Dallas Colleges: Jarvis West
- TCU officially named Kenny Perry as its cornerbacks coach.
- Junior cornerback Kevin Peterson talks about his road to Oklahoma State.
- Texas Tech is looking to develop depth behind Pete Robertson at linebacker during spring football.
- Here are three storylines to keep an eye on during the Red Raiders' spring drills.
- The NCAA is looking into a Baylor recruiting visit.
- A healthy Jarvis West could be key for Iowa State in 2014.
- The excitement around the Kansas State football program is growing, including record-setting season ticket sales.
- Gabe Ikard is appreciative after winning the Wuerffel Trophy. "This award validates the things I've done in college," he said.
- Former Longhorn Doug English was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame last week. He still holds the University of Texas close to his heart.
- West Virginia assistant coach Damon Cogdell feels at home coaching linebackers after thinking he would be the Mountaineers' defensive line coach at one point.
- The Kansas quarterback search is about to hit full speed.
1. TCU: Honorable mention All-Big 12 place-kicker Jaden Oberkrom was 13 of 14 on field goals inside the 50 last season and drilled a 56-yarder late in the fourth quarter at Kansas State. B.J. Catalon was second in the league in kickoff returns and took one to the house in the opener against LSU. Freshman Cameron Echols-Luper took his first punt return 51 yards and had a 41-yarder in the season finale against Baylor. Brandon Carter has had moments in the return game in the past as well. Ethan Perry will be a three-year starter at punter, rounding out a formidable special teams unit.
2. Baylor: Corey Coleman led the league in kick returns, and Levi Norwood scored twice off punt returns. The Bears are loaded with potential game-breakers in the return game and welcome back All-Big 12 punter Spencer Roth. If Kyle Peterson proves to be a reliable replacement for departing kicker Aaron Jones, this special teams unit will have no weakness.
4. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will feature a lethal one-two punch in the return game in Jakeem Grant and Reginald Davis, who took a kick back for a touchdown in the bowl game. Receiver Jordan Davis also has return experience. Kicker Ryan Bustin returns after garnering honorable mention All-Big 12 honors last year.
5. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose the most explosive return duo in the league in Jalen Saunders and Roy Finch. Sterling Shepard and Alex Ross could be among the players who replace them. Oklahoma boasts the league’s most efficient returning place-kicker in Michael Hunnicutt, who nailed 24 of 27 field goal tries last season. The Sooners have a secret weapon in Nick Hodgson, who led the league in touchback kickoffs last season. Jed Barnett, fifth in the Big 12 in punting average last season, returns as well.
6. Iowa State: The Cyclones had four players make first- or second-team All-Big 12 last season, and departing punter Kirby Van Der Kamp was one of them. Replacing his production won’t be easy, though incoming three-star freshman Colin Downing will try. DeVondrick Nealy, Jarvis West and Aaron Wimberly all had several dynamite moments returning kicks. Cole Netten was 13-of-18 on field goals as a freshman,
7. West Virginia: Nick O'Toole leads the Mountaineers on special teams. The “Boomstache” was 15th nationally in punting last season. The Mountaineers have all their returners back in Wendell Smallwood, Mario Alford and Jordan Thompson, though more big plays are needed from this group -- the Mountaineers ranked last in the league in both punt and kick returns in 2013. Josh Lambert comes back after making 17 of 23 field goals as a freshman. The Mountaineers also enjoy a luxury in Michael Molinari, who can do a little bit of everything.
8. Texas: The Longhorns lose their punter and their kicker in consensus All-American Anthony Fera. That hurts. Nick Jordan, who made nine of 15 field goals in 2012, could reclaim his job. Daje Johnson -- who returned a punt for a TD against Oklahoma -- Duke Thomas, Quandre Diggs, Marcus Johnson, Kendall Sanders and Jaxon Shipley all have experience returning.
