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Bevo's Daily Roundup - September 1, 2009

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4 more days until the Louisiana-Monroe game.

Game week is here!


Louisiana-Monroe scares Mack.

Texas is definitely not looking past Louisiana-Monroe.

"They’re going to get after you, especially considering how some people perceive them," said Texas linebacker-defensive end Sergio Kindle.

Texas coach Mack Brown was fighting hard Monday against the perception that the Longhorns expect a romp.

So many questions. Did anyone find the answers? Most likely, not the Austin American-Statesman.

And even more questions from The Dallas Morning News.

Brown was asked if he had a strategy this season for blowouts. He immediately looked like he had eaten some especially spicey Tex-Mex food.

"I wonder how many people in American on Monday are talking about blowouts," said Brown, whose team enters Saturday ranked second in both the AP and USA Today polls. "Boy, are we spoiled."

We aren't just all offense, you know. We do have a defense.

"Unless your defense is whipping your offense every day," Brown said, "you’ve got problems."

By all accounts, the Texas Longhorns have no such worries this season. In what Brown has called the most encouraging preseason camp of his 12-year tenure at UT, the unquestioned star has been coordinator Will Muschamp’s defense.

Garrett Gilbert might get some playing time.

"We would like to get him on the field," Brown said. "You’ve got to be fair to your team, fair to Colt. In the past, we’ve sometimes put a (new) quarterback into the third series, or the fifth series, or try to get him in in the first half."

Colt McCoy's relationship with Greg Davis is like a marriage.

It's like a marriage. At first, everything's great. Can't be any better. And all of a sudden, the tough decisions start popping up. Do we drive this car? What house do we buy? For us, it's: How do we win games and a championship? You live through that and come to have a great respect for each other. And we both have a great love for the game and studying it and trying to get better at it.

McCoy has his own entourage as he walks around campus.

This spring, I had to start going to class incognito. I always try to walk in a group, and I have my hat down low and try to blend in with anybody. It's kind of a game, and over the semester it got to be pretty fun. How often can I get from the locker room to class without being stopped for a picture or autograph?

I have different guys I walk with—the Tuesday-Thursday group is different than the Monday-Wednesday group. The guys take me through the dining hall, and then they're my escorts to class. It's really fun when my offensive linemen get out there and think they're trying to get me to the end zone.

Another great article from our hometown paper. Adam Ulatoski and Jordan Shipley will get old man jokes.




Really? We hadn't noticed. The Aggies have some big challenges this season.

Mike Sherman spent 20 months getting all of his players to accept the way he wants to run Texas A&M’s football program. Or, as he likes to say, "getting everyone in the boat."

Unfortunately, there’s lots of choppy waters ahead, maybe the most in the program’s history.

There is definitely a better attitude among the players this year.

All for one, one for all.

In a sense, they are the Maroon Musketeers, these Texas A&M football players. They'll testify that, unlike a year ago in Mike Sherman's first season as head coach, there are no more me-first guys contaminating a locker room — "the most important room on campus in my mind," Sherman says — that already was fragile after the exit of Dennis Franchione.

Players say the atmospheric difference is noticeable.

There really isn't much to talk about in College Station, is there? Mike Sherman lost weight.




Oklahoma State

Robinson said that they have more receiver talent than just Dez Bryant.

The Georgia game will be a test of the Cowboy's legitimacy.

The Georgia game should be infinitely interesting and an immediate indicator of OSU's legitimacy in the national picture. If the Cowboys win by two touchdowns, just imagine the surge of confidence that would wash through the OSU program.

Gundy isn't used to all the excitement surrounding his program.

"It's good that there's a lot of excitement in the community, but you always worry about that as a coach," Gundy said Monday morning in a teleconference with Big 12 reporters. "I think our players are mature enough to practice well and stay focused and disciplined, but there's no question that it affects you. It just does.

"There's been more coverage, there's been more talk and excitement than there ever has been around here since I've been around, and that goes back to the mid-'80s. So I think that it can factor in, but you just hope when you kick it off that everything will settle down and guys will go out and play hard. You know, that's the one thing that we're always asked our players, is to play extremely hard and put everything else aside.

