NCF Nation: Cha'pelle Brown
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a look at some of the under-the-radar topics that people are talking about across the Big 12:
- Colorado coaches are hopeful the insertion of cornerback Ben Burney into the lineup at strong safety with cornerbacks Cha'pelle Brown and Jimmy Smith will provide the Buffaloes with a more athletic secondary that will be more productive as it prepares for the Big 12’s high-powered passing attacks. The retooled group will get its first big test Thursday night when it challenges West Virginia’s talented pitch-and-catch tandem of quarterback Jarrett Brown and receiver Jock Sanders.
- The versatility of Texas’ offense was shown against UTEP when the Longhorns produced 300 rushing and passing yards for only the second time in school history. The only other time came against Houston in 1990. It showed the versatility and depth of Texas’ running and passing offense. The Longhorns’ ability to effectively do both was what UTEP coach Mike Price was raving about after the game -- shortly after he called Texas the best team in the country.
- It might be time for Harris Interactive Poll voters to take a sobriety test after their first poll results were released this week. Is it my imagination, or could you think of a less-likely team to receive votes in a national poll than Kansas State, which is tied for 42nd in the most recent Harris poll with two points? Yes, that would be the same Kansas State that has yet to beat an FBS opponent this season with its only victories over FCS teams Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech.
- Concern for Kansas’ offensive line remains the Jayhawks’ most worrisome problem during their week off. The Jayhawks allowed five sacks of Todd Reesing against Southern Mississippi. Considering Reesing’s slight size, his health could be in risk unless the Jayhawks improve their pass-blocking tendencies pronto. But the return of Jake Sharp to the starting lineup could improve some of the blitz pickups by Kansas’ running backs.
- Nebraska’s pass-rushing packages are rounding into shape after they notched two sacks against Louisiana-Lafayette -- the first sacks against quarterback Chris Masson this season. After being shut out in the season opener, the Cornhuskers have rebounded to notch 10 sacks over the last three weeks. Most impressively, nine different players have shared in that largesse of sacks.
- The loss of top Iowa State pass rusher Rashawn Parker with a season-ending knee injury could have some serious consequences for the Cyclones. Parker had provided the most consistent pass-rushing threat and will be missed during the rest of the season. His replacement will be sophomore Patrick Neal, a converted tight end who snagged a touchdown grab last season against Missouri.
- Oklahoma State’s offensive line showed some continuity against Grambling, playing with the same group as it had last week. It marked the first time this season that the Cowboys have started the same five players along the offensive front in back-to-back weeks.
- One underrated impressive trend for Texas A&M in their blowout victory over UAB was that the Aggies were penalized only three times. That effort came after the Aggies came into the game leading the nation with 30 penalties in their first two games. A&M coaches made a special efforts in game preparations last week to limit mental mistakes. The results were seen in the Aggies’ clean performance over the Blazers.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
As anybody who has read this blog for any amount of time knows, I'm a sucker for the history of college football.
That's why I was attracted to a great series in this morning's Kansas City Star.
The newspaper has a regular series called "Star Stories" where they link stories from the newspaper's storied past. Today's edition included stories and pictures from the 1958 Kansas-Kansas State game.
It had some great content and was an even better idea. Now if newspapers only made their archives free to the average reader all the time ... ah, but I'm getting way ahead of myself.
Check these stories and pictures out on the Star's Web site. You can almost hear Elvis Presley and Danny and the Juniors playing in the background.
And here are some other links from around the Big 12. Enjoy them.
- It's no surprise that Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is a prime topic for today's Big 12 disseminators. The Rocky Mountain News' B.G. Brooks says it's time for Leach to prove something to the nation. Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff chimes in a column on Leach's big opportunity for a national breakthrough Saturday against Texas. And the Austin American-Stateman's Randy Riggs writes of the mutual infatuation he shares with Leach for Sherlock Holmes stories.
- Louisiana native Earl Patin can handle playing at Baylor, as long as his mother occasionally brings him a pot of gumbo from back home, the Waco Tribune-Herald's John Werner writes.
- The Denver Post's Woody Paige is full of suggestions today for Colorado coach Dan Hawkins. How about moving cornerback Cha'pelle Brown for an occasional stint at wide receiver or defensive tackle George Hypolite at "Buffalo Back" in short-yardage stints?
- Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue writes about the musical passion of Iowa State tight end Collin Franklin, who plays guitar, trumpet, piano and drums. And he also catches a few passes, too.
- Starting freshman Kansas State running back Logan Dold has confounded his old high school coach, who thought his old pupil was headed for a defensive career in college, the Kansas City Star/Wichita Eagle's Jeffrey Martin writes.
- When Bob Stoops and his wife, Carol, were newlyweds back in Manhattan, Kan., they had an extended houseguest for several months. It was none other than Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini, who was then working for the Wildcats as a graduate assistant.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Colorado's defense had been rocked and knocked back on its collective heels early in its most recent game against Eastern Washington.
