Bevo's Daily Roundup - August 24, 2009

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12 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game

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Gideon lays out an FAU player. And then there's this.

Please leave our safety alone. Enough of the dropped ball against Tech story line.

Except they don't feel for you. They keep coming, blowing up your cell phone. Giving you the fish eye on campus.

"When he walked to class the next week," your dad says, "there was a 50-yard radius around him like he had a disease."

Are you OK with being the pariah, the goat, college football's Bartman? On the Catholic calendar, Nov. 1 is All Saints Day. That night, Texas safety Blake Gideon was the ultimate sinner.

They grew up so fast. Our secondary is all grown up and now they are one of our defensive strengths.

Our offensive line is like barbecue?

In an effort to straighten out the vagaries of college football and open new vistas for gamblers everywhere, prognosticators have been counting career starts, particularly in the offensive line.

Moral: As any backyard barbecue genius could have told you, beef needs seasoning.

This year's Heisman race is going to be unique, but that doesn't matter to Colt McCoy.

"It's not about me. It's about Texas," McCoy said. "It is my senior year, so I want it to be fun. I want it to be special."

McCoy really trusts his receiver. This receiver is James Kirkendoll.

Considering that McCoy is the most accurate passer in the country, and one of the most prolific, James Kirkendoll thought a receiver could benefit from such a bond.

So starting with a few big catches last year and continuing through a summer filled with sun-up to sun-down passing drills, Kirkendoll sought to win over McCoy.

"I think," Kirkendoll said, "I've really gained his trust."

How does Texas work out each season's schedule? It's complicated.

The Longhorns strive for one game against a rival from a BCS power conference on a home-and-home basis. Another game is a "wild card," Worley said, usually trading two home games for one road game. Then Texas tries to put together a game against a state rival while offering a substantial guarantee for another home game.

The philosophy was formed in meetings between athletic director DeLoss Dodds, Brown and Worley.

"We all look at this year's schedule and what's missing is that high-profile home-and-home [game]," Worley said.

Texas was supposed to travel to Arkansas, returning last year's game in Austin. But when the Razorbacks had a chance to play Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium, they wanted to avoid two Big 12 opponents in the same season.

Texas agreed to the request, honoring "a gentlemen's agreement" that usually permits teams to shift home games to a later season, Worley said.

This season was supposed to mark the third game of a three-year series with Utah. The Utes were forced to change their schedule when TCU joined the Mountain West earlier this decade.

In both cases, Texas scrambled in a process where games are determined nearly 10 years in advance.

Where did those two votes in the AP Poll come from?

The invaluable College Football Talk did some sleuthing and discovered where those two first-place votes for Texas originated in the AP poll. It was nowhere close to the Lone Star State. Think Pittsburgh and Raleigh. And another voter apparently hasn't flipped the calendar, with Utah No. 2 on the ballot and Texas Tech ninth.

ESPN's Tim Griffin has some factoids about our preseason ranking.

Ranked at No.2, the Longhorns return to the top 10 after starting the season No. 11 last season. It's the Longhorns highest ranking since starting the 2005 season in the second slot. As all Longhorns' fans remember, that was the last time that Texas won the national championship.

Texas' 2009 ranking also represents the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that Texas started the season in the top 10. And it also extends the Longhorns' current streak of being ranked in preseason polls to 11 -- longest in school history.

I'm sure Mack Brown will just love this nickname...It worked out so well for Bob.

 

Louisiana-Monroe

ULM defensive end Aaron Morgan.

Just wait until you get to Austin. ULM has gone through a grueling camp and they are tired of beating each other up.

An ill-tempered morning practice Tuesday, paired with smoldering heat, illustrated just how tired the Warhawks are of staring back at their own school colors.

Rains came Wednesday — cooling more than just the weather at Malone Stadium.

"We had a great practice today," head coach Charlie Weatherbie said Wednesday. "It was a fairly high-spirited practice. We got some work done today in some conditions not as heated."

Weatherbie said that last part with a grin because it was apparent that more than the temperature was climbing the day before. Reason enough for the coach to move up practice to 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, hoping to finish before the noon heat took hold across northeastern Louisiana.

The season opener at Texas is just 16 days away.

 

Wyoming

An article about head coach Dave Christensen. Not a great piece of journalism, but we did learn that he likes to play golf.

 

UTEP

The Miner's offense may be better than expected.

Here's a postion break down for offensive and special teams personnel from the UTEP site:

 

Basketball

Concerning that 2008 basketball season... So do we get to go the Final Four now?

If you are Rick Barnes, ask for a contract extension. The No. 2-seeded Longhorns didn't really lose in the elite eight to Memphis, so Texas gets a trip to the Final Four.

