Bevo's Daily Roundup - August 31, 2009

 

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5 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game

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The Austin American-Statesman has an article on Colt McCoy. And so does NewssOK.

Major Applewhite said that Greg Davis hasn't changed much.

The Longhorns' offensive playbook may no longer be as thick as the Houston telephone book, but the tenets that Davis preaches still remain major topics in the meeting room.

"If you fumble or throw an interception, you will not play," said Applewhite, who was a redshirt quarterback the first time he met Davis and now is a Longhorns assistant coach.

"He may not chest-bump you, but he loves football and his players know it."

These stories are getting old. Did you know Colt McCoy has a roommate? Did you know he is friends with Sam Bradford?

MBTF has a profile of the four freshmen Tariq Allen, Thomas Ashcroft, Eryon Barnet and Marcus Davis. And Garrett Gilbert, Trey Graham, Calvin Howell and Derek Johnson.

FYI. The depth chart can change by this Saturday's game.

On Thursday, we released a two-deep (depth chart) to the media, but who starts and who plays on Saturday will be determined by how practice goes this week.  It can change daily based on who performs the best that day.  Our guys know that we continue to evaluate every practice to see who plays the best.

The Orange Leader talks to West Orange natives Deon Beasley and Earl Thomas.

Mack Brown is having way too much fun to retire.

His Longhorns are ranked No. 2, quarterback Colt McCoy was last season's runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and if anyone thinks Brown is just setting up for one last hurrah, the roster is loaded with enough talent to make a run at national titles for years to come.

"When you win it all once, you know how good it feels and you know how good it feels for your whole state," Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Quad has put out their bowl predictions.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Jan. 7, 2010 in Pasadena, Calif.

Texas (Big 12) vs Florida (SEC)

Why Florida Will Win:

All you need to know: The Gators return 18 starters from last season’s national championship team. Add in another strong freshman class, and Florida has the deepest team in college football. While the main story with Florida is quarterback Tim Tebow and the rest of a dynamic offense, don’t forget about the defense. The unit that shut down Oklahoma, the highest-scoring team in college football history, returns all 11 starters. Most important, however, is Florida’s overwhelming sense of confidence, a natural byproduct of its success last season. Even in a tough Southeastern Conference, Florida stands a cut above. The same can be said of the Gators on a national level.

Why Texas Will Win:

No one doubts the talent on Texas’ roster. The Longhorns have everything from a Heisman-caliber quarterback (Colt McCoy) to an experienced and mammoth offensive line to a ferocious quarterback-sacking machine (Sergio Kindle). But it is more than just talent that makes Texas so dangerous. After having to watch an Oklahoma team that it beat play for a national title, do you think the Longhorns are going to take anything for granted this season? This team knows firs- hand that one play can be the difference between a shot at the national championship and a Fiesta Bowl appearance. That, combined with the Longhorns’ talent, has them poised to win it all this season.

 

Louisiana-Monroe

ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie is optimistic.

Weatherbie and the Warhawks had several close calls last season, and had they gone their way, ULM may be placed higher than seventh in the preseason poll.

"A year ago we were 6-6 and last year we were five points away from being bowl eligible," Weatherbie said. "It’s important for us to win those close football games. We lost a couple by one point and lost one by three."

Though the Warhawks have been chosen third from the bottom in the Sun Belt preseason poll, ULM seems to work better when underestimated.

"I believe this football team has as good of an opportunity as we’ve had to compete for a Sun Belt Conference championship," Weatherbie said. "This team has 18 seniors on it — 10 returning starters on defense, eight on offense, and our kicker and punter are both back."

Receivers coach Marty Humphrey went from a player just a year ago to coaching his old teammates.

"It’s a good problem to have," Humphrey said. "We have about eight guys that could play. Playing with those guys, I already know what they can do and know what we have to work on. I have the upperhand there rather than someone new coming in."

The receivers have already bought in to Humphrey, and despite being a player just a year ago, the respect is apparent.

Thanks to one of BON's readers, we have a preview of Louisiana-Monroe's offense.

 

 

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They just keep rearranging the deck chairs on the TItanic. Tight end Kenny Brown, who used to be a safety, had to learn to block.

Tight end Kenny Brown, drenched from another practice at a new position on Thursday, said afterward that Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman has specified what he expects from the one-time safety.

