Page 1

THE DAILY TEXAN PRESENTS:

Vol.5, Issue 1

Aug. 27, 2010

Texas:

BIG 12 SAVIORS

With Longhorns keeping conference alive, changes on horizon. | page 12

THE COMPLICATED ACHO

Texas’ star defensive end splits time as NFL prospect. | page 20

SEASON PREVIEW EDITION New season means new story lines for several teams.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

theLINEUP page

4

12 15 Cover photo: Peyton McGee, above: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

CONFERENCE NOTEBOOKS

The Texan scans each BCS conference’s premier teams and the outsiders most likely to make an impact.

7  BIG 12 8  BIG 10 11 PAC10 14 ACC

page

16  SEC 19  BIG EAST 22  BCS CRASHERS

JUNE LESSONS A whirlwind summer for college football sends important messages.

FROM THE ASHES The Big 12’s near-death experience brings changes for the conference’s future.

ZEBRA TALK Rule changes set for 2010 while Big 12 officials let media answer questions.

BIG 12 TEAM PREVIEWS With changes in the conference’s future, there’s still a season to play. Take a look at what’s facing some of the Big 12’s teams.

5  NEBRASKA 9  KANSAS 10 TEXAS

page

17  TEXAS 20  TEXAS

EDITOR’S NOTE

The Daily Texan’s Double Coverage is printed the Friday before every Texas football game and twice during OU week.

THE DAILY TEXAN PRESENTS:

WORK-STUDY AWARD RECIPIENTS FIND YOUR WORK-STUDY JOB AT THE: VOLUME 5, ISSUE 1 • AUGUST 27, 2010

Double Coverage Editor……………Colby M. White Design Editor…………………….Mustafa Saifuddin Photo Editor……………………………Derek Stout Copy Editors……………Christina Herrera, ……………………………Sydney Fitzgerald Daily Texan Sports Editor………………Dan Hurwitz Writers……………………………….Will Anderson, ……………………………………Sameer Bhuchar, ………………………………………Jordan Godwin, ………………………………………Jonathan Parrett, ………………………………………Austin Ries

14th ANNUAL WORK-STUDY JOB FAIR MONDAY, AUGUST 30th, 2010 10 A.M.-1 P.M. THE TEXAS UNION BALLROOM Get a jump on finding your job for the new school year!


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Friday, August 27, 2010

COMMENTARY

First Issue: Sept. 3

College football’s fun June offers important lessons

RICE

By Colby M. White Daily Texan Columnist It was a fun June, wasn’t it? Daily updates followed by hours of speculation. Big 12 on the brink. Dan Beebe going from scapegoat to messiah in a month. Every traditional media outlet rereporting from a website. But now that the ruckus has subsided and only two schools jumped from the sinking Big 12 ship — only one of them truly mattering — what did it all teach us? What should have fans been taking note of while Realignment 2010 played out?

Texas leads the nation in flood fatalities.

ESPN reigns supreme One of the keys to Texas’ about face was the four-lettered giant. According to OrangeBloods.com, part of Big 12 commissioner Beebe’s last-second plan to save the conference was getting ESPN to honor its current contract through 2016 even though there are only 10 members and no title game. Big 12’s current existence is complex, but without the immediate ESPN dollars in Beebe’s

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package, there’s no guarantee Texas would have stuck around. No matter what you think of the network’s journalistic ethics, it’s clear ESPN is as important in the college sports landscape as the schools.

