Big 12: Trevor Gerland
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Other players who will miss Texas' practices, which start Friday, include punter Trevor Gerland (knee), defensive tackle Jarvis Humphrey (kidney), defensive lineman Dominique Jones (shoulder), defensive end Eddie Jones (ankle), defensive back Kenny Vaccaro (knee), tight end Josh Marshall (limited to non-contact drills) and deep-snapper Alex Zumberge (shoulder).
Irby sustained a broken leg in Texas' third game last season against Rice and missed the rest of the season. Coach Mack Brown marvels at his spirit despite the injury.
"Blaine is doing pretty good," Brown said. "He is a wonderful young man who is really upbeat and positive. He's fighting it and coming back. You always worry about a guy who was starting and playing so well and then have that type of injury take his football (away) immediately. But he hasn't missed a workout and is trying his best to get back as soon as he can."
His absence this spring will make finding production at tight end one of the Longhorns' primary aims.
"We've had so many injuries at tight end," Brown said. "Those are positions hard to find any more because so few people are playing with a tight end and fewer are playing with a fullback in high school because of the influx of the Big 12's spread offense."
"I would say it is as big a concern as we have offensively," Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. "I'm concerned about it. But the good thing about it is that it gives us a chance for some of those guys to get a bunch of snaps."
Davis also conceded that Irby's injury explained why the Longhorns struggled running the ball.
"There's no question as much (four-wide receiver) as we used was a factor in our running game," Davis said. "We've got to find out if one or two of those guys are going to be able to do what we want done."
Shipley underwent shoulder surgery on Jan. 23, repairing an injury that bothered him most of the 2008 season.
"When they told us Jordan would have his operation we were disappointed for him he would have it," Brown said. "But at the same time he doesn't need spring. He can be out there running. As soon as he gets his brace off, he can get in great shape. And with all of the pounding his body has taken we thought it was a real plus. He could rest his body and it forces us to look at some of the young guys who haven't been out there."
Shipley's injury will provide a chance for young receivers like Brock Fitzhenry, Dan Buckner and DeSean Hales to have more playing time this spring.
"We're going to get really good looks at them," Brown said. "They'll have to be out there when it matters so the pace will pick up for them."
The Longhorns also announced that senior safety Ishie Oduegwu has decided to give up football after a series of injuries.
Oduegwu started three games in the 2007 season, but missed last year after having shoulder surgery before the season -- his fifth operation since arriving at college.
"We're pleased for Ishie that he's done so well here," Brown said. "He's had a real tough run with his injuries and he just felt like it was time for him to move forward with his life."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Video may have killed the radio star, according to the old English new wave band the Buggles. But expanding mediums are providing additional opportunities for reporters to share their insights with consumers in the rapidly expanding marketplace.
The Big 12 is no different, stocked with a boatload of good weekly vlogs. And work has started early, even before the season starts, at many newspapers.
The spirited competition between the Lincoln Journal-Star and the Omaha World-Herald in the coverage of all things concerning Nebraska football has spilled over into a video war of sorts.
Omaha World-Herald beat writers Mitch Sherman and Rich Kaipust talk about the need for increasing sacks and turnovers in their most recent video chat. And Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple and beat writer Brian Christopherson discuss freshmen who will play for the Cornhuskers this season. It will continue for both papers throughout the season.
But the most effective use of video by a newspaper that I've seen so far is what the Oklahoman has done for its stellar series on Bob Stoops. A group of Oklahoman reporters provide analysis of Stoops' leadership, done with tight videography in a style much like ESPN Classic has used in its Sports Century documentaries. Despite the lack of live action footage, the use of some memorable still pictures of Stoops and Sooners was still very effective.
More newspapers are going to this synergy using different formats. I'll try to include some of the more notable ones in my upcoming posts.
But the written word still remains supreme in my mind. And here are some scrumptuous morsels for a Friday morning links collection.
- Baylor coach Art Briles said that freshman QB Robert Griffin will see action in the Bears' opener against Wake Forest and that TB Jay Finley will average 16 to 21 carries per game this season.
- Denver Post reporter Tom Kensler profiles Colorado long snapper Austin Bisnow, a budding songwriter who has twice won Colorado's on-campus "Idol" competition for his singing abilities.
- Some Kansas players are saying their secondary could be better this season with Chris Harris starting in place of departed All-American CB Aqib Talib.