Despite those struggles against an FCS opponent, Colorado DT George Hypolite's confidence never wavered. He knew his unit would come back, loudly proclaiming to anyone who would listen that the Buffaloes' defense would eventually provide the difference in the game.
"Even after those early struggles, we had to have a short memory," Hypolite said. "I told everybody on the bench that we were coming back and making a play to win us the game. Fortunately, Cha'pelle was listening."
Undersized CB Cha'pelle Brown made Hypolite sound like a prophet. His 27-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:44 left enabled the Buffaloes to escape with a 31-24 victory over the plucky Eagles, allowing Colorado to avoid the ignominy of losing two straight games against FCS opponents in three seasons.
Those struggles against the Eagles wouldn't appear to bode well before Colorado's game Thursday night against West Virginia and talented multi-faceted QB Pat White. But Hypolite is ready for the challenge and excited about improvements the Colorado defense has made during a bye week to prepare for the Mountaineers.
"This is one of those games you dream about playing," Hypolite said. "Everybody in the country will be watching. It's the only game on. If you make big plays, you're going to be getting text messages from your friends around the country for the next few days. I'm excited about it."
White has his own struggles. The Mountaineers managed only 251 yards and converted only three of 12 third-down plays in a loss to East Carolina two weeks ago. And the Mountaineers will be matched against a Colorado defense that is permitting only 59 yards rushing per game (11th nationally) and hasn't allowed an opposing back to rush for 100 yards since 2004.
The Mountaineers will be running the same spread-option attack that has helped them to three straight bowl victories and a combined 34-6 record in the last three-plus seasons. The Mountaineers have ranked fourth, second and 18th nationally in rushing from 2005-07.
"It's not really the offense, but just the players they have," Hypolite said. "Pat White and Noel Devine really make it difficult on a defense. You can do a great job on them for most of a game and then they can jump on you for three or four plays. And it's really difficult because we don't see a lot of spread option offenses in this part of the country."
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said that containing White will rank among the most difficult challenges his team will face this season.
"He's as fast, if not faster than anybody in our conference," Hawkins said. "He can throw it and he's definitely a dual-threat guy. If you look at their game against Oklahoma last year, he had some huge throwing plays. I don't know if we've seen anybody who runs like him. You're talking about him being one of the best players in the country."
The challenge in the secondary will fall to Brown, who has been tested by bigger competitors most of his career.
"People have always questioned me because of my height," the 5-foot-7 Brown said. "But that doesn't matter -- as a defensive back we want to prove ourselves. I've played with a chip on my shoulder my entire career because of that."
That attitude has permeated the Colorado defense, which has similarly disproved naysayers in the first two games of the season.
"We knew going into the season that we were inexperienced and didn't have much depth," Hypolite said. "We knew we would play like a young team at times. But against Eastern Washington, we dug deep and exhibited a lot of resiliency. That shows a lot about this team and our character."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
After the first game in Oklahoma State history where the Cowboys produced a 300-yard passer, a 200-yard receiver and a 200-yard rusher, it was too hard to separate the contributions of WR Dez Bryant, RB Kendall Hunter and QB Zac Robinson.
So I took the easy way out and gave all three of them one in a collective effort.
Here are my choices for helmet stickers this week.
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford: Passed for 395 yards and a career-high five TD passes to lead the Sooners' 52-26 victory over Cincinnati. The fourth-ranked Sooners extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 20 games.
Oklahoma State's playmakers: Hard to separate the sticker among WR Dez Bryant (nine receptions, 236 receiving yards, three TDs, 71-yard punt return for TD), RB Kendall Hunter (210 rushing yards, two TDs) and QB Zac Robinson (320 yards, three passing TDs) in the Cowboys' 56-37 spanking of Houston.
Kansas State special teams coach Jeff Rodgers: Had his group playing "with its hair on fire" in the Wildcats' 69-10 beat-down of Montana State. The Wildcats blocked two punts for touchdowns for the first time in school history and set up another short score on a poor snap exchange that produced a KSU possession on the Montana State 1.
Kansas QB Todd Reesing: Completed 32 of 38 yard for a career-best 412 yards and three TDs to lead the Jayhawks to a 29-0 victory over Louisiana Tech. The win is Kansas' 11th straight at home, the second-longest streak in school history. The shutout by the Jayhawks was their third since the 2000 season.
Colorado CB Cha'pelle Brown: Provided six tackles, two pass deflections and a game-winning 27-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:44 left to spark the Buffaloes' 31-24 comeback triumph over Eastern Washington.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas coach Mark Mangino is notoriously reclusive, preferring to prepare his team behind locked gates to maintain some semblance of privacy.
That's all changing after the Jayhawks moved to the new Anderson Family Football Complex, which provides a more expansive viewing by spectators outside the complex of Mangino's practices.