Colleges can afford paying student-athletes

The numbers being thrown around during the Big 12 Missile Crisis are enough to make a bunch of college kids up to their ears in debt throw up their dry noodles. The Big 12’s sheepish five (Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor) are giving its share of the $35 million to $40 million penalties of each Nebraska and Colorado to Texas, Oklahoma and A&M. That comes out to at least $23 million per school. At least. These are the figures athletic departments are dealing with. Whether or not that’s fair is up for debate. But there’s no doubt schools could certainly afford to at least think about it.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Easier name in Husker lineup, similar threat Crick steps into role as ‘The New Suh,’ defensive leader

that’s what I got to do.” Crick looked like a veteran in handling the media as he did a good job downplaying other hot topics at the Big 12 Media days including realignment and an By Dan Hurwitz Oct. 16 rematch against Texas. Daily Texan Staff But for all the attention that College football fans will no Crick has received before a snap longer have to worry about how has even been taken, he has reto pronounce the name of Nebras- mained humble and unwilling to ka’s star defensive tackle. take the spotlight. Taking over the leadership role “I don’t know if he much enjoys that Ndamukong Suh owned that, he’d rather just fly under the last season is redshirt junior Jar- radar,” said Nebraska head coach ed Crick, who is already being re- Bo Pelini. ferred to as “The New Suh.” Crick, a Nebraska native, is exSuh led the Huskers in sacks pected to receive much attention and was fourth in from opposing ofthe Big 12 with 12 fenses, but Pelini sacks in 2009, but is not concerned. Crick was just be“It won’t be hind compiling any different beI know we had Suh 9.5 sacks. cause it’s hard to and Phil [Dillard], Crick’s perforgame plan against mance in 2009 but the biggest thing one guy, especialhelped him earn ly at the d-tackle that helped us last preseason co-deposition,” Pelini year was everybody fensive player of said. “You can’t the year – sharing change all your did their individual the honor with blocking schemes job.” Texas A&M’s Von for one guy. It was Miller. But like — Jared Crick the same thing most great athSuh.” Nebraska defensive with letes, Crick was A Nebraska detackle fense that allowed able to downplay the recognition. only 10 points per “Preseason acgame – the fewest c o l a d e s re a l l y in the NCAA – redon’t mean anyturns seven startthing,” Crick said at Big 12 Media ers and all will have to contribute Day. “You got to go out and prove to put together a successful season. your worth every single day and “Everybody has to do his job,”

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Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick chases Texas running back Tre’ Newton in the 2009 Big 12 Championship. Crick is set to play a bigger role this season with Ndamukong Suh gone to the NFL. Crick said. “That’s what we did last year. I know we had Suh and Phil [Dillard], but the biggest thing that helped us last year was everybody did their individual job.” As good as Suh was on the field, he was also the leader of the defense off the field. As Suh’s replacement, Crick is already working on taking on the role that his former teammate used to possess.

“As far as leadership, I am taking more of a vocal role in trying to get the younger guys ready,” Crick said. And just because Crick has been getting more attention and taken a bigger leadership role, he has continued his normal workout routine and his coaches still see plenty of room for improvement. “I’m excited about Crick. I think he had a great year last year,” Peli-

ni said. “I think he’s got a lot more out there for him to go and get.” Crick believes he has become a stronger player over the offseason, but it won’t be known for sure until Nebraska’s Sept. 4 season opener against Western Kentucky. “We’ve got to take the same approach as we did last year, with a little more intensity,” Crick said. “We can be as good as we want to be.”

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Friday, August 27, 2010

BIG 12 | season preview Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones throws a pass last season against Oklahoma State.

It’s here — for now. No one knows how long the Big 12 will last, but the conference will get one more season in its 12-team form. From there, a curious 10-team incarnation will take place with fans’ eyes on the offfield prospects of the conference as much as its on-field ones. Until then, it looks like your standard Big 12 season: Texas and Oklahoma fighting for the title while Nebraska tries to make it interesting.