9. Kansas: Return men Connor Embree (punts) and JaCorey Shepherd (kicks) both come back. The Jayhawks also return kicker Matthew Wyman, who connected on a game-winning 52-yard field goal to beat Louisiana Tech. The freshman, however, only made two field goals after that and eventually lost that job to departing senior Ron Doherty. Trevor Pardula was third in the Big 12 in punting as a junior and received votes for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
10. Oklahoma State: After enjoying All-Americans Dan Bailey and Quinn Sharp the last few years, the Cowboys were finally mediocre in the kicking game last season. Ben Grogan struggled as a freshman, making just 11 of 18 field goals while missing two critical attempts in the early-season loss at West Virginia. The Cowboys were also last in the league in punting. Oklahoma State signed three-star kicker Zach Sinor with hopes of curing some of those ills. The Cowboys were still dynamic in the return game, but with Justin Gilbert and Josh Stewart both gone, Oklahoma State could lean on juco transfer and track star Tyreek Hill for a jolt on returns.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Randy Galloway has a message for the Longhorns after their win over Oklahoma: It's still all about Johnny Football.
- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy considers the 2013 defense his best, he tells The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell.
- Coach Dana Holgorsen does not mince words about where his Mountaineers are at the midpoint of the season, writes the Charleston Daily Mail's Mike Casazza.
- Kansas receiver Justin McCay says he has no regrets about leaving Oklahoma in an interview with the Oklahoman's Jason Kersey. Losses are making things painful for Kansas QB Jake Heaps, per the Topeka Capital-Journal's Mike Vernon.
- TCU coach Gary Patterson is not ready to play redshirt freshman QB Tyler Matthews, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson.
- The routs were nice, but a Big 12 test in Manhattan is just what the doctor ordered for Baylor.
- There have been a lot of ups and downs for the Kansas State quarterbacks, writes the Manhattan Mercury's Joshua Kinder.
- The Des Moines Register's Tommy Birch breaks down the secret to the returning prowess of Iowa State playmaker Jarvis West.
- Texas Tech is getting some depth back on the offensive line, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Don Williams. The Red Raiders aren't just a passing team, either, writes the Charleston Gazette's Dave Hickman.
- Oklahoma LB Corey Nelson and DT Jordan Phillips underwent successful season-ending surgeries. Coach Bob Stoops is cool with Condoleezza Rice's appointment to the playoff committee.
Team of the week: Texas. Not only did the Longhorns pull off the biggest Red River upset in 17 years, they completely reversed the outlook of their season. At 3-0 in the Big 12 standings, Texas is right in the middle of the conference race. The Longhorns also finally found an identity in Dallas, which could make them a tough out during the second half of the season. The Longhorns ran the ball with authority between the tackles behind their experienced offensive line, which took pressure off quarterback Case McCoy. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, meanwhile, disguised his defenses beautifully and utilized Texas’ speed in timely blitzes. Baylor remains the favorite to win the Big 12 crown. But Texas, which travels to Baylor in the regular-season finale, could be a factor. What a difference a week makes.
Big (offensive) men on campus: The Texas offensive line, Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams and Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro.
The most experienced offensive line in the Big 12 blocked like it at the most opportune of times. Kennedy Estelle, Mason Walters, Dominic Espinosa, Trey Hopkins and Donald Hawkins paved the way for Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown to become the first Texas duo to top 100 rushing yards apiece in the same Red River game. The Bevos up front also kept McCoy upright, as the Texas quarterback was not sacked all day and barely pressured, either.
In Manhattan, Sams played valiantly in K-State’s 35-25 loss to Baylor. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns and almost single-handedly kept the Wildcats scoring with the high-powered Bears. Sams' late interception that effectively ended the game was a huge mistake. But his 86.1 Adjusted QBR was 13th-best in college football for the week. Sams now is second in the Big 12 in Adjusted QBR (86.5) for the year, trailing only Baylor’s Bryce Petty (95.1).
Amaro continues to be a security blanket for Texas Tech’s true freshman quarterbacks. Against Iowa State, he had his best game yet with nine receptions for 143 yards. Amaro leads the Big 12 with 47 receptions. Teammate Eric Ward is second with 34.
Big (defensive) men on campus: Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon and Texas defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed.
Along with Sams, Mueller was a major reason the Wildcats were in the game in the fourth quarter. In what might be the defensive highlight of the season in the Big 12 so far, Mueller stripped Petty while simultaneously recovering the fumble to set K-State with field position in the third quarter that would turn into a go-ahead touchdown. Mueller finished with seven tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup.
Dixon, meanwhile, came up with the defensive play of the game, as he beelined to the sideline to intercept Sams with four minutes to play. Off the turnover, the Baylor offense sealed the victory with a touchdown that put the Bears up two scores.
Jeffcoat and Reed, meanwhile, were terrific against the Sooners. The swarming defensive end duo totaled three sacks and kept the Oklahoma running backs from bouncing much of anything outside.
