
DL: Kheeston Randall, Texas
  • Randall was eighth on the team with four tackles for loss and had 29 tackles with one sack. He wasn't named to any All-Big 12 first or second teams.
DL: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
  • Alexander led the Big 12 with 18 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the media and shared the coaches award with A.J. Klein of Iowa State. He, of course, was a unanimous All-Big 12 first-team selection.
LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
  • Lewis suffered a broken toe in preseason camp, and finished second on the team with 79 tackles, his first season at OU with fewer than 108 tackles. He made the media and coaches' second Big 12 teams.
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
  • Knott finished third in the Big 12 with 107 tackles and made the media any my first Big 12 teams. The coaches put Knott on the second team.
LB: Keenan Robinson, Texas
  • Robinson finished second on the team and 10th in the Big 12 with 90 tackles and made the coaches' second Big 12 team.
DB: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
  • Judie fought a hamstring injury all season and didn't make any All-Big 12 teams after making 21 tackles and forcing one fumble.
DB: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
  • Martin made a few All-American teams and earned All-Big 12 first-team honors from the coaches and me after making 65 tackles and breaking up 11 passes. The media voted him second team.
DB: Trent Hunter, Texas A&M
  • Hunter made 73 tackles and broke up eight passes, but didn't earn any first or second-team honors.
DB: Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma
  • Hurst earned second-team honors from the coaches after making 51 tackles and having 10 pass breakups. He also returned his lone interception for a touchdown against Texas.
SPECIALISTS

K: Grant Ressel, Missouri
  • Ressel didn't earn any first or second team honors after making just 9-of-16 kicks and making all 30 of his extra points.
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
  • Sharp earned All-Big 12 first team honors from the media and coaches after averaging over 46 yards on his 42 punts.
KR: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
  • Injuries prevented Judie from returning more than eight kicks this season. He averaged 25 yards per return on his eight returns and didn't make any All-Big 12 teams.
PR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
  • Broyles returned 19 punts at an average of just over 10 yards, and didn't earn any All-Big 12 teams as a punt returner.
AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
  • An injury derailed Lewis' season and he never looked like his usual self during the season, ceding Player of the Year honors to his teammate, Frank Alexander.
Newcomer of the Year: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
  • Brown won my Big Newcomer of the Year Award and the Defensive Newcomer of the Year from the coaches and media.

New A&M coach Sumlin has plenty to prove

December, 10, 2011
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Texas A&M has its man.

Kevin Sumlin is ready to get started in College Station, but he'll have to get his hands dirty very early.

Sumlin's become one of the hottest names in coaching after a 12-1 season in 2011, but he'll have a laundry list of things to prove during his first big-time job after leaving Houston.

The Cougars were his first head-coaching job after stops around the Big 12 at Texas A&M, his new home, and in a variety of positions (including offensive coordinator) in five seasons at Oklahoma under coach Bob Stoops.

Every coach with a résumé comparable to Sumlin's faces the same question: Can that small-conference success translate to a bigger pond with bigger fish?

For Sumlin, it's tough to imagine a more difficult scenario for a coach taking over a major program for the first time, especially as a coach who has yet to guide a team to a conference title.

Texas A&M will head into the torture chamber that is the SEC West, where Arkansas finished third after going 10-2, with both losses against teams that will meet for the national title.

Mississippi State? It won nine games in 2010 and finished fifth in the division.

[+] EnlargeKevin Sumlin
AP Photo/David J. PhillipKevin Sumlin spent four seasons guiding the Houston Cougars in Conference USA, and now he'll tackle the SEC as Texas A&M's newest head coach.
Sumlin knows Texas. He's recruited it for a decade and will continue to do so at Texas A&M, where he'll go head to head with former Big 12 rivals Texas and Oklahoma to convince players to help the Aggies ascend the SEC totem pole after going 6-6 in their final Big 12 season.

Sumlin's a man with spread sensibilities, though. He'll have to prove he can adjust that system as necessary to succeed in the SEC.

Success in the SEC, as national title participants Alabama and LSU can attest, correlates with defensive success, with rare exceptions for 6-foot-5, 250-pound Heisman-winning quarterbacks/No. 1 picks who can throw for 30 touchdowns, run for 20 more and rack up 1,400 yards rushing.

