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The Big Roundup - September 7, 2010



"Your goal is to win the opener," Brown said. 
"I told the guys I'm excited we're 1-0 with a lot of things to work on."

It wasn't awe-inspiring, but a win is a win.

As debuts go, this one went.

And none too well.

There was little doubt about Texas' superiority before, during or after its 34-17 season-opening victory over a Rice team that won only two games all of last season.

But for a team that has played in the BCS title game two of the last five years and has aspirations for another this year, the performance was less than impressive. Far less.

Garrett Gilbert had a good debut.

To the naked eye, Gilbert's numbers are blander than 12 straight hours of the Weather Channel, but there are reasons Gilbert didn't light up the Owls' 114th-ranked pass defense in front of a sellout crowd:

The coaches were hell-bent on running the football in the opener and if that meant lining up with two tight ends against four cement trucks in the parking lot of the neighboring Astrodome, they were going to do it.

Keenan Robinson is always looking for ways to improve.

"Every day," teammate Eddie Jones, a defensive end, said. "Like he's on a mission. He really wants to do something each and every day to make this team better."

He produced a breakout effort on Saturday. Robinson intercepted a pass, returned a fumble for a touchdown, and finished with six tackles, second-best on the team, as Texas defeated Rice 34-17 at Reliant Stadium.

We're all just a little concerned.

If there's one cornerback who Texas fans are worried about it's Chykie Brown.

While he has a tendency to make great plays, he also has a history of giving up big plays.

That came to fruition twice during Rice's first drive of the game.

Cody Johnson didn't tell anyone he sprained his ankle on the second play of the game.

Cody Johnson sprained his ankle on the second play of Saturday's game, but didn't tell the coaches until after the game because he wanted to play.

"I asked him after the game why he didn't tell us, and he said, 'I've worked too hard to be the starter and I don't want to lose it,'" Mack Brown said of Johnson.

Game quotes

Greg Davis on whether the offense will stick to the running game more than the passing game - "We're gonna try to stick with winning most of all and different games will be different mindsets as we go into it. Malcolm Williams came off great on play action passes, so that works, too. We do want to be a team that can come downhill at you though."

Brown on Kenny Vaccaro - "Kenny's a hitter. When I say stay up and practice, he gives me a look like he's going to come hit me. He will be a tremendous player for us and I thought he had the best big hits of the night."

Sam Acho on the win - "At Texas we always play up to a standard so it was a win and we're excited about the win and you never want to overlook a win, but we know we have some work to do and that we didn't live up to that standard."



The Aggies beat SFA 48-7 in the opener.

It took awhile for the Aggies offense, which was fifth nationally in yards per game last fall, to work out the opening-game kinks. They had the ball for a whopping 99 plays and gained 539 yards.

The retooled defense, sporting a 3-4 base formation, limited the Lumberjacks to 266 yards and a lone touchdown that came late in the second quarter.

The offensive line passed the test.

Quarterback Jerrod Johnson was pleased with the effort of the line, which made room for him to stroll in untouched for his rushing touchdown.

"They played well. They're the heart and soul of our team," Johnson said. "My hat goes off to those guys, they played well and welcomed Luke in."

The Aggies will have to wait one more week for the second coming of the Wrecking Crew.

Senior star Von Miller — captain of an A&M defense desperately trying to get back to its "Wrecking Crew" days — sprained his ankle early in the game on Saturday and didn't return. A&M coach Mike Sherman said he's expecting Miller back for Saturday's home game against Louisiana Tech.

Mike Sherman has kicking issues.

Aggies coach Mike Sherman was pretty candid today when accessing his kicking situation. 
"If there is someone on campus that can do that," Sherman told reporters today when asked if the kicking position was open. "If someone has any eligibility left in this room we'll look at that as well. We're not locked into anyone."



One hell of an season intro for a great opening game...Oh, never mind.

They are already circling the Schooners in Norman.

OU 31, Utah State 24.

An opening day that began with great optimism and championship hopes ended with a thud.

"I didn't feel like we played very well in a lot of areas," Sooner coach Bob Stoops said. "Lack of execution.

The secondary had a rough day, Landry Jones was out of sync and Bob Stoops was not pleased.

"Offensively it's a whole different animal, how you play them, the coverages you use. We still have to make some improvements. In some places where we had opportunities to make plays we have to make them."

It must have been that triple option. Sooners can't handle multiple options at any given time.

There were some good things for the Land Thieves.

At least they have a kicker.

Patrick O'Hara is off the hook.

Oklahoma's got problems bigger than kicker.

Like being outplayed by a middle-of-the-road WAC team.

On both sides of the ball.

At Owen Field.

The entire game.

The Sooners' game with Utah State was only available on obscure pay-per-view channels. This was a good thing.

Curb your enthusiasm. The Sooners hit the 800 win mark on Saturday.

What is that sweet aroma drifting through Austin? Enjoy the smell of burnt Sooner.


The Pokes

ESPN's Bruce feldman had high praise for Brandon Weedon:

"Strongest arm of any QB to start in that system."

The offense looked good.

All eyes were on the offense.

That was the buzz among those grillin' and chillin', anticipating the kickoff to the 2009 season.

And, oh, did it deliver, with the Cowboys producing the program's most points in an opener since the school went by Oklahoma A&M back in 1916.

And this is all that matters. Boone Pickens was pleased with Mike Gundy's performance, but...

Prominent Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens said Saturday he's been pleased with the performance of football coach Mike Gundy but wants to see the Cowboys beat Big 12 South rivals Oklahoma and Texas.

