9 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game
That's all we need to know. Safety Earl Thomas has Will Muschamp's trust.
With this fall's season opener 10 days away, Thomas has taken another significant step. Muschamp, who described him as a "grinder," says Thomas has emerged as the Longhorns' best player in the secondary.
"I am very confident in him," Muschamp said.
The two most indispensable players on the team? Colt McCoy and Sergio Kindle.
They stand, quite simply, as the two most indispensible players on the Texas roster.
Longhorns’ quarterback Colt McCoy, runner-up for the 2008 Heisman Trophy, and defensive end Sergio Kindle, the team’s returning sack leader (10) from last season, are on the watch lists for multiple national awards in 2009.
Congratulations are in order.
Three University of Texas walk-on football players – seniors CB Clark Ford (Richmond, Texas/B.F. Terry HS), DS Will Harvey (Houston, Texas/Memorial HS) and TE Mac McWhorter (Austin, Texas/ Westwood HS) – have been awarded scholarships, Texas head coach Mack Brown said Tuesday.
"Each year we look at guys who have gone above and beyond, always been positive, always been leaders, never felt sorry for themselves and have given something back to this team," Brown said. "All three are good students. Clark Ford has been a favorite on the team because of his attitude and he is also a force on special teams. Will Harvey has snapped for us and has been one of the best snappers that we’ve had in the history of our school and given us so much in an area that a lot of people have to worry about every day and we haven’t had to worry about it.
Dr. Saturday has a moment of silence for the 'stache.
But it's also key, in a critical season for Sherman to show his program is headed in the right direction, for the coach to get his best 11 players on the field. Tannehill is one of those, proven last year when he set a couple of freshman receiving records.
Plus, he's 6 foot 4 and, as that old Men at Work line goes, full of muscle. The Aggies need him on the field, and, to keep the masses at least somewhat happy in the rebuilding process, Sherman needs to go 6-6 and to a bowl game in what's shaping up as a tough season to do so.
Tannehill told me during camp that if he's not starting at quarterback, he wants to play receiver.
"I definitely want to be on the field," he said. "It's hard to help the team standing on the sidelines."
Tannehill may be on the field, but not as a quarterback.
The Aggies have two Eddies.
Except for the duo Sherman has dubbed "The Two Eddies" — Brown and Tony Jerod-Eddie, the projected sophomore starters on the interior defense.
Sporting News' Dave Curtis has a Q&A with offensive tackle Russell Okung.
This is probably the best description of Mike Gundy to date.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who deals with stress much like Mt. Vesuvius dealt with indigestion, is already tightening up as his team nears the opener against Georgia. Gundy has ordered his players into verbal lockdown.
Gundy, as entertainment for the Georgia fan base.
klahoma State coach Mike Gundy, whose relationship with the media is a bit prickly, has closed off reporters’ access to his team until Aug. 31. The reason, Gundy told the Oklahoman: "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. 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."
OK, let me get this straight. Oklahoma State has what many view as the biggest season opener in its history coming up, against a historically strong SEC program, and is on the verge of what its boosters hope will be its best season ever. And the Cowboys are having trouble focusing because of cute girls on campus?
"We were on the sidelines with the second team on the field, and he was calling the touchdown before it even happened," Williams recalled of a recent practice. "Right after that, they hit the play and scored. I was like, ‘He must be a wizard or something.’
"It blew my mind he could read a defense like that from the sideline."
It may be hard to believe quarterback Sam Bradford could be any better than last season when he won the Heisman Trophy.
But ask Bradford’s coaches and teammates, and that’s exactly what he is.
Said wide receiver Adron Tennell, "You can tell he’s better than ever before."
Said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, "It looks evident as we practice."
Bob Stoops is training another rogue punter. (In case you have forgotten the 2008 best acting performance by a Sooner special team player...)
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he's not concerned about punting into the scoreboard at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the Sooners' Sept. 5 opener against BYU.
As a matter of fact, Stoops told reporters that it would be "a plus" if one of his Sooners hit the massive scoreboard.
Stoops said that if Tress Way was able to hit the scoreboard -- as Tennessee Titans punter A.J. Trapasso did in the opening game in the stadium's history last week -- it would mean he was "hitting it like you want to," Stoops said.
ever never wanted to know about OU football... Here is the Sooners' 2009 football guide.
