19 days until the Louisiana-Monroe game
Lamar Houston played the second half of last season with a nagging foot sprain. How did that happen? OU's Phil Loadholt landed on his foot.
Houston still recalls the painful shot he took when Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt landed on his right foot, spraining a ligament.
"He jumped on me," Houston said. "It was like getting your finger slammed in a door. It took six months to heal."
Crimson and Cream Machine has Sergio Kindle as one of their Big 12 players to watch this season. And just for the record, we are sure he loves crashing into Sooner quarterbacks much more than he likes crashing into apartment buildings.
A little something on the running game. Vondrell McGee and Fozzy Whittaker are sharing the No. 1 tailback spot and Tre Newton could see action in third-down situations.
Trivia question. When was the last time a Longhorn running back fumbled the ball?
Vondrell McGee was the last Longhorns running back to lose a fumble.
And he lost that fumble Oct. 20, 2007, in Texas' road win over Baylor.
Several freshman may see some playing time this season. Mack Brown on his newbies:
We think our freshmen class is an outstanding class. We are really excited about those guys. We wish Chris Whaley would get well, because we need to see him. He needs to be full speed before we can really evaluate him, especially in pads. Marquise Goodwin and Greg Timmons have both been really good players for us, and productive players in the early going, so they’ll both have a chance to step up and play, and we mentioned the two tight ends. Obviously Garrett Gilbert who is a guy right now competing for the second-team quarterback spot, and that hasn’t made any movement. Both are dead even as they continue to grow. Right now neither one is ready to step in and play, so we need some work to get one of them or both of them ready to go in three weeks. Defensively, Calvin Howell has looked good. Tevin Mims and Alex Okafor have looked good. Alex is ahead of most of the young guys, because he was here in the spring. That’s important for us. We feel like all of those guys have come on and done a good job for us.
Third and long hasn't been a problem for the Horns.
The Longhorns were third in the nation last year in third-down efficiency, getting the first down 54.9 percent of the time.
Much of that was because the Longhorns seemed able to get first downs when facing third and long.
"If you convert 33 percent of third-and-seven or more you're playing at a very high level," Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. "Last year we were off the charts. We were at like 43 percent conversion. It's hard to count on that."
From Camping with Coach Brown:
In this heat and during a tough pre-season camp, depth is critical. We recruit great players and develop our depth so we can have really competitive practices. We want every guy to be able to come in and push anyone they are up against to get better. I reminded them again tonight that we watch and study every play. We can't afford to let anyone take a lazy step. If we do, that's going to hurt us at a critical point in a game.
That's a big reason why we don't have a depth chart anymore. We're mixing groups of players together to see who and what fits best. We want them to compete for spots on the depth chart every day. At the end, we'll build our team and scheme around getting the best players on the field and we'll continue to compete all season.
A snippet from ESPN's The Magazine article on Colt McCoy:
Ken & Patina Herrington, McCoy's neighbors in Graham, TX:
"Colt charged up the hill, without his shoes and with a flashlight, to guide the EMTs down to Ken (Herrington), a former NASA engineer who helped put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Once Ken was stabilized, Colt, Brad (McCoy) and several neighbors helped the EMTs carry Ken's stretcher up the path. It wasn't until Ken was in the medevac that Patina (Herrington) realized who had helped her husband."Sergio Gonzales, 12-year-old cancer survivor from Austin:
"'Colt treats me like I'm not sick,' says Sergio (Gonzales), who is now cancer-free and plans to return to school part-time in the fall. 'Colt told me to keep fighting, to never give up,' he says."Kay Whitton, McCoy's high school business teacher in Tuscola, TX:""Hey, Miss (Kay) Whitton! It's Colt. I'm in the limo, and we're about to go under the Hudson River.' Whitton was giddy. During the show, ESPN ran a segment on Tuscola, and McCoy was calling to thank his favorite teacher for helping with the logistics. 'I can't tell you what a feeling that was, knowing he took time out of his crazy schedule to call,' she says."
ESPN asks readers to vote on a Fan All-American Team. Go vote.
We actually do other things besides football around the 40 Acres
FoxSports Jeff Goodman sees Texas matchup with UConn as a game to watch next season.
