Bevo's Daily Roundup - September 4, 2009

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The season is finally here.

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Photo from Statesman.com.

One of the best things about last season was the special teams play. Specifically blocked punts.

Kindle, a likely high draft pick next April, has no problems playing for blocks.

"I guess they want speed and a physical presence," Kindle said of his selection to the "posse," the nickname Akina gave the punt-blocking team when he arrived in Austin in 2001.

Punt blocking will remain a point of emphasis this year as the Longhorns begin what they hope to be a successful run for the national championship.

Who will be our leading rusher this year? Preferably someone other than Colt McCoy.

"Obviously you don't want the quarterback being the leading rusher on your team,'' said McGee, who'll get the start at tailback on Saturday. "When you've got a good quarterback like him who can throw the ball, you need other people to help him to run the ball."

The Quad has the Longhorns at No. 1 in their countdown.

Season breakdown & prediction: And so we reach the Longhorns, my pick for this season’s national champs. This is a pick based on a trio of factors. The first is Texas’s combination of overwhelming talent and senior leadership. We all know about McCoy, of course, but Texas is also very experienced on its offensive line, which was a major key during the program’s last national championship run. Texas can also tout a talented linebacker corps and, as always, a strong and deep secondary. The second factor is a very winnable schedule. Yes, Oklahoma will again be a major test, as will a road date with Oklahoma State. But Texas beat O.U. in 2008, and had fewer losses and faces fewer concerns than the Sooners do entering this season. If U.T. can escape both O.U. and the Cowboys, I don’t think it will be tested by another team on its schedule. My third factor is the least tangible: I believe U.T. will use last season’s disappointment as inspiration.

Blake Gideon just goes about his business. He will be a factor in this year's defense.

"I love seeing Blake out there next to me," Thomas said. "We've gotten to the point where we know what each other is going to do and where we're going to be. He's one of the smartest players out there."

Now he's a year older, a year wiser and a year better.

Those three things spell trouble for opposing offenses.

"I hope so," Gideon said. "I don't make promises or predictions."

ULM coach Charlie Weatherby must want a repeat of that Alabama game.

"I think that we have a heck of a team coming back with a lot of seniors and a lot of starters returning," Weatherbie said. "This gives the guys something to shoot for. It's going to be an interesting season in the league and anybody can beat anybody on any given Saturday."

 

 

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Richard Justice believes in Mike Sherman.

If you care about Texas A&M football, you probably already know the truth about Mike Sherman.

You know that, despite what some people think, he has done a terrific job and that he's on his way to building a first-rate program. He may not get there this year, but he's going to get there.

This week's depth chart has 24 freshmen and sophomores on the first or second teams. As many as 11 true freshmen may play this year.

Throwing freshmen into a fight against Sooners and Longhorns could make for some long days, but there's a rock-solid foundation being built.

So this explains last year's 4-8 season?

"One of the things last year with our coaches coming from a pro-style offense — we don't have headsets," quarterback Jerrod Johnson said of the luxury that former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman had grown accustomed to.

Johnson pointed out that a pro coach can simply repeat a 12-word play into a quarterback's headset if there is any misunderstanding.

"You can't do that in college," Johnson reminded.

The Aggies scheduled future games with Southern Cal and Oregon.

 

 

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Oklahoma State

Headline from the Birmingham News: Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy is a man, but he's not acting 40.

It is official. No handshake.

There will be no pregame handshake among the Georgia and Oklahoma State football teams before Saturday's game in Stillwater, Okla.

Oklahoma State associate athletics director Kevin Klintworth said by e-mail this morning that the school has decided against the full-team handshakes "after much deliberation among our coaching staff."

Georgia had some reactions to Gundy's slight.

UGA linebacker Rennie Curran said there is nothing to worry about.

"We’re all mature guys," Curran said. "We’re looking forward to nothing but a good, clean game. We’re not trying to start any fights. We’re a disciplined team. I don’t have any doubts about whether we can control ourselves walking to the field and shaking some hands. It’s a pretty simple act."

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he has no issue with the pregame handshakes for one game, but "I think it’s the home team’s decision ... We’ll do whatever they decide."

The Cowboys time has come.

The end result was a 35-14 beatdown between the hedges compliments of Georgia.

"Ever since I walked off the field, I was thinking, ‘In two years, we’re going to have to redeem ourselves,’ " OSU senior linebacker Patrick Lavine said. "I left with a bad feeling in my mouth, and I’ve been waiting."

Zac Robinson will play on Saturday.