Kendall Hunter was outstanding.

Saturday night, Hunter made it easy to keep handing it to him. Along with minimizing mistakes, the running game was the key to the Cowboys' 65-17 win.

"Zero turnovers and being able to run the ball is going to get you some victories," Holgorsen said.

Hunter's 257 rushing yards ranked as the 10th-best total in school history.



Tommy Tuberville kept his promise.

Tommy Tuberville made good on his promise to keep Texas Tech’s passing offense intact.

He still saw difficulties, though, even with Taylor Potts throwing for 359 yards and four touchdowns Sunday as the Red Raiders defeated SMU 35-27 to give Tuberville a victory in his first game as Texas Tech’s coach.

Meet the new and improved Buffaloes.

"It feels good to get the win, definitely," Hansen said. "There’s a lot of pressure to get a win, and all the talk about last year and the pressure’s on us to get some wins. It felt really good to get out there and kind of have control of the game from early on."

The Buffs needed a start like this. They got off to a horrible start in 2009 and finished the season 3-9. Winning on Saturday, and doing it in relatively easy fashion, was a welcome sight for CU.

The Bears beat SFA Sam Houston State 34-3. Robert Griffin is just fine.

He proved right away that his arm was fine, completing his first three passes and drilling the short pass that turned into the longest TD throw of his career. The big tests were running and taking his first hit.

Missouri got their first win of the season.

Kansas messed up the Big 12-2's opening weekend record.


Keeping watch on the Achilles' heel

Kansas State runs over UCLA. Literally.

On the bill Saturday was the premiere of UCLA's "pistol" offense.

The plot line, however, turned out to be how many times the Bruins could shoot themselves in the foot during a 31-22 loss to Kansas State.

But mostly, there was a defense that Kansas State's Daniel Thomas ran through, over and around.

QB Carson Coffman delivered.

When the game reached its critical juncture and Raymore-Peculiar’s Coffman had missed a couple of series battling dehydration, you knew the Wildcats’ best chance to hold off the Bruins was with him under center.

And he delivered, driving Kansas State 80 yards and tossing a short touchdown pass for an important score in the Wildcats’ 31-22 triumph.


The Cornhuskers or Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

Bo Pelini found a quarterback.

Start with Martinez's edge over Cody Green and Zac Lee, according to Watson.

Big-play ability.

Specifically the zone read, where Martinez lines up in shotgun formation, sticks the ball in the belly of the I-back and either hands off or keeps himself.

Taylor Martinez is a playmaker.

It started with a 46-yard touchdown run by Taylor Martinez on Nebraska's third play from scrimmage.

What followed was intermittent proof that it would keep going — and now surely be an integral part of the Huskers' 2010 offense.

NU put its quarterback run game on display Saturday night as it started the football season with a 49-10 win over Western Kentucky at Memorial Stadium.

And Martinez gave it a dynamic flair, his fast-moving legs being one of the major reasons that the redshirt freshman emerged from a three-quarterback battle to start in his first career game.

And he is fast.

"Why are you that fast?"

Even Martinez had to grin at that one.

We saw right away Saturday night why Pelini and Watson bucked tradition, passed on a fifth-year returning starter and handed the reins to a redshirt freshman, changing the entire perception of what's possible offensively in 2010.

The new Cornhusker linebackers passed the test.

Nebraska's two new linebackers got a crash-course tutorial of their positions' responsibilities over the past two days, hardly an ideal way to prepare for their first career starts.

Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini had to keep reminding himself of that.

Junior Lavonte David and sophomore Alonzo Whaley, promoted to first-team spots after preseason injuries sidelined the team's probable starters, survived their debuts in the center of the defense, helping the eighth-ranked Huskers to a 49-10 win over Western Kentucky in Saturday's opener.

Can Iowa and Nebraska become rivals? (Does anyone really care?)



Oh, yes. You should always trust those polls.

In general, the college-football AP poll—which comes out weekly and consists of voters around the nation who pick the top 25 teams—is a strong barometer for showing which programs are the best in the country. But fans sometimes suspect the voters of hometown bias and think they give too much credit to teams for simply showing up on highlight reels. A recent study in the Journal of Sports Economics says those fans are on to something.

Jay Coleman, professor of operations management and quantitative methods at the University of North Florida, co-authored a paper that analyzed the second half of the 2007 AP polls and found evidence that there's some favoritism toward teams in a voter's state, teams that are in the six major conferences and teams that play on national television. By using an aggregate of several nationally recognized computer rankings to show how teams' wins and losses should affect their placement, the authors found that, on average, a voter will bump a team in his own state .65 of a spot higher than it should be, and that teams get boosted .8 of a spot every time they're on ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC.

Texas high school football is big.

Their images are beamed from satellites, across time zones and into the living rooms of millions. They have played at Ohio State's famed Horseshoe and Houston's Reliant Stadium. They jet to out-of-state games and wear the biggest names in sports apparel.

But these aren't professional athletes, or even college ones. They're high school football players, and these days they are no longer restricted to local communities.

"It's exciting," said Skyline senior safety Franklin Shannon. "It's big time."

The first NC coach to get run over by the NCAA bus is John Blake.

John Blake has resigned as No. 18 North Carolina's associate coach, the school said Sunday.

Blake, who coached Oklahoma from 1996-98 and was in his fourth season on Butch Davis' staff, said in a statement issued by the school that he stepped down because "my presence has become a distraction."

The NCAA has spent much of the summer investigating if defensive lineman Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little received improper benefits from agents.


And finally...

Condolences to Wyoming.


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