The Georgia Bulldogs are road-tested and road-ready.

No pressure. Boone Pickens expects a huge ROI this season.

He's hopeful for an 11-0 start for his Cowboys going into a season-closing Bedlam showdown with Oklahoma, which would mean regular-season wins over Georgia and Texas. A BCS bid might be a reality for the first time, given Oklahoma State's high-powered offense and the hiring of veteran defensive coordinator Bill Young.

"It would be big," Pickens said of the BCS. "I haven't been there. It would probably make me pee in my pants."



It was just the first day of class. The best academic day the Sooners have ever had?

BYU will be a great test for the Sooner defense.

"They're really efficient," Stoops said. "They have an excellent quarterback, a great tight end and a great running back. That's the rub. They do a really good job with their skill guys, using them all of them. They make you deal with it all.

"They're very efficient and excellent throwing the ball but they also run the ball really well. As a defense, you've got to be able to handle both, hopefully be great against the run and hopefully get pressure on their quarterback."

Will the offensive line hold up?

LIke OSU, the Sooners are not taking the easy road in their nonconference schedule.

Stoops has lost only one of his 10 season openers at Oklahoma, in 2005 against TCU, a Mountain West Conference foe like BYU. He has only had to go on the road for one opener, an instate game at Tulsa seven years ago.

This time, it's a neutral site game in a nearly $1.1 billion stadium.

"We're not anxious to do it a whole lot," Stoops said. "In this case, our fans and people are really excited about it."

A little bulletin board material?

"But they're just a football team, you know what I mean?" -BYU quarterback Max Hall on OU.

DeMarco Murray likes to refer to himself by his name.

When DeMarco Murray speaks, he occasionally avoids personal pronouns and refers to himself by name, DeMarco Murray, which can make you feel like you're in a Seinfeld episode or maybe an old Saturday Night Live skit with Al Franken, the recovering comic.




ESPN's Tim Griffin looks at longevity for Big 12 coaches.

Mack Brown, Texas: Poised to go down in history as one of the greatest coaches in Texas history, I can see Brown always being employed by the school in some form or fashion. But as the head coach, I'm not so sure. With Muschamp waiting in the wings, the Longhorns have an orderly transition in place for settling on their next coach. How long it might be is anybody's guess. I could see Brown riding into the sunset if he ever won another BCS title. And that might come sooner than later.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: Even with the recent BCS losses, he's as secure as any coach in the nation with a multi-million dollar annuity upcoming. Six Big 12 titles -- no other coach has more than one -- provide a sense of cache. But I still get the idea that this isn't his last coaching job. Maybe it's an NFL position; maybe it's another big-time college. He likely will consider it when his kids get older and might be looking for another coaching challenge somewhere down the line. But I don't look for it to happen anytime soon.

Bill Snyder believes that eventually the spread offense will run its course and Big 12 teams will have more of a balance between the running and passing game.

Snyder said he believes the spread attack is just another phase that is going through the system of college football and that the once powerful running game that was at the forefront of college football will once again become relevant in the Big 12.

"It will happen when the conference rolls back to balancing your offense, or the run game becomes dominant," he said. "I'm sure it will (occur), I just don't know when."

Chick picks and power rankings from The Topeka Capital-Journal's Austin Meeks.


The North

Missouri has a team motto, but they can't talk about it.

James Smith, Iowa State's top tackler, may not start on Saturday.

Jayhawk defensive coordinator Clint Bowen has a big job ahead.

Bowen’s first season on the job tried his patience. The Jayhawks lost standouts Aqib Talib and James McClinton and added Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech to the schedule. The result was a defense that gave up 273.6 passing yards per game and looked overmatched for much of the season.

Colorado fans are still waiting for Dan Hawkins' inner peace to settle over Boulder. The inner peace of winning, that is.

The waters are just as treacherous today as when he arrived, and no Colorado quarterback on this roster is a threat to throw for 4,000 yards.

Hawkins is 13-24 with three losing seasons. The Buffaloes, 5-7 a year ago, are picked fourth in the mediocre Big 12 North. Sports Illustrated placed Hawkins on the Big 12's "Hot Seat." It all begs one question as Colorado gets ready to host Colorado

And still no Buff quarterback.

