2013 Big 12 Spring Preview
Oklahoma QB Blake Bell
Oklahoma QB Blake Bell
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 8, 2013


The 2013 CFN Big 12 (Baylor to Oklahoma)- Spring Preview, Lookaheads & Analysis.

2013 Big 12 Spring Preview   

Baylor to Oklahoma

 

2013 Big Ten Spring Preview
- CFN 2013 Big 12 Spring Preview - Oklahoma State to West Virginia 
- 2013 Big 12 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 1-5
- 2013 Big 12 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 6-10
- 2013 Big 12 Composite Schedule & Weekly Rankings
- 2013 Big 12 Schedule Analysis - Baylor to Oklahoma
- 2013 Big 12 Schedule Analysis - OSU to West Virginia
 
See Something We Missed? Contact Us
Follow us ... @ColFootballNews 
 
Baylor
Start: March 1, Spring Game: April 6

Why To Be Excited ... Expect the train to keep rolling. While the pressure will be on Bryce Petty and other options to try to be another Nick Florence, much less an RGIII, a good bulk of the starters are back on the nation’s second-ranked offense with tackles Troy Baker and Spencer Drango two rising blockers on the outside and Cyril Richardson one of the best guards in the Big 12. The defense might still need a LOT of work and improvement, but enough key players in the back seven are back to hope for a big of an improvement. Top pass rusher Chris McAllister is back on the outside and leading tacklers Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey return. Ahmad Dixon will be an all-star safety, and as he mentioned at the end of last season, running back Lache Seastrunk really might be a Heisman candidate.

Why To Be Grouchy ... The team was able to move on after losing Robert Griffin III and top receiver Kendall Wright, but it might still take a little while to find the right pieces after losing Florence and the nation’s top receiver in yards, Terrance Williams. There are plenty of receivers in place with Tevin Reese and Levi Norwood likely to step up, but replacing Florence won’t be as easy. Petty has a little bit of mop up work under his belt, but he’s hardly experienced like Florence was when he took over. Tackles Nick Johnson and Gary Mason Jr. are gone from a defense that can’t afford to lose any production.

What Needs Working On ... The defense is going to be the defense, but there has to be something that works. It’s the Big 12, and opponents are going to bomb away in shootouts, but the Bear D has to find one thing it can do at a high level. The 4-2-5 alignment hasn’t helped against the pass, and the run defense gets blasted by anyone who wants to commit to the ground attack. On the plus side, the defense was good at taking the ball away and improved its ball-hawking capability over the second half of the year with 12 picks in the final six regular season games, but it has to come up with more third down stops to get off the field.

Iowa State
Start: March 26, Spring Game: April 20

Why To Be Excited ... The offense might not have exploded or kept up the pace with most Big 12 powerhouses, but the potential is there to be more effective thanks to a good line that loses tackle Carter Bykowski but gets everyone else back. The quarterback situation should be settled with Sam B. Richardson the face of the franchise after Jared Barnett transferred, and now it’s about maximizing his potential. A baller, he ran for 119 yards against West Virginia and threw three touchdown passes, and he finished up the year as the main man for the final three games throwing for eight scores with just one pick. However …

Why To Be Grouchy ... Most of Richardson’s top targets are gone including leading receiver Josh Lenz, Chris Young and Aaron Horne. The passing game wasn’t exactly efficient, and it might take a little while before it can find the pop needed to keep up with some of the league’s better offenses. The defense that did next to nothing to get into the backfield on a regular basis loses three starters on the front line including tackle Cleyon Laing and end Roosevelt Maggitt. The back seven has the near impossibility of coming up with fill-ins for the injured Jake Knott and all-around playmaking linebacker A.J. Klein.

What Needs Working On ... The secondary. If the offense isn’t going to hang 40 points on the board and crank out 500 yards a game, the defense has to occasionally be a rock to have any hope of doing anything in the Big 12. The Cyclone pass defense didn’t get beaten deep on a regular basis, but it gave up way too many yards and occasionally got dinked and dunked on to death. Corner Jeremy Teeves and safety Durrell Givens are gone, and now the spotlight will be on this spring to see if Deon Broomfield can rise up as either a strong safety or in a corner role. Jansen Watson should be set at one corner and Jacques Washington is a good free safety, but Cliff Stokes and Sam Richardson have to show that they’ll not only be ready to play, but can improve the situation.

Kansas
Start: March 5, Spring Game: April 13

Why To Be Excited ... As bad as going 1-11 might have been with 11 straight losses and no wins in FBS play, it might not take a whole bunch of tweaking to quickly become more than just competitive. The Jayhawks lost five games by a touchdown or less, and while there were some ugly blowouts along the way, they should’ve beaten Texas, the should’ve beaten Texas Tech, and they pushed Oklahoma State and a good Northern Illinois team. With Jake Heaps ready to fight for the starting quarterback job, and with James Sims among the Big 12’s best running backs, the backfield should have the pieces to get the offense going. The D might need a lot of work, but leading tackler Ben Heeney is back along with the rest of the linebacking corps.

