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The Big Roundup - Christmas in August!



It's like Christmas in August! Fall practice starts today.

For Will Muschamp, about all that's missing are the sleigh bells and mistletoe. It's about to become a holly jolly August for Texas' defensive coordinator.

It begins today, when the Longhorns - ranked fourth in the USA Today's preseason coaches poll that was released Friday - report to campus for fall drills.

"I can't wait 'til Sunday," Muschamp said Thursday at the Texas Gridiron Kickoff luncheon at the Austin Convention Center. "It's kind of like a kid at Christmas."

"I do feel like we have a chance this year, with all the question marks we have, we
have a chance to win all the games if we do a great job coaching,"

coach Mack Brown
said at a precamp news conference Saturday.

The secondary will be as good as ever.

The Longhorns secondary will be as good as ever. Maybe better than ever. In fact, it says here the group of talented defensive backs are the strength of this team.

Fans can thank Duane Akina and Mack Brown for that. Through finding them in recruiting and then developing them, the Texas secondary coach and head coach see to it that the program has a steady supply of athletic defensive backs, all of whom are capable of producing early and developing into NFL-caliber starters.

The Statesman has five questions facing the Horns this season.

Texas-Notre Dame is a great thing for college football.

"Starting a series with the Texas Longhorns is great not just for Notre Dame, but college football, and we couldn't be happier about it," Irish coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "When I look at the job Coach Brown has done at Texas in reviving a once proud tradition, I see many parallels to what our staff plans to do at Notre Dame. The addition of Texas to our future schedules is just another example of the type of high-profile programs we plan on playing as an independent. We look forward to embracing our unique status within college football and continuing to schedule games against similar programs down the road."

ESPN's College Football Live discuss the ND series.

Twitter killed Texas' open practices.

Brady Ackerman, one of my broadcast partners on "Talkin’ Football" on CSS, told the story of why Mack Brown at Texas had to close practice: A Texas player gets hurt at practice. The normal protocol for reporters on something like that is to wait until the end of practice and then consult with the coaches and training staff for an assessment of the injury. But with Twitter and Facebook and instant communications there seem to be no rules. The information was on the internet before practice was over and Brown had had a chance to contact the parents of the player. That shouldn’t happen and so practice was closed.

The Horns have a QB problem.

Though Brown is always supportive of his players, he and the coaching staff now have a big decision to make once official practices start this Sunday, Aug. 8. In the spring Brown said the plan was to have Harris backup Garrett Gilbert and redshirt both McCoy and Wood because they still hadn’t separated from one another.

Now coaches will have to re-evaluate their QB depth chart and choose between McCoy and Wood in the coming weeks.

Texas fans love comebacks.

"Texas fans love comebacks more than anything else in the world," the coach (Mack Brown) told his players at halftime. "You can change the world with comebacks."

It is finally here.

Barking Carnival's Minnesota Horn went to Mack Brown's annual kickoff dinner.

Franklin asks Muschamp about interior line.  Muschamp:  Kheeston Randall’s going to have a special year.  We’re going to throw the three freshman to the wolves and find out what we can do.  Franklin:  New linebackers Benson, Jackson and Hicks?  As a coach you know they’re going to be ready at some point but you have to figure out when.  Alex Okafor weighs 265.  Mack and Will compliment ‘George’ (Pflugerville head coach George Herman) for sending them a man. 

It’s funny to watch Muschamp start to take on the Mack persona.   

Wow. We never saw this coming...Gilbert Garrett takes over for McCoy. Yes, some idiot at the AP wrote that headline.




Mike Sherman has some rules.

A list no one wants to make. The Heisman Pundit has a list of the most overrated players.

Big 12: Von Miller, Texas A&M–Miller put up huge sack numbers last year, but a closer look at those numbers shows that he wasn’t as dominant as he appeared.  Eight of his sacks–or about half of his season total of 16.5–came against the first three opponents: New Mexico, Utah State and UAB.  Of his 21.5 tackles for loss, 10 came in the first four games and he tapered off considerably toward the end of the season.  At this point, he appears to be a one-dimensional player who can be contained by good teams.