 

 

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Cyrus Gray has gained 20 pounds and he is ready to challenge for a starting spot.

But as much as anything else, the Texas A&M sophomore running back said the total makeover of his running style came after he took a critical look at his freshman season and determined specific areas that needed to be enhanced.

"I really made a major effort this summer to change my running style," Gray said. "I watched a lot of film and after last season I saw how I wasn't decisive on my cuts. I've changed and I want to run downhill on every play. It's been a mindset I've had at every practice this season."

That new bruising attitude has made him one of the biggest surprises in Texas A&M's preseason practice so far. Gray has emerged as a definite challenger for a starting position for the Aggies' Sept. 5 opener against New Mexico.

The Aggie savior has arrived. Junior-college cornerback Coryell Judie is in College Station.

Touted junior-college cornerback Coryell Judie showed up to Kyle Field, finally cleared to play this season for the Aggies. Judie, an All-American at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, missed the first two weeks of camp while wrapping up JC coursework allowing him to gain academic entrance into A&M.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound speedster should immediately compete for a starting job at the thin position and also vie to return punts and kicks as he did at Fort Scott. Judie, a Marlin product, collected seven interceptions over the past two seasons. SuperPrep dubbed him a top 10 junior-college recruit.

 

 

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Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy talks about the season.

Cute girls are always a problem when it comes to football.

The start of school brings new demands and diversions.

"The most difficult thing we’re doing right now, or trying to do, is keep them focused and concentrated on preparing to play the game," said OSU coach Mike Gundy.

"You’ve got 19,000 students here. You’ve got a lot of cute girls out there. There’s a lot of things going on. Guys have to focus. We’re trying to reel them in."

The Quad is still counting down and the Cowboys are at No. 15.

A chink in the Cowboy armor?

The Cowboys, who have been slowly building their talent, have the kind of offensive skill players that may be the envy of college football coaches everywhere.

But, O-State, just like in 1988, will have to play some defense to be more than an offensive highlight film.

We should all be so lucky. OSU has one heck of a schedule this year: Eight home games.

Kendall Hunter, Heisman candidate? It could happen.

 

Oklahoma

Defensive end Auston English is healthy.

Two true freshman defensive backs will see some playing time.

True freshman defensive backs Demontre Hurst and Marcus Trice will play in "significant situations where it really matters," according to defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

In Thursday’s 90-play scrimmage, Hurst had a pair of interceptions, prompting coach Bob Stoops to tab the 5-9, 165-pounder as the player who has improved most in the first two weeks of preseason practices.

"He should have had three," said Venables, explaining that Hurst let a third interception slip through his hands after breaking on a pass.

Trice will play when Venables uses a nickel package and also will see time at safety. Hurst has worked primarily at cornerback.

Injury report. Linebacker Tom Wort tore tore his anteriorcruciate (ACL).

They are calling it the linebacker shuffle. Once again the Sooners are depth problems at linebacker. So just who do they have on the LB depth chart?

Middle
4;Ryan Reynolds;6-1;225;Sr.
*10;Mike Balogun;6-0;247;Sr.
12;Austin Box;6-2;220;So.
56;Ronnell Lewis;6-2;232;Fr.

Weak-side
28;Travis Lewis;6-2;232;So.
12;Austin Box;6-2;220;So.
55;Jaydan Bird;6-1;227;Fr.

Strong-side
22;Keenan Clayton;6-2;221;Sr.
31;Daniel Franklin;6-2;219;RFr.
21;J.R. Bryant;6-2;225;Sr.

More trouble for Mike Balogun. The National American Football League's Web site has him playing in a game in 2005, which meant that he was 22 when the game occurred.

Florida State did not turn OU into the NCAA, as was previously reported.

The Sooners might actually have an obstacle or two this year? Hard to believe.

Now there's a scary thought for thousands of Oklahoma football fans who expect their beloved Sooners to roll undefeated through the 2009 season and claim the school's eighth national championship.

Forget national title.

If Ware is correct in his assessment of coach Bob Stoops' 11th OU team, the Sooners won't even get a shot to win a record fourth straight Big 12 Conference crown.

An ESPN commentator, Ware went on the cable television giant earlier this month and brazenly predicted OU's record would stand at 8-4 after its final regular-season game Nov. 28 against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State.

Given the position he played at the University of Houston, Ware obviously has some keen insight into what makes a good college offense. And it is OU's lack of experience on the offensive line that concerns Ware enough to decree the Sooners will fall short four times this fall.

Four more things that could make or break OU's season.

The news of our celebrations are very premature.