Jan. 23 — Texas at UConn: They haven't picked the site just yet, but no matter where it is, it'll be a terrific matchup.
ESPN's Andy Katz has Damion James on the John Wooden Award possibility list for next season.
Yahoo Sports' Jason King has the Big 12 as the third best basketball conference in the country.
This is easily the most top-heavy conference in college basketball. Led by All-American candidates Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, Kansas enters the season as the overwhelming favorite to win the national title, and some early rankings have Texas as high as No. 2. The Longhorns return all of their top players and welcome in a recruiting class that features a pair of potential starters in Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton. Entertaining as the race between Kansas and Texas will be, the battle for third place will also be entertaining.
For the fourth year in a row, UT ranked No. 1 in selling collegiate merchandise.
Another great revenue producing idea from the athletic department.
UT has partnered with a Louisiana potato chip maker, Zapp's, which has marketed a chip for LSU and will do the same for Texas A&M.
"I'm sure he's going to sell a lot more Texas chips than A&M chips," Westemeier said.
Ohio State has a full cupboard of food products bearing the school's brand. Westemeier said there were other opportunities there for UT, but he wasn't sure just how far we wanted to go with food lines.
And speaking of money... UT was one of the five universities producing the most billionaires.
The quarterback position is still up for grabs.
"Our quarterbacks were solid today, but we still have a long ways to go," Sherman said. "They are making good decisions right now but not timely ones, and we have to make those faster. It's probably still a little bit early (for a decision on the starter). They're both competing, and we're fortunate that we have two good guys competing against each other but at the same time maintaining their friendship. It's a good healthy competition that will bring out the best in both of them."
Jerrod Johnson is still working out that whole quarterback as leader issue.
"Just leadership, toughness out there," Johnson said when asked what he learned from Murray. "He told me, 'You've got to direct the troops. It's your job out there. You're kind of controlling everybody. Take the reins and lead them where they need to go.' "
Defensive tackle Lucas Patterson is now offensive tackle Lucas Patterson. And the change hasn't been easy.
"I've had some difficulties," Patterson said of his shift from defensive tackle this camp. "In moving to a new position — especially on the other side of the ball — you're going to have that."
People still want to know what the heck happened to Aggie football.
"I really can't explain it," said quarterback Jerrod Johnson, a Humble, Texas, native at the Big 12 media days. "Our facilities are great. Our fans are great. We have a great location. We have everything you could ever ask for as far as a football program.
"I can't explain why."
You know your football program is down when the newspaper beat writer has volleyball as the important topic during training camp.
The Aggies beat us at something. Texas A&M has released their very own iPhone app.
MIke Gundy is still in awe over the $283 million renovation of the school's football facilities.
It still amazes Gundy, who knows why his program is walking in high cotton as the biggest opener in school history looms less than a month away against Georgia on Sept. 5.
"I never thought it could be like this because it took too much money," Gundy said. "Who's going to give $200 million? How do you build a facility like this?
"We were fortunate enough to be able to do this because the A&M basketball coach cut Boone Pickens and he ended up at Oklahoma State. None of this would have happened without him."
Defensive end Derek Burton is now a defensive tackle.
Burton had been a defensive end for his entire football career until he made the switch.
"It’s been rough." said Burton. "But it’s something I’ve looked forward to, it’s a challenge."
"At defensive end, there’s a lot more space. Inside (at defensive tackle), you get hit every play, and you have to be able to hold up. You have to have a lot better leverage. You have to understand when you can and can’t use moves. It’s a whole new ballgame."
Did you know that Dez Bryant is the Cowboy's lead punt returner?
"People ask, ‘Well, why do you have Dez Bryant returning punts?’
"Well, just about every time he touches the ball, something good happens."
Gundy places emphasis on a good special teams, especially the kicking game.
The Cowboys have long placed a priority on the kicking game, with the payoff almost annually reflected in the national rankings. Sporting News recently tabbed the Cowboys’ special teams as the best in the nation for 2009, a nod no doubt built around the game-breaking threats of Bryant and Cox.
And he wants to toughen up the Cowboys.