Sumlin's job in that department will be finding the right man to coordinate his defense. Current interim coach Tim DeRuyter could certainly stay in that role, despite a rough 2011 season in which the Aggies at one point went 22 quarters without forcing a turnover and finished 66th nationally in total defense and 76th in scoring defense.

The Aggies' linebacker-rich roster suits DeRuyter's 3-4 scheme well, and is better suited to defend the power running games in the SEC versus the pass-happy quarterbacks' league that is the Big 12.

If DeRuyter's not the right man, Sumlin better find the right one.

Can he carry over his success without Case Keenum? He threw an outlandish 45 touchdowns to five interceptions this year, including one game with nine scoring tosses.

Two of those interceptions came in the conference championship game loss to Southern Miss, where Sumlin was denied a league title for the second time in four seasons. Last year, when Keenum tore his ACL, the Cougars went 5-7.

The Aggies brass believed Sumlin could succeed without Keenum, and now, Sumlin will have to convince plenty of others.

Sumlin's personnel will look much different at Texas A&M. In the immediate future, his best player on offense will be former blue-chip recruit and 221-pound power back Christine Michael, who packs plenty of speed but will be coming off ACL surgery on his knee in 2012.

Sumlin will have a first-year starter at quarterback and loses his most physically gifted receiver, Jeff Fuller, while he'll retain his most productive receiver, Ryan Swope.

Defensively, the Aggies will lose top talents like four-year starting safety Trent Hunter. Cornerbacks Coryell Judie and Terrence Frederick will be gone. Defensive linemen Tony Jerod-Eddie and Eddie Brown will say goodbye, too.

Sumlin will have to adjust his wide-open passing attack at Houston that shredded Conference USA defenses to life among speedier, more instinctive SEC defenses.

He'll have the resources at Texas A&M, which built some recruiting momentum under Mike Sherman and will welcome a top-10 recruiting class in 2012 to some of the best facilities around.

Sherman proved that facilities and lots of talent don't equal wins. The Aggies were 1-5 in games decided by less than a touchdown in 2011.

Sumlin will set out to prove he's the right guy to fix that number and lots of others.

It won't be easy.

Chat: New recruiting, realignment, A&M

October, 18, 2011
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Thanks for all the questions this week. Here's the full transcript.

And my mailbag's open if you have more questions. Time for a few highlights.

Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado): I can't help but wonder if Nebraska and/or Colorado had insisted that Dan Beebe be replaced, as Oklahoma did, if would one or both still be in the conference and that the Big 12 would still be intact or still viable.

David Ubben: Nope, I'm not buying that one. Nebraska was never really thrilled with the way the Big 8 became the Big 12 and in this case, it was maybe more about how attractive the Big Ten was, rather than how unattractive the Big 12 was. In short, the opposite of Missouri. I'm not so convinced Missouri wants the SEC as much as it wants "Not the Big 12."

Mason (Texas): DUbs, what are you hearing about Texas playing Tech on Thanksgiving? Surely they are first looking at Notre Dame, but if that doesn't work isn't Tech the most logical choice?

David Ubben: To some degree. I'm not sure Texas' opponent matters all that much as long as it's a good one. The Big 12 doesn't really do a lot of late-season nonconference games, so that complicates matters. It'll all shake out. I don't sense a lot of urgency about that exact topic from either fan base.

Cameron (CS, TX): Is this year already a bust for A&M? This was the year where we had a solid team all over and all the right pieces to make a run for a championship and instead we fell out the gate.

David Ubben: To some degree, I think so, yes. This team was good enough to win a national title if the ball bounced their way a couple times. Now, they've got two losses midway through the season. A Big 12 title isn't impossible, but they need a ton of help.

Blake (Stillwater): Ubbs: Most people seemed underwhelmed by Okie State getting their second-consecutive win in Austin (First team to do that since 1910.) does that show how far they have come as a program? To get judged even in a double-digit road victory?

David Ubben: No question it does. The "back-to-back Austin win" stat is a little overplayed. I'm not sure how many teams have played in Austin in consecutive years. But that was a bit of a yawner, and ended up pretty much exactly like I expected. And suddenly OSU is getting ripped? That makes no sense.

Matt (Champaign): David - In your humble opinion ... with the BIG EAST upping its exit fees, to whom will the BIG 12 look when Mizzou competes with Vandy in the SEC

David Ubben: Ha. Ouch, Matt. I disagree, but ouch. I don't think the additional exit fees ($5 million has become $10 million) would be a huge deterrent to West Virginia or Louisville leaving the Big East. Timing could get awkward though. TCU is joining right away, but waiting 27 months for two more members? That could get messy.