"If you can't block," Brown said Sherman told him, "you can't play."

So, early this camp, Brown turned to fellow tight end Jamie McCoy — a senior starter at the position who came to A&M as a quarterback. In fact, both of A&M's top two tight ends are playing their third position at the school; both spent time at receiver sandwiched between their original positions.

Someone thinks the Aggies have a chance to field a better team.

Who's better than we expect? Who's worse?

Texas A&M will be better than we expect. Nebraska will be worse. Not by much, but not ready to conquer the North just yet.

Baylor will be better. Texas Tech will be worse. Still good, but not a contender in the South.

Colorado will be... who the heck knows how Colorado will be? Iowa State will be bad.

Kansas State will be better because Bill Snyder is a better coach than that other guy. Oklahoma State will disappoint.

Kansas will win the North. Oklahoma will win the South. Do I really need to tell you who will win the Big 12 championship?

Not KU.

 

 

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Oklahoma State

Someone really likes Zac Robinson at NewsOK..

Mike Gundy has some advice for his quarterback.

As the media black out continues, someone is talking to the press. And he's a little concerned about Georgia's running game.

Mike Gundy is quick to discount the notion that Georgia’s running game is uncertain.

"When we played down there last time," the Oklahoma State coach said by phone Friday, referring to the Cowboys’ 2007 trip to Athens, "they were talking about difficulty in the running game and that they didn’t know who was going to carry the ball.  And that was the first run-in we had with Knowshon Moreno.  So we’re not really buying that Georgia is doing this rebuilding."

When the Bulldogs open the season at Oklahoma State next Saturday, they will have a new starter at tailback — sophomore Richard Samuel.

"They say they have a back there that is better than the King kid," Gundy said, referring to the injured Georgia tailback Caleb King. "I saw the King kid play in high school, so [if Samuel is better] that concerns me somewhat."

The game with Georgia is good for the Cowboys' program

In case you haven’t noticed, Oklahoma State has started to draw some interest from Georgia players, as it is with other prospects out of other regions. Despite being located way off in Stillwater, Okla., where they’ll open the season against the Bulldogs next Saturday, the Cowboys feature seven players on their roster from our fair state.

 

Oklahoma

Ryan Broles finally came into his own in last year's Big 12 title game.

"I really didn’t like him until the Big 12 Championship game," said wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. "I didn’t trust him. He just kind of had a laissez-faire attitude. I really didn’t think he understood how to play in a championship setting."

That all changed in the Big 12 title game. Not only did Broyles catch six passes for 85 yards, he elevated his intensity and his demeanor.

"He really proved to me he could play championship-level football," Norvell said.

One that got away. Stephen Good left Paris, TX, to become a Sooner. The town still loves him.

Paris, Texas, had never seen a player like Stephen Good. An All-American, he entertained offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia, Notre Dame and Tennessee before signing with Oklahoma. He graduated as one of the top offensive linemen in the country, and left an imprint on more than the defensive linemen he pancaked on Friday nights.

"Whenever you met him, you just remembered him," said Pat Conrad, a secretary at Paris High School. "He stood out here because he was just so big, but he was also so kind."

Next Saturday, Good will make his first career start as a Sooner against BYU and will assure most in Paris a hard time forgetting him.

The Sooner O-line is just sure they are going to be good.

"We feel like if we can block 'GK' (McCoy) in practice, who is probably one of the best D-tackles in the nation, we can block anybody," Williams said. "Auston English coming off the edge, Jeremy Beal coming off the other edge... Adrian Taylor is a force inside... Yeah, we have our hands full every practice. It definitely makes us better, though."

NewsOk's Barry Tramel ranks defensive players.

I would rank OU’s best defensive players this way: 1. G.K. McCoy; 2. Frank Alexander; 3. Travis Lewis; 4. Dom Franks; 5. Brian Jackson; 6. Jeremy Beal; 7. Adrian Taylor; 8. Keenan Clayton.

If I’m off, I don’t think I’m off much. If Alexander is not the second-best defender on this team, he’s close. And yet, he’s not going to start.

Beal has turned into a wonderful player, and if English is anything close to where he was throughout much of 2007, he’s a wild man himself. They are elder statesmen on this defense, so I don’t have a beef with the starting designations. But that doesn’t Alexander is not a pass-rushing demon. I think he’s a budding superstar.