Coach Mike Gundy has racheted up the physical demands throughout fall practice and Thursday morning's practice was punctuated with a brutal run of "nutcracker drills" where Oklahoma State offensive and defensive players gathered in a circle at the end of practice. Almost like clockwork, players lined up in more hitting contests inside the circle while their teammates roared and cheered for their unit's victories.
"It brings a lot of toughness out of you," said tailback Kendall Hunter, who got his time in the circle despite leading the Big 12 in rushing last season. "We go against linebackers and defensive backs all the time. It's good for us to get ready for the season."
Some of the impetus to improve on toughness came at the end of last season, when the Cowboys were outhit late in their Holiday Bowl loss to Oregon.
Scrimmage notes... Still looking for a backup quarterback.
MIddle linebacker Mike Balogun has been de-certified Balogun by the NCAA until it determines if he played in a North American Football League game after his 21st birthday.
His biographical sketch in the OU media guide does not list the year he graduated from high school. But he has told stories of how he worked as a laborer and carpenter’s helper after high school, while also playing two seasons in the semi-pro NAFL--which now calls itself an amateur league and finishes this season the last weekend in September.
Balogun transferred to OU before the 2008 season after being named 2007 conference player of the year at Lackawana (Penn.) College.
Just another excuse to embed this video again. It never gets old.
Everyone in Austin thought they were great last year. The special teams are improving.
Oklahoma's special teams have looked strong in recent practices. Kicker Jimmy Stevens showed improved range at Thursday's open practice with field goals of 50 and 53 yards.
Bob Stoops actually opened up the first hour of Thursday's practice to fans.
When Stoops waved his arms at the crowd at Thursday's practice, inciting applause following a 50-yard field goal by Jimmy Stevens, he had a purpose. A few minutes before, they had cheered Sam Bradford's long pass to Adron Tennell, and Stoops wanted to hear more.
"It's funny, they only cheer when there's an offensive play," he said. "If the defense intercepts the ball, they're all quiet over there, or if a kicker makes a 53-yard field goal — I was just kidding, just trying to get a little response out of 'em (to) just appreciate everybody, not just the fun plays to watch."
Dallas Morning News headline: Oklahoma's Defense Developing A Mean Streak. Developing a mean streak?
The way Venables sees it, all that experience only increases the Sooners' ability to be aggressive.
"You can have that energy, you can have all the intensity when you know what you're doing," Venables said. "You've been there; you've done that; you're sure of yourself; so you can kind of turn it loose a little bit more."
That great Sooner defense is still looking for a defensive end.
Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Wilson says the competition at defensive end is still wide open. Sophomore Frank Alexander and redshirt freshman R.J. Washington have impressed coaches, but none have played to the level of Jeremy Beal, who Wilson said was the only player he could name as a starter this early in camp.
Offensive tackle Trent Williams is impressed with the young line.
Although Oklahoma’s offensive line is of chief concern to those outside the program, even the least experienced linemen have impressed senior Trent Williams, the lone returning starter.
"I feel like we’re on schedule ... maybe a little bit ahead of schedule because of the stuff the young guys are learning things so fast," Williams said. "In my first year, we were learning how to fix the huddle, how to stand in the huddle right, to see which way the play was going, but now we’re going so fast, the speed of lightning, and the young guys are catching on."
NewsOK seems to like polls. The paper asked Sooner fans some questions about OU's bowl troubles.
Would you rather OU lose in the BCS National Championship, or win the Cotton Bowl?
→Prefer to lose in the BCS title game: 67 percent
→Prefer to win the Cotton Bowl: 33 percent
Yes, Sooner fans, this is what a multi-million dollar coaching salary will buy these days... Bob doesn't like to be bothered by lowly fans at Big 12 Media Days. Fans that buy tickets, support the team and buy the merchandise (which he wouldn't sign) to help to pay his huge salary.
