Bevo's Daily Roundup - September 10, 2009

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It has always been and will always be about us. Is OU's loss important to the Longhorns?

If you love the Texas Longhorns, read carefully. This concerns you.

The air was sucked out of Cowboys Stadium last Saturday after the No. 3-ranked Oklahoma Sooners were doubled over by a shocking loss to BYU, which included the even more shocking loss of quarterback Sam Bradford.

Glorious indeed. So glorious that it did more harm than good to Texas' national title hopes.

We may not like the Sooners, but Dr. Saturday wants us to root for them anyway. It is in our own best interests.

Those are general principles, but they're particularly true this year: Without a marquee non-conference game, Oklahoma loomed coming into the year not only as Texas' biggest prize but as possibly the Longhorns' only major skin on the wall when it came down to counting again at the end of the year. Given such a lame set of victims outside the Big 12, the Longhorns probably couldn't afford a loss to anyone, as last year proved, but both in the Big 12 and nationally, everything seemed to turn on beating the Sooners.

Where conference goals are concerned, that remains as true as ever (all conference games come down to the same bottom line in the standings), but nationally, Saturday's dominoes may have reduced that emphasis a bit -- with Oklahoma State and allegedly rebuilding Missouri both looking good in high-profile debuts, UT's potentially sketchy slate suddenly looks as treacherous as last year's late October gauntlet, with the Tigers looming again as a power in the North and the Cowboys replacing Texas Tech as the up-and-comer looking to trade on the Longhorns' visit as a program-making upset.

Wyoming is all about beating Texas. Period.

An anemic non-conference schedule is unlikely to help the Longhorns in the BCS computer rankings, but it has provided the dreamers they're facing with inspiration.

When the subject of monumental stunning upsets was introduced on a teleconference this week, Christensen thought of the 1980 Olympics, where the U.S. hockey team beat Russia and Finland to win the gold medal in Lake Placid, N.Y.

"I think that's the greatest upset ever in any sport," said Christensen, who coached Chase Daniel as offensive coordinator at Missouri.

Wyoming will use two quarterbacks against Texas.

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen says both quarterbacks, Robert Benjamin and Austyn Carta-Samuels, will play against Texas next weekend.

"We may not decide until Friday night exactly what the rotation is going to be," Christensen said. "We will see how they do this week in practice. But they'll definitely both play."

Barking Carnival has the depth chart all figured out.

Recruiting gets tougher every year.

Now, Texas coach Mack Brown says, high school coaches are calling to warn him that their sophomores are being offered.

"I've actually said to some of the coaches, 'He's not shaving yet!'" Brown said. "My gosh. Help me. You'd like to date before you get engaged. I'd like to at least meet him. Say hello.

"Our poor coaches. I'm saying, 'Well, how are his academics?' He's had three semesters!"

Not only is Jordan Shipley getting old jokes, now he is considered slow.

Monroe, a former Texas state sprint champion in high school, became the first Texas player in history to return a kickoff for a touchdown on his first career return when he raced 89 yards on his first try. Watching the jet-like Monroe streak through the defense made Shipley seem almost plodding in comparison.

"Some of the linemen came over and walked down the road where we were standing and they said, 'You’re slow, you’re slow and you’re slow,'" Shipley said. "And we said, ‘Yep.’ D.J. can go."

 

 

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Volleyball

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Congratulations are in order. Ashley Engle has been named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week. Ashley also received the Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week.

 

 

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Joe Kines is pleased. The Aggie defense is off to a good start this year.

A&M's simplified defense, which ranked 114th nationally last season, put on a show in the opener that surprised even coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies limited New Mexico to 231 yards — A&M's best since Texas managed only 230 yards in 2006. They also kept a team out of the end zone for the first time since limiting The Citadel to a field goal in the 2006 opener.

Once again the Aggies shoot themselves in the foot. And possibly everyone else. Playing Arkansas in Dallas could give the Razorbacks an edge in recruiting the Texas area.

 

 

 

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Oklahoma

Good news and bad news in the Dust Bowl. The Pokes got the good news. The Sooners were left with the bad.

The Cowboys climbed four spots to No. 5 in this week's rankings after a 24-10 win over Georgia last week. Oklahoma slipped 10 places — from No. 3 to No. 13 — after a 14-13 loss to Brigham Young on Saturday.