And according to Lawrence Journal-World columnist Tom Keegan, it's providing the Kansas coach with a tough decision. He can practice behind closed gates, irritating fans who want to watch the proceedings. Or he can open his practices and allow all the world to see.
I've known Mangino a long time. I first met him back when he was working as an offensive assistant for Bill Snyder at Kansas State. That same Bill Snyder who used to order his players to huddle around injured teammates along the sidelines at games to keep the prying lens of television cameras away so they couldn't provide a picture that could determine the severity of the injuries.
Considering every one of Snyder's coaching proteges has shared a similar disdain for open practices, I'm betting you won't teach the Jayhawks coach new tricks. And that's why I would imagine some kind of barrier will be erected to keep unwanted eyes from watching Kansas' practice.
On the other hand, these links are present for your enjoyment. Don't be satisfied with just one reading. Come back many times throughout the day. Tell your friends about them.
Read them often. They're good for you.
- Colorado LB B.J. Beatty (fractured bone in left leg) and CB Cha'pelle Brown (fractured left hand) continue to participate in practice drills despite their injuries. Beatty originally thought the injury was a bad bruise and spent one practice pushing wheelbarrows full of sand for Colorado strength coach Jeff Pitman, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.
- John Helsey of the Oklahoman delves deeply into the background of how Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione hired Bob Stoops in 1998. And a healthy dose of pragmatism helped convince Stoops to come to Oklahoma rather than take an open job at his alma mater at Iowa.
- Iowa State TB Alexander Robinson is bracing for a lot of work as the Cyclones break in two new quarterbacks.
- Veteran Wichita Eagle columnist Bob Lutz admires the moxie of Playboy sports editor Gary Cole, who ranked Kansas State 22nd in his preseason top 25 poll. It's the only top 25 mention the Wildcats have received this season.
- As a team, Kansas watched the movie "The Express," about 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis of Syracuse. And Mangino gave it a solid endorsement. " 'The Express' was both inspiring and educational," Mangino told the Kansas City Star. "It is a movie not just for sports fans, but for everyone. It was outstanding."
- Missouri's experienced linebackers should provide the backbone of the Tigers' rapidly improving defense.
- Tad Stryker of the Web site huskerpedia.com writes that Nebraska must reclaim its home-field advantage. The Cornhuskers were lucky to escape with a 4-3 home record last season. Hall of Fame Nebraska coach Tom Osborne lost 15 home games in his 25-year coaching career.
- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will put his team through a "mock game" on Friday, practicing every detail of game day. "[We'll practice] putting the game uniform on, substitutions," Gundy told the Oklahoman. "Everything."
- Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles has been waiting two years for his chance to play with the Sooners, Tulsa World beat writer John Hoover writes.
- Austin American-Statesman columnist Cedric Golden calls T Adam Ulatoski the Longhorns' most important offensive starter, considering he has the job of protecting Colt McCoy's blind side.
- Houston Chronicle reporter Joseph Duarte had a busy day as a multitooled reporter Tuesday in Austin. He captured Texas LB Sergio Kindle for a video interview and provided one of the first glimpses of the Longhorns' new wall of fame at Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium's Ring of Honor, which honors five players with retired jersey numbers.
- Starting Texas Tech CB L.A. Reed was carted off the field with his right knee and right ankle iced after suffering an injury at practice Tuesday afternoon. Tech coach Mike Leach declined to release any information about his injury. Sophomore LaRon Moore took Reed's spot for the rest of the practice.
- Backup Oklahoma SS Quinton Carter will miss at least two weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Freshman Joseph Ibiloye will take his place.
- Lincoln Journal-Star columnist Steve Sipple says that Nebraska hasn't has this much depth and talent along its offensive line since the 2001 team that played for the national championship.
- Texas CB Deon Beasley said the Longhorns didn't always play with passion during their 10-3 season last year.
- Missouri WR Danario Alexander was running routes and doing catching drills after being cleared for light practice as he recovers from a torn ACL.
- Kansas State S Chris Carney was so disappointed in his team's late-season collapse, he failed to watch any bowl games last season.
- Des Moines Register beat writer Andrew Logue breaks down the Cyclones in his weekly chat. Logue said that QBs Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates remain even in the battle for the starting job and calls the Big 12 North more competitive this season than in any previous year.
- Baylor extended a four-year contrac
t with former Southwest Conference rival Rice. The series begins in 2013 in Houston, with games in 2014 and 2015 in Waco and 2016 in Rice.
- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini still hasn't distributed "Blackshirt" jerseys to his top defensive players and said there's no timetable. "When I feel it's right," he told reporters. "It's not right yet."
- Nebraska CB Anthony Murillo promises a more aggressive secondary under Pelini. "We're going to attack the ball this year," Murillo told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "That's what we're going to do -- no ifs, ands or buts about it."