Jon wrote about an autograph rebuff: “I just wanted to tell you how classless and insensitive Bob Stoops came off during the Big 12 Media Days. I was one of the two fans today that Stoops shunned on his way from the convention center to the main lobby. There were exactly two adult fans and one little boy who he raced passed and barely spoke to when spoken to. At least Sam did sign the boy’s football, but when I asked if Sam would sign my jersey that I wore to the BCS game in Miami, Stoops said, “We can’t do that,” whatever that means. I have been a season ticket holder for almost 20 years and followed the team from Miami to Phoenix to Pasadena to support OU in various bowls. OU season tickets are the one area where my wife and I splurge as we both enjoy watching and supporting OU athletics. Not only that, but I took a half day off from work to come out to try and meet Sam, Jermaine and Gerald since they were close to my home. With only three fans seeking autographs, it’s not like it would’ve caused a scene and taken an hour or more to accommodate your supporters. I was shocked at Stoops’ callous attitude and unwillingness to spend five minutes with fans that came out and spent their day just waiting for an opportunity to meet Stoops and the players.”
MIke Leach knows quarterbacks. The Red Raider head coach talks about Big 12 QBs.
The Kansas City Star looks at running backs and rushing stats in the Big 12.
Sporting News attempts some math equations and comes up with the toughest conference divisions.
The life of a Big 12 referee.
Michael Crabtree was coming in his direction. A stadium full of people and a national television audience seemed to be holding its collective breath. Crabtree caught the ball, made a pivot and tiptoed his way into the end zone for the most recognizable touchdown of the year.And Gene Semko was right there, right there on the goal line ... watching those feet.
Crabtree, of course, scored that touchdown last November to keep
TexasTech undefeated and to knock the University of Texas from the ranks of the undefeated. The play was repeated time and again, nominated for an ESPY Award and etched in the memories of college football fans forever.
And Semko was right there.
The 56-year-old El Paso attorney spends his fall Saturdays that way -- smack in the middle of the excitement, officiating Big 12 Conference football games. That moment last November was exceptionally exciting but, for Semko, it all is exciting. The perspective, though, has changed a bit over the last 14 years.
This Colorado tailback is more than just a pretty face. Brian Lockridgehas put his modeling career on hold to play football.
But as for modeling, he might have parlayed it into a lucrative sidelight beyond his high school years had the NCAA approved of such things. Lockridge explored it during his freshman year at CU, but he could not receive clearance (remember Jeremy Bloom?) because it would jeopardize his amateur status.
Still, the feelers have kept coming. Abercrombie & Fitch, according to Lockridge, had eyed him for a photo shoot to pitch its 2010 spring/summer clothing line - but that was planned for this month.
Sorry, he was already spoken for by a regularly scheduled August event called preseason football camp.
Junior college transfer Quintin Woods is just what Mark Mangino is looking for. In a pass rusher.
At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Woods looks like a prototypical speed rusher. And while getting to the quarterback has brought Woods this far, Mangino doesn't want to limit his potential.
"He is not just a pass rush guy," Mangino said. "I think he can be a really great run-stopper, too, because he understands leverage."
Very tacky headline. Coach Mangino is a big man on the Kansas campus.
That sound you hear in Lawrence isn't the squeak of sneakers on hardwood. It's "ka-ching!" in the fall. Last year's 50,907 average was Kansas' fourth consecutive attendance record. When Perkins arrived in 2003, one year after Mangino, season tickets were about 15,000. Today, they're close to a record 40,000. Annual fundraising has gone from about $1.5 million in 2003 to $15 million. The athletic department budget has jumped from $23 million to $60 million.
Tiger fans may see a lot more of De'Vion Moore this year.
(Derrick) Washington is clearly the No. 1 option in the Tigers backfield coming into the season. His vision and excellent skills as a receiver make him a threat to become a dynamic player in the Big 12.
But while Washington provides the back with the elusive running style, Moore provides the power.
"If he's not the strongest running back on the team, then he's one of them," sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert said.
Missouri's special teams played a very important role in last year's 10-4 season. This year things are a little uncertain.
Thanks to the most dazzling return man in school history (Jeremy Maclin) and the most automatic kicker (Jeff Wolfert) in the history of major- college football , the Tigers could heavily influence outcomes in that phase of the game.
Consider Maclin's 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Illinois and 75-yard punt return for a TD against Northwestern, for instance, and Wolfert's late 34-yard field goal in a 31-28 win over Baylor.
Take away those three plays and MU might well have gone 7-7 instead of 10-4.