 

Oklahoma

The Sooners are ready.

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson looked like he wanted to say more, but his better judgment wouldn’t let him. Instead, he settled for a friendly warning to all who will be watching his offense. Said through a smile, of course. Just be prepared for a few surprises.

"We’ve got some stuff. Seriously. You’ll like it," Wilson said.

Barking Carnival has a Sooner preview.

Let’s be clear: OU has a really good football team. And the makings of a quality prison riot. The game in Dallas will be a toss up more unpredictable than Justin Chaisson with a handyman’s belt.

 

 

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Mark Mangino believes in the coaches' poll.

"The people that make those votes are students of the game," Mangino said. "They study every game and they’re trusted with their votes."

ESPN's Tim Grriffin ranks the Big 12 defenses and picks winners for the first week.

What should we watch for this week?


The North

Mark Mangino stresses field position to his players.

Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino is tired of seeing his team backed up near its own end zone.

"We had a really nice offensive unit last year again," Mangino said. "Could you imagine if they got the ball more on the 35, 37, 38, rather than on the 19 the 20 or the 21?"

Jayhawk linebacker Arist Wright has had a strange career.

As a redshirt freshman in 2006, he started four games, had a big game against Baylor. Things looked good.

And then, as happens, he got hurt a couple times, got passed on the depth chart and found himself playing behind Mike Rivera, Joe Mortensen and James Holt.

Wright got on the field as a reserve linebacker and special-teams guy the past two years. His best year was 2008, when he had 33 tackles, including two for loss, but his only chance of cracking the starting lineup was as a replacement for the injured.

The Cornhusker linebackers are ready.

So Saturday night becomes the time where Pelini and the Husker defensive staff let go with Sean Fisher, Will Compton and Mathew May — poised to be the youngest crew of linebackers in the Big 12.

"They better lean on themselves, because no one's going to be out there helping them,'' Pelini said. "They're going to have guys around them, obviously, but they've got to handle their responsibility and they've got to be ready to react the right way and play well.

"I have confidence in them or I wouldn't be putting them out there. It's time to stand on your own two feet and be a man and show up.''

The Paul Rhodes era has begun.

Some creative minds wanted Rhoads to boldly ride onto the field for the first time, hoisting a Cyclone flag, to the tune of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild."

Not happening.

"We're keeping it traditional," Iowa State associate athletic director Mary Pink said. "Paul's going to come out of smoke, and anyway, we probably can't have a Harley on the (grass) field, but it's something we definitely talked about."

Dan Hawkins likes drama. Or he just wants to keep his program in the news. Either way, there is still no starting quarterback.


 

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The Race

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Two-time Heisman winner has some advice for Sam Bradford.

"I think the big challenge they really face is the attention that you get the first time," Griffin said Tuesday. "Because everybody wants a piece of you. You've got to make sure you're not distracted so much that you don't pay attention to what you're doing out on the football field."

Dawg Sports doesn't care for the Heisman. Maybe this has something to do with it?

The Heisman Pundit defends the trophy.

Tim Tebow tops USA Today's Preseason Heisman Watch.

 

The Other Stuff

The Quad has Florida at No. 2 in the countdown.

Former Longhorn Robert Joseph is trying to get his life back on track.

A former blue-chip prospect at Port Arthur Memorial and the University of Texas, where he played for the Longhorns in 2006, Joseph has been enrolled at TSU, on his own nickel, since January, six months after he pleaded guilty to a July 2007 holdup at an Austin apartment complex.

Through the spring and summer sessions he has lived up to every requirement imposed by Cole and university administrators. Cole expects to grant him an athletic scholarship this semester and hopes he will play a significant role for the Tigers this fall.

There is a reason small schools plan road trips. Money.

The coaches and players at 3,534-student Delaware State know their chances of winning at mighty Michigan later this season are slim at best.

But they also understand why their program, which plays a level of NCAA football below that of the Wolverines, will make the trip: a $550,000 payday. At Delaware State, that's equivalent to the revenue from at least two years of home games.

The Wall Street Journal figures out why the SEC and Big 12 are loaded with talent.

To win a national championship today in college football, a school must have certain building blocks. A massive fan base that buys tickets and makes donations. A legacy of success that attracts recruits. An administration willing to pay for top-flight coaches and facilities.

But it's become clear that one element trumps them all: local talent. The best players, increasingly, come from the South and West, and that's a problem—potentially a permanent one—for the Big Ten Conference.

The BCS Guru has the preseason standings.

 

And finally...


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