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Bevo's Daily Roundup - August 11, 2009

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25 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game


Mack Brown, blogger.

Will Muschamp's thoughts on the first day of practice.

The Horns have six defensive tackles in rotation for the season. Is this a problem?

Three of the six have yet to take a snap in a college game. The lone returning starter is Lamarr Houston, who moved from end to tackle last season because of a shortage at the position.

Will Muschamp, the defensive coordinator, said Sunday he has no plans to shift another end to tackle. But that could change as camp evolves. Muschamp also envisions using more 3-4 alignments, which require only one tackle, to supplement the team’s base 4-3 defense.

"Six is plenty to play with," Muschamp said of the tackle rotation, where depth has been thinned by the loss of two players (Jarvis Humphrey and Michael Wilcoxon) to career-ending medical issues since the close of spring drills. "We’ll adapt and adjust  … to get the best scheme and the best 11 on the field. If it means moving somebody, we will. But it’s not something we feel like we have to do right now."

Muschamp left open the possibility that incoming freshmen Calvin Howell and Derek Johnson could see immediate playing time at tackle.

"We’re going to play the best players. If that means using some freshmen, we’re going to do it," he said.

Who will back up Colt McCoy?

The second-string quarterback is a question mark. The competition is between junior Sherrod Harris and freshman Garrett Gilbert, who was the top high school quarterback prospect in the country. Coach Mack Brown said Harris and Gilbert will start training camp even.

ESPN's Tim Griffin put out his preseason power rankings and Texas comes in at No. 1.

Other than that, I still like Texas over Oklahoma by a smidge -- although the lack of a tight end or quick improvement from the Sooners' offensive line could cause those to change.

Sergio Kindle's mishap with the apartment building has helped him mature as a leader.

The oddsmakers have Rick Barnes and the Horns third in line for the title next year.




The goal this year? Six wins.

Who would've ever thought that Aggie football would be praying for a six-win season? Well, six wins is the goal for this particular squad. Six wins means that they will get a bowl game with a national audience to show that Texas A&M football is, indeed, on the way up. It's just that getting there seems unlikely given the current circumstances.

Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson should have a better year.

"Those last games, he didn't have a chance," said Head Coach Mike Sherman. "He was running for his life. Nonetheless, he has to work on his ball security issues and making better decisions. Last year, we had too many untimely turnovers."




Oklahoma State

The Cowboys have one thing on their mind: Georgia.

Fans and analysts alike view the SEC as one of the most competitive conference in the country. So Georgia should be prepared for the big-game atmosphere.

"They aren’t going to be scared," sophomore tight end Jamal Mosley said. "They play in the SEC in front of thousands of fans like at Florida, Tennessee. We’ll have to step up and play ball."

Fortunately for OSU, the game will be played at Boone Pickens Stadium. Six of the Cowboys’ last eight season openers were on the road, including the past two years, when they faced Georgia and Washington State.

Zac Robinson has a hamstring pull and may be out a day.

NewsOK has a few practice notes. Wide receiver Tracy Moore looks impressive.

Former Union WR Tracy Moore continues to impress. His exceptional body control, great hands and general feel for getting open is uncanny. I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw some time as a freshman, especially in third down situations. He just seems to have a knack for getting open.

The NCAA is investigating the transcript of OSU freshman safety Joe Mitchell.



Tim Griffin has three predictions for the Sooners. The first one has to make everyone happy:

1. Bradford's passing statistics will decline some this season. The retooled offensive line will be the most scrutinized part of Oklahoma's offensive transformation. But Bradford will also miss experienced players like Juaquin Iglesias and Manny Johnson from last season. Ryan Broyles and Adron Tennell are nice players, but not as good as Bradford's veteran threats from last season that have departed. Because of that, I'd be surprised if Bradford matches his 2008 totals of 50 touchdown passes and 4,720 passing yards.

Junior college transfer Cameron Kenney is versatile.

"Cameron, I saw for the first time (Thursday) punting and kicking. What a talented guy," coach Bob Stoops said. "He was bombing some of those punts."

While Kenney’s primary focus will remain at wide receiver, he should be a huge all-around addition to OU’s special teams, which weren’t always special last season.

The Sooner defense feels it needs to get mean and nasty this season.

Perhaps more than a growing quarterback tradition with two Heisman Trophy winners and one runner-up, the hallmark of Stoops' decade in Norman has been stingy defenses. But last year's unit ended the year a middle-of-the-pack 68th in total defense, and players are none too happy about it.

"We've got to be just like a grimy, angry, mean defense," second-team All-America defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "We've got to be more selfish and stingy. We just can't give up anything. We don't plan to give up anything this year."

