NCF Nation: Kathleen Sebelius

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

New Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman isn't ready to name his starting quarterback for his team's Aug. 30 season opener against Arkansas State. Sherman told the Houston Chronicle Monday at the Big 12 media days that incumbent Stephen McGee and backup Jerrod Johnson will battle for the job during spring camp. "I think it would be unfair to walk in and just hand Stephen the job," Sherman told the Chronicle. "I told him he's going to have to earn it. In fairness to him and Jerrod, they both have to work against one another and earn the job." I guess that's the reason that McGee didn't accompany Sherman to Kansas City.

Lots of stories from lots of places after the first day of the Big 12's annual summer media gathering.

My take -- Morris swore to me that he weighed 172 pounds when I talked to him on Monday. I don't know, maybe a couple of extra Keebler cookies in his pocket.

  • Don't read too much into those claims that new Nebraska coach Bo Pelini will be trying to protect his defense with a ball-control offense."I don't think it's a matter of going more conservative, I think it's about being smart," Pelini told the Omaha World-Herald. "I don't think you can go into a game and just have an offensive game plan. You've got to have an overall game plan of what you need to do to win. And what you're going to do on offense, that has a lot to do with how you're going to play defense -- and vice versa."

My take -- Pelini is saying it now, but it could be a different story when his defense starts lining up against Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing in the Big 12.

My take -- Leach has been better, but it was still a solid media day performance that was better than any other coach so far. My favorite Leach line Monday came when the overhead lights blinked on during his media availability at the podium with several reporters. "I guess it must be last call," he responded.

My take -- Sherman's old-school philosophy wouldn't work at a lot of schools, but is ideal for a tradition-bound program like A&M. It might take him a couple of years to get his players, but when he does it will be interesting.

  • Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is brimming with confidence. When asked if he's the best quarterback in the Big 12, Daniel had a quick answer. "Of course," he told the Omaha World-Herald sternly, before breaking into a quick grin. "I think I am. But that's a hard question to answer without sounding cocky."

My take -- Daniel's confidence around his program is palpable. He's the top candidate to win the Big 12's first Heisman Trophy since Jason White in 2003.

My take -- Maclin still is the one player in the Big 12 that makes me hold my breath every time he touches the ball. He can make something exciting happen on every play.

  • New St. Louis Post-Dispatch assistant managing editor for sports Reid Laymance is a journalistic throwback to those days when sports editors also served as in-the-trenches reporters. Laymance added a notebook about Missouri topics, leading with Gary Pinkel's thoughts about short quarterbacks.

My take -- I remember when Laymance started his career as a prep reporter in Dallas in the early 1980s. Even though he's spent most of his recent time working in the ivory towers of newspaper management, he still hasn't lost his touch. But I bet he hopes to hire a new Missouri beat writer to replace my new ESPN.com colleague Graham Watson -- sooner rather than later.

  • Kansas is trying to enforce neutrality by nixing the availability of the "Barack Chalk Jayhawk" T-shirts that recently were worn by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and distributed by the Young Democrats Club on campus.

My take -- Are you really surprised? Kansas officials went to court last week trying to say the school had copyrighted a shade of blue. A presidential candidate? Small potatoes.

My take -- That might be a tad extreme, but Stoops should expect to hear that question in a variety of forms when he arrives at the Big 12 media days on Wednesday. Consider that to be his fair warning before he arrives.

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