Is this a little like The Aggies want LSU's leftovers.

What can you always count on every football season? Aggie delusion.

The way I see it they have a legitimate chance at not worse than a 9-3 season. 9-3 to me, given last year is a success but given the chance to be even better, it’s a fail. For some reason I think they lose the Arkansas game and will lose either Oklahoma or texas. That’s a two-loss season and a good chance at playing for the Big 12. IF, and a big IF they do play for the Championship, they will win that game.

10-2 is truly what I expect this season. Whether or not that’s good enough for a Big 12 championship who knows. As I said before there are huge question marks, primarily the O line and defense. I’m placing all my chips in on DeRuyter bringing this D back to old form...especially with some guy named Dat Nguyen helping out!



The Land Thieves

Bob Stoops just loves Landry Jones.

Jones does not want to end up like the last guy. This year's offensive line has a lot more experience.

One benefit to starting nine different offensive line combinations was several young players were forced into action and gained experience. Eight returning offensive linemen started at least one game. And that doesn't include Donald Stephenson, a projected starter who was suspended all last season.

Still, the offensive line once again is viewed as one of OU's biggest question marks entering the 2010 season.

Sooner coach James Patton breaks down the o-line.

Freshman receiver Kenny Stills will make an impact this season.

Stills and sophomore Dejuan Miller are listed No. 1 at the wide receiver spots, with Broyles in the slot.

Stills exudes the kind of quiet confidence of a player who can make big noise.

Evidence comes in the form of his impressive spring game (six catches, 84 yards, one TD), boosted by the enthusiastic backing of one Mr. Broyles.

"He can definitely stretch a defense," Broyles said of his young protégé, who has 4.38 speed in the 40. "He's a fast guy, elusive. He's not 6-3 [6-foot-1 actually], but he's a guy who can get into space, stretch a defense, do all the little things that you want."

Andre Ware is way off base.

Last season, the former Heisman Trophy winner and current ESPN college football analyst stepped out on a limb that few others inhabited. He said Oklahoma would lose four games, including the opener vs. BYU.

He said he thinks OU will win 10 or 11 games this season, maybe even have a chance to go undefeated. He ticked off the things that he liked about this Sooner squad. The returning starters on the offensive line. The experience at quarterback. The speed on defense.

But then, he mentioned the OU receivers. He called them "arguably the best set of receivers in the entire country."

Sooner football notes. Everyone's favorite Sooner handy man is not practicing.

OU defensive lineman Justin Chaisson is currently not practicing with the Sooners as he deals with a personal matter.

Chaisson, a native of Las Vegas, redshirted as a freshman last season.

Jamarkus McFarland. It looks we will see him on the field this October.

As Oklahoma begins preseason football practice, sophomore Jamarkus McFarland could be poised to make a major contribution at defensive tackle.

The departure of Gerald McCoy to the NFL and the ankle injury suffered by Adrian Taylor in the Sun Bowl means McFarland may receive much more playing time. He appeared in seven games as a true freshman, recording eight tackles and 2.5 sacks.

This is a very pressing issue in Oklahoma. Sooner nation needs the 'stache.


The Pokes

Last year the Pokes were in the preseason top ten. Things are very different this season.

On Friday, OSU opened fall practice with very little national attention and the Pokes were nowhere to be found in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll. A youthful group of Cowboys took the practice fields next to Gallagher-Iba Arena with plenty of playing time up for grabs.

Simply put, this year there will be more teaching needed during fall practices than last year's senior-laden squad required.

Welcome! The Pokes have their own SB Nation blog. Go visit and mind your manners.



The Buffs are just unlucky.

Fox Sports Southwest has a Q&A with Raider offensive coordinator Neal Brown.