Oklahoma

Sue Ogroki Associated Press

Landry Jones spent last season just trying to keep the Sooners’ season alive while its star sat with injury. Now it’s his team. “We all know he’s the guy,” Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles told The Dallas Morning News. “We’re all looking forward to what he can do.” That progression started last year, when Jones played well at

— By Colby M. White | Daily Texan Staff home but struggled on the road. With a year under his belt, Jones is looking to get past those growing pains. “I’ve gotten so much better at just seeing defenses and recognizing where I’m going to throw the ball even before the play starts,” Jones said.

the running game. After two of the most successful quarterbacks in Texas history spent the past six years transforming the Longhorns, Brown is looking back to the past. “We think what we’re doing is probably inching back more toward the Major [Applewhite], Chris [Simms], Ricky Williams offense,” the Texas head coach said during spring practices. “We’d like to go back and be a 60-40 or 50Texas 50 team, and then on days when When Mack Brown first arrived they’re putting everybody on the in Austin, his Ricky Williams-led line of scrimmage, we’ll throw it offense built its success around every snap.”


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Friday, August 27, 2010

BIG TEN season preview

For web exclusive stories, videos, photo galleries and more, go to dailytexanonline.com

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It was a productive summer for the Big Ten. Another team. Another division. A championship game. The promise of increased TV revenue. But all of that is set for next year. The current Big Ten will try to translate the success found in the board room to the football field, where its teams have struggled in the spotlight. So what does the conference have to offer?

Ohio State Junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor is once again the preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, coming off a season where he threw for 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 800 yards and seven more scores. Pryor has struggled at times, and still lacks the consistency expected of a starting quarterback. But head coach Jim Tressel says he likes the way Pryor is progressing. “He went from quarterback of the co-Big Ten champions to quarterback of the outright Big Ten champions,” Tressel told ESPN. “That’s all the progression I’m looking for.”

Michigan With conference realignment and the installment of divisions placing the annual MichiganOhio State rivalry game up in the air, this may be head coach Rich Rodriguez’s last chance to top the Wolverines’ biggest rival. Ohio State has owned Michigan this decade, beating the Wolverines in each of the last six contests and eight of the past nine. A win over Ohio State would go a long way for Rodriguez, who is on the hot seat after two losing seasons in Ann Arbor and a 3-13 conference record. “For us, as far as going into that game, we need to win it,” Rodriguez said at Big Ten media days. “I think we go into every season, we need to win that game. And that’s I think something we always feel.” In addition to a losing record, Rodriguez has brought unwanted attention from the NCAA off the field, and the school announced self-imposed sanctions

this spring amidst allegations of improper practice times and quality-control issues. “I am really proud of our staff and our players for staying focused through all the things that have been going on,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’ve been able to stay focused and get some things accomplished the way we wanted in building our program.” On the field, the Michigan offense is marred by a quarterback battle, as sophomores Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson compete for the starting job. Forcier was the starter for most of last season, and was able to throw for just over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Robinson is a big play threat, and athletic enough to line up at either running back or wide receiver in order to make an impact on the field. “[The quarterback competition] is wide open,” Rodriguez said. “I hope it’s answered who will be the starter by the first game, but it may take a couple of games before someone clearly separates themselves, if they do.”

Iowa

Expectations are high in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes begin the season ranked ninth in the Associated Press poll and picked to finish second in the conference, behind Ohio State. Fifth-year senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi returns to lead the Iowa offense and will look to improve on the 2,417 yards and 17 touchdowns he threw a year ago. The Hawkeyes’ strongpoint is their defense, led by senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn, whose 70 tackles and 11 ½ sacks last season helped to hold opponents to only 23 touchdowns all season. Clayborn’s play has drawn comparisons to star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. But Clayborn wants to be his own man, and a leader for Iowa this season. “I feel like Suh did his thing and made a name for himself,” Clayborn told ESPN. “Let his name shine. I don’t see the comparisons. We play two different positions.” Iowa’s Big Ten schedule will make it tough for them to repeat their BCS appearance from last year, though they do play Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State at home.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Kansas’ new regime

