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April 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ubben

David Ubben
  (1:02 PM)

Hey everybody, I'm back from my trip through the Big 12 North, what do you want to know?

Ashtyn (Jefferson City, MO)

Does Nebraska, with Amukamara, Dennard, Gomes, Haag, etc., have the best secondary in the league? How about the country?

David Ubben
  (1:05 PM)

They're good, but they might even be third-best in the conference. Texas will be solid with Aaron Williams, the best defensive back in the conference, and Chykie Brown, Curtis Brown, Christian Scott and Blake Gideon. That's talent and depth. Oklahoma will be solid, too. Demontre Hurst and Jonathan Nelson are new starters at corner, but they both had fantastic moments last season. Quinton Carter is one of the conference's hardest hitters and Sam Proctor returns as well.

David Ubben
  (1:05 PM)

But let's not forget, third-best secondary in the Big 12 might be good for top 10 in the country.

Jon (Boston)

thought on new rules ? wedge block i have no problem, eye black rule could care less, but the taking points off the board for a little high step or pointing is ridiculous.....i remeber games last year that were effected by refs flagging for excessive celebration. and that was with a 15 yard penalty

David Ubben
  (1:07 PM)

I hate it. I don't care about the wedge block all that much, but the eye black just seems pointless. What's so bad about it if it's not something offensive? I guess you remove that potential by enacting the rule, but I don't think it's much of an issue.

David Ubben
  (1:09 PM)

As for taking points off the board for excessive celebrations, that's just stupid. My general rule is, unless you're getting in an opponent's face, or doing something to legitimately disrespect an opponent, let guys celebrate. I get taking points off the board if you're holding the ball out behind you on a long score to taunt a guy, but I hope officials aren't too flag-happy with this rule, or there are going to be some furious fans and coaches the first few times we see it.

David Ubben
  (1:09 PM)

As for taking points off the board for excessive celebrations, that's just stupid. My general rule is, unless you're getting in an opponent's face, or doing something to legitimately disrespect an opponent, let guys celebrate. I get taking points off the board if you're holding the ball out behind you on a long score to taunt a guy, but I hope officials aren't too flag-happy with this rule, or there are going to be some furious fans and coaches the first few times we see it.

Blake C (Houston)

How do you see Baylor's season playing out with the return of Robert Griffin? Possibly a bowl?

David Ubben
  (1:10 PM)

That's the idea. Baylor could realistically win 7-8 games if everything goes like they hope. But the talent around Griffin still isn't at the level of other teams in the South, and four wins is in play, too.

Larry (Lawrence)

Is Paul Rhoads as enthusiastic in practice as he has shown to be during and after games?

David Ubben
  (1:11 PM)

Absolutely. Paul Rhoads is fantastic. Look for a bit more on that tomorrow.

Nate (Houston)

David, why does it take you so long to post replies to questions? When one of the other conference bloggers was filling in between Tim and yourself, he went much faster (as did Tim). Are you googling your answers?

David Ubben
  (1:12 PM)

Hang on, let me look it up.

Matt (Houston)

I know it's early for predictions - but do you think Texas keeps its streak of 10 wins per season alive?

David Ubben
  (1:13 PM)

I do, the defense should be really, really good again, and that will take you a long way, even if your offense is awful. (See: Nebraska, 2009) And Texas' offense won't be awful. It might not be great, but it could be, and if it is, I'd be shocked if the Longhorns didn't win 10 games.

Nate (Houston)

Touche.

Steve (Olathe, KS)

Every mention of MU's Gabbert (and nearly every mention of Mizzou's 09 season in general) includes reference to his ankle injury (his Indian name is "Injured by Suh"), yet I've seen almost no mention of Zac Lee's injury, the preseason loss of his two backup quaterbacks, the injuries to the offensive line, or the injuries to the top running backs when writers talk about Nebraska's lack of offense. I'm curious--are the differences in narrative driven by the cultures at the two schools (i.e., Pelini's insistence that injuries can't be excuses) or by the media's need to shape a story? And how do you think this issue (MU was injured; NU was incompetent) might affect recruiting?