Take away those two players, and no wonder Mizzou has uncertainty at those spots as it prepares for its opener Sept. 5 against Illinois at the Edward Jones Dome.
ISU coach Paul Rhodes on the Cyclone's first scrimmage.
Someone in Iowa thinks that the Cyclones might have a 4-1 start. No, really. They just need some confidence.
Nothing changes a college football team - and a season - like confidence. Nothing. If you think you're going to beat Nebraska, as long as your roster isn't loaded with complete stiffs, you've got a shot.
But you have to believe first. If I'm Rhoads, I want to end every September with my team feeling ducky about itself. I want them to trust themselves. I want a cushion of self-assurance to act as an airbag when the big boys of the Big 12 start treating me the way a monster truck treats a '78 Pinto.
The Cornhuskers are deep thinkers.
Think about Nebraska going more vertical with its passing game and it would appear the Huskers have the means.
A strong-armed quarterback in Zac Lee. A number of fleet receivers. The potential for a solid running game that could put NU in ideal throwing situations.
"Zac has a good arm, and we've got a lot of speed,'' NU receiver Niles Paul said. "So Zac can put it out there for us.''
Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh may be among the best, if not the best.
Bo Pelini is being compared to Nebraska's beloved Bob Devaney.
The defensive line is key to Kansas State's rebuilding year.
Snyder is back, and fans hope his trademark defense — the one that routinely frustrated Heisman Trophy candidates — is also coming out of retirement. The starting point to improving the Big 12’s worst defense is the line. With three starters returning and an infusion of talent, Snyder and his coaches might be able to transform the line from a weakness to a strength.
"We have more depth," sophomore defensive end Brandon Harold said. "I believe that with coaching alone, we will become a better team, definitely a better unit."
If the line can improve its tackling and pass-rushing, the linebackers and secondary are carried along to a higher level.
This is stating the obvious... Robert Griffin was a standout during the Bear's scrimmage.
"I think he's right where he needs to be as far as composure, execution and confidence," head coach Art Briles said. "That's what you want out of that position. He's got the experience now."
Baylor has a great quarterback, but what about his receivers?
Nevertheless, when it comes to their crop of rookie receivers, the Bears are counting on several guys to catch on quickly.
Despite the return of key holdovers like Kendall Wright, Ernest Smith and David Gettis, Baylor expects a handful of newbies to lend a helping hand on offense this season. Exactly which ones remains to be seen.
"With Ernest and Kendall, I’ve been through it a bunch," Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin said. "I kind of know what they’re going to do in certain situations, whereas with a new guy you never really know how he’s going to run his routes. That’s just a timing thing, and you’ve got to overcome that. But it’s the guys who overcome it the fastest and who I jell with who are going to get to play."
ESPN's Tim Griffin has three predictions for Texas Tech.
1. Leach will wonder why he moved the Texas game ahead to Sept. 19. The Red Raiders were going to have trouble winning in Texas no matter when the game was scheduled -- especially considering the Longhorns' memories of last season's gut-wrenching loss in Lubbock. But the Red Raiders' hopes would have been a lot better in November when the game was originally scheduled than moving it to the third week of the season. It will be Potts' first road game and Leach likely would prefer a test run before throwing him to the wolves -- especially more than 100,000 people at Royal Memorial Stadium. Baron Batch's condition might be iffy, depending on how serious his arm injury is. It won't be a pleasant experience and Leach will wonder if playing the game as scheduled would have worked out better for his team.Sources say that Raider
Texas Tech freshman Aundrey Barr is being compared to Brandon Williams, the defensive end who ranked among the top five in the nation in sacks last season.
Barr’s impact is more likely to come on the back half of his career, after he’s had more time to develop. His talent captivates Tech coaches, though, which is where the comparison to Williams might be more appropriate.
"There’s so many things he needs to work on technically that need to be accomplished,’’ defensive line coach Charlie Sadler said. "The thing is, he’s improving every day. When he learns our schemes, our defensive calls and gets more refined on his technique, he certainly has the athletic ability to be a player someday.’’
Mike Leach has high praise for receiver Derrick Mays.