By Austin Ries Daily Texan Staff Turner Gill could reach up and touch the tension looming in the air that night. Preparing for his first season as the head coach for the University at Buffalo in 2006, Gill was recruiting Anel Montanez, an All-State lineman from Trumbull, Conn. On one side of the table was Montanez’s mother. On the other side sat the high school senior ’s father and new wife, with Gill seated between them. It was the first time Montanez’s mother and new stepmom had met and Gil could feel the uneasiness growing with each passing second. Then something happened. After the meeting, the four stopped talking about money, and football and prayed together. Call it a sign or perhaps some sort of heavenly intervention, but in less than 48 hours after meeting, Montanez’s father, mother and stepmother committed to work things out together as a family and as friends. Ryan Waggoner | University Daily Kansan “That’s what college New Kansas head coach Turner Gill fields questions from reporters before a team practice in early football is about,” Gill August. said about that night. “We want to win championships, but that was everlasting, that helped the family.” Win every game — those are my expectations. Gill, the Texas native from Fort Worth, doesn’t answer many ques— Turner Gill, Kansas head coach tions without making sure you understand what he is truly all about

Gill steps into Lawrence with personal style

[ ‘‘

]

– building relationships. He loves to compete. He loves to win. But relationships are the reason he became a football coach. After 13 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater Nebraska and four years as head coach in Buffalo, Gill is taking over a Kansas football team that finished last in the Big 12 North in 2009. After accepting the job on Dec. 13, Gill wanted to instill an immediate sense of community in the locker room and on the field. Kansas senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson already knew a lot about Gill before meeting him in spring practices. Thorson talked with Buffalo player Dane Robinson on Facebook about what kind of person and what kind of coach Gill was. “The things [Robinson] had to say about coach Gill were out of this world,” Thorson said. “I’ve never heard anybody talk about a coach like that.” Gill plans on the Jayhawks making an immediate impact in the conference this season, doing whatever it takes to move the football. “Win every game — those are my expectations,” Gill said. “I have high expectations but also understand reasonable expectations.” The biggest factor working against Gill in his first season with Kansas is finding a quarterback to replace Todd Reesing’s talent and leadership ability, but feels good about how is offensive is looking in preseason workouts. “He’s got his own family to take care of and he calls us sons,” Thorson said. “It’s powerful. We’re willing to go out there and lay it on the line for him.”

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Sherman brings back storied 3-4 defense Aggies hope change in formation restores success of the ‘Crew’ By Will Anderson Daily Texan Staff They called them the “Wrecking Crew.” It was the nickname for Texas A&M’s 3-4 defense, which during the 1980s and ‘90s terrorized opponents under legendary coach R.C. Slocum. The moniker stuck, even after A&M switched to a 4-3 formation when Dennis Franchione took over in 2003. Now head coach Mike Sherman is making the change back and hopes the ferocity comes with it. He originally intended to bring the 3-4, which utilizes three down linemen and four linebackers, to College Station in 2007 and even sought out well-known guru Reggie Herring from Arkansas. But the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys hired Herring so Sherman brought on Joe Kines and stuck with the 4-3 for two seasons. Under Kines, A&M ranked near the bottom of the Football Bowl

Subdivision in total defense and last season gave up 426.3 yards per game, worst in the Big 12. “We were trying to mix and match things,” Sherman said. “Joe [Kines] didn’t have to tackle. Players had to tackle. We missed some tackles, which certainly didn’t help us very much.” Kines retired after the 2009 campaign and now Sherman, along with new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, is finally making the formation shift he intended all along. “I have high expectations of our defense but at the same time we’re going to be a work in progress as we learn,” Sherman said. “I thought [the defense] made a lot of strides this spring.” Sherman watched hours of film before selecting DeRuyter. It was the coordinator’s success at Air Force, which ran a 3-4 against the spread offenses of the Mountain West, that convinced the head coach to hire DeRuyter. “Every place he’s been as a coordinator has elevated their defensive play,” Sherman said. Aside from an extra linebacker to crowd the middle of the field,

the 3-4 has been used in college football to implement more complex blitzes that can come from any and all sides. “The three down linemen can take up the blockers and the linebackers will be free to roam and make tackles,” said Texas defensive end Sam Acho. “They’re harder for offenses to block because they don’t know what gaps the linebackers are going to be in.” Senior Lucas Patterson will literally be at the center of A&M’s new defense when he lines up at nosetackle after starting all 13 games at tackle last year. The 6-foot-4-inch, 303-pound lineman has made a smooth transition to the new position. “You expect for it to take a while for the defense to start clicking,” he said. “We’re taking strides right now and look good coming out of the spring.” Sean Porter and Von Miller will play outside linebacker this year. Miller, a pass-rushing specialist, will play a hybrid linebacker-defensive end position known as the “joker” and can set up behind the line or offset on the end.