In the coaches' poll, which was also released Tuesday, OSU moved up to sixth, and Oklahoma fell from No. 3 to 14.

OU's locker room was not a festive place after Saturday's loss to BYU.

Kevin Wilson walked into the offensive side of the halftime locker room Saturday night. He’s found funeral homes with more zip.

"It was a morgue," said Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator. "A total morgue."

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson addresses the penalties on the offensive line.

"The way we performed (against BYU) is unacceptable, and it needs to be fixed immediately," said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "Either you choose to fix it or we’re going to fix it with something else, or another direction, or another player, another scheme or huddle-up, whatever. We cannot and are not going to play that way."

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Brody Eldridge broke has a broken finger.

The senior tight end has a broken bone in his pinkie finger on his right hand, but unlike the Sooners other two offensive starters, won't miss any time on the field.

Eldridge went through a full practice on Wednesday, still working at both tight end and center. Coach Bob Stoops said his ability to snap the ball and catch will not be inhibited by the injury.

"Not a big deal," Stoops said. "You tape a couple fingers together and keep rolling."

Another good news/bad news scenario.

Best case
Believe it or not, the opportunity remains for this team to still reach all of its goals. Big 12 title. BCS game. National title . That talk seems a little unreasonable, considering the product OU trotted out there last weekend. Still, we’re talking best case here.

OU’s remaining schedule is tough. Miami on the road looks like a bear of a game. Both Texas and Oklahoma State are in the Top 5 now. Kansas and Nebraska are both ranked. Baylor is a sleeper. So is Texas Tech.

Now, worst case
OU has six losable games remaining, not counting Baylor or Tulsa. If this team plays the way offensively they did against BYU, it’s not out of the world this team goes 6-6. What has been overlooked is that OU’s future opponents finished the opening weekend 10-1. The lone loser? Idaho State.

They are talking about the Sooners.

"Even if Bradford’s shoulder is largely to blame for this loss, the OU blockers must also shoulder the blame. They were largely awful — most notably luckless right tackle Cory Brandon. You’ve heard of Six Flags over Texas? This was Five Flags over Brandon, a one-man unamusement park Saturday.

"The 6-foot-7, 310-pound junior is suddenly famous for all the wrong reasons. He was flagged twice for holding and thrice for false starts among Oklahoma’s 12 penalties.

"The last of Brandon’s false starts helped turn a long game-winning field goal attempt into a really long game-winning field goal attempt with 88 seconds left."

— Pat Forde, ESPN.com

 

Oklahoma State

It is a good day in Stillwater. The Cowboys moved up to No. 5 in the AP poll and No. 6 in the coaches' poll.

The Cowboy's defense cannot be a one-game wonder.

Or else Oklahoma State could find itself 1-1 and wondering what went wrong.

In Week 1, the Cowboys showed newfound defensive fangs in dispatching Georgia. But to borrow a line from the old Monty Python skits, ‘And now for something completely different."

Georgia preferred rugged and rough. Houston – Saturday's foe – relishes spread and sprint.

Opposing defenses are going after Dez Bryant. He better be prepared.

"I think as he matures, he'll learn that they're trying to get him into a different game, kind of get him riled a bit."

Georgia safety Bryan Evans lowered his shoulder into Bryant on the very first snap of the game, delivering a blow that sent Bryant to the sidelines for the next four plays. Cornerback Prince Miller and Bryant also had a handful of confrontations, including one that resulted in offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties in an Oklahoma State goal line situation.

CBS Sports has a OSU-Houston game preview.

 

 

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What they are saying about the Big 12 this week.

 

The North

Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost talks with Sporting News. When asked about quarterback Blaine Gabbert's biggest challenges in his first start:

He's become a very, very good, accurate thrower. He could rely on that big arm that he has -- which he showed a few times -- but the accuracy and understanding with where to go with the ball was great. He understands coverages as well as anybody I've worked with. He got a lot of that from Chase Daniel. Chase did a good job of stressing that to him. He gets the ball in the right positions. It was good to see.

All that hard work paid off for the Tigers.

