NCF Nation: Mark Clayton

McCoy on display at OU pro day

March, 9, 2010
3/09/10
2:21
PM ET
NORMAN, Okla. -- Gerald McCoy was measured at 6-foot-4 and 298 pounds, but participated only in brief position-specific drills. He said on Tuesday he'll wait to improve his underwhelming 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press until March 25, when former teammate Sam Bradford will show off his surgically reconstructed throwing shoulder for NFL scouts.

McCoy added that the low number surprised him because he began at 25 reps, before he started working out specifically for the combine.

"Everybody said it was just nerves," McCoy said. "Because you don't start training and then go down. You don't do that. Especially when you're seeing yourself increase every week."

McCoy said he'll take some time off from training before returning to Norman for pro day, part deux.

Also of note, cornerback Dominique Franks improved his 40-yard dash time to 4.47, significantly faster than his disappointing time at the combine. Fellow cornerback Brian Jackson showed off a 38-inch vertical jump, the best of the day.

Former teammates and likely first-round picks offensive lineman Trent Williams and tight end Jermaine Greshamn opted out of most of the drills on Tuesday. Williams improved his 20-yard shuttle time to 4.40, but neither tried to improve his 40 time. Gresham measured at 6-foot-5 3/8 and 259 pounds. Williams measured 6-foot-4 1/2 and 314 pounds.

A few other notes:
  • St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, whose team holds the No. 1 pick in next month's draft, was in attendance. He had a lengthy conversation with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Plenty of the conversation likely revolved around McCoy and Bradford, two players St. Louis could draft with the first pick.
  • Lots of current and former Sooners came to Oklahoma's indoor facility for pro day. The Baltimore Ravens' Mark Clayton showed, as did fullback J.D. Runnels, who most last saw as a Bengal on the last season of the HBO show "Hard Knocks," which chronicles one NFL team's training camp each August. Current Sooners who were in attendance included quarterback Landry Jones, receiver Ryan Broyles and defensive end Jeremy Beal.

Big 12's teams of the decade

January, 20, 2010
1/20/10
9:05
AM ET
The Big 12 had two national championship teams and five others that played in the BCS title game in the decade.

The two championship teams were the best of the conference's last 10 years. Some of the other BCS title participants were good, but not necessarily among the very best teams during the conference's recent history.

Here's how I rank the Big 12's top 10 teams over the last decade.

1. 2005 Texas: A star-studded team paced by All-Americans Michael Huff, Jonathan Scott, Rodrique Wright and Vince Young ran off 13 straight victories, capping the season with a BCS title-game victory over USC. The team averaged 50.2 points per game en route to a then-NCAA record 652 total points, earning Texas’ first undisputed national championship since 1969. It was the greatest team that Mack Brown ever coached and arguably the best team in the rich football history of Texas.

2. 2000 Oklahoma: Bob Stoops claimed a national championship in his second season coaching the Trojans behind Josh Heupel, who finished second in the Heisman race that season. All-Americans Heupel, linebacker Rocky Calmus and J.T. Thatcher helped the Sooners notch the first undefeated season and national championship in Big 12 history. After winning three of their final four regular-season games by less than five points, the Sooners dominated Florida State in a 13-2 triumph in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.

3. 2008 Oklahoma: Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy with this team, which overcame a midseason loss to Texas and still claimed the Big 12 title in a 12-2 season that was marred by a 24-14 loss to Florida in the national championship game. The Sooners rolled-up a record 702 points as Bradford passed for 50 touchdowns, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray each rushed for 1,000 yards and Juaquin Iglesias topped 1,000 yards receiving. The Sooners scored 35 points in each regular-season game and finished the regular season with five straight games of at least 60 points before the BCS title-game loss.

4. 2004 Oklahoma: The Sooners charged to 12 straight victories before a dropping a 55-19 decision to USC in the Orange Bowl for the national title. Freshman running back Adrian Peterson rushed for an NCAA freshman record 1,925 yards to finish second in the Heisman. Jason White claimed the Heisman the previous season and his numbers were down with Peterson's arrival, but he still passed for 3,205 yards and 35 touchdowns. This group had strength in the trenches with All-Americans like Vince Carter, Dan Cody, Jammal Brown and Mark Clayton as it claimed Bob Stoops’ third Big 12 title.

5. 2009 Texas: After streaking to a school-record 13-0 mark through the Big 12 title game, the Longhorns dropped a 37-21 decision to Alabama in the national title game in a contest that changed when Colt McCoy was hurt on the fifth play of the game. McCoy became the winningest quarterback in NCAA history during this season, repeatedly hooking up with favorite target Jordan Shipley, who snagged a school-record 116 receptions, 1,485 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Longhorns led the nation in rush defense, and All-American safety Earl Thomas tied a school record with eight interceptions. Lamarr Houston and Sergio Kindle also added playmaking abilities to the defense.

6. 2004 Texas: The Longhorns overcame a midseason 12-0 loss to Oklahoma to finish the season with seven straight victories in a season capped by a dramatic 38-37 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The Longhorns ranked second nationally in rushing offense and seventh in total offense as Young gradually found his confidence as a passer late in the season. Cedric Benson rushed for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns, and Young chipped in with 1,079 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. This team showed a knack for comebacks, overcoming an early 35-7 deficit against Oklahoma State and also coming from behind in an early-season victory at Arkansas.

7. 2007 Oklahoma: Bradford led the first of two consecutive Big 12 championships on a team that enabled the Sooners to become the first Big 12 school to win back-to-back titles. The Sooners dropped road games to Colorado and Texas Tech but still overcame Missouri in the Big 12 title game behind a huge defensive effort keyed by Big 12 defensive player of the year Rufus Alexander. Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency, but the Sooners' bowl struggles continued in an embarrassing 48-28 loss to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.

