Chat with David Ubben
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger David Ubben will stop by to chat some college football.
Ubben joined ESPN.com in March 2010 after covering Big 12 football for two seasons at the Columbia Missourian and The Oklahoman. Ubben, a native of Springdale, Ark., lives in Dallas.
Send your questions now and join Ubben Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Ubben (1:00 PM)
Gorgeous day in College Station, but I'll stick around for an hour or so to chat. Let's get started.
Hey David, Huge KU fan here. I know the story is still very new but how do you think Conner Teahan will fare at QB with a potential 3 years of eligibilty. Do you feel at 6'5" 200+ that he could maybe work himself into a quality role at QB or maybe even make a career out of it? thanks as always.
David Ubben (1:02 PM)
I think Teahan just wants to give it a shot, maybe out of boredom with KU's season ending earlier than most thought it would. With a new coaching staff, and a guy that everyone seems to want to play for, why not? Gill said after practice yesterday it was, admittedly, "a long shot." But it'll be fun to watch at least. I think the KU QB race is still between Pick and Mecham.
Matt Heck (Omaha, NE)
No doubt Husker Nation is dominating your inbox again this week, David! Love the work on the blog, keep it up. Simple, basic question. In your opinion, are the expectations on the Huskers this year too high? I think it is fair to expect a Big XII North Title, but the way the schedule lays out with only four road games, all very winable...Are Husker fans crazy to dream of bigger things?
David Ubben (1:03 PM)
I don't think so. The team's not worrying about the outside expectations, but they're certainly aware of them. The depth chart seems stacked, and from what I'm hearing, the so-called pressure of delivering on a season with big expectations is being welcomed by the players. I'm excited to get a closer look in the next week or so.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on defenses around the Big XII. For instance, have spring practices shown you improvement in the South with teams like OSU and A&M? What about the north with the underachieving defenses at MU and KU? Who will be the best defense in the Big XII....NU, Texas, OU??
David Ubben (1:06 PM)
OSU is losing a lot, but they'll be helped this year by having playmakers at every level of the defense. Ugo Chinasa, Orie Lemon and Markelle Martin are all solid players and should emerge as leaders as the season moves on. I've said it before, but for A&M, I don't see them getting any worse on defense. How about limiting 60-point games to, oh, I don't know, zero this year? That's a start. They're helped by having such a great offense, but I'll be getting a look at the defense this afternoon.
David Ubben (1:09 PM)
Don't expect a lot from Kansas, they could really struggle on defense this year, but it's tough to bet against Turner Gill. Missouri should be better bringing back nine starters, but they have to get better in the secondary and fill a huge hole left by Sean Weatherspoon. They won't be starved for talent up front, though. Aldon Smith is stout. As for the best defense in the Big 12, its probably way too early to place a bet on that. Nebraska, Texas and OU are just too close.
Philip (San Antonio, TX)
David - Are you scheduled to attend all of the spring camps in the Big 12, or only a few? Which ones are you attending in the future from here on?
David Ubben (1:11 PM)
Yep, I'll be going everywhere. So far, I've been to OU, OSU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado and Texas. I'm at A&M today, and I'll be trekking around to the other five schools in the North in the very near future.
Sam Bradford (Norman OK)
Hey Dave, I killed it at my pro day, I REALLY want to be the 1st overall pick in the draft, were the Rams as impressed with me as I was?
David Ubben (1:12 PM)
Sounds like they were, but the word now is that the Redskins were even more impressed, and Daniel Snyder could try to trade up to that No. 1 pick. So, better hold off on buying that condo in The Lou just yet, Sam.
What does the year under Blaine Gabbert's belt mean for him as he progresses as an upperclassman?
David Ubben (1:14 PM)
Like most players in college, it means he's going to get better. QBs don't come with much better pedigree or stature than Gabbert, and he's coming along nicely. I really think Missouri would be served well to try and feature the tight end more this season. They've got two pretty good pass-catching TEs in Michael Egnew and Andrew Jones, and one of them becoming a safety blanket could take some pressure off the receivers who haven't been the main targets before. But, there's not much reason to think Gabbert won't be due for another big year in 2010.
