The Big Roundup - August 10, 2010

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Where's the beef?

Who fills the gap at defensive tackle?

Mack Brown will make finding a second Big 12-ready defensive tackle priority No.1 for this month. Junior Kheeston Randall will handle the nose in the Longhorns' multiple but 4-3 alignment. After that, well, where have you gone, Steve McMichael? Redshirt freshman Calvin Howell seemed like the best candidate this spring but didn't win the job outright. 

Don't be stunned to see true freshmen Taylor Bible and Ashton Dorsey compete for at least a spot in the rotation. A last resort? Sliding Sam Acho, a potential first-team All-Big 12 end, inside to start the season.

Texas fans are never satisfied.

"I got here [and] I thought winning 10 was pretty cool but nobody else seemed to believe me," Brown said. "I thought when we were 11-2 and everybody was griping I said, 'Ok I'm missing something.' I'm checking everybody that won 11 and there aren't that many of us."

No surprise. Texas and OU rule the Big 12.

A look down the past six years' Big 12 champion reveals what everyone already knows: Texas and Oklahoma rule the Big 12.

But with the departure of the other most historically successful program, Nebraska, the Big 12 will battle the perception that it's a weakened league. And in the immediate future, it will be. This year's preseason coaches' poll tells us at least that, with three teams in the top 10 -- including the Huskers -- and no other Big 12 teams in the remainder of the poll.

 

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Don't worry, the Raiders still hate Aggies. Mike Sherman will miss Mike Leach.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach traded barbs in recent years, most notably when Leach claimed the Dallas Cowboys liked former A&M quarterback Stephen McGee more than his Aggie coaches had.

But Sherman took the high road Monday.

"He liked the idea that he could get Aggies' goats when he wanted to," Sherman said of Leach. "I enjoyed playing those games, yeah."

Those freshmen offensive linemen are being thrown into the fire.

If they say starting as a freshman is a lot like being thrown into a fire, then what do they say about starting at offensive tackle as a freshman and protecting your Heisman candidate of a quarterback’s blind side? Being thrown into hell?

There is a world of difference playing a skill position as a true freshman — a la running back Christine Michael — versus playing in the trenches as a true freshman. Your body hasn’t matured to its potential. You’ve had limited time in a college strength and conditioning program. And the speed and power of the game multiplies exponentially.


“There’s a physical maturity they don’t really have but these guys seem to have overcome that obstacle,” Sherman said last month when asked about his freshman offensive line class.

Jerrod Johnson is on the Manning Award watch list.

Scoring helps, too. The Aggies offense wants to make some noise. Receiver Jeff Fuller knows the college

"It's definitely a positive," Fuller said. "Our sophomores are juniors. Our freshmen are sophomores. Everybody is older."

Mike Sherman just hopes all the freshmen know their left from their right.

For six days starting today, however, A&M will stick to its drill fields and indoor complex, in getting back to the basics with fall camp opening.

"When a third of your team was not with you last year, just getting everybody going in the right direction will be a major coup for us," third-year A&M coach Mike Sherman said.

 

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Anything is possible under Josh Heupel.

Heupel turned Paul Thompson from a disgruntled wide receiver into a Big 12 championship winner. He turned Sam Bradford from an unheralded local recruit to a two-time Big 12 champ, the most prolific Sooner passer ever, a Heisman winner and a No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

And last year, he turned Jones from a wide-eyed redshirt freshman into a confident and prolific Sun Bowl winner.

Some freshmen may have an immediate impact on the Sooner 2010 season.

 

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Thanks to Cowboys Ride For Free for the interview.

The Pokes are in rebuilding mode.

"I think for me to say that we're not rebuilding wouldn't be fair because we've got a number of guys that are going to play that haven't competed at this level,'' Gundy said Sunday at the team's annual media day. "There's not a lot of experience out there.

"We'd like to be in a position someday where we start each year with a number of players that would be in the rotation that have experience.''

That's not the case yet.

Poke QB Brandon Weeden needs someone to play catch.

At OSU, Holgorsen expresses confidence in four returning receivers — Moore, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam (still recovering from foot surgery) and Justin Blackmon. Behind those four, Holgorsen is attempting to identify receivers who can be used on a rotating basis.

(Someone needs to tell Weeden to stay off the enemy golf course.)

