NCF Nation: Denver Johnson

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

One day and counting to the NFL draft. I guess that means we can still consider players like Michael Crabtree, Jason Smith, Josh Freeman and Jeremy Maclin as Big 12 players for at least one more day, can't we?

Until then, here are a few lunchtime links that are as tasty as the gorditas, turkey legs and funnel cakes that are available in downtown San Antonio right now at the Battle of Flowers parade.

Only about 300,000 people are attending.

Boy, am I glad I don't have to commute down there anymore.   

Here are the links, sans the traffic and parking problems I used to face every year.

  • Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls disputes the notion that Texas players are too soft for the NFL.
  • It wasn't safe for former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee to attend his old team's practice earlier this week, Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News beat writer Brent Zwerneman reports.
  • The Omaha World-Herald's Lee Barfknecht analyzes the spring practice of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
  • Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman mentioned earlier this week to reporters that the Aggies' opener against New Mexico could be nationally televised. The Bryan Eagle's Robert Cessna analyzes the chances of the Aggies' game being chosen on a busy opening weekend.
  • New Colorado offensive line coach Denver Johnson has helped his group develop by keeping its terminology from last season, Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo reports.
  • Former Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith is set to make history as the school's first first-round draft pick of the Big 12 era, the Waco Tribune-Herald's John Werner reports.
  • New Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman has developed a "Wildcat" offensive package that features tailback Alexander Robinson taking direct snaps and quarterback Austen Arnaud as a wide receiver, the Cedar Rapids Gazette's Eric Peterson reports.
  • Colorado offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich told the Denver Post's Tom Kensler that there's a "razor-thin" margin separating quarterbacks Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen heading into the Buffaloes' spring game on Saturday.
  • The pundits from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch analyze whether Jeremy Maclin or Michael Crabtree will develop into a better NFL player.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Who said they stop for vacation during spring break around the Big 12?

Check out these stories if you think it's been quiet the last several days across the conference.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

We're barely a day away from the most eagerly anticipated matchup in Lubbock since the end of football season. Mike Leach's future as Texas Tech's coach dangles precariously until the school's board of regents conducts a teleconference Friday afternoon in Lubbock.

Until then, the Tech coach is carrying on a lobbying schedule over the next 24 hours that would make Barack Obama proud.

And we still have some lunchtime links from around the conference, gauging the mood on Leach's contract squabble and other Big 12 topics of interest.

  • Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice writes about the leadership failure at Texas Tech and wonders if Art Briles really would leave Baylor to join the Red Raiders if Leach is fired.
  • Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman opines that Leach's impasse with the school gives "a horrible impression" of Texas Tech's athletic department.
  • Idaho State originally wanted no part of playing Oklahoma next season. But interim ISU athletic director Jeff Tingley told USA Today that he changed his mind and approved the game specifically because of a budget shortfall caused by the declining economy.
  • New Colorado offensive line coach Denver Johnson's arrival was boosted by an unusual source, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera reports. Johnson was recommended to Colorado coach Dan Hawkins by an old friend, Colorado football and basketball play-by-play announcer Mark Johnson.
  • Heralded Houston Second Baptist High School quarterback Connor Wood has become the second player at his position in next season's recruiting class to commit to Texas, Sam Khan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Wood chose the Longhorns over Oklahoma and Stanford.
  • Nebraska and Colorado still appear to be set to remain on the Big 12's schedule on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big 12's news has been dominated by Mike Leach's contract saga the past several days. But we are equal-opportunity Big 12 pundits and believe in keeping our readers informed about stories across the conference.  

Here's are a few Big 12 bits for your lunchtime enjoyment.

  • The impasse between Texas Tech and Leach continued Tuesday as a deadline passed without Leach accepting the school's contract terms. Leach told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Don Williams" he couldn't fathom why" he could be fired by school officials. Leach told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Dwain Price he would rather not head into the season working on his existing contract, but it's out of his hands. And Dallas Morning News blogger Tim McMahon assesses the potential long-term damage for the school if Leach leaves.
  • Alex Jamison of Dawgman.com writes that Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes might be targeted as a potential replacement if Texas Tech makes a coaching change.
  • Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove tells Nadine Babu of Gopherhole.com to look at his overall coaching record rather than his tenure as the Cornhuskers' former defensive coordinator. Cosgrove now works as Minnesota's defensive coordinator after sitting out the past season.
  • Funeral services for former Texas standout defensive back Noble Doss will be Thursday in Austin, John Maher of the Austin American-Statesman reports. Doss, who still holds a share of the Longhorns' career interception record, died Sunday at the age of 88.
  • The Lincoln Journal Star's Steve Sipple advises Nebraska coach Bo Pelini to take the green jerseys off his quarterbacks in the spring game -- at least for a few plays.
  • The Boulder Camera reports that former Illinois State coach Denver Johnson has been hired as Colorado's new offensive line coach. An announcement is expected on Wednesday.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Good afternoon. Here are some Big 12 links to go with your lunch today.

  • The Sporting News details a few of former Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman's favorite things, including the movie "Braveheart," LeBron James and Jessica Alba.
  • Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera reports that former Illinois State coach Denver Johnson and former Army coach Stan Brock are among those who have interviewed for the vacant offensive line coaching position at Colorado.
  • Scott Wright of the Daily Oklahoman speculates that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy might give up some of his offensive play-calling control to do more work with the Cowboys' defense next season.
  • Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost has been hired to coach receivers at Oregon, Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard reports.
  • Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Austin Meek reports that Kansas State has filed a petition for declaratory relief in a contract dispute against three members of former head coach Ron Prince's staff -- defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar, quarterbacks coach Warren Ruggiero and linebackers coach Cornell Jackson.
  • Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station Eagle notes that the biggest standing ovations during Saturday's Texas-Texas A&M basketball game came when the Longhorns' football team and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy were introduced separately to the crowd at the Erwin Center.

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