Sooner Sports previews the running backs.
That's a tough one to write. And we missed the quarterback preview.
With the commitment of Trey Millard, the Land Thieves have overtaken Texas for the top spot on Scout.com's team recruting rankings.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit on Oklahoma.
Q: Recently, Andre Ware said he thinks Oklahoma could lose four games. Do you agree?
A: I would say that looking at the schedule and what they have returning, I can’t imagine them losing four games. The Sooners return enough around Bradford offensively, I know they have concerns at offensive line and wide receiver. Their defense will be 1 of the best in the country. They’ve got some tough games. I can’t imagine them losing more than a game or two tops. That’s the way I feel. To me with OU and Texas and what happened a year ago and the storyline that continued throughout last year and ended with the controversy and Texas missing the national championship title, missing the Big 12 championship to follow that up into this year, it’s OU and Texas. Oklahoma St is trying to be this year’s Texas Tech, but people are anticipating that trip to Dallas to see OU and Texas, with the winner having a real chance to get back into the national title.
According to Pete Flutak, we may have reached our full potential by surpassing the SEC.
The Big 12 made Saturday nights fun in 2008. While the SEC was busy waging wars with putrid offenses and boring slugfests, the top teams in the Big 12 were shooting it out week after week with a dizzying array of offensive talent and firepower. The mediocre defenses had something to do with it, but the Big 12 attacks really were that good making it a fun season with great storylines, a whopper of a tie-breaker debate, and stars, stars, stars.
Bo Pelini still isn't talking about the dismissal of Quentin Castille.
Meanwhile at Nebraska, backup tailback Quentin Castille has been kicked off the team for a violation of team rules. That news came on the same day that former tailback Thunder Collins was convicted of murder.
Some quick research showed that there was a small window there in the late 90s when Nebraska actually didn't have a future inmate at tailback. Lawrence Phillips last played in 1995. Collins arrived in 2000. Things are getting better. It took until 2009 for Castille to smoke/drink/flunk (pick one or all) his way off the team.
(I'm going to be nice and not mention that Collins and Phillips were both convicted this month, roughly within two weeks of each other. What serendipity.)
Kansas needs to start the season 6-0 going into their toughest part of the schedule.
If Kansas is going to make national noise, a 6-0 start to the season is imperative. A Sept. 12 game at UTEP, which features prolific quarterback Trevor Vittatoe (3,274 yards passing, 33 touchdowns, nine interceptions in 2008), poses a serious threat to KU’s chances of having a perfect half-season.
"When he's about 35, 40," Mangino said, "he's gonna smoke somebody in a governor's race."
Colorado offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau on Cody Hawkins:
"I think when you get that guy and he understands what we're doing, he is phenomenal," Kiesau said. "I truly mean that. I'm not just saying it. He is very smart. He knows his reads and if we can put him in a position to do that, we'll be all right.
"The guy is 5-11 and I don't care. I don't, because the guy is so smart, and he can anticipate things and see things happening before guys. He can see coverages. He can see fronts. He can see blitzes. There is a guy, Aaron Rodgers at Cal, who was very similar. I mean wicked smart. And that's Cody's asset. That's what we've got to use. It's what we've got to pull out of him."
No one's overlooking Baylor this season.
The stakes are much higher this season for the Baylor Bears. And that’s a good thing as far as coach Art Briles is concerned.
Heading into his second season with the Bears, Briles has revved up the engine and driven Baylor from being an afterthought to a program that appears on the verge of competing with the big boys in the Big 12. The evolution has a lot of teams realizing that they have to make some extra preparations before they line up to play the Bears.
"People are going to approach us differently on the other side, in other staff rooms and on other practice fields, because they’re going to come into Baylor with a different mind-set than they did a year ago," Briles said. "We understand that.
The Bears like a little variety now and then. In the backfield.
While Jay Finley will be the featured back, Terrance Ganaway and Jarred Salubi will make considerable contributions. Each of the three will give the Bears a different look, and that’s the way coach Art Briles prefers it.