And yet, on this team, he’s the backup defensive end.

Sooner Sports previews the receivers, the secondary and the special teams.

The Sooners are still working out the kinks on special teams.

Special teams coordinator Chris Wilson says the kickoff specialist position is unresolved, with three kickers in the running to handle kickoff duties.

"Hopefully within the next six to seven days, we’ll say, ‘OK, this is the guy we’re going to go with,’ but who knows?" Wilson said. "You could see two or three guys coming out there, depending on whoever gives you the best opportunity."

From one kicker to another. Some advice for kicker Jimmy Stevens.

If you really want to know... Here is the OU depth chart.

Again? OU had to report more secondary violations to the NCAA.

The Land Thieves get an education about Mormons.

Next weekend, fans of Oklahoma and Brigham Young will congregate outside Cowboys Stadium for tailgate parties, with one discernible difference.

One side will be imbibing beer by the gallons; the other, sipping orange juice.

Are they implying something about a rival team? Why do the Sooners feel compelled to write about their schedule?

There was a time when strength of schedule was quite important in college football. During the early days of the BCS era, it was the thing that could push a team over another and into the national championship game.

For the most part, those days have ended. The strength of schedule component has been weakened and it can only break the absolute narrowest of ties. National powers have taken notice and most have become comfortable with spending September beating up on also-ran programs.

Oklahoma, however, hasn’t been one of those teams.

 

 

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Do you know why Youngstown, Ohio, is important to  the Big 12 conference?

NewsOK has the five games that will impact the Big 12 conference.


The North

At least Iowa State will have one threat for opponents this season.

"Every single time the ball is whistled for play," new offensive coordinator Tom Herman said, "we’re going to be up on the line of scrimmage with at least the threat of snapping the football right away."

If you liked Iowa State’s offense last season, you’re likely to enjoy it even more starting Thursday in the season opener against North Dakota State.

"We’re going to be quick," Arnaud said, referring to play-calling tempo and not individuals.

The goal is to confuse defenses while outscoring the high-octane offenses of the Big 12 Conference. The intention is to light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine.

The Cyclone receivers are working hard to learn the spread.

"We’ve learned a whole lot since the new coaching staff’s gotten here," Darks said. "We’re going to learn even more this fall. I’m pretty excited to show everybody what a new football team we’ve become."

Darks is the top returning receiver after catching 49 passes for 477 yards as a freshman last fall. A quarterback in high school, Darks had his best games late in the season, including a seven-catch, 113-yard performance against Oklahoma State.

Iowa State often used three-wide receiver sets last year, sometimes four. This year, look for four and five receivers spread from sideline to sideline on nearly every play.

ISU receiver Darius Reynolds is turning out to be a real asset.

"He's done a great job of knowing the nuances of that position," Herman said. "It's different sometimes when you get hooked up inside with linebackers and strong safeties covering you after being outside before. Those guys are involved in the running game and the passing game as blockers. We had some questions but he answered them right away. He's not afraid to throw his body around."

His receiving abilities, which were the least of Herman's concerns, were present as soon as he began working with the team.

Kansas State fans are expecting a lot from Bill Snyder. Does he feel any stress?

He's 69 now, about to embark on a more personal mission. Days earlier, Snyder was asked about the pressure of living up to expectations that he himself established.

"Do I look like I'm under a great deal of stress?" Snyder responded, unable to hide his irritation.

"Well, I don't feel any pressure," he continued, his normal whisper-like decibel level loud enough now that straining to hear was no longer necessary. "I hope we can get the program to where the program needs to be to establish a firm footing and establish some consistency.... I don't know where the pressure could come from."

The biggest challenge for the Wildcats is rebuilding the defense.

They'll have to be, given K-State's recent shortcomings on defense. Even in the pass-happy Big 12, the Wildcats finished 112th in the nation in rushing defense a year ago, allowing more than 217 yards per game. They were little better against the pass, finishing 106th nationally in yards allowed.

The Wildcats will address some of those problems with new schemes, including the 4-2-5 alignment Koenning employed at Clemson. The formation uses an extra safety in place of a linebacker, theoretically putting the defense in better position to defend wide-open spread offenses.