The Colorado football team still doesn't know who its starting quarterback will be when the season begins on Sept. 6 at Folsom Field against the Colorado State Rams.

And no one seems the slightest bit concerned.

We are still waiting to hear about the Kansas State quarterback, too.

The Cornhuskers are young and inexperienced. Bo Pelini isn't worried.

"We’re fairly young," Pelini said. "Part of that is just because, obviously, the numbers weren’t as high when I got here. When you start bringing in more numbers, those guys are going to be young. But I think we’ve got a good combination of youth and experience. It’s not a huge senior class, and we all understand that

"You know, it’ll be interesting to see. We have a number of our guys who are playing football for us that haven’t been out there before.  That’s part of the deal. You’ve got to see how they react once the bullets start flying for real…we put pressure on them every day. We stress the little things. You’ve got to get them taught."


The South

MIke Leach likes Austin.

Red Raider Chris Olson is a versatile offensive lineman.

Though he’s never been a starter, Olson regularly wins praise from offensive line coach Matt Moore for being able to play all five line positions. Moore says he can ask Olson to fill any line spot at the drop of a hat and knows he won’t get flustered.

"I guess it’s because I know all the positions pretty well,’’ Olson said last week. "I know the offense, the blocking schemes, for the most part pretty perfectly. I think that helps a lot. He knows that I’ll know what I’m doing, whether or not I’ve been practicing there. I guess I just have the technique for it, have the body type. I’m not really sure.’’

Maybe he should stage a punting contest at halftime? Mike Leach is still looking for a punter.




 The Race


Oh, boy. This should be greatest Heisman race ever. Ever. Tim Griffin is excited.

Bradford will be attempting to become the first Heisman winner to repeat since Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.

McCoy, who finished second last season, will be gunning to become the first second-place finisher to win the award the following season since Herschel Walker of Georgia in 1982.

And most preseason polls have Tebow as the slight preseason favorite, mainly because of his team's national championship last season and the Gators' role as heavy preseason favorites coming into the season.

How it plays out will be ascertained over the next several months. The Big 12's upcoming schedule will play a huge part in determining the eventual winner.

It ought to be fun.

Dr. Saturday thinks this will be the most excruciating race ever.

That race was boring enough without the sense of inevitability that wasn't yet attached to the Bradford and McCoy campaigns. I hope the Downtown Athletic Club preserved the chair indentations from last year's ceremony.

The Heisman Pundit is back in business.

Here’s what  some of the main Heisman contenders have to look forward to this week:

Colt McCoy–His Longhorns take on Louisiana-Monroe.  This one should obviously be a laugher.  I doubt he plays past the third quarter, so don’t expect much in the way of passing numbers. 

Tim Tebow–The Gators have an even bigger laugher against Charleston Southern.  Tim Tebow may not see the second half.  He’ll probably throw the ball less than 10 times.

Sam BradfordHe might have the toughest challenge of them all as the Sooners play BYU in Arlington.  If this game was in Provo, I might call for the upset, but it’ll be like a home game for OU.  I think Bradford will struggle at first, but will play the whole game and end up with a very good statistical night.

Poor Sam. Oklahomans are waiting for Sam Bradford's statue to appear in Heisman Park.


The Other Stuff

Chris Brown of Smart Football gives some insight into the blitz. Great read.

Yahoo Sports ranks the top offensive coordinators and the top defensive coordinators.

The Orlando Sentinel has 10 potential upsets that could change the season.

Thanks, Bill. Urban Meyer has Bill Snyder to thank for his spread offense. And we have Snyder to thank for our lousy schedule.

Urban Meyer says his spread offense at Florida all started with a visit to Kansas State earlier this decade. Meyer was at Bowling Green then and was amazed at watching film of Michael Bishop being a two-way QB for Kansas State in 1998. Also, Snyder perfected the art of cupcake non-conference schedules, and few conferences follow that lead more than the SEC.

NewsOK's Barry Tramel tries to explain the SEC mindset and the Sooner inferiority complex. It has to do with the Civil War and The Grapes Of Wrath.

The National Championship Issue thinks they know how the BCS will die.