"I like it when different guys can bring different things to the table," Briles said. "Jay is dependable, strong, physical and has good balance. Jarred has an open field flair. Terrance is really going to help us because he’s a big, strong back who can move."
Some would argue that quarterback Robert Griffin is the featured back since he made most of the dazzling runs last season as he rushed for 843 yards and 13 touchdowns. But with defenses paying so much attention to Griffin, Finley led the Bears with 865 yards and a sparkling 5.8 yards per carry as a sophomore.
Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor makes his Big 12 debut as a Bear this season, but the 6-foot-4, 355-pound Penn State transfer is hardly a rookie to overcoming challenges.
Taylor spent his 2006 and 2007 season with the Nittany Lions before head coach Joe Paterno dismissed him from the team for charges stemming from an on-campus fight.
Looking for an opportunity to turn away from trouble, he followed Penn State's safeties coach Brian Norwood to Baylor where Norwood serves his second year as the Bears' defensive coordinator in 2009.
Already, Big 12 media representatives have taken notice of Taylor's potential and expect great things from him.
Will Baylor's quarterback have a tougher time this season?
Griffin has garnered attention from not only the Big 12, but also the nation. Critics argue he will have a tougher go his sophomore season, but the 6-foot-4, 205 pounder vehemently disagrees.
"The Robert Griffin I was last year is not the Robert Griffin I am this year," Griffin said. "Teams are going to prepare differently and think they are ready, but they're not."
"I learned how to deal with certain situations and learned how to handle phases of the team and learned what not to do with the team, and learned how not to be and what people like and what they don’t like and how they like to be treated," Potts said. "I just kind of figured out what he did right and what he was doing wrong, and hopefully put my own kind of personal touch to it.
"Eddie’s been playing remarkable this camp," wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons said after Tuesday’s practice. "He’s been doing all the little things right. We just have to keep him continuing to play at that level."
Meanwhile, Swindall’s practice performance has left his position coach, Lincoln Riley, asking for more throughout August. Riley said three days into camp that Swindall needs to play better, and two weeks later it’s the same refrain.
Raider Mickey Okafor has switched to guard.
Okafor, in fact, had never played anything but tackle before spring practice, so how he handles the conversion to guard this season will matter a lot to Tech’s success.
"I think I’m getting comfortable,’’ said the 6-foot-7, 319-pound sophomore from Houston Westbury. "There’s still a few things I need to work on, as in hips movement. Just the run game is the only thing that’s bothering me right now, but I’m getting better at it, and as I continue to work on it I think I’ll be fine.’’
Moore, who coaches the linemen, said Okafor’s position switch was mostly an attempt to get his best five on the field. But he quickly added that Okafor is strong enough to play inside and then spoke of his desire to have a line flush with tackles.
You know about trophy wives, but do you know about trophy coordinators? Apparently, we have one lurking on the UT staff.
So what exactly defines a trophy coordinator? Here's my best attempt. A trophy coordinator is a younger offensive or defensive coach who has attained great success with a new system of football teaching. He has gaudy statistics, a reputation as a coaching genius, eccentric habits, and his hiring is met with universal acclaim by the fan base. From the head coach down to the youngest fan, everyone believes that the trophy coordinator offers the immediate jolt of life that will cure an ailing program. Most importantly, so does the coach who hires the trophy coordinator as a way to ward off critics. Typically, although not always, trophy coordinators will be offensive coaches (Will Muschamp, for instance, is a defensive coordinator at Texas but bears all the hallmarks of a trophy coordinator.).
Have you noticed everyone has questions about the season? FoxSports' Rich Cirminiello has 30.
West Texas loves their quarterbacks.
Case Keenum may be the best kept secret in college football.
Colt McCoy’s success is no secret.
And Taylor Potts this season may throw for more yards than either of them.
Logic should be applied to the BCS. The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw has five ways to make the system better.
It is all about the teams, not the leagues.
Does anyone really think Duke is more likely to play in the Orange Bowl than Utah?
Yes, the Utes will likely have to go undefeated to get into a BCS bowl (and as we know, that won’t guarantee them a spot in the championship game). But Utah is an elite program that’s averaged 9.8 wins the last five years.
Happy birthday, Mack Brown.