Robert Griffin has another target.

While senior tight end Brad Taylor might get most of the snaps at tight end, and fellow sophomore Jerod Monk has a year’s experience under his belt at the position, Willie Jefferson’s move could be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.  Jefferson has demonstrated a willingness to block, has the speed of a wide receiver, and has worked all off-season catching passes.  Add that to the fact that Brad Taylor has yet to remain healthy for a full season, and Jefferson seems to be in perfect position for a break-out year.

Jefferson just might make a name for himself as a red-zone target for Baylor signal-caller Robert Griffin III.  But this season may see Jefferson running more drag routes in the back of the end zone than jump balls thrown to the corner pylon.

It looks like Kansas State has found a quarterback!

The Raiders are still looking but Tuberville has a deadline.

They're back! If the preseason poll says it is true, then by all means it is true.

That must have been some first practice. Nebraska’s already 1-0.

The Huskers’ first victory of the 2010 season actually came on Friday. It arrived in the form of the USA Today coaches’ poll. The Big Red starts out the season at No. 9.

And therein lies the biggest victory for the program in eight years.

Aren't you lucky? The Jayhawks have a tight end and KU Sports interviewed him after the first fall practice.

Missouri plans to continue their winning ways.

In just one subtle quote, the Missouri football coach simultaneously reminded everybody that his program has been pretty good at football the last few years and told everyone, in a specific way, one of the ways he intended to continue that.

"I think what kind of happened to us a little bit was that a lot of players going to the NFL the last few years were coming back leaner than what we had them," Pinkel said, speaking of running back Derrick Washington's weight loss. "We had all the statistics, and we had all the body fat and all the body composition evaluations. They just kind of felt — they lean them up a little bit more than what we did. We decided to look at our players and learn from that."

Even though Sean Weatherspoon graduated, the Tigers still have talent at the linebacker position.

The Raiders may be grounded in the fall.

"I'd say 60-40 pass to runs, maybe 65-35 depending on how the defenses play," Tuberville said last month at the Big 12 Conference's preseason media sessions. "If we get into a game and find a team that can't cover anybody, we're going to throw it a hundred."

The Buffs are confident.

"We`re tired of losing -- sick and tired of losing," said Buff cornerback Jimmy Smith at Saturday morning`s CU media day. "All the work we`ve put in, everything we`ve done -- we`ve done too much to go through the same thing again. It`s going to pay off."

Again, easy to say. You wouldn`t expect Smith to say anything else.But the look in Smith`s eye suggests there`s something different with this year`s team. The young man who is quick to flash a smile shows no sign of even the slightest grin when discussing what`s ahead for the Buffs.

Having only ten teams may give us an interesting first weekend in December.

There’s a great chance that, in lieu of a Big 12 football championship game, the league will play an entire slate of games on that first weekend in December including rivalry games like Texas-Texas Tech, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Texas A&M-Baylor and Kansas-Kansas State. If so, each Big 12 team would probably have two byes in the season. Plus, television would have its pick of the most attractive game that weekend. I’m aboard.

Cowboys Ride For Free. These guys are putting out some great stuff- Big 12 traditions, how to seduce girls at other schools and posts about Nebraska and Bo Pelini. This wins me over forever, along with Samuel's farewell to Cornhuskers. Samuel if you are ever in Austin, dinner is on me.

 

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It has been college football's summer of discontent.

Once upon a time (and not too long ago), the summer was quiet when it came to college football.

Coaches hit the beaches, players returned home and there was very little news from the end of spring practice until the start of preseason camp.

Not anymore.

That summer reprieve has been devoured by a 24-hour news cycle as the game has turned into a 365-day sport.

Everyone wants to come to JerryWorld.

We can't get a pothole fixed, but Jerry Jones can get his Interstate driveway repaved in time for the Superbowl?

NFL training camp may be changing.

“You had competition every day. And now we’ve got so much money invested in guys that, unfortunately as coaches, we make sure that some guys are going to be there.

“I hate it, but that’s part of the business, that’s where we are in the business today.’’

Gailey’s first training camp in Buffalo started July 29, and the coach made a point of scheduling at least one practice in full pads every day. On days when the club practiced twice, he might back off, but not at the expense of the message he was sending.

 

 

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