We won’t audible this much this year as maybe Coach Leach did in the past. I think it’s all dependent on the quarterback. I think Potts and Sheffield, they need some stuff taken off their plate. I don’t want them thinking about what play to run. Some guys are great at that. I think Graham Harrell had a great ability to do that, listening to some of the guys that have stayed on staff that were here then. Whereas with Potts and Sheffield, that’s not their strength. That doesn’t mean they’re bad players; that’s just not their strength. So what we’ll do more now is we’ll mostly just run the play that’s called and I’ll try to have us in a good situation. We’ll have some plays where they can check a side. If it’s a run, they can check which side we’re going to run it to. They can decide right or life. And if it’s a pass play, they can change the backside routes.

Actually, any would do. The Cornhuskers need more production from their QB.

Pelini has said coaches will handle the quarterback competition the same way they handle any position battle.

He also made it clear his team needs a bigger impact from the quarterback position than it received in 2009.

"We need the quarterback position to step up," Pelini said. "Let’s face it, he’s at the center point. He’s the trigger guy."

The Wildcats have a lot of options at linebacker.

Depending on whom you ask, there are as many as eight linebackers being considered for starting spots for the season opener against UCLA on Sept. 4.

K-State coach Bill Snyder said Hrebec, Kevin Rohleder, Jarell Childs, Troy Butler and Blake Slaughter will be in the mix. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh considers Kadero Terrell and Jarett Wright viable options as well. And Hrebec is impressed with freshman Tre Walker.

In other words, the Wildcats have options.

Missouri comes in at No. 33 in the New York Times preseason college football poll.

The are big expectations in Lawrence.

"We do expect more. There’s no doubt about that," Gill said. "They understand how we go about our business and our practice formats and the expectations from each coach. They know the terminology, so there shouldn’t be too much hesitation. There will be some for the new guys, obviously, but the guys who have been here in the spring, we expect them to be further along on some things."

Kansas State is breaking records.

A year after disillusioned donors threatened to cut support for cash-strapped Kansas State following revelations of the outgoing administration's financial mismanagement, the Wildcats have set a record for cash contributions.

Year after year, the Wildcats have to get by with one of the smallest budgets in the Big 12, a shoestring compared with wealthy titans such as Texas and Oklahoma, and even the well-heeled Kansas Jayhawks down the road.

But with $14.47 million donated in 2009-10, the Wildcats broke their old record by more than $4 million. The money does more than help keep the athletic department afloat. It also reminds everyone of the loyalty and family-like relationship K-Staters have with their teams, Snyder said. It's something players and coaches both sense.

Kansas needs to change their fight song after this season.

Cornhusker fine art. A man paints a mural of Bo Pelini on the side of a Nebraska restaurant.

Artist Peyton Lewis said he spent 25 hours on the mural using airbrushes and paint brushes.

"It was a little easier because of the size. You're able to get so much more detail when you work that big -- his nostrils are a foot and-a-half wide."



A sports writer makes a preemptive strike against AP ballot-related outrage.

* Please be advised: "Homerism" will be challenged and could lead to dismissal from the poll board.

Do you hate those early start times? Blame the networks.

The notion that TV sets the weekend schedule hardly comes as a news flash, and the networks pay billions for the privilege. But the idea of providing them with greater leeway — given the amount of sway they already possess — seems laughable for those who actually attend games.

Why do parents screw up their kid's lives? CNBC's Darren Rovell puts out his College Football All-Name Team.

First Team

Gelo Orange, Wake Forest
Marvin McNutt, Iowa
Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Justin Cabbagestalk, Vanderbilt
Mister Alexander, Florida State
Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern
Masengo Kabongo, Maryland
Shady Salamon, Minnesota
Rockey Duplessis, LSU
Synijyn Days, Georgia Tech
Rantavious Wooten, Georgia


And finally...

Barking Carnival's Trips Right sums up the feeling.


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