Brian (Dallas): Rangers or the Cardinals?

David Ubben: A nap.

Josh (Knoxville, TN): Why is the Aggie pass defense so bad? Is there any hope it gets better? Thanks.

David Ubben: It comes down to the pass rush. Texas A&M isn't getting a ton of sacks from its front four, so it's bringing a ton of DBs and backers on blitzes. That's a high-risk, high-reward venture. The result has been both. A lot of sacks and a lot of big plays from opposing offenses. If it's going to get better, guys like Spencer Nealy and Tony Jerod-Eddie have to keep getting a push up front and get more pressure on the pass so the Aggies aren't forced to blitz as much. Those blitzes haven't resulted in enough turnovers, either.

Re-ranking the Big 12's top 25 players

October, 17, 2011
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It's time for a new midseason project here on the Big 12 blog.

We've ranked the Big 12's best players before the season. We've done it after the season.

Time for a midseason checkup. This list looks vastly different than the one we made before the season, with guys moving way up, way down and off the list. There will be some surprises, but I feel pretty good about it.

As usual, the list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but before we begin, a quick rundown of the criteria:
  • FIRST RULE: This list is based solely on what players have done over the past six games. I didn't factor in any other part of any player's career. Six games to rule them all. My preseason lists factor in a player's entire career. This list, and postseason lists, do not.
  • NFL Draft potential is not factored into the list.
  • The way I go about this list is as if I were drafting the best overall talents in the league. Each player's personal role or meaning to his team is irrelevant. This is not a "most valuable" list. It's the Big 12's best players.
  • Sometimes stats tell the whole story. Other times, they don't. Player X may have had more tackles or more yards or interceptions than Player Y, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be higher than him on the list.

All that said, let's get started.

No. 21: Tony Jerod-Eddie, DL, Texas A&M: Jerod-Eddie has been a disruption up front all season, and is fourth in the Big 12 with four sacks. He has 4.5 tackles for loss and has broken up a pass and forced a fumble. The Aggies lead the nation with 26 sacks, and though TJE hasn't gotten a ton of them in the stat sheet, his play is a big reason why his teammates have.

No. 22: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas: Acho leads the Horns with 47 tackles, and ranks fifth in the Big 12 in stops. He has two sacks, six tackles for loss with a pass breakup.

No. 23: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein has been a constant for Kansas State's offense. He's doing it ugly, but he's making the plays necessary to keep Kansas State undefeated. He leads the Big 12 with 10 rushing touchdowns and his 138 carries are 25 more than anyone else in the Big 12. He's turned them into 578 yards rushing, and has thrown for 739 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

No. 24: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma: Lewis has been slowed by a broken bone in his foot that forced him to miss the Sooners opener, but Von Miller suffered an injury early last season before rebounding to win the Butkus Award. Will we see a similar rise from Lewis? For now, he has 40 tackles (12th in the Big 12) with two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.

No. 25: Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State: Martin is back to his old ways laying big hits on receivers with two forced fumbles and 37 tackles. The senior safety has also broken up five passes.

Stay tuned to the Big 12 blog for the next five players in the rankings.
Texas A&M needs a win.

Seasons that begin in the top 10 usually don't feature three-game losing streaks. But after two second-half collapses they'd rather forget, this is where the Aggies sit.

"If you start looking at what-ifs, it becomes overwhelming and you start to fall apart," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman told reporters this week. "But you have to have the maturity and the focus to fix what you can fix at that second, and not worry about what-ifs. You can’t play with what-ifs, you have to play with what is, right now."

And what is right now? A trip to Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. The Aggies won in West Texas in 2009, but before that, hadn't won in Lubbock since 1993.

That stretch of seven games included losses by 28, 39 and 31 points, as well as a shutout loss.

The good news for A&M? Despite the second-half breakdowns, it still has a team capable of making those past struggles an afterthought.

"Both games we should have won, but for whatever reason we didn’t. We have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s nothing that any of our opponents did to us. We didn’t win," said defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Said quarterback Ryan Tannehill: "We are so close. Things haven’t worked out. We haven’t capitalized on our opportunities. We haven’t gotten the lucky bounce we need to get. The ball they fumbled into the end zone and ended up recovering, if it bounces to the left or the right, we recover it and the game is totally different. But that’s part of football, sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t."