But, Koenning cautioned, there are no magic bullets.

"When you play with five defensive backs in the game, it gives us an opportunity to match up," he said. "But everybody's got that. (Offenses) can sometimes substitute to it."

The deeper issues go far beyond X's and O's. Instilling fundamentals has been the primary focus, Cosh said.

Age discrimination? You know you are in for a tough year when reporters kepp asking about your mortality.

Mortality isn't usually a hot topic at Big 12 media days.

But the subject came up this year, and predictably, Bill Snyder was the coach in question.

"Have you considered," a reporter wondered, "there's a danger you're going to kill yourself trying to get back to where you were when you left?"

Snyder took the question gracefully. "I hope you said that in jest," he replied. "That's a good question. I don't think there's a great deal of danger. My doctor says I'm doing OK."

Missouri's Danario Alexander seems to be Blaine Gabbert's No. 1 target.

"He can be as good as he wants to be," senior wide receiver Danario Alexander said. "I feel like he's learned the offense and gotten better throughout this camp."

Gabbert was 11-for-14 passing in the scrimmage. His biggest gain of the day was a long ball down the left sideline that Alexander was barely able to snag and stay in bounds.

"We have pretty good communication," Alexander said of Gabbert. "We've been working on this since July."

Freshman backup quarterback Blaine Dalton has been dismissed from the Missouri football team.

The Jayhawk offensive line is coming together.

So far this offseason, coach Mark Mangino said, the line has slowly progressed from an unknown to a more consistent unit.

"The offensive line is young, but boy it’s starting to come together," Mangino said. "I really like how they are getting off the ball, but there are just fundamental things that we need to work out."

Bo Pelini does not have a difficult relationship with the press.

But things viewed through a camera lens – which is how fans often see Pelini – isn’t precisely the same as the day in, day out process of interviewing the guy. Not only did reporters not seem not to mind Pelini’s brusque interview, they were provided enough a roadmap to ask other players and coaches – like strong safety Larry Asante, who was particularly frustrated – good questions and get good answers.

Nebraska linebacker Sean Fisher has a lot of good qualities.

"He's got the physical body of a defensive lineman, the footwork of a defensive back and the mentality of a linebacker,'' Lawrence said. "And that's good. That's pretty rare.''

Fisher is in the process of trying to harness all those elements into a useful package for the Nebraska defense. Just more than two weeks from the Huskers' first game, the Millard North graduate continues to run No. 1 at strongside linebacker.

Dan Hawkins is at a crossroads.

Is Dan Hawkins all talk?

It's a question on the minds of fans of the Colorado football program and interested observers around the Big 12 Conference and the nation as Hawkins begins his fourth season as head coach.

To this point in his tenure in Boulder, Hawkins is still best known for the results he produced in his previous job at Boise State and, perhaps, even more for his rhetoric since becoming the head Buff.


The South

The Bears are ready for the season.

"After all the talk and wonder, it is now a reality," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "We have guys that are game ready, so that’s the part that makes me feel good. I think we’re ready to get past practice and on to games. We are on game week, and it’s time to put it on the table."

Baylor believes they are ready to handle the Big 12's high-powered offenses.

Last year, they were just learning in their first year under Baylor defensive coordinator Brian Norwood. Now, they believe they’ve got a good grasp of the system, and can go out on Saturdays and let it fly.

"We know what Coach Norwood expects and what we can give to the defense," Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek said. "We’ve got a lot of veterans back, and it’s not like we’re just trying to learn the defense. We’re fine-tuning our defense and working on our blitz coverage."

Bear receiver Kendall Wright did not get much attention last year because he was overshadowed by another outstanding freshman, but he is the real deal.

Kendall Wright is a man of few words, but explodes with talent.

If Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin hadn’t delivered such a great freshman year, Wright would have been a leading contender as the Big 12’s best rookie.

Griffin has called Wright "old reliable" for good reason. A former quarterback at Pittsburg (Texas) High School, Wright set Baylor freshman records with 50 catches for 649 yards while grabbing five touchdown passes and scoring on a run.

Raider Junior safety Julius Howard has earned a spot in Tech's six-defensive back scheme.

Freshman nickel back Will Ford and Howard will play underneath in the slot, McNeill said.