Jumping back into the Top 25 is a big deal for Missouri. The 25th-ranked Tigers weren't supposed to get a sniff of the pollsters' interest this season. It was supposed to be a down year in Columbia, at least by conventional wisdom. But clearly, one sight of what the Tigers are capable of was on display on ESPN last weekend, and it gave pollsters a strong reminder that this Tigers team might be the biggest surprise in the Big 12 North

The Jayhawk secondary will be tested against UTEP. (Just a reminder: We play UTEP after Tech.)

"We’ll find out a lot about ourselves," KU coach Mark Mangino said.

Particularly in the defensive secondary, which is comprised of mostly the same group that allowed 273.6 passing yards per game last season. The 2008 secondary’s struggles were announced in a nonconference road game at South Florida, when the Bulls passed for 338 yards in a 37-34 win over KU.

UTEP coach Mike Price really knows how to lay it on thick. Kansas is smarter than that (Todd Reesing reads The Economist) and they aren't buying it.

Of course, mid-week press conferences are usually filled with superlatives as the two coaches look to soften up the opposition with one Pollyanna quote after another.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino isn't about to fall for the Price Is Right line. Despite UTEP's 23-17 loss to Buffalo last week in El Paso, he knows full well how difficult it will be for his team to win Saturday night.

Bill Snyder expects his offensive line to improve quickly.

So the Wildcats are hoping to give their quarterback a little more security as the season moves forward. That starts up front with the offensive line.

While noting there was room to make improvement, K-State coach Bill Snyder said Tuesday he was pleased with the line’s overall performance considering how little game experience it has.

Iowa State expects a tough game from in-state rival Iowa.

"Iowa is a nationally ranked football team, they're very deserving of that," Rhoads said. "These kids play (the Hawkeyes) every year, they know how physical Iowa is, they know Iowa's tradition of winning. The fact that the Northern Iowa-Iowa game was so close in score and the opportunity for Northern Iowa to upset them was within a blink of an eye -- that will have no effect on what we expect coming into this football game."


The South

Are the Raiders looking past Rice to the Texas game?

"I don’t really think anybody’s focusing on Texas right now,’’ Tech guard Brandon Carter said. "We have a game this week. Rice has a good team and, really, we go out there every day like it’s the biggest game of the year.

"If they’re that stupid, we’ve got a lot of problems,’’ Tech coach Mike Leach said. "We’re only playing Rice this week.’’

Mike Leach thinks he has the most balanced team in the country.

Texas Tech defeated North Dakota, 38-13, on Saturday, getting 405 of their 445 offensive yards through the air. On Monday, coach Mike Leach said his Red Raiders were "probably the most balanced team in the nation." He went to define balance: "(It) has virtually nothing to do with rushing as opposed to passing. It has to do with your ability to get the ball in all your players' hands." Our take: That may be true, but Leach's balance has been questioned before.

The Bears get a week off before they play UConn.

"I think it fell right for us, because we treated the Wake Forest game like it was a bowl game," Briles said. "We had a month to prepare, we tried to lay low and then rise up and peak out [last Saturday].

"And then we knew we had this open week coming up to where we could kind of settle back down, regroup, fix what needs to be fixed and then get ready for the 11-game push beginning next week."

 

 

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Who can keep up? Yesterday the Heisman Pundit has McCoy as leading the candidate. Today that has changed.

The Pundit thinks that someone owes Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham some money.

Will anyone fess up and admit that it probably was against their best interest to come back?  Where are the columns now about the dangers of uneccesarily putting your God-given, money-making abilities at risk?  Shouldn’t this be a teachable moment for those who think the right decision is always to return to school?

Have you ever visited the Heisman Trophy site?

 

The Other Stuff

Another look at the pregame handshake. Is it a good idea after all?

Football coaches are part of this maniacal process. They're charged with whipping their troops into a frenzy by game time. If they're not motivators, they're not coaching. Assistant coaches glean the internet, newspapers, Facebook, whatever, to find something derogatory or inflammatory about an opponent. Then, they feed it to their players. By kickoff, a football player hates everything about his opponent -- the color of his uniform, his hair style, his mother's cooking, his girlfriend, his dog.

And you want your player to meet and greet his opponent before the game? Come on. Be real. Fortunately, this initiative was only for the opening week. Now, we can get on with the rest of the season with everyone foaming at the mouth at kickoff.

Governor Rick Perry wants the bonfire to return to A&M.

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