Fixing that has to start with the defense.

A unit that ranked among the Big 12's best a season ago has slipped to the nation's worst pass defense in two weeks. With Seth Doege quarterbacking a business as usual offense at Texas Tech, rewriting Texas A&M's history in Lubbock will require a better night from the secondary. The Red Raiders rank ninth nationally in pass offense and would love for those numbers to improve.

"Their confidence is probably hit a little bit," said defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. "As we showed them the bad plays we had from Saturday -- and there were way too many of those -- we showed them the things we did as good as any defense I’ve been a part of. Our challenge to them is, who are we guys? Are we this team that busts these coverages, or don’t read routes, and are playing soft, and we don’t get lined up? Or are we this defense that gets after a really, really good offense in Arkansas?"

Q&A: Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
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We spent a few minutes with No. 7 Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden on Thursday, and today, it's time for a look at the other side of Saturday's big game: No. 8 Texas A&M.

Aggies receiver Jeff Fuller spoke to ESPN.com for a few minutes this week.

David Ubben: What do you remember most about last year's game?

[+] EnlargeJeff Fuller
AP Photo/David J. PhillipTexas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller says beating Oklahoma State "would be huge."
Jeff Fuller: That we lost, for sure. Last year was a tough loss with a lot of turnovers. Oklahoma State's a great team, but I feel like there's a lot of things we could have done ourselves to perfect our game dramatically so we could have less turnovers and things like that that would have given us a better chance to win the ball game.

What are you expecting from the crowd in a game like this?

Oh, man. I expect the 12th Man to be out there loud and proud like they are every game. This is the first time we've had two top 10 teams playing at Kyle Field [since 1975] and it's going to be a wonderful venue and we're just looking forward to going out there and playing my best.

What's the environment like inside the facilities in a week like this?

Everything is real tight. Every day we're in meetings and everybody is really engaged. Coach [Mike] Sherman keeps on harping on us to not beat ourselves, so it's just kind of staying on top of the little things, the details to kind of perfect everything so we'll be ready to play on Saturday.

Is this the most experienced team you guys have had in College Station?

I think so. We came in here with Coach Sherman, all of us. Tony Jerod-Eddie, Trent Hunter, Terrance Frederick. We're all Coach Sherman's guys and he kind of brought us up in his system and I think we started like, I don't even know how many freshmen, but I know we started more freshmen than anybody in college football my sophomore year, so we were young. That class is now seniors, and those freshmen are now juniors, and it's really exciting to see guys getting better and perfect things, all the little things, all the small details to make ourselves really a complete team.

Where does that experience pay off most on the field?

It pays off everywhere. Hopefully, we'll do a little bit better job of holding on to the football, we'll do a better job of just not turning the ball over and getting those small details right. Not miss one play and just get a lot of snaps.

What do you feel like a win in this game would mean to the program and fan base?

Being 3-0 would be huge. It would be a huge victory for us. The first two games, we had Idaho and SMU, two great teams, but they were nonconference games, but this is where it really counts. We're just trying to head into this game and try to put another victory on the board.

Lunch links: Congrats, Big 12. You all lose

September, 15, 2011
9/15/11
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You are looking live ... at the Big 12 blog.

Big 12 players of the week announced

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
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Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie took home offensive and defensive player of the week honors in the Big 12 this week.

Baylor kicker Aaron Jones and Oklahoma State kicker/punter Quinn Sharp shared the special teams award for Week 1.

Griffin III completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in Baylor's 50-48 upset of No. 14 TCU. It was Baylor's first win over a ranked team since 2004 and its first win over a top 15 team since 1991. Here's video with Griffin after the game.

Jerod-Eddie had just two career sacks entering this week's game against SMU. In the 46-14 win, he made three of Texas A&M's eight sacks, and finished with six tackles. Here's video with Jerod-Eddie on his thoughts about the game.

Jones made a 37-yard, game-winning field goal to beat TCU on Friday night, and took over kickoff duties in the second half for a struggling Baylor special-teams unit. TCU's average starting position on his kicks was the 18-yard line. Here's video with Jones talking about his historic kick.

Sharp does everything for Oklahoma State and did it all well in a 61-34 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. He made all four field goal attempts (46, 27, 22 and 23 yards) and made all six of his extra points. He also had punts of 48 and 52 yards on his only two attempts, and notched touchbacks on all seven of his kickoffs. He's led the nation in touchbacks the last two seasons.