This much we know for certain: Texas fans are celebrating OU's vanishing act at middle linebacker. Anyone familiar with last season's Red River Shootout knows what can happen to the Sooner defense when it doesn't have a quality backup prepared to fill the middle.

 

 

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Overrated and underrated coaches. Some Big 12 heads made the list.

Forbes ranks the top 600 colleges. Here's how the Big 12 rankings played out. The Aggies won't be too thrilled. THey came in third, but at least they beat out Oklahoma. Of course, we are No. 1 in the conference.



The North

The Cornhuskers' No. 2 rusher Quentin Castille has been kicked off the team.

Nebraska practice is going well. And how did the defense handle the no-huddle offenses that might be thrown at them this fall?

"And our guys handled that real well, and that’s something we didn’t always do real well last year. ... We picked up the pace on them (Thursday), and I can’t think of one play where we didn’t get ourselves in the right position and execute. So it was a good day in that regard." - Carl Pelini

The Cornhuskers hope Pelini's second year is a charm.

The Jump is real. Just ask Oklahoma, Ohio State or Florida.

Each school won a national championship in its second year with a new head coach.

Year two under the leadership of coach Bo Pelini is an important time for a Cornhusker program attempting to return to consistent success. Improved team chemistry and development as well as a better understanding of team expectations could set Nebraska’s players up for a big season.

A nine-win season will not do for Nebraska.

"We’re not in the business of celebrating nine-win seasons at Nebraska," Pelini said.

Understandable, considering that the Cornhuskers had 33 consecutive seasons of at least nine victories from 1969 to 2001 and won five national championships.

Coming out of the last scrimmage, Colorado still has not announced a starting quarterback. How will the coaches decide?

"We'll just know," he said.

Kiesau said no timetable has been set for picking between junior Cody Hawkins and sophomore Tyler Hansen. Complicating the decision-making process, perhaps, was the fact neither committed a turnover Thursday night.

Statistics from the scrimmage will not be made public, but coaches said both quarterbacks moved the offense.

"I'll have to evaluate the film," Kiesau said. "But offhand, both had no turnovers, moved the team, had a couple of touchdowns — it's going to be a tough call."

The Buffs have a fluid depth chart at several positions.

At the conclusion of Thursday's closed game-condition scrimmage at Folsom Field, defensive coordinator Ron Collins said once that tape is graded, he and his staff will be "pretty close" to knowing their starters and backups.

"It's still a fluid depth chart; guys have got a long ways to go until they're ready . . . but we'll have a pretty good understanding after watching this film," Collins said. "We'll be in the last scrimmage with our ones and twos solid."

Kansas State is loaded at receiver.

Brandon Banks has heard those two words his entire life: too small. The senior wide receiver may be the lightest starting wide receiver among all FBS schools, but he certainly plays big.

The 2007 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year at 5-7 and 150 pounds, Banks leads a Wildcat receiving corps in 2009 that is becoming one of improving depth and full of playmakers entering the season opener on September 5. A player that head coach Bill Snyder calls "one of the fastest young men I have seen in my life," Banks was electrifying in 2008 with 67 catches for 1,049 yards and nine touchdowns.

Now, the Wildcats will look further into the rotation at wide receiver for more production. Lamark Brown has moved back to wide receiver after leading the team in rushing last season at running back, and Snyder believes Brown has made a seamless transition back to his original position.

Jayhawk freshman Toben Opurum is causing a lot of excitement.

Opurum, on the other hand, already has Mangino, as well as senior captain Sharp, speaking highly of him. Both coach and captain praised Opurum’s work ethic.

"I’ve always said that if someone listens to their coaches and works hard, they’ll make it," Sharp said. "He just puts his head down and gets to work."

He’ll be able to work in a familiar offense as well, which should ease the transition to the college game. Opurum’s high school years were filled with the spread offense and he showed ability as a blocker, runner and receiver in the offense.

Kansas wide receiver Bradley McDougal, another freshman, has impressed Mangino.

Wide receiver Bradley McDougald is the best freshman receiver Mangino has seen at KU. Really.

"I have not had a true freshman come in and do what he can do since I've been here," Mangino said.

McDougald is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound Dublin, Ohio, native. Perhaps most surprisingly, he played running back and defensive back for three of his seasons at Scioto High School.

"He will play, he'll be in the mix, he'll be on the field, both at the line of scrimmage and in the field," Mangino said .

Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert is searching for identity.

After two weeks of camp, Missouri’s rebuilt offense has, in the words of one of its emerging weapons, created its own identity: a balanced concoction of running the ball with two versatile tailbacks and rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert distributing the passes evenly, and accurately, among his receivers.