Nate K (Orange Park, FL)
David, do you think Nebraska will lean heavy on the ground game again or have you heard of any major WR threats outside of Niles Paul? Thank you!
David Ubben (1:17 PM)
You have to play to where your talent is. For Nebraska, that's in the backfield. Helu will probably be the feature back, and Burkhead will get plenty of touches. Brandon Kinnie sounds like he's coming along nicely, but Nebraska could have problems getting him the ball again. Zac Lee and Cody Green's percentage of successfull handoffs will be higher than their completion percentage. It'd be a good idea to take advantage of that.
With Shef's injury, do you still foresee a qb battle in the fall at Texas Tech or has Potts pretty much won the role?
David Ubben (1:20 PM)
Potts hurt his hand yesterday, and he'll be out for at least the rest of the week. They weren't going to decide the starter this spring, and an injury won't change that. I think it gives Potts the inside track if his hand heals quickly, but I think the Potts and Sheffield conversation will carry on well into fall camp.
Coach Snyder (Little Apple)
David - Who do you think I should pick to play QB for me?
David Ubben (1:23 PM)
Coffman is the conservative choice, but I really, really want to see Chris Harper in person. At 6-foot-3 and 225, with his speed, I think that just adds a whole new element to the offense. And think about past quarterbacks Snyder's had. Ell Roberson. Michael Bishop. Dual-threat guys in every sense of the word.
Drew Allen (2nd String)
It's just not fair, is it? I'm just like Sam Bradford when he was a Freshman and I'm riding the bench behind a guy whos two plays are "throw to Ryan" and "throw to a safety", and right in front of the newest Golden Boy... Am I ever going to see the field?
David Ubben (1:25 PM)
You're in a tough spot, Drew. With Landry in front and Blake Bell behind, that can't be fun. Welcome to the club. Meet your friends Chase Patton, Mitch Mustain and Matt Cassell. Jevan Snead is on the other line, though, he says he's got an idea for you.
Scott (Pueblo, Co)
You mentioned you visited CU, what is your thoughts on Michigan-transfer Toney Clemons. We are excited about him pairing up with Markquez Simas and giving us two actual threats at wideout this season.
David Ubben (1:28 PM)
Don't forget Mr. McKnight either. He's the proven guy at the position. Simas was kind of underwhelming early, but he closed the season really, really well. Clemons hands didn't look great when I saw him, but I can hardly pass definitive judgment from one practice. If all three of those guys can establish themselves and give Hawkins or Hansen some help, Colorado could have a really underrated receiving corps.
As an OSU fan I have enjoyed the last 4 years as OSU has had the B12 rushing title....should everyone else be worried that UT is actually going to try to run the ball?
David Ubben (1:30 PM)
Probably, and here's why: In past years, Texas was always kind of trying to find "a guy." Just find someone who can give them some solid carries. This year, without Colt, they've changed their entire approach on offense. I talked to Fozzy Whittaker yesterday, who said, with them running downhill now more than getting the ball out of the shotgun, it's going to allow them to get a lot more steam and get a lot more yards after contact. But with a Heisman finalist at quarterback, there was no point in doing that previously. Texas has talent in the backfield, and I really think it's going to emerge this year.
nilgai (South Texas)
Best offensive and defensive players in the Big12? I think it might be Ryan Broyles and Aaron Williams.
David Ubben (1:36 PM)
Both nice players. Because of OU's struggles, Broyles was kind of overshadowed by Jordan Shipley, but he's the leading returning receiver in the conference, so you'd have to lean his way, probably. On defense, I think there's a big debate. Williams is in that group, but so Von Miller and Jeremy Beal. I'm sure I'm leaving a couple guys out, and even more will probably emerge early next season.
A lot of people are looking at the Washington game as a one of the big hurdles for NU next season. If you were a betting man, who would you pick in that game and why?