Video: Texas A&M DE Tony Jerod-Eddie

September, 5, 2011
9/05/11
12:31
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David Ubben talks with Texas A&M defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Halftime analysis: Texas A&M 33, SMU 14

September, 4, 2011
9/04/11
9:18
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Time to look back on a high-scoring first half...

Turning point: After throwing interceptions on his first two drives, SMU benched Kyle Padron, who threw for over 3,800 yards last season, in favor of senior J.J. McDermott. The Mustangs inched closer with a pair of touchdown drives after Padron's benching, but A&M's offense looks unstoppable and very balanced so far.

Stat of the half: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 11 of 13 passes for 141 yards. Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have combined for four touchdowns and 95 yards on 19 carries. A&M's offense is rolling and as advertised in its opener.

Best player in the half: Texas A&M's defensive line. It's struggled to defend the run (SMU's Zach Line has 108 yards and a score on 15 carries), but the Aggies are getting lots of pressure up front and already have four sacks, equaling their top total in any game in 2010. Tony Jerod-Eddie already has two sacks.

Second guessing: Down 14-7 late in the first quarter, SMU elected to try an onside kick, but the short kick failed miserably, hitting the kicker's foot twice and going only a couple yards. For the third consecutive drive to begin the game, Texas A&M began with the ball in SMU territory.

What Texas A&M needs to do: Relax, and feed the Mustangs a steady diet of Gray and Michael. Turnovers are the only way the Aggies lose at this point, so hold on to the ball. The offensive line has been very good so far for the Aggies, and they'll need to impose their will (Just like Texas!) in the second half.

The Big 12 Top 25: Honorable mention

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
4:15
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So, after today, we only have three players left in our top 25. The most devoted among you can probably name them. Though I won't divulge the order until the time is right, you'll see.

Anyway, there were lots of players I considered but didn't include. Here are the top players that just missed the cut, in no particular order.

Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri: Egnew, at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, is a heck of an athlete. He showed it with 90 catches for 762 yards and five scores last year. It's not meant as a criticism, but his gawdy numbers are more a product of big opportunities in Missouri's offense than anything he's done individually. Egnew was a huge part of the bubble screen game in 2010, but when that job went more often to Danario Alexander in 2009? Egnew had three catches for 25 yards. His 8.47 yards per catch in 2010 ranked 44th in the Big 12. Very good player. Not an irreplaceable player like so many others on the top 25.

Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M: Michael has the clear ability to be in the top 25, but you can't put in a player that missed half the season. Here's guessing Michael, who I think enters 2011 second only to his teammate, Cyrus Gray, in ability, cracks the postseason top 25. He's up 12 pounds to 221 this season. No linebacker wants to see that coming through the hole in the offensive line.

Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas; Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT, Texas A&M; Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: These three are arguably the best defensive linemen in the league, behind Missouri's Brad Madison. I had each on my first-team All-Big 12 ballot. Unfortunately, there aren't any defensive linemen in the Big 12 that truly scare offenses, and defensive lines on the whole are a weak spot in the Big 12. Each of these players may develop into players offensive lines truly fear, but none are there yet. At least not enough to warrant placement on the top 25 list.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: A few Aggies wanted me to take into account Tannehill's receiving acumen in 2008 and 2009, as well as his talents at QB that finally found the spotlight in 2010. Nope. Tannehill took hold of a shaky team in midseason last year, and he was close to the top 25, but six starts with very, very modest numbers aren't enough to put him on the level of Griffin, Weeden or Jones just yet. Maybe by the end of this season, but right now? No way. That said, his status as the fourth-best QB in the league is nothing to shrug off. I see big things for him in 2011.

Trent Hunter, S, Texas A&M: Very good player, but not quite a game changer just yet in a pretty good group of Big 12 safeties. Hunter made 62 tackles and two picks for a much-improved defense. Without Von Miller, it will need his senior leadership.

Josh Cooper, WR, Oklahoma State: Cooper's huge 2010 season got completely dwarfed by some guy named Justin Blackmon. Cooper's 68 catches ranked No. 7 in Oklahoma State school history and were more than six Big 12 team's leading receivers. Receiver in the Big 12 is absolutely stacked, but don't count me among those that hasn't taken notice of Cooper's efforts.

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