The Sooners bring back nine starters on defense, needing only to fill holes at both safety positions. A big part of this preseason is teaching the right attitude instead of just Xs and Os.

"You want all your guys to be right on the edge of going completely and totally berserk and ballistic, and at the same time holding composure. I think having experience does that," Venables said.




The South

Texas Tech receivers will be battling it out for playing time.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and his offensive staff typically aim for an eight-receiver rotation — two players at each of their four receiver positions.

There will be plenty of battles for those spots in this preseason camp, especially at the outside slots. Edward Britton and Adrian Reese ended spring as 1-2 at split end, but after missing much of spring practice, Lyle Leong has quickly reinserted himself into the picture.


The North

It is good to know they are catching something. Mizzou is optimistic, especially the receivers.

And so it was Saturday at Missouri’s third day of football practice, with Andrew Jones, the tight end who would replace Chase Coffman, making a startling prediction about the MU receiving corps.

"I think we might be just as good as last year," Jones said.

And then there was Wes Kemp, the wideout who would replace Jeremy Maclin, saying something that on the surface seemed even more patently absurd.

"We think we can definitely improve on the receiving corps we had last year," Kemp said.

Freshman receiver T.J. Moe played quarterback in high school but has moved to the H-receiver spot, Jeremy Machlin's position for the Tigers.

"I got so used to reading coverages in high school, you know what the coverage is just by looking at the linebackers and how the corners are facing," said Moe, who played wide receiver his sophomore year at Fort Zumwalt West. "Obviously you learn to read disguises, too. As a receiver, it helps out a lot. … But I’ve never had a problem learning stuff. As a quarterback you had to know what every player on offense was doing."

The Tigers are working smarter, not harder.

The generic "two-a-days" term has been a misnomer in college football since NCAA legislation before the 2004 season limited double sessions to every other day. Mizzou’s 30-day practice schedule before its Sept. 5 opener against Illinois at the Edward Jones Dome features just five days of two practices.

Tigers coach Gary Pinkel, though, had embraced the less punishing training since 1993 at Toledo.

An inordinate number of his Rockets were injured during that camp, he said Saturday morning after MU’s one and only practice of the day. Seeking input on amending that, Pinkel contacted the San Francisco 49ers because of their success at the time and discovered they never went double sessions two days in a row.

From that point forward, Pinkel adopted the same policy. In the years since, he believes it has minimized pre-season injuries.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing is the spark in their offense.

"He's been able to spark our offense," KU coach Mark Mangino said. Refraining, just slightly, from using the nickname Sparky, Mangino eventually went on to call Reesing "the chauffeur."

"He's been able to ab lib at times, which is good once in a while," Mangino added. "Sometimes he likes to ab lib a lot, and we have to pull him back in.

"But that's what makes him unique, you know, the idea that he believes in himself and that he can make plays when there's not one. Kind of really reflects his personality, that he always thinks he can overcome. He always wants to prove the opposition wrong."

In other words, yes, Reesing is short. Far from a tall Texan, his listed height (5-foot-11) is a bit generous.

Sporting News has Kansas at No. 25 in their Top 100.

Nebraska has a solid running game and a new quarterback. The offensive line held regular meetings during the summer to make sure they were ready for the season.

"We need to create more depth and shore up some spots," coach Bo Pelini said of the O-line. "Time will tell. There are a lot of question marks on the whole football team. I'm not real comfortable with anybody yet."

As Zac Lee settles into his new role early this fall, Smith said the linemen would like nothing more than to relieve the junior QB of some heat by helping the Huskers rush the ball effectively.

The Quad has Nebraska coming in at No. 22 in the preseason countdown.

Good luck with that. Iowa State plans to use a lot of nickel coverage to attempt to slow down Big 12 offenses.

If you can't beat them, just try to confuse them. Colorado will shift between a 3-4 and 4-3 alignment.

Colorado has used both formations in the past, and coaches aren't saying whether the 3-4 (three down linemen, four linebackers) will be featured more frequently this season. Don't expect a wholesale commitment to the 3-4, as the Broncos have made. But for CU to place a greater emphasis on the 3-4 would not come as a surprise.

It's no secret that the Buffaloes' roster is, at this point, blessed with more numbers, talent and experience at linebacker than what is available up front.

"Us linebackers have to be ready to cover up the mistakes that our young defensive line is going to make," senior linebacker Jeff Smart acknowledged.




Dennis Dodd put out his All-Decade College Football Team.

As if they aren't ticked enough in Austin these days, Vince Young didn't make the list. Young was perhaps the best athlete of the decade, the sixth-winningest quarterback in history. Once again, not good enough.

It is an elite club, this all-decade team. With a season left in The Golden Decade, it is time to recognize on the players who made it that way.