David Ubben
  (1:17 PM)

I think it boils down to this: Zac Lee was nowhere near as responsible for Nebraska's success as Gabbert was. Also, Gabbert's potential is much higher than Lee's. Gary Pinkel isn't going to let injuries be an excuse, and Gabbert wasn't complaining about the ankle, either. But a lot of people saw that injury, and saw him play through it, since it came on a Thursday night. I don't see it having much effect on recruiting.

David Ubben
  (1:17 PM)

But "Injured by Suh" made me legitimately laugh, so, into the chat you go.

alex (iowa)

should ISU fear Iowa this year

David Ubben
  (1:19 PM)

Yes. I think you'd have trouble finding a team that didn't fear one that beat them by 32 the year before.

Aravind (Lincoln)

i see you give more chance to Texas a&m this season in south, i was just curious what tare the chances that they become Big12 champs

David Ubben
  (1:20 PM)

Off the top of my head, I'd say 40 percent Texas, 35 percent OU, 15 percent A&M, and 5 percent for Tech and OSU. I don't see Baylor doing it, but Tech and Oklahoma State have at least some chance. Also, I hope that adds up right.

Chad L. (Des Moines, IA)

Hey David, I am always looking for good info for ISU Football... heading to the Spring Game this Saturday, anything you saw when you were here on your visit that I should look out for? and and certain player most fans haven't heard about to keep an eye out for? Thanks

David Ubben
  (1:23 PM)

Jerome Tiller looked really, really good. Obviously, its a small sample size, but I like his potential for the future. Darius Reynolds, too.

Orie Lemon (Stillwater, OK)

Am I the best Middle Linebacker in the B12? Bill Young seems to think that you'd be hard pressed to find a better one in the country...

David Ubben
  (1:26 PM)

That was an intriguing quote. You might be, and from what I've read, you're impressing people this spring, beginning with Young. If nothing else, you've got a spot locked up as a First-Team All-Namer.

allen (houston)

it doesnt add up.... but i dont care. I get the point lol!. so is ronnell lewis going to be the next boz or what. dude is amazing

David Ubben
  (1:28 PM)

I wrote about Ronnell a little earlier this spring, but he'll definitely be someone to watch. There's a big difference between flying down on special teams and knocking somebody out and being an all-around linebacker. He'll have his growing pains moments this year, but he could be a great one. Look out, Orie Lemon.

Zach (Lincoln, NE)

He said percentage to become big 12 champs... does this mean both of you give no North team a shot at taking the title this season?

David Ubben
  (1:29 PM)

Easy with the paranoia, Zach. Talking about the South.

Mike (Hondo)

Hey- David- With all the traveling the past couple of months to watch the Big XII spring practices, any chance you're rethinking you early predictions?

David Ubben
  (1:31 PM)

Yeah, a couple teams, probably. Impressed with a few, not as much with others. Stay tuned.

Matt (Philadelphia)

Do you expect more of a run-oriented spread from Tuberville and Neal Brown or are they still going to throw it all over the place?

David Ubben
  (1:31 PM)

No, they'll be tossing it around. Brown told me a couple weeks back that they'll run it a lot more than Tech fans are used to, but it'll still be very much a passing-based offense.

David Ubben
  (1:32 PM)

Part of that is utilizing their depth, though. Tech has three really solid running backs and another who could be.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

Rank the conference's top 5 WRs, please. And I mean this nicely, because they're cool, but your picture makes you look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

David Ubben
  (1:34 PM)

It's too much pizza, I know. That's a tough question, and I'm a little biased toward big receivers, but here's a gut reaction list:

David Ubben
  (1:36 PM)

Ryan Broyles is kind of in a class of his own, then maybe Niles Paul, Scotty McKnight, Jeff Fuller, Kendall Wright and the Lewis/Torres combo at Tech. I don't know if I could differentiate very much between those bottom few. No order of their production, past Broyles, would surprise me.

David Ubben
  (1:36 PM)

I'm sure I left out somebody, too. This might make a good post next week.

mike (college station)

Actually it does add up 40+35 15 5(2)=100. The x2 was the tricky part. Just backing you up Ubben

David Ubben
  (1:37 PM)

Much love for the math, Mike.

AJ (Philly, PA)

I've heard three interesting predictions for the Big XII this year: A&M wins the South, Baylor goes to a bowl, Nebraska wins the conference. Which scenario do you think least likely and why?