"We were struggling at the beginning" of camp, "but we’re coming along," sophomore wide receiver Wes Kemp said. "We’re making our own identity now, and I think everyone’s making plays. Our running backs are looking awesome. Our receivers, we’re getting deep.

"And with Blaine, respect is earned, and I think he’s really earned respect, with our defense especially and with our wide receivers. He didn’t come out here and say, ‘Give me my respect.’ He earned it over the spring and out here during two-a-days. He’s done a tremendous job."

The Tigers have a big brother program.

Donovan Bonner is an only child. Like the other freshmen on the Missouri football team, the linebacker from Dallas was assigned a big brother when he arrived on campus in June.

Bonner was paired with senior captain Sean Weatherspoon, who was a natural choice for the job. Not only is he a senior captain, he is a starter at Bonner’s position, outside linebacker. The paired lived together over the summer to help Bonner get adjusted.

Missouri defensive end Brian Coulter was headed to Florida State, but when scholarships were taken away because of a scandal, Coulter headed to Columbia.

Iowa State center Reggie Stephens has learned that quarterbacks can be picky.

There's a good-natured quarterback-center squabble these days at Iowa State, and it centers on the placement of Reggie Stephens' shotgun formation snaps.

"Austen — he's kind of picky where he wants it," Stephens said with a jest-like chuckle. "He wants it about chest high - right in the stomach.

"If it's not there, he's usually got something to say. You know how quarterbacks are."

 

The South

This is not good news for the system. Tech's defense shut down their offense in a scrimmage.

Texas Tech defensive players now have something to go by for an example of a satisfactory performance level this season.

All they have to do is watch video of what they did Thursday.

In the team’s second full-pads scrimmage of the preseason, the defense mostly whipped the offense, playing with enthusiasm and not giving up a touchdown during the 35-play affair. The personnel on both sides consisted of mostly starters and top backups throughout.

"That’s probably the best defensive day we’ve had here since I’ve been on this team,’’ said junior linebacker Bront Bird, who tagged starting quarterback Taylor Potts for a touch sack in a third-and-2 situation. "We all came out here excited, and it showed up in our play.’’

The heir and the spare. The spare is Steven Sheffield.

Steven Sheffield has re-established himself as Texas Tech’s No. 2 quarterback.

Sheffield, a junior, and Seth Doege, a redshirt freshman, have been competing in August to be top backup to Taylor Potts, but Tech coach Mike Leach cut Doege’s snaps Friday to give more to Sheffield.

"The battle was good," Sheffield said. "Doege’s a hell of a player. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a starting quarterback here before he leaves. It just happened to go my way this fall and worked out for the best for me."

Raider running back Baron Batch calls his injury a blessing.

"It's been good for me to step back and learn," Batch said. "It's made me appreciate the game even more, not that I didn't already appreciate it. When something like this happens, you get an extra 'want-to.' "

Art Briles likes to move people around.

Baylor coach Art Briles is never afraid to mix and match players to find a spot for them on the field.

Mikail Baker and Romie Blaylock were part of Baylor’s receiving corps last year, but now they play in the secondary. Jeremy Sanders was a backup running back, but now he’s playing outside linebacker.

The Bears not only have a great quarterback, but they have some talented receivers, as well.

"From an offensive standpoint, we tried to spread the ball around and get it in some people's hands to see how they'd respond in this atmosphere," head coach Art Briles said following Saturday's scrimmage.

"We have to be a machine, a methodical football team. So that when we step on the field, we should be productive if everybody takes care of their business. And as long as we keep playing well up front, we will have a chance to be successful, both sides of the ball."

That was actually the case on Saturday. While sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin was 16-of-20 for 157 yards, engineering two touchdown drives and two others that ended in field goals, the No. 1 defense threw a shutout. The only other points came on a 44-yard field goal by walk-on kicker Dary Stone, which was set up by Trahan's 27-yard pass to freshman walk-on receiver Lucas Allison.

 

 

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Paranoia: a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others. This sums up college football coaches in August.

If you actually care about Mel Kiper's draft board, then you might like this.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper released his first "big board" of 2009 this morning, and to no surprise, Kiper had Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford as the No. 1 pick, Texas’ Colt McCoy at 11 and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow nowhere to be found.

Did you really need those two points? Michigan wants to correct the record. In 1903, they did not beat Ferris State 88-0. It was actually 90-0.

The whys and why nots of the top five teams in the country. Will they win, why won't they...

The National Championship Issue wants us to stay away from the hype. It might be contagious.

 

In case you are bored at work...

Think you know everything about Longhorn football? Here's a quiz.

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