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2011 Spring Preview - Big 12 Key Positions
Missouri QB James Franklin
Missouri QB James Franklin
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 10, 2011


The positions to watch for each Big 12 team going into spring practices.


2011 Big 12 Spring Preview

The Spring Position Concerns

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

Defensive back. Finding a brick wall of a defensive tackle to replace Phil Taylor would be nice, and a No. 1 running back has to emerge to take Jay Finley’s place, but the biggest issue is in the shaky secondary with three starters gone and only sophomore corner Tyler Stephenson back. For a pass defense that allowed 3,446 yards last season and came u with one pick in the final four games, coming up with the right combination in the defensive backfield will be vital.

Iowa State

Quarterback. Austin Arnaud was second on the team in rushing and was a baller of a passer, even if he wasn’t really all that great at throwing the ball. Now there will be a fight to replace the longtime veteran with the hope that top JUCO transfer Steele Jantz has a game as good as his killer name. Jerome Tiller was in the house last year and was under center for the strange and bizarre win over Nebraska in 2009, and he’ll get every shot at the job.

Kansas

Quarterback. A pass rusher has to emerge on a defensive front that didn’t do anything to get into the backfield, a lockdown corner would be nice, and a productive running back needs to be unearthed, but the quarterback situation has to be settled in spring ball with sophomore Jordan Webb and senior Quinn Meacham needing to show signs of life. It’ll be tempting to go with the safer Meacham, but Webb is the future and the coaching staff needs to know if he’s The Guy for the next three years.

Kansas State

Offensive guard. The defensive line is the biggest overall concern, and Collin Klein has to show he can really be the full-time starting quarterback and more than just a runner, but the offense needs the line to be solid and it needs to find three new starters for the interior. Senior Colten Freeze should be a starter at one guard spot, but the 294-pounder is a light snack compared to the guy he’ll likely replace, 349-pound Kenneth Mayfield. The 280-pound Keenan Taylor should take over at left guard, but he’ll replace the 317-pound Zach Kendall.

Missouri

Quarterback. It’s time to stop dancing around it … Blaine Gabbert was fine. He wasn’t special. Oh, sure, he’s going to be a multi-millionaire and will be expected to be a franchise NFL star for the next decade-plus – and he might be – but Mizzou was 64th in the nation in passing efficiency and sixth in the Big 12 in passing yards. Redshirt freshman James Franklin has the Tiger insiders buzzing, and while he might not be the pro prospect Gabbert is, he has the tools to be special. Also in the hunt for the starting gig will by sophomore Ashton Glaser and Blaine’s brother, Tyler Gabbert.

Oklahoma

Defensive tackle. The phenomenal recruiting classes over the last few years have loaded up in all areas, but one of the biggest strengths is expected to be at defensive tackle where Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee (once he gets back after being nailed for marijuana possession), and Casey Walker should be dominant. The Sooner run defense was fine last year, but it wasn’t up to the normally high standards. That could change this season, and it has to begin this spring with the tackles breathing fire from the start.

Oklahoma State

Running back. The offense can bomb with anyone thanks to QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon choosing to return for another year, but one of the other key parts of the equation was RB Kendall Hunter, who stayed healthy and ran for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns. Sophomores Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith are good-looking young talents who provide a good blend of power and speed, and they’ll need to combine forces to pick up the slack. Also, watch out for top recruit Herschel Sims, a game-breaker who could take over the No. 1 spot by the time Louisiana comes to town on September 3rd.

Texas

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. Yes, Garrett Gilbert really and truly was a can’t-miss, top-shelf, sure-thing NFL prospect right out of high school, but he hardly looked the part. He didn’t get any help from the running backs, and that might be remedied with the addition of Malcolm Brown, arguably the nation’s best tailback recruit. The receivers were disappointing, but the big problem was Gilbert who was flat-out bad. Welcome in Major Applewhite and fellow offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to try to change things around, and while Connor Wood and Case McCoy will push for the gig, Gilbert is the one the team needs to shine. The talent is there, and now it needs to be coached.

Texas A&M

Defensive end. Yes, Von Miller won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, but he was at his best when he had his hand on the ground. He’s off to become the NFL’s next defensive superstar, and 295-pound end Lucas Patterson is also done. Texas A&M uses big bodies for the line in what’s technically a 3-4, but still, someone has to replace Miller. True sophomore Damontre Moore was Miller’s backup last year, and while he looks the part, it’s asking a lot to replace 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.

Texas Tech

Besides quarterback, the team needs to find more production at linebackers. The defense was abysmal finishing dead last in the Big 12 and 114th in the nation and while the pass defense was the biggest problem, that can be excused with several underclassmen being thrown to the wolves. Linebackers Brian Duncan and Brand Bird were two of the team’s top playmakers, and they have to be replaced in a hurry so the defense can start to jell around the newcomers. Senior Sam Fehoko will get a long look in the middle to replace Duncan while the 4-2-5 alignment might not have a true weakside linebacker to replace Bird.

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