NCF Nation: Brad Taylor

What we learned in the Big 12

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
11:00
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1. The league's top defenses still have a lot to prove. Texas and Oklahoma were wholly unimpressive in their debuts, although Texas' mistakes weren't nearly as costly. Of the three supposedly elite defenses in the Big 12, Oklahoma looked the worst, giving up 341 yards and two touchdowns through the air to Utah State's Diondre Borel. Meanwhile, Nebraska gave up 179 yards on the ground to Western Kentucky in a performance coach Bo Pelini called "an absolute embarrassment." Texas wasn't gashed as badly against Rice, and gave up just 219 total yards, but the Longhorns' defensive backs missed a handful of big plays. All three have to get a lot better to equal either of their 2009 editions.

[+] EnlargeKendall Hunter
AP Photo/Brody SchmidtKendall Hunter found the end zone four times in Oklahoma State's win over Washington State.
2. The most impressive team in Week 1: Oklahoma State. Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid went nuts on Saturday night, racing all over the field at Boone Pickens Stadium for 544 yards and 65 points -- 38 in the first half. Kendall Hunter ran for four touchdowns and the Cowboys won the turnover battle 2-0. The Cowboys made fans a little nervous after letting Washington State inch to within 17-10 from an early 17-0 deficit, but Oklahoma State answered with the game's next five touchdowns to put the game ... uh ... out of reach.

3. He's baaa-aack. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin once again showcased his big-play capability, rushing for a 30-yard touchdown and throwing for two more -- a 68-yarder to Brad Taylor and a 23-yarder to Terrance Williams. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 242 yards and ran for 59 yards on six carries, a 9.8 yard average.

4. Kansas? Well, the Jayhawks are just not very good. Hard to envision a worse start for Turner Gill at Kansas. At least Ole Miss' 49-48 loss to an FCS team in double overtime was fun to watch. The Jayhawks' 6-3 debacle had to be painful for fans watching at home and even more so for those in attendance. It's hard to find many positives from a mistake-laden performance at home against the Bison, who went 3-8 last season. I'll try: My preseason prediction of the Jayhawks as the Big 12's most improved team at season's end is looking pretty good. There's nowhere to go but up, but it's still hard to believe how far Kansas has fallen since a BCS bowl win in 2007. I got a few complaints after I pegged the Jayhawks at No. 12 in my preseason power rankings. I doubt I'll get any when they're right back there again on Tuesday morning. When Kansas suits up next weekend against No. 19 Georgia Tech, it will have been more than 11 months (Oct. 10, 2009 vs. Iowa State) since the program has recorded a win.

5. I was 100 percent wrong about Kendall Hunter. It's easy to forget how good a guy can be when he struggles as long as Hunter did last season. The ankle injury must have affected him longer and more than anyone thought. You heard all spring and preseason about how Holgorsen thought Hunter was even better than he had been told, and Hunter validated all of that on Saturday night. Dominant, unstoppable, whatever. Use all the hyperbolic terms you want. Kendall Hunter was all of them, topping 200 yards in the first half. He should have been higher on my top 25 list, and he should have been higher on my ranking of the Big 12's running backs. He's better than Alexander Robinson at Iowa State. He's better than Roy Helu at Nebraska. Neither is capable of putting on the show Hunter did on Saturday night. Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray and Kansas State's Daniel Thomas? We'll find out over the next three months. All three topped 200 yards in impressive debuts.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Baylor sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns to highlight Baylor's 130-play scrimmage that culminated spring practice for the Bears.

Griffin played about half the scrimmage Thursday afternoon and also added a 1-yard TD run. He had a hand in four of Baylor's five touchdowns during the scrimmage.

Griffin connected with three different receivers on his scoring strike, starting with a 60-yard screen pass for a score to Jay Finley on the third play of the scrimmage for the first-teamers. Griffin also hooked with Justin Akers on a 35-yard TD pass and Brad Taylor on a 43-yard TD aerial.

Baylor coach Art Briles was pleased with his team's work, culminated his second season of spring practices.

"We weren't trying to set any records or create new opportunities for people," Briles said. "We are just trying to get in and get out and stay injury free with a little bit of production and I think we did that.

"We really feel good about the direction we are going and about how we are going to get there. What we have to do is turn it into reality on the field, but that is going to happen and we are very confident of that."

Senior backup quarterback Blake Szymanski passed for 113 yards by completing 17 of 29 passes.

Andrew Pierce produced a scrimmage-high 52 rushing yards, punctuating his efforts with a 48-yard TD run.

Baylor receivers accounted for 458 yards in receiving yards, led by Kendall Wright's five grabs for 68 yards. Wright participated in only the final two weeks of spring practice after spending most of spring practice as a member of Baylor basketball team.

Senior safety Jeremy Williams led the defense with eight tackles, while linebacker Rodney Chadwick produced six tackles and linebackers Earl Patin and Antonio Johnson notched five stops apiece. Cornerback Michael Williams produced the lone turnover of the scrimmage when he intercepted Griffin inside the 5 yard line.

Baylor will return for summer practice on Aug 5 and start practicing the following day. The Bears open their season Sept. 5 at Wake Forest.

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