David Ubben
  (1:40 PM)

Tough, tough question there. I think Baylor and A&M are about the same, but A

Allan (Cambridge, MA)

What do you think will be harder for Nebraska this year - playing Texas at home, or A&M on the road? Also will every team eventually be "featured" on the blog?

David Ubben
  (1:42 PM)

Probably A&M on the road, just because their offense should be more of a challenge and Kyle Field is never friendly. It's pretty close though. And yes, every team will eventually be featured on the blog. I sense you will enjoy Monday's content.

Mike (Lincoln, NE)

Which Nebraska QB would you rather have starting? Lee, Green, Martinez, Spano or Washington?

David Ubben
  (1:43 PM)

I'd probably lean Cody Green.

Michael Alexander (Columbia)

Who do you see as the highest scoring QB in 2010? Johnson, Griffin, Jones, Gabbert or someone else?

David Ubben
  (1:44 PM)

Probably Johnson, because he's got the best receivers, and he's got a lot of them. Remember, he ran for eight TDs last year, in addition to throwing 30. That's a lot of puntos.

Jon (Davis, CA)

Geographically it doesn't work, but wouldn't Baylor be better off in the B12 North? It seems like they would have a much brighter outlook in that division, year in and out.

David Ubben
  (1:45 PM)

Sure, and so would Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

Joseph Gill (Texas)

could you rank the top 3 best defensive backs crews in the big 12?

David Ubben
  (1:46 PM)

1) Texas

David Ubben
  (1:46 PM)

2) Nebraska

David Ubben
  (1:46 PM)

3) Oklahoma

Jim (Lincoln)

Did you attend any spring games and if not, will you attend any yet to come? Thanks and continued success on the blog.

David Ubben
  (1:47 PM)

Not making it to any spring games, but I'm trying to watch the ones I can.

Tim (College Station)

David, How much better can/will our Defense be this year? To you expect my boys to finish in the top half of the Big XII total defense rankings?

David Ubben
  (1:48 PM)

It just can't be worse. I don't expect them to finish in the top half, but if they can get to 7th or 8th in scoring defense, they'll be in good shape if they keep the same production on offense.

john (college station)

are there any heisman hopefuls in the big 12 this season?

David Ubben
  (1:51 PM)

Not really any that will be right in the thick of it to start the season. Jerrod Johnson's got the best shot, but he has to win and surpass his numbers from last season.

josh (wichita)

do u like KSU's chances of going bowling this yearthoughts on QB?

David Ubben
  (1:54 PM)

I do like their chances. As for the QBs, Lamur fell behind Collin Klein and Carson Coffman in the beginning of the spring, but it'll be interesting to see who they trot out in the fall. Those two are pretty even, but bring a lot of different things to the offense.

Shawn (Minneapolis)

Isn't is fairly tough for you to put a fair opinion on the north when you spend most your time in the south? Maybe the whole confrence was spoiled with Tim but I sure see south articles 3 or 4 to one over the north.

David Ubben
  (1:55 PM)

I just spent the last week in the North. That ratio's going to change fast.

David Ubben
  (1:55 PM)

I'm sure I'll get complaints that I'm ignoring the South once it does.

Chris (DC)

Will the Cotton Bowl return to prominence again? Prehaps becoming another BCS bowl?

David Ubben
  (1:58 PM)

It wants to, and moving into Cowboys Stadium was a great step toward that. That stadium just oozes legitimacy. I covered the BYU-OU game last year, and the atmosphere was incredible. I can only assume it was twice that inside the building for the Big 12 Championship. There was no way the Cotton Bowl could become a BCS bowl at the fairgrounds. At Cowboys Stadium, it's a possibility.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear DavidWhat is it going to take for Barry Swtizer to comeback to coaching?

David Ubben
  (1:58 PM)

Hot Tub Time Machine.

David Ubben
  (1:58 PM)

One more question. Let's make it a good one, I'll give it a minute.

Josh (Tampa)

Who makes the bigger leap this year? aTm's Defense, or Nebraska's offense?

David Ubben
  (2:04 PM)

Great question. I'd probably go with Nebraska's offense. They're not dealing with a scheme change this spring, and they bring back a ton of talent. They've got impact players at the skill positions and Shawn Watson told me they'll keep the offense opened up like it was against Arizona.

David Ubben
  (2:05 PM)

Thanks for the questions. See you next week.