Why To Be Grouchy ... Can Heaps actually play? Michael Cummings was fun to watch at times as a runner, but he was brutally painful as a passer with no downfield ability and no accuracy. Heaps was the superstar recruit for BYU a few years ago with all the pressure on his shoulders to be the Next Great Cougar QB, but he struggled when thrown to the wolves and ended up transferring out. He’s a good, accurate passer who could develop into what Charlie Weis wants, but he has to prove he can make an offense produce at a Big 12 level.

What Needs Working On ... The pass rush was the worst in the Big 12, helping to lead to the pass defensive problems giving up 289 yards per game and rarely coming up with a big stop. No Jayhawk came up with two sacks on the year with the team generating just 12 on the season. Making matters worse, six of those 12 came in the first three games and three more came in the season finale against West Virginia. This spring it would be nice if one player could step up and become a dominant playmaker in the backfield after losing Toben Opurum and Josh Williams on the outside along with linebacker Tunde Bakare.

Kansas State
Start: April 3, Spring Game: April 27

Why To Be Excited ... All five starters return to an offensive line that did a fantastic job in pass protection and paved the way for 194 rushing yards per game. Having a strong quarterback like Collin Klein helped the cause, but the front five did its part to make the balanced offense shine and now it’s an experienced group that should be a major positive. Defensively, the safety situation should be among the best in the Big 12 with Ty Zimmerman, Jarard Milo and Dante Barnett a talented group should be strong enough pick up the slack for a front seven that needs a ton of retooling. The quarterback situation should be fine, and having a veteran running back like John Hubert to rely on will help the transition. Tyler Lockett is one of the nation’s top return men and should be even more of an offensive weapon.

Why To Be Grouchy ... The overhaul. Kansas State does as good a job of filling in the gaps as any program in the Big 12, but this is ridiculous. All the starters on the defensive front seven are gone along with corners Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman from a group that finished first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, second in sacks and second against the run. It’s not just the starters; several of the key backups are gone, too. There’s time to figure out the pieces to the puzzle with North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass to start the season, but the Big 12 opener at Texas comes up fast.

What Needs Working On ... Is there a quarterback who can step in and replace what Collin Klein brought to the table? The leadership, the toughness and the production all made him one of the best quarterbacks in the nation over the last few years, and while Daniel Sams might be a dangerous runner with a ton of upside, can he be consistent? Can he be the same sort of efficient and effective passer that Klein turned into? JUCO transfer Jake Waters will get his say this spring, but it’s up to Sams to take to gig by the horns.

Oklahoma
Start: March 9, Spring Game: April 13

Why To Be Excited ... Oklahoma went 10-3 last season, went into the final weekend of the season with a shot to win the Big 12 title outright, and were in the mix for an at-large BCS spot, and no one is happy – that’s a good thing. Give Bob Stoops credit for setting the bar higher than merely winning ten games and going to a nice bowl game, and he’s shaking things up with a few new assistants coming aboard to go along with a good base of players to work around. The offensive line loses sure-thing NFL first round draft pick Lane Johnson at right tackle, but JUCO transfer Josiah St. John might be an instant answer to pick up the slack for a front five that gets the other four starters back, not including injured guard Tyler Evans. It’s OU, so the passing game will end up coming around once the quarterback situation is settled, but early on the ground attack should shine with Damien Williams and Brennan Clay working behind the solid line.

Why To Be Grouchy ... This spring is all about auditioning defensive players for fall camp, because little is likely to be settled by April 13. The defensive front loses most of the key players with linebacker Tom Wort leaving early for the NFL and tackles Casey Walker and Jamarkus McFarland also done. The biggest his is in the secondary where do-it-all safety Tony Jefferson is gone after doing hitting everything in sight in a terrific junior year. Also, don’t sleep on the importance of the loss of punter Tress Way, who averaged 44.15 yards per boot and did a nice job of working well with the coverage team.

What Needs Working On ... Yes, the defense loses a ton of talent and plenty of good hitters up front, but the line wasn’t up to its normal snuff against the run, and has a whole, the D failed miserably at consistently generating big plays. OU’s defense came up with a whopping three recovered fumbles on the season and just one over the final seven games. The secondary might have picked off 13 passes, but, outside of a good say against Baylor, it was also roasted by most quarterbacks who could throw a forward pass and chew gum at the same time. The run defense was surprisingly soft over the second half of the season allowing 185 rushing yards or more in six of the final eight games while giving up two touchdowns or more in eight games on the year.

2013 Big 12 Spring Preview
- CFN 2013 Big 12 Spring Preview - Oklahoma State to West Virginia 
- 2013 Big 12 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 1-5
- 2013 Big 12 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 6-10
- 2013 Big 12 Composite Schedule & Weekly Rankings
- 2013 Big 12 Schedule Analysis - Baylor to Oklahoma
- 2013 Big 12 Schedule Analysis - OSU to West Virginia