NCF Nation: Don Fambrough
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.
- New Colorado offensive line coach Denver Johnson -- the Buffaloes' fourth offensive line coach in the last five seasons -- tells the Boulder Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo he wants to bring stability and a steady running game to the program.
- Lawrence City Commissioner Sue Hack has withdrawn plans to name a portion of Missouri Street in the city in honor of former Kansas coach Don Fambrough, Chad Lawhorn of the Lawrence Journal-World reports.
- Sam Bradford is among 15 finalists for the Sullivan Award, the Tulsa World reports.
- Pete Fiutak of College Football News pegs the Big 12 as the nation's third-best conference this season, trailing the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences.
- Oklahoma opening-game opponent BYU has decided not to play a spring game this season because the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium will not be available for use.
- Max Olson of the Daily Nebraskan spells out the plausible reasons why the Cornhuskers don't need to bring vagabond quarterback Robert Marve into the program.
- Reports of safety Mason Wald's hard hits have preceded him to Nebraska, Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal-Star writes.
- The Boulder Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo predicts eight or nine victories will be a more realistic total for Colorado after Dan Hawkins' presumptive preseason prediction of 10 victories for the upcoming season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Missouri will start spring practice today in Columbia with no official announcement of who will be the Tigers' defensive coordinator.
It would be a shock if anybody but former Missouri linebackers coach Dave Steckel is serving as the group's coordinator when the Tigers start. The vacancy was created when Matt Eberflus was hired as the linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns.
But we'll see who is calling the defenses when the Tigers work today.
Here are some other stories from around the conference.
- Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen will try to trust his arm to make plays rather than merely his feet, Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo reports.
- A number of well-intentioned Nebraska fans were burned by a cyberprank perpetrated on Facebook, Lincoln Journal Star reporter Brian Christopherson reports.
- Chuck Woodling of the Lawrence Journal-World writes that changing the name of a Lawrence street in honor of 86-year-old former Kansas coach Don Fambrough will depend on a push from a Lawrence city commissioner.
- Joe Walljasper and Dave Matter analyze a tumultuous offseason for Missouri in a podcast produced for the Columbia Daily Tribune.
- Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald writes that Nebraska-Colorado still has national appeal if it can beat out the Missouri-Kansas game for the coveted day-after-Thanksgiving slot.
- Mike Gundy told Andrea Cohen of the Daily Oklahoman that he's excited about spending more time with his players as he allows his assistants more latitude in coaching during spring practice.
- The Austin American-Statesman's Suzanne Halliburton reports that Brock Fitzhenry is having the best spring work of any redshirt receiver in Texas' early practices.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Sad news this morning as Oklahoma wide receiver Corey Wilson fights for his life in an Oklahoma City hospital.
John Hoover of the Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma players received an e-mail earlier this week from coaches telling them that Wilson is paralyzed from the waist down after he was involved in an automobile accident last week.
That sobering information puts everything into perspective as three schools continue spring work across the Big 12 and others are getting ready for the start of practice next week.
Hopefully, there's will be better news for Wilson in the future. We all are praying for his recovery.
Here's some other news from across the conference this morning.
- Boulder Daily Camera columnist Neill Woelk thinks it's "borderline delusional" to consider that Colorado can fill Folsom Field for its spring game.
- Nebraska senior defensive end Barry Turner will be arraigned Thursday on suspicion of assaulting a 20-year-old woman in Lincoln last week, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.
- Austin American-Statesman columnist Cedric Golden writes that Texas cornerback Chykie Brown appears recovered from an ankle injury that hampered him late last season, although he's still hooked up in a tight battle for a starting job.
- The Lawrence City Commission is mulling an idea of naming Missouri Street for two blocks in honor of former Kansas coach Don Fambrough, Chad Lawhorn and Janet Reid of the Lawrence Journal-World report.
- Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline received a promotion to co-offensive coordinator, the Oklahoman's Scott Wright reports.
- Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the formation of a search committee to name Kansas State's athletic director is a sure sign that things are changing around the school.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Mike Leach has Texas Tech on the brink of challenging for the school's first BCS bowl. But school officials say they can't afford to negotiate a rollover on his existing five-year deal until after the regular season ends in December.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that the upshot will mean that Leach will finish the season with with only two years remaining on his current deal.