In last year's six-DB package, starting safety Daniel Charbonnet moved down to cover underneath and backup Anthony Hines entered as a safety over the top, because Hines wasn't comfortable underneath.

McNeill said he prefers to keep the starting defensive backs in their regular spots on sub packages, because of all the practice snaps they've taken there, and have the fifth and sixth DBs play the underneath zones.

Tech is just taking the season week by week.

Coach Mike Leach believes his team could be even better than last year’s 11-2 squad. Asked what he would consider a banner season, Leach said: "Just win one game a week and do the best we can. Just worry about that."

 

 

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The Race

Oh look, Thayer Evans has put out his Heisman projections. Guess who was listed first? I'm sure he just put the candidates in alpha order. B definitely comes before M.

FAVORITES

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma quarterback: The reigning Heisman winner will be behind an inexperienced line, but he still has plenty of weapons.

Colt McCoy, Texas quarterback: Last year’s runner-up might be the favorite because he has not won a Heisman.

Tim Tebow, Florida quarterback: Another Heisman may solidify talk of him being the greatest college football player ever.

Kirk Herbstreit talks about the Heisman race.

How would you handicap the Heisman Trophy race among the top three quarterbacks?

1. Colt McCoy because of the players he has returning and because he has not been able to win it yet.

2. Sam Bradford is breaking in four new offensive linemen and his top two receivers.

3. Tim Tebow is at No. 3 only because we have set such high expectations for him. Even last year in a year he won the national title, people were comparing him to what he did the year before when he won the Heisman, when he put up ridiculous numbers on a team that had two or three losses.

NewsOK has their own Heisman race whys and why nots for each candidate.

They literally cannot go out to eat anymore.

They have to be wondering when TMZ is going to join the chase.

Their lives have been cracked open, examined and judged. They have become religious leaders and athletic icons. One was asked to autograph a baby -- during dinner. Another was questioned about his sex life.

None of them can go out to eat, literally.

"If it was up to me I'd be able to go in some place and sit in a corner with a hat on and no one would notice me," Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford said.

 

Some other stuff

A little information on the spread offense from Kansas City.com.

Texas Christian Coach Gary Patterson thinks the spread offense is like chili.

"It’s kind of like people cooking chili," Patterson said. "Everybody’s got their own recipe. Everybody loves chili, but some like it hot, some like it meaty, some like it with more tomato sauce. There’s a hundred thousand million ways to cook chili. You’ve just got to figure what their recipe is and what you’re going to do to play against it."

The NCAA has rules limiting the number of off-season conditioning hours and voluntary activities athletes can attend.

Chuck Wynne, director of Communications Strategy for the NCAA, said the hour limits went "to one of the central tenets of the NCAA, which is: We’re all about student-athlete well-being. We recognize that student-athletes need a balance in their lives."

One of the biggest concerns about the start of the season? Swine flu.

Mike Leach actually has a mainstream idea.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach long has been known as an offensive innovator. His reputation as a mastermind of a college football playoff system is undeserved, however.

At least according to Leach, who champions a 10-game regular season and a 64-team playoffs system. The winner would play 16 games, just like a high school champion.

"There’s always a lot of, ‘We’ve never done this — we’ve never heard of such a thing. How can you suggest this?’ " Leach said. "Hey, everyone else does it this way. There’s nothing unique about what I’m saying.

"I’m the mainstream. Everyone thinks I went into a cave and carved this all out."

Native Texan Jevan Snead still loves his home state.

Most everywhere he goes, Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead wears his cowboy boots.

"Even with shorts," reports wide receiver Dexter McCluster.

"Probably wears them in the shower," jokes defensive end Greg Hardy.

As a proud Texan, Snead can't help himself. The Texas state flag is on the welcome mat outside his room, but Snead clearly has finally found a home at Ole Miss.

Case Keenum wasn't recruited by a lot of schools, but he has proved his worth at the University of Houston.

In this era of spread offenses and astronomical offensive numbers, Houston’s redshirt junior quarterback, Case Keenum, is not the subject of Heisman Trophy talk or N.F.L. draft predictions. But at a program where smashing offensive records has often been the soundtrack, the once-inconceivable barrier of 6,000 is a possibility for Keenum this season.

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