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Bevo's Daily Roundup - August 13, 2009

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22 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game


Texas players will add something to the helmet this year: A yellow ribbon.

The Longhorns' helmets for 2009 have a small yellow ribbon on the back of the helmet that is a tribute to United States service men and women.

Brown said he got the inspiration for the display of support after his trip to visit U.S. troops in the Middle East and Europe earlier this year.

Tim Griffin has three predictions for Texas.

Fozzy Whittaker will emerge as Texas' featured running back.

Texas will surpass last season's total of 16 turnovers produced by Nov. 1.

The Longhorns will not go undefeated in 2009.

I like their predictions better than what preceded this. Bowl predictions from Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman.

Here's your daily dose of Camping With Mack.




The Aggies are intent on improving their running game this season.

Michael, at 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, is slightly taller and heavier than Gray and Stephens, each 5-10 and 200 pounds — although Gray is doing his best to catch him. Gray said he's put on about 15 pounds in the offseason.

A&M needs all the extra weight it can muster at the position. The Aggies were, by far, the Big 12's worst rushing team last season. They finished with 89 yards per game, 29 yards per game behind the second worst team, Texas Tech.

"In order for us to have success, we have to run the football a heck of a lot better than we did last year," Sherman said.

A&M finished 114th nationally in rushing, ahead of only five other teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.




Oklahoma State

An injury to Zac Robinson is the Cowboy's worst nightmare.

Robinson is the Cowboys offense. More than Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow, Robinson is what makes the Cowboys go. He is the oil, the fuel and the motor. The Heisman trophy finalists from last year are all of those things, but the simple fact is that Robinson’s best backup may be freshman quarterback Clint Chelf.

What happens if Robinson is injured this season? Anyone heard of Alex Cate or Brandon Weeden? OU has the same problem.

How did the Sooners and Cowboys get in these quarterback situations?

Several reasons. One of the biggest is that Bradford and Robinson played so well early in their careers that they either scared off potential recruits or ran off the ones who were on campus.

So which team will be in deeper doo-doo if it loses its starting quarterback? The guess at this point is OSU.

OU's defense appears stout enough to keep the Sooners in most games. OSU, meanwhile, hopes its defense can just keep it close enough for Robinson and his multi-talented offensive teammates to score the 30, 40 or 50 points it might take to win.

Tim Griffin has three predictions for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State's offense will remain the most balanced in the Big 12.

Bill Young will coax more sacks out of his defense.

The Cowboys still don't have the talent -- particularly defensively -- to match up with either Texas or Oklahoma.



Sooners break out the pads and NewsOK has a practice report. One interesting note:

Off. coordinator Kevin Wilson admitted the o-line "struggled" Monday against the Sooner def. line. Not surprising. OU’s d-line will make a lot of teams struggle.

More on the center situation in Norman.

Mossis Madu is versatile enough to move from running back to slot receiver.

"He has a chance to be a great receiver this year," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "Everyone saw the type of football player he is towards the end of the year last year in the Big 12 Championship.

"I think we realized, the more the ball is in his hands, the better the offense will be."

This is not good news from Utah.




Whatever happened to all the Big 12 Heisman winners?

The South

Texas Tech has reloaded. Mike Leach isn't the least bit concerned.

"You know, it's a yearly ritual, honestly," Leach said, sounding anything but concerned.

"So, yeah, there are some guys that are going to play that most people haven't heard of. But they've been around our place for a while, and we feel good about them. I think they're going to do well. I don't feel like there's a big letdown this year."

"I don't know that we'll have an individual player that's as good as Crabtree was among the receivers," Leach said. "But I think the overall receiving unit is going to be a little deeper and could very well overall be better."

Raider running back Baron Batchleft practice with an undetermined arm injury.

Baylor's cornerbacks knew what they signed up for.

Every week, they look across the line and see great Big 12 quarterbacks like Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson.

They know they’re going to see 30, 40 or maybe 50 passes thrown on any given day.

Cornerbacks are constantly in the harsh spotlight, yet they live for it.

"You know you’re going to face the best quarterbacks in the country every week," Baylor cornerback Clifton Odom said. "But you sign with a Big 12 school because you want that kind of challenge. If you don’t want to be challenged, cornerback is the wrong position for you."


The North

Two former high school rivals man the right side of the Buffs' offensive line.

Just a couple years ago Ryan Miller and Bryce Givens wanted to tear each other apart.

They made the most of their one opportunity on the football field in the 2006 Class 5A state championship game when Miller's Columbine team defeated Givens and Mullen.

"We were head up for most of the game," Givens said. "I was choking him. He was giving me clubs to the head. Yeah, we didn't like each other at all. It was a straight-up brawl the whole game."

They spent last season with lockers right next to each other. They have been to each other's houses, gone to movies and out to dinner together. All of those activities were once unthinkable.

Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler is very intense.

"We have to get to the point where there are no free passes," Ekeler said. "If a receiver's going to drag across the middle, we're going to take his damn head off.

"We're going to be physical in the run game. We're not going to take a side on a fullback. We're going to hit him right under the chin -- split his chin -- and get off and make the play."

Todd Reesing is a leader on and off the field.

"When guys are having fun, it’s easy to work hard," Reesing said. "When everyone’s dead and kind of dragging around the field and not positive, it’s hard to go out there and work hard."

A positive approach to work so beats putting on a phony, somber facade. He gets that, which is pretty impressive for a man of 21.

"College football is supposed to be fun," Reesing said. "It’s not supposed to be a chore. It’s a privilege. We’re privileged to be able to play college football and to play at the University of Kansas. And that’s the way I feel. I love practicing and competing. There is nothing I’d rather be doing. As captain and a quarterback and a leader on this team, I have to be out there having fun, showing enthusiasm and being positive. When guys are dragging, the first person they are going to look to is, ‘What’s Todd doing?’ If I’m over there yelling, clapping, having fun, it’s a lot more likely those guys are doing the same. Enthusiasm is contagious."

When good just isn't good enough. To be considered an elite contender, Kansas needs to win the big ones.

"We can’t hide from the fact we need to win some of those games, against Oklahoma and Texas," coach Mark Mangino said. "Who are we trying to fool? We can be good, be a lot of things, but if we want to compete for championships, we have to win some of those games.

"That’s a fact of life."