8. 2003 Kansas State: Don’t let the Wildcats’ 11-4 record fool you. After an early three-game losing streak to Marshall, Texas and Oklahoma State (by a combined margin of 15 points), Bill Snyder’s team won its final seven regular-season games by a combined margin of 271-66. That streak was culminated by a stunning 35-7 upset victory over Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game -- the last victory by a North Division team in the title game. The Wildcats ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing, scoring, total defense, scoring defense and pass defense as Darren Sproles rushed for 1,986 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Wildcats dropped a 35-28 Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State in a game they fell into an early 21-0 deficit and had a chance to tie on the final play of the game after a frantic comeback directed by Ell Roberson.

9. 2007 Missouri: Chase Daniel led Missouri into the Big 12 title game for the first time in school history, taking the team to No. 1 nationally heading into the conference championship game. The Tigers lost twice to Oklahoma during a 12-2 season that was capped by 38-7 beatdown over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Tony Temple made that game memorable by rushing for a record 281 yards and four TDs that pushed Missouri to No. 4 nationally at the end of the season. A star-studded collection of talent including Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, Martin Rucker and Sean Weatherspoon helped the Tigers rank among the top-10 teams nationally in passing, total offense and scoring and 11th in turnover margin.

10. 2007 Kansas: The Jayhawks earned Mark Mangino the national coach of the year award by running to an 11-0 start before losing to Missouri in the regular-season finale. The Jayhawks rebounded for a 24-21 victory over Virginia Tech in their first BCS bowl appearance in school history, finishing a 12-1 season that set a school record for victories. Todd Reesing passed for 33 touchdowns to highlight a high-powered offense that scored 76 points against Nebraska and scored at least 43 points in eight games. The Jayhawks were a balanced team that ranked second nationally in scoring offense, fourth in scoring defense and in the top 10 nationally in eight different team statistics. Anthony Collins and Aqib Talib earned consensus All-America honors.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

MIAMI -- Early in his career, Oklahoma wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias wasn't sure he belonged with the Sooners.

 
  Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
  Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias is looking to end his career on a high-note with a BCS Championship Game win over Florida.

Recruited almost as an afterthought after a high-school career where he was known primarily for his basketball and track accomplishments, Iglesias struggled early to get the concepts of the Sooners' passing game down after his arrival.

"I didn't think I would play at all when I first got there," Iglesias said. "Going from catching a lot of balls in high school to not playing is hard. I was trying to prepare myself for that transformation after I was here for a few weeks."

But instead of moping, Iglesias redoubled his efforts on the practice, catching his coaches' attention by doing the little things.

From those humble origins, Iglesias has developed into one of the most prolific receivers in Oklahoma history. And he's never forgotten how far he has come from those early days when he felt fortunate to even be playing with the Sooners.

Iglesias will conclude his career Thursday night playing in the biggest football game of the season as the Sooners meet Florida in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game.

"The difference between back then and now is like night and day," Iglesias said Monday as he soaked up the atmosphere at Dolphin Stadium during a team media function. "I was sure I was never going to play for the few months I was here. Now, playing in a stadium like this in a game like this is something you dream about.

"A lot of kids play this game and never get a chance like I'm getting. I'm playing for them and for my family."

The Big 12's deep collection of receiving talent has caused Iglesias to sometimes become lost in the shuffle. Especially this season, when the conference was the home to all three Biletnikoff Award finalists -- Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree, Missouri's Jeremy Maclin and Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant.

But Iglesias was nearly as proficient this season, producing 69 receptions for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. It was the second-most catches in Oklahoma history as Iglesias became only the third Sooner to top 1,000 yards. He holds two of the top three seasons in Sooner history for receptions, trailing only Mark Clayton's record of 221 catches from 2001-04.

When Manny Johnson went down early in the Kansas game with an elbow injury, Iglesias stepped up to produce a school single-game record 12 receptions for 191 yards.

His development has mirrored the growth of quarterback Sam Bradford. The two players often worked during the summer and after practice the last two seasons to work on their timing running hundreds of his pass patterns.

That work has allowed them to bond in a connection that Bradford said is closer than he shares with any other teammate.

"I do have confidence in Juaquin and I definitely know where he's going to be on every play," Bradford said. "If something is funky and I'm not sure what's going on with the defense, most of the time I just look for him."

Oklahoma's collection of receiving threats has kept opposing defenses honest all season. The Sooners feature a deep cast with six receivers with at least 27 catches this season. Five of those players have averaged at least 15 yards per catch.

"I very rarely ever see double coverage," Iglesias said. "Having all those players helps us out a lot. It's good to have a lot of people so they have to worry about a lot of things."

But Iglesias' development has particularly thrilled the Sooners' coaches over the years. They outrecruited UTEP for him as no other Big 12 players were interested after a limited football career at Killeen (Texas) High School. He was more widely known after averaging 17 points per game in basketball and being an accomplished runner in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.

The Sooners got interested in him late in recruiting and have seen him transformed once he came to college because of his work ethic.

"I kid with the Price Brothers at UTEP (former UTEP assistant coach Eric Price and current UTEP assistant Aaron Price) about Juaquin," Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "They say 'There's that guy you stole from us.' Not that Juaquin wasn't a good player, but he was falling through the cracks. We got lucky and found a guy who has really helped us."

Iglesias will also inherit another role in Thursday's game as he becomes the Sooners' primary kickoff returner after the injury to DeMarco Murray. Iglesias set a school record with 826 kickoff return yards last season, but saw Murray inherit the featured return role this season.

"I'm really excited about getting my chance at that again," Iglesias said. "It's always fun when you have the ball in your hands."

Even if he wasn't sure he'd ever get that opportunity earlier in his college career.

SPONSORED HEADLINES