NCF Nation: Scott Haughton
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
A host of key Big 12 players battled through a variety of maladies this spring as they missed practice in preparation for the upcoming season. Here's a look at some of the more notable players and what they need to do in order to bounce back strong when practice begins this summer.
Baylor WR David Gettis: Bothered by recurring hamstring pulls in the spring, Gettis needs to be healthy to fulfill his lofty promise that arrived before him. If not, he'll have trouble keeping pace with Kendall Wright, Ernest Smith and Justin Fenty in the Bears' developing rotation of wide receivers.
Colorado QB Tyler Hansen: Looked to be competing at a near equal basis with Cody Hawkins before he broke his right thumb in the spring game. He'll have to recover quickly from post-spring surgery if he wants to renew the competition when the Buffaloes report in August.
Iowa State T Scott Haughton: Didn't participate in spring practice while he addressed some academic issues. His return in the fall is critical for the Cyclones after making 11 starts last season.
Kansas RB Jocques Crawford: Heralded former national junior-college rushing leader fell into coach Mark Mangino's doghouse after he was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Jake Sharp and Rell Lewis have jumped far ahead in the rotation as Crawford's role for the Jayhawks remains uncertain.
Kansas State RB-S Logan Dold: After switching to defense late in practice, Dold was hampered by an undisclosed injury and did not appear in the Wildcats' spring game. He needs to be healthy to make a challenge for earning playing time either on offense or defense.
Missouri WR Jared Perry: Missed all contact work as he recovered from post-season shoulder surgery. His absence, along with that of Danario Alexander's recovery from knee surgery, might explain why Blaine Gabbert struggled in the Tigers' spring game.
Oklahoma DE Auston English: English was the best speed pass-rusher in the Big 12 for most of the 2007 season before injuries cut his productivity. He still has that promise -- even as his struggled last season and missed the spring with a knee injury. But other talented defensive ends like Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander have caught the attention of coaches, making it tougher to English to win his way back into the starting lineup.
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant: His knee injury turned around the Cowboys' Holiday Bowl loss to Oregon. He's expected to return as normal after missing all of spring practice, although there is always a concern about a recovery from any kind of knee surgery.
Texas RB Cody Johnson: Appeared ready to claim the starting lineup midway through spring practice before injuring his left hamstring. He needs to return healthy and in shape to be able to hold off heralded freshman Chris Whaley and the other contenders among Texas running backs.
Texas A&M QB-WR Ryan Tannehill: His expected challenge against Jerrod Johnson for playing time at quarterback never materialized as Tannehill's spring practice was limited by a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. His lack of playing time at quarterback this spring could mean he heads back to receiver while also serving as Johnson's backup at quarterback.
Texas Tech DE McKinner Dixon: After the departure of Brandon Williams to the NFL, Dixon was counted to be the Red Raiders' top pass-rushing threat. But he got crossways with coach Mike Leach after falling behind academically. Leach said Dixon's return is doubtful, making the Red Raiders' biggest defensive concern that much more tenuous.