"Let me preface this by saying we want Mike to be our coach," Tech athletic director Gerald Myers told the newspaper. "We made a decision some time back to wait 'til after the season to do his contract. I don't want anybody to read anything into that.
"We want him to be our coach. We want to be able to compensate him at the level that the market dictates. As you know, we operate on a tight budget every year, and I just felt that we would know a lot more about our budget situation in December, so we've made a decision to wait until after the season to do his contract.''
Tech officials told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the school is running a deficit for the second time in the last three fiscal years, making it prudent for them to be careful financially.
But can they really afford that with Leach, whose modest contract ranks him in the middle of Big 12 coaches? Leach's salary guarantees him $1.75 million this season, $1.85 million next season and $2.15 million in 2010 and two contract-completion incentives totaling $1 million - $800,000 if his stays through 2009 and $200,000 if he remains in place through 2010.
Leach has become an almost larger-than-the-program figure for Tech football. His love of all things concerning pirates has become well known over the last few years.
A big season might provide him with the ultimate treasure chest - and the booty might be coming from another school if Tech officials aren't careful.
Shiver me timbers, enough about Leach and his contract. How about some links from around the Big 12?
- WTLG isn't some kind of new radio station in Norman, but the Oklahoma Sooners still are listening closely to Coach Bob Stoops' mantra of "Win The Last Game."
- Barry Switzer will be appearing as himself in an upcoming episode of the TNT series police drama "Saving Grace." A TNT publicist told the Tulsa World that Switzer is hailed as a hero by all of the policemen in the series except for "Butch," a former University of Texas football player. The show may be set in Oklahoma City, but it doesn't keep an occasional tropical plant from popping up in the background if you look hard enough. It would be kind of like Switzer's mentioning his old QB Turner Gill in the show's dialogue.
- Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Tully Corcoran's "Hawk Bloc" blog has a couple of funny stories about how former Kansas coach Don Fambrough still can't stop hating Missouri. His angst obviously has been heightened as Gary Pinkel's program has kept getting better.
- A YouTube video showed Oklahoma freshman WR Josh Jarboe rapping about guns and shooting people. It wasn't a wise choice for Jarboe, who was arrested earlier this year for bringing a gun to Cedar Crest High School in Georgia. The felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors, reports Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman, enabling Jarboe to keep his scholarship.
- Veteran Waco Tribune-Herald Baylor beat writer Jerry Hill is leaving the paper after a 25-year career there covering the Bears. He'll become the director of communications for Baylor's Bear Foundation. His newspaper has an 11-minute video stocked with some of his favorite memories.
- Forget about the rush to find a new quarterback and featured receiver at Iowa State. Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register said the Cyclones' biggest task will be finding a replacement for NG Ahtyba Rubin.
- Nebraska WR Todd Peterson had a unique description of playing for the Cornhuskers in a diary he's writing for the Sporting News. "I am always telling people this about growing up in Nebraska and what football means to the state - from the outside looking in, you can't understand it, and from the inside looking out, you can't explain it." I always thought that was how Aggies described their association with their school, too.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram Oklahoma beat writer Mike Jones doesn't expect Auston English will be slowed down by his recent appendix operation.
- A visit by Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and athletic director Tom Osborne was big news in North Platte, Neb., where it merited top-story placement on Page 1 of the local newspaper, the North Platte Telegraph. "(The support around the state has) been great," Pelini told the Telegraph's Ben Vigil."Myself, our staff, we've been well received and people are excited right now. Ultimately, it's our job to keep them excited by putting a good product on the field and that's what we're focused on right now."
- New Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman isn't ready to mimic other A&M coaches and auction a chance to go hunting with him for charity. "Until I beat Texas Tech and Texas, I'm not going hunting," Sherman joked to the San Antonio Express-News' Brent Zwerneman. Probably a wise choice to avoid guns altogether. Are you listening, Josh Jarboe?
- Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Sherman told the Austin American-Statesman's Randy Riggs of his basic philosophy in recruiting. It sound remarkably like one he probably used as an NFL head coach.
- Colorado LB Lynn Kotoa avoided jail time after pleading guilty to felony menacing for assaulting two men
with a rock in his fist during an altercation on Feb. 16. Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins doesn't let convicted felons play on his team. Katoa has already been suspended from the team and won't play this fall.