"Real good, real fast," Tech coach Mike Leach said this week. "One of the most explosive kids out of high school that we’ve dealt with. I think he just needs to polish his receiving skills, but he’s got great raw ability."
In the first week of preseason practice, Tech coaches have begun trying to put Mays’ outstanding track speed to work in the Red Raiders’ offense. The 6-foot, 166-pound wide receiver ran a 21.19 200 meters to finish fourth in the Class 5A state meet his junior year, and outran current Tech receiver Detron Lewis to win district in the 200 when Mays was a sophomore.
Sources say that Raider running back Baron Batch will be out 3-6 weeks.
See how nicely the Sooners escorted the Washington team from their locker room? Who needs a handshake?
Isn't that special. The NCAA wants to promote good sportsmanship.
Before Oklahoma tests its national championship aspirations against Brigham Young and Alabama and Virginia Tech butt top 10 rankings in Atlanta — before the hits start coming and tensions ratchet up on college football's opening weekend — the sport is asking for a little civility.
Coast to coast, players and coaches from each pair of opposing teams are being urged to walk onto the field for a pre-kickoff handshake. See folks? We can all play nice.
Officials hope it sets a tone for sportsmanlike behavior on the field and in the stands.
"It is symbolic," says former Baylor coach Grant Teaff, who heads the Texas-based American Football Coaches Association. "But it is, we think, a very important initiative."
Rep. Joe Barton. AP Photo.
President Obama has had other issues on his mind, but Rep. Joe Barton hasn't given up.
Rep. Joe Barton had a plane to catch, but he wanted to give college football officials a warning before leaving the highly publicized hearing.
Peering down from the podium, the Republican said in his Texas twang that unless the officials took action toward a playoff system in two months, Congress would likely move on his legislation aimed at forcing their hand.
More than three months have passed, and Barton's bill hasn't moved. Such is the way with college football and Congress.
Barton insisted in a telephone interview that there's a good chance his bill will pass the House this year.
"The key is finding a place on the agenda" in a year crowded with high-profile issues, he said. "We'll keep plugging away."
We are not No. 1. In fact, we did not even make the top 5. Penn State has the softest schedule.
Some interesting thoughts on dealing with a player's off-field behavior and the coach's responsibility and job status.
Go Cougars. BYU has something to prove and they plan to do just that in their game with Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma game happens to be the biggest for BYU since the 1990 Miami game in Provo. That day, Ty Detmer and crew defeated the Hurricanes 28-21. The possibilities are endless for the league and its flagship program. An upset victory would be one of the biggest in Cougars history, create a kickoff to a possible undefeated season and make BYU the No. 1 BCS buster. Even a close loss doesn't exactly ruin the Cougars' dreams.
The thing is, they believe they can pull it off.
New Mexico State has some great fans. New Mexico State had to cut 1.5 million from their athletic budget and the football program cut back on after practice snacks. Fans were asked to step in and donate. They came through for the Aggies.
The good news for Walker and his players has been the community's response. The memo went out after the first day of practice, and six donors wasted no time before they ponied up.
We're not talking about Cheetos here.
"It's good stuff like trail mix or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," linebacker Jamar Cotton said. "We had a guy bring in a bunch of watermelons. That was great. The team was excited. It was like little kids getting lollypops."
Tim Tebow not only leads the Florida team as Heisman winner and quarterback, but Urban Meyer trusts his opinion on hiring decisions.
Tebow served on the search committee that tabbed Loeffler, who had recruited Tebow at Michigan, and preferred him over a coach with a spread-offense background.
"Tim made a point that to hire a guy just versed in our offense, what are we really gaining?" Meyer said. "He said, ‘Let’s hire a guy with a little different perspective.’ "
Tebow said that could result in some slightly different looks.
"One of those adjustments and one of those packages will probably be a pro-style package," Tebow said. "The No. 1 reason is that we have the offensive line and the running backs."
Author note: BDR now runs Monday through Friday. Once the season starts, there will also be a special edition on Sunday summarizing all the news about the game. I hope the Daily Roundup is interesting and one of the reasons you keep coming back to BON. Feedback is always appreciated and any ideas, thoughts, etc. to make this better are welcome and encouraged. Email dimecoverage at gmail.com. Thanks in advance for the input.