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2011 Spring Preview - Big 12 Questions
Texas QB Garrett Gilbert
Texas QB Garrett Gilbert
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 10, 2011


The big questions surrounding each Big 12 team going into spring practices.


2011 Big 12 Spring Preview

The Spring Questions

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

Can Phil Bennett upgrade the pass defense in 15 practices? Part of the problem was a lack of pass rush that allowed way too many quarterbacks to fire at will, and the other issue was playing in a conference with so many top passing teams. Unfortunately, two of the teams that couldn’t throw, Colorado and Nebraska, are gone, and the Bears have to stop Oklahoma State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas Tech in the back half of the slate. The run defense wasn’t exactly a rock, but in the Big 12, stopping the pass is always Job One.

Iowa State

Will the Cyclones have any offense? It was a two-man gang last year as QB Austin Arnaud and RB Alexander Robinson had to do a little of everything for an attack that finished 11th in the Big 12 in yards, and scoring. There will be a quarterback battle and there are decent prospects at the skill spots, but only five starters return on offense and there’s a shocking lack of weapons to count on. That has to change this spring as the coaching staff has to find playmakers to revolve the offense around.

Kansas

Can the offense do anything right? How bad was it? KU hung 52 on Colorado and scored a total of 64 in the other seven Big 12 games. The offense was last in the league in yards, scoring, and rushing, and while the defense wasn’t exactly a plus, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the other side of the ball. The key will be the improvement on the line. Three starters return from a group that was okay for the ground game but was miserable in pass protection. If the line isn’t better, don’t expect miracles.

Kansas State

Can the defense stop anyone from running the ball? It’s not like the Big 12 was the old Big 8 with Billy Sims to worry about one week and Jarvis Redwine the next. Even so, the KSU defensive front got obliterated by anyone and everyone who tried running the ball giving up a whopping 231 yards per game. The pass rush was non-existent and the tackles were shoved aside by a soft breeze. The D will get time to jell this fall with Eastern Kentucky and Kent State to start out, but Miami is going to start running the ball again under Al Golden and Baylor will be flying again with Robert Griffin under center. The Wildcats have to use all 15 practices, fall camp, and the first three weeks of September to come up with answers up front.

Missouri

Besides the quarterback situation, the big concern will be a run defense that was decent, but not a brick wall. Considering the pass rush was phenomenal, and makes the run defense stats look a bit better, the Tigers were surprisingly soft against most decent backs (hellooooo, Marcus Coker). Aldon Smith left early for the NFLO, but the rest of the defensive front is back and linebackers Will Ebner and Zaviar Gooden are veterans. A trip to Oklahoma kicks off the Big 12 schedule, and the Tigers have three games to tighten up.

Oklahoma

Will the offense have any more balance? The secondary might be a big of a concern with corner Jamell Fleming getting booted for academic issues, and another pass-rushing terror has to be unearthed to replace Jeremy Beal and to help Frank Alexander, but the spotlight will be on Roy Finch, the speedy and tough true sophomore who had some strong moments last year and should be ready to handle more of the rushing workload this season. Landry Jones and the passing game can carry the workload against just about everyone on the schedule, but more offensive balance could be a must to win the national title.

Oklahoma State

Can the secondary stop anyone? Before dogging the secondary too much after allowing 276 passing yards per game, remember that everyone had to keep chucking wildly to try to keep up with one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses. Corner Andrew McGee is gone, but the other three starters are back and Devin Hedgepeth will get the look to take over the vacant spot. Can veteran safeties Markelle Martin and Johnny Thomas do more when the ball is in the air? If the secondary can be a wee bit better, OSU might be able to take the next step forward.

Texas

Was last year just an aberration or was it an indication? Everything should’ve worked out for the Longhorns with five of the last six games at home, no Missouri on the slate, and the one tough non-conference game, UCLA, at home. It didn’t matter. Lost in the disaster was a defense that led the Big 12 and was sixth in the nation in yardage allowed, but the problems were on offense with a passing game that finished 103rd in the nation in passing efficiency. Fun stat: Texas didn’t score more than 24 points against any BCS conference team, and was held to 20 points or fewer six times. Mack Brown tried to go away from the spread to run a more balanced attack, but the passing game struggled and the running game wasn’t nearly strong enough to pick up the slack.

Texas A&M

Can the offensive line protect Ryan Tannehill? The Aggies had to fight through growing pains with true freshman Luke Joekel starting at left tackle and fellow newcomer Jake Matthews taking over on the right side. Guards Brian Thomas and Patrick Lewis were sophomores, and while center Matt Allen is done, there are several decent options ready to step in and give it a try. Basically, the line has to mature and start to play more consistently. Being 104th in the nation in sacks allowed can’t happen again.

Texas Tech

Is the offense really going to be more balanced? Tommy Tuberville came to Lubbock wanting to run the ball while also keeping elements of the high-octane passing game, but the passing game averaged 319 yards per game while the ground attack only averaged 141. Eric Stephens is the best back of a crowded lot, but other runners are getting a long look early on; the coaches know what Stephens can do. On the way are Kenny Williams, one of the team’s top recruits who could add more pizzazz to the equation. Tuberville really and truly will use more tight end, and yes, it might be that Adam James. It’s not a rumor; there might be more of a commitment to a true, traditional ground game from time to time.

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