Johnson delivered the dagger to the Sooners with a weaving 85-yard punt return touchdown late in the third quarter, which put the Longhorns ahead 30-13. It was Texas’ first punt return touchdown since Jordan Shipley did it in 2009. Fera came up big on special teams, too. He nailed a 43-yard field goal right before halftime that stymied the Sooners’ momentum from a long Roy Finch kick return that led to a touchdown the previous drive. Fera also nailed 50- and 31-yard field goals to be perfect on the day.
West kept the Cyclones above water in the first half as the Iowa State offense struggled. His 95-yard kickoff return -- Iowa State’s first non-onside kick return for a touchdown since 1994 -- tied the game in the first quarter 7-7. West later added a 38-yard punt return, and he finished with three receptions for 36 yards.
Play of the week: With the Red River Rivalry tied 3-3 in the first quarter, Texas' Adrian Phillips came off the edge untouched on a third-down zone blitz and slammed into Bell. The hit caused Bell’s pass to flutter behind intended receiver Jaz Reynolds and into the arms of defensive tackle Chris Whaley, who rumbled 31 yards for the touchdown. The Longhorns never gave up the lead the rest of the way.
Stat of the week: Bell’s QBR against Texas was the lowest by an Oklahoma quarterback since Rhett Bomar posted a 1.6 against Tulsa in 2005.
Quote of the week: "We love the guy. We’re playing for the guy. You all keep writing those articles bad about him. We’ll keep playing for him." -- McCoy on coach Mack Brown
Running back Glasco Martin, Baylor: While Lache Seastrunk garners all the headlines, Martin should be a key weapon for the Bears' offense. BU’s short-yardage specialist scored 14 of his 15 rushing touchdowns in the red zone in 2012. He provides a terrific complement to Seastrunk’s shifty moves with his power and strength. Putting the duo on the field on the same time could be a nightmare for Big 12 defenses.
Receiver Jarvis West, Iowa State: The 5-foot-7 dynamo can create problems for any defense from the slot. Baylor got a glimpse at West’s potential during his seven-reception, 99-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Bears in 2012. Getting the ball in his hands should be a priority for ISU’s offense.
Receiver Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State: Tyler Lockett draws the majority of praise among the Wildcats’ receivers. But Thompson has terrific playmaking ability of his own. He averaged 33.4 yards per kickoff return and 19.75 yards per punt return as he continually changed games with his quickness. If KSU makes a point to get him the ball more, he should reward the Wildcats with even more big plays as a senior.
Running back Roy Finch, Oklahoma: The very talented but seldom used Finch enters his final season with a sense of urgency. If he’s more mature and ready to contribute, Finch could make a major impact in OU’s backfield with his quickness and versatility. If the Sooners strive to get him 5-10 touches per game, he could reward them with one or two momentum-changing plays.
Receiver Blake Jackson, Oklahoma State: With Josh Stewart testing the middle of defenses with his quickness and Tracy Moore returning to the outside as a perimeter threat, Jackson could have plenty of one-on-one situations to use his size and strength to take advantage of overmatched defenders. If he emerges as a consistent pass catcher, OSU's offense could explode.
Running back Malcolm Brown, Texas: The junior is, in some ways, the forgotten man in the Longhorns’ backfield after only playing in seven games as a sophomore while watching freshman Johnathan Gray lead the squad in rushing. Yet, his versatility could allow him to be a terrific complimentary threat in UT’s backfield.
Receiver Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: One of the fastest players in the conference, Grant tests Big 12 defenses with his speed and quickness. Expect coach Kliff Kingsbury to find creative ways to get him the ball by moving him around and making it difficult for defenses to corral the 5-foot-6 speedster.
Quarterback Trevone Boykin, TCU: It’s hard to imagine Boykin not factoring into the Horned Frogs' offense in some way. Even if he doesn’t win the starting quarterback job, he gives TCU an experienced, athletic signal caller who could be useful in a number of different situations.
FB/TE/WR Cody Clay, West Virginia: Clay brings a unique versatility to the Mountaineers’ offense. He can line up at fullback on first down, tight end on second down and slot receiver on third down. That ability will open up options for Dana Holgorsen to get creative as he aims to attack defenses this fall.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.
Play Podcast Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Play Podcast Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.
Play Podcast Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.