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2011 Spring Preview - The Big 12 Buzz
Baylor QB Robert Griffin
Baylor QB Robert Griffin
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 10, 2011


The early buzz around each Big 12 team going into spring practices.


2011 Big 12 Spring Preview

The Spring Buzz

Click for each team's spring preview
Baylor | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri
Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
 
2011 Big 12 Spring Preview
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Preview 
- 2011 Big 12 Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big 12 Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big 12 Positions To Watch  
- Big 12 Spring Rankings 
 
Baylor

Head coach Art Briles has always said that winning at Baylor should be expected and should be the norm, but obviously last year was special. Now the pressure is on to keep up the momentum despite a tough schedule that lacks too many sure things, and no one will take the Bears lightly anymore. The big story around Waco is the addition of Phil Bennett to handle the defense. The former SMU head man doesn’t have to recreate the Steel Curtain, but with a loaded offense returning, he has to upgrade a defense that got destroyed by any offense with a wee bit of talent.

Iowa State

Iowa State is having its share of fun this offseason as defensive end Jacob Lattimer and was suspended after being charged with assaulting a police officer, while tight end Ricky Howard was charged with a DUI. Losing Howard isn’t that big a deal, but Lattimer is one of the team’s best pass rushers on a woeful pass rushing line that can’t afford to lose key playmakers. Overall, this is supposed to be the year when the Paul Rhoads era takes off, but the talent level isn’t there to make a huge splash. In other words, there can’t be too many more bumps in the road.

Kansas

Remember, Turner Gill turned around Buffalo and made one of the worst programs in the nation a MAC champion. It wasn’t just that KU was bad in Gill’s first season; it’s that it was miserable. A tough watch, the Jayhawks had one good quarter in Big 12 play – the fourth in the win over Colorado – and now there’s nowhere to go but up. Eternally optimistic, Gill is saying his team will be far better and far more dangerous this year. This spring has to show signs that Gill might not be completely full of beans.

Kansas State

Bryce Brown, Bryce Brown, Bryce Brown, Bryce Brown, Bryce Brown. KSU spring ball doesn’t get rolling until early April, and all anyone around the Wildcats seems to wonder about is whether or not Bryce Brown, the former No. 1 recruit in the land who took his talents to Tennessee before transferring to KSU, can play. If he’s half as good as advertised, all of a sudden, the Wildcat offense has its identity and it has a player to make up for the loss of Daniel Thomas while easing in the era of quarterback Collin Klein. If Brown is even halfway decent this spring, watch the hype get out of control.

Missouri

It always seems like Missouri loses great players and doesn’t seem to care, and this year isn’t any different. Brad Smith is done? Whatever … Chase Daniel is on his way and Jeremy Maclin turns into a special playmaker. Daniel is done and Maclin leaves early? Blaine Gabbert is better and Danario Alexander is deadly. The program has gotten to the point where it keeps on rolling without much of a problem no matter who has to step in and take over, and head coach Gary Pinkel and the coaching staff doesn’t appear too worried about losing Gabbert. 16 other starters return and there are plenty of good prospects waiting in the wings, so while most programs might call this a rebuilding year, it appears to be business as usual in Columbia.

Oklahoma

If this isn’t the No. 1 team in America, it’s going to be in the preseason top three and will be on everyone’s short list to win the national title. That’s what happens when you’re Oklahoma, you’re coming off a Big 12 championship season, you win the Fiesta Bowl, and on offense you lose RB DeMarco Murray, RT Eric Mensik, and … and … and no one else from the nation’s tenth-ranked offense and 14th-ranked scoring attack. Head coach Bob Stoops never has had a problem with high expectations, and while he might blow them off and say all the right things – he’s used to being in this position – but the pressure has been ramped up. That’s not a bad thing for a team this talented.

Oklahoma State

These are heady times for a team that didn’t win the Big 12 title with head coach Mike Gundy, the conference Coach of the Year, kicker Dan Bailey, and receiver Justin Blackmon being honored by the state Senate. There are two big-time teams in Oklahoma, and OSU is holding its own publicity-wise. The Cowboys are hot going into 2011 because of their high-octane offense and the production, but offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is off to West Virginia and it’ll be up to Todd Monken from the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep the attack singing. Considering the offense gets nine starters back from an attack that averaged 520 yards and 44 points per game, any drop in production might be blamed on the new guy.

Texas

Mack Brown is allowed a 5-7 season after all the phenomenal things he has done for the program. He might even be allowed another. But while 2010 might have been a complete and total fluke, the jaw-dropper of a collapse, and the way the team didn’t show up for stretches in losses to Kansas State and UCLA, set off the panic sirens. No, you do NOT go 5-7 at the University of Texas, especially with all the tremendous recruiting classes brought in over the last several years. Brown has done his part with several major changes in the coaching staff, and now everyone is on notice that the team is all but starting from scratch.

Texas A&M

Most of the talk has been around just how fast Von Miller has been in offseason workouts, clocking in at under 4.5 time and again while wowing everyone whenever he has had the chance. But for the team coming back, there’s more than just cautious optimism that the success of last year wasn’t a fluke. Head coach Mike Sherman wasn’t exactly on the hot seat last year at this time, but he couldn’t survive a disastrous year. Instead, everything turned around midway through the season and the team started playing like a real, live, Big 12 contender. There appears to be more confidence going into spring ball this year, and with 18 starters returning, there are expectations to do even more.

Texas Tech

Spring ball has already started, and all the focus is on who the next starting quarterback will be. No, it’s not like the Mike Leach days when the starter was going to be one of the nation’s statistical superstars, but the offense hasn’t changed as much as originally expected when Tommy Tuberville took over. Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield are both gone, and Tech has more questions than ever after just a few practices. Seth Doege lit it up in an early scrimmage, and Jacob Karam was brilliant when he got the chance to shine. It’s Doege’s offense to fly, but the better Karam is, the more question marks will come up this offseason.

Click for each team's spring preview
Baylor | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri
Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
 
2011 Big 12 Spring Preview
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Preview 
- 2011 Big 12 Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big 12 Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big 12 Positions To Watch  
- Big 12 Spring Rankings