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July 20, 2013

OB's Big 12 Media Days Preview

Big 12 Media Days are Monday and Tuesday in Dallas. Orangebloods will be there. Only two schools are bringing QBs, Texas (David Ash) and Kansas (Jake Heaps).

That tells you how much uncertainty there is at the QB position in the league, even at schools like Oklahoma State (where Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh are competing) and TCU (where Gary Patterson wants Casey Pachall to compete with Trevone Boykin in fall camp before naming a starter - it will be Pachall).

Mack Brown and West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen will be asked about feeling the heat to win this season.

Kliff Kingsbury will get questions about V-necks, Wayfarers and coaching Johnny Football last season ... and maybe a question or two about his new job.

Bob Stoops will be asked about recent criticism from former players questioning the direction of his program.

Mike Gundy and Art Briles will get questions about if their programs will ever play quality defense.

Gary Patterson will be asked why DE Devonte Fields is suspended for the first two games, including TCU's opener vs LSU.

Bill Snyder will get questions about how he's still winning at 73.

Charlie Weis and Paul Rhoads will probably be hoping not to be asked about finishing in the Big 12 cellar this season.

Here are the players who will be in attendance I'm most looking forward to speaking with:

1. Texas quarterback David Ash and DE Jackson Jeffcoat (UT is also bringing OG Trey Hopkins and S Adrian Phillips)

I feel like we'll be able to hear a change in Ash if he's truly morphed into the leader Texas needs him to be this season at the QB position. (He certainly had a less eventful Manning Passing Academy than the QB at Texas A&M.)

I remember Colt McCoy the summer after competing with Jevan Snead for the starting job. Colt sounded like a different person after knowing he had earned the respect of his teammates.

Jeffcoat is coming off back-to-back seasons in which each pectoral muscle ruptured and now finds himself in an all-on-the-line senior year.

I want to hear about Jeffcoat's mindset and the mindset of the defense coming off last year's debacle.

2. Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin (OU is also bringing C Gabe Ikard and FB Trey Millard)
Colvin probably had more justification to leave school early and enter the NFL Draft after last season than juniors LB Tom Wort or S Tony Jefferson, both of whom went undrafted.

(Although Wort said he knew he'd probably go undrafted but wanted to try to make an NFL team as a free agent rather than stick around and play for Mike Stoops.)

With seven starters gone from a defense that gave up 25.5 ppg and a Bob Stoops record 398 yards per game and 192 rushing yards per game, I want to hear what Colvin has to say about this year's OU defense.

He should also have some thoughts on the QBs competing to be the guy: Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson.

3. Oklahoma State DT Calvin Barnett (OSU is also bringing WR Josh Stewart and LB Shaun Lewis)

Mike Gundy has never had a defense that has held opponents to less than 21.7 points per game. Last season, OSU gave up 28.2 points per game.

A good college defense gives up less than 20 ppg. A really good college defense gives up between 12 and 17 ppg. A great college defense gives up less than 12 ppg (Alabama gave up
10.9 ppg last season).

So Gundy has never sniffed having a good defense. Is this the year with a lot of veteran leadership on that side of the ball, including Barnett and DT James Castleman?

4. Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk (BU is also bringing S Ahmad Dixon and OG Cyril Richardson)

The junior Oregon transfer says he's going to win the Heisman Trophy. He's an interesting dude. He wears a toboggan snow hat all over campus in 100-degree heat.

But he's also really talented. He ran for 831 of his 1012 yards rushing last season in the final six games, when Baylor caught fire - against Kansas (103), OU (91), Kansas State (185), Texas Tech (136), Oklahoma State (178) and UCLA (138).

I want to hear him talk about QB Bryce Petty and the Baylor defense, which will make or break the Bears' season.

5. TCU RB Waymon James (TCU is also bringing S Sam Carter, DE Jon Koontz and CB Jason Verrett)

James ran for 875 yards and a staggering 7.2 yards per carry in 2011 and was averaging 9.9 yards per attempt through 17 carries in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Now, he's back and competing with Nebraska transfer Aaron Green to get his old job back.
James will also be able to shed some light on how Casey Pachall has changed, if at all, after being suspended for the final nine games of last season and going to rehab.

James can also shed light on the biggest question mark facing TCU this season, in my opinion, the offensive line, which gave up nearly 4 sacks per game in TCU's six losses last year.

6. Kansas State S Ty Zimmerman (KSU is also bringing WR Tyler Lockett, OL BJ Finney, LB Tre Walker)

I want to ask Zimmerman who the heck will be playing in front of him.

Kansas State is replacing nine starters on defense, including the ENTIRE front seven. Only Zimmerman and CB Randall Evans are returning on defense.

Zimmerman will also have perspective on the two QBs competing to take over for Collin Klein - JUCO transfer Jake Waters and sophomore Daniel Sams.

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