- Nebraska WR Nate Swift has rebounded from a childhood bout with paralysis brought about after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome 12 years ago in a story by the Omaha World-Herald's Rich Kaipust. Swift has a complete recovery and needs 41 catches to become the school's leading career receiver.
- Lawrence Journal-World beat writer Dugan Arnett writes about the joy of finding former Kansas RB Donte Bean in the cereal aisle at the Wal-Mart late one night.
- Lincoln Journal Star columnist Steve Sipple profiles MLB Phillip "Jelly Roll" Dillard, who has lost more than 30 pounds since last season in preparation for Bo Pelini's aggressive new defense.
- Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman writes about how Bob Stoops has made it a priority to involve his coaching staff's families in all aspects of the program.
- Texas Tech coach Mile Leach told fans at the annual Red Raider Club kickoff luncheon on Thursday in Lubbock that he may finally have the team to fulfill lofty preseason expectations. "I think what I've been impressed with about this group is they work together, they listen to coaching and as a result, since they're very committed to doing the best they can, you can coach them hard," Leach said. "You can ask more of them than some of the other groups I've dealt with. As a result, we're looking forward to seeing where it takes us."
- Later in the evening, Leach, defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree were among those who signed autographs for more than four hours at the team's annual Fan Night.
- Freshman TB Bradley Stephens accounted for 190 yards at Texas A&M's final scrimmage of training camp. But the most notable development could be the pass-catching abilities of backup QB Jerrod Johnson, who snagged five receptions for 47 yards playing tight end, including a 15-yard TD reception.
- Austin American-Statesman beat writer Suzanne Halliburton broke down the crowded kicking and punting competition at Texas, where incumbent K Ryan Bailey and P Trevor Gerland are facing serious challenges to keep their jobs.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mike Jones blogs about the rules that Texas coach Mack Brown will have to consider if he plays quarterbacks Colt McCoy and John Chiles at the same time.
- Heralded recruit Darrell Scott was listed as Colorado's third-string running back and third-string punter in Coach Dan Hawkins' first depth chart released on Thursday.
- Iowa State will receive a guaranteed total of $1.8 million from their two-game series at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against Kansas State that was announced Thursday. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the school averages $1 million per game in home revenues. And Pollard told the Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff that both schools might seek a sponsor for the game and develop a traveling trophy for the winner of the game.
- No defensive starters saw action in Missouri's final scrimmage of training camp. But LB Sean Weatherspoon said he's excited heading into the Tigers' Aug. 30 opener against Illinois. "I think we're definitely ready," Weatherspoon told the Kansas City Star. "Guys are really excited about this season. The energy level is up. And enthusiasm is free." With backup QB Chase Patton injured, third-stringer Blaine Gabbert saw most of the action at the scrimmage, overcoming early adversity to finish strongly.
- Missouri fans are irate about a $100 seasona
l charge for reserved parking in donor lots at Faurot Field - on top of required season-ticket purchase and a donation to the school's scholarship fund. School officials told the Columbia Tribune that the school was the last in the Big 12 to charge for this.
- A sloppy defensive practice on Thursday resulted in extra running for Oklahoma players and no defensive coaches made available to the media after practice. "We're trying to be national champions, not just win the Big 12 and lose a bowl game," DT Gerald McCoy told the Oklahoman. "We're tired of that reputation."
- Senior Richie Bean and walk-on freshman Randy Bullock are vying for Texas A&M's kicking slot after last year's starter, Matt Szymanski, transferred to SMU.
- Texas QB Colt McCoy likened his first two years starting with the Longhorns to his first two years with a driver's license.
- Old-school Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline is impossible to please, according to the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten. "All I see are errors that you can correct," Wickline said. "I'll let someone else tell these guys that they're doing a good job."
- Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman says that Oklahoma State is stuck in a rut of mediocrity.
- John Shinn of the Norman Transcript writes that Oklahoma's current collection of defensive linemen might be the best in Bob Stoops' coaching era.
- Missouri freshmen players Rolandis Woodland and Drew Temple are all but assured of redshirting if they are ever cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, several Missouri papers reported. Temple is the younger brother of former Missouri leading rusher Tony Temple.
- Veteran Lawrence Journal-World columnist Bill Mayer goes far into his personal "Way Back Machine" to compare Kansas' current football fever to previous seasons.