David Ubben (1:38 PM)
I think it's a good measuring stick game. Washington isn't a fantastic team, but they'll be pretty good. It'll be Nebraska's first big test. If they waltz up to the Pacific Northwest and beat the stuffing out of the Huskies, well, there's going to be some inevitable hype and national championship talk in Lincoln until the showdown with Texas. If they win, then people will just wait to see if they're "for real" until the Texas game. If they lose, well, maybe Nebraska is due for another 8-9 win season.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear DavidWhen could you see Baylor's Football Team getting back to winning?
David Ubben (1:41 PM)
They lose a lot on defense, and that's going to hurt them, but the bowl is still a nice, reachable goal for Baylor this season. Succeed in doing that, then ratchet up the expectations the next year. But you have to move in a logical progression. Baylor can talk about winning the South and the Big 12 all they want, but it's not going to happen right now. Surprise some people and win eight games or something this year, and those statements might have a little more credibility.
David Ubben (1:41 PM)
Also, Robert Griffin. I'm contractually obligated to drop his name in any Baylor talk.
JL (Marshall, Virginia)
I see the Big 12 championship game as a re-match between Nebraska & Texas. Nebraska wins the regular season game but the championship game very much up for grabs. Do you agree?
David Ubben (1:43 PM)
That'd be my general thoughts heading into the season, but that can change really quickly. And both teams will have a lot of competition within their division. We could have another rematch of Oklahoma and Missouri almost as easily.
Scott (Pueblo, CO)
Which team do you think goes bowling in NYC from the Big 12?
David Ubben (1:44 PM)
The folks from the Little Apple could make a trip to the Big Apple in 2010. K-State fans, has that ever happened?
Chris M (Fleming Island, FL)
Good afternoon David, what are your thoughts on the FSU/OU game this year? Do you think FSU will have enough fire power to beat the Sooners at home for their 3rdor 4th loss in over a decade?
David Ubben (1:47 PM)
It won't be easy. I wasn't a believer in the mystique at Owen Field last year. Oklahoma State changed that. Yeah, Zac Robinson wasn't 100 percent, but I really thought OSU could pull it off. I was so, so wrong. That was an absolute beatdown, only the latest in a long string of hard-to-believe scores coming out of Norman. Who beats the No. 2 team in the country by 44 points? That's just unbelievable.
EricRay (LBK, TX)
Will Tech get to a BCS Bowl in the next 3 years under Tubs?
David Ubben (1:48 PM)
It's definitely a possibility, but ask me again in November.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Considering Colt's size, arm strength, and the bad end to his season, I assumed he would be a third round pick in the NFL draft at best. Now, we're hearing that he might go in the first round? Can that be possible? What do you predict?
David Ubben (1:52 PM)
I didn't get to see the workout, but 55 out of 55 is really impressive. From what I was told, it consisted of a lot more versatile throws than Bradford's workout, more stuff on the move but fewer deep balls beyond 30 yards. Todd McShay wasn't impressed by his intermediate throws, but the guy won A LOT of games at Texas and is hungry to play at the next level. That's a very, very good combination.
Any insight of expansion or departure of teams from the Big 12?
David Ubben (1:56 PM)
It's a pretty slow process, but last I heard, if anything happens, it won't be until June.
John M. (CS, TX)
Hey David!!I want to tell you that you do a nice job with the blog. Here is a question:With Texas A&M losing 3 startes on the offensive line, do you think the offense will be as good this season?? AND... do you see any of the incoming fresman (Offensive linemen) starting?
David Ubben (2:00 PM)
Very good question. As Oklahoma proved last season, the best position players in the world won't help you if you can't beat your opponent up front. It's why the worst NFL team would systematically dismantle the best college team ever. All of Texas A&M's success is reliant on that. Johnson has to have time. Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have to have holes. If the Aggie defense sputters in 2010, my bet is the offensive line is the reason. That said, allow me to remind everyone that it's spring. The offensive line could be better than it was last year, even with the new players. It could be worse. We won't know for at least a few more months.
David Ubben (2:00 PM)
Thanks for the questions everybody. I'll see you next week. I'll have a mailbag tomorrow, too, so drop a question if you feel inclined.