Texas A&M’s Lucas Patterson sprints during last season’s matchup against Texas. Patterson will line up as nosetackle this season in the Aggies’ 3-4 defense.

Derek Stout Daily Texan Staff

Behind Porter and Miller are a redshirt freshman and true sophomore, so the health of the starters over a full season will be a crucial part of the Aggies’ defense. “I think our outside linebackers … will present some problems for opposing offenses,” Sherman said. “The strength of your defense in this defense has to be those guys being able to rush quarterbacks

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and being able to blitz.” For this team, the 3-4 represents more of a return to form than a change. The Aggies hope the familiarity helps their experienced defense in the scheme swap. “A&M has a history in the three-four defense,” Sherman said. “We’ve had a great history of linebacker play in the 3-4 defense in the state of Texas.”

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Friday, August 27, 2010

PAC-10 season preview

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— By Sameer Bhuchar | Daily Texan Staff

The conference spent the summer making moves for the future. But in the present, the Pac-10 is a mixed bag. Some schools are already sure to miss a bowl thanks to NCAA violations while others sport NFL-calibar stars. It’s one thing to make news in June, but these teams would like to be around come December.

few seasons and there are few signs of them emerging as even a middle of the conference unit. The small glimmer of hope is at linebacker where the Huskies bring back senior Mason Foster, one of the best linebackers in the conference. Foster finished second on the team with 85 tackles, and led the Huskies with three interceptions last season.

Stanford

USC

Stanford is considered to be the “sexy pick” of the Pac-10. They are young, fast and fresh off one of their most successful seasons in the modern football era. The Cardinal have a budding star under center in Andrew Luck. The Houston native put up modest numbers last season because Stanford focused heavily on the run game with Toby Gerhart. This season Luck is expected to have more free range to look downfield to his talented receivers Chris Owusu and Corey Gatewood, as well as tight end Levine Toilolo. Stanford’s defense is working in a new 3-4 scheme which could take a while to get used to. But with a number of returning defensive starters, the Cardinal have the potential to emerge as a leader in the conference.

For the past decade, USC fans have waited with bated breath for the college football season to start. This season is different. Fresh off a summer where the program was slapped with numerous NCAA sanctions prohibiting them from playing in a bowl game, the Trojans will defend their Pac-10 Championship — and nothing else. The sanctions already scared away several transfers and recruits, leaving the roster with questions. “You saw a number of guys leave that were not very excited with their playing time,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin at Pac-10 media days. “The penalty is supposed to be a postseason ban. They don’t get to play in a bowl game, so they go somewhere else. But every single kid that left – when I talked to them – they weren’t leaving because they were going somewhere to play for a bowl game, they were leaving because they ... thought they could go somewhere and play more.” The Trojans especially lack depth on the defensive side of the ball. If USC is to dominate the Pac-10 conversation in a positive way, then it will have to start with the play of their defense. Last season the Trojan defense allowed three different opponents to score 36 or more points. But with the focus of power more evenly spread out in the conference, the Trojans will need to be on guard all season as every Pac10 team will be looking to steal their crown. Until then, the Trojans are keeping quiet about the sanctions that have already muted their season. “Obviously we’re in the appeal process, so we don’t talk much about it, but no one around our program ... thought that they would be that severe,” Kiffin said of the sanctions.

Washington Pac-10 boasts possibly the best quarterback in the nation in Washington’s Jake Locker who is projected to go first overall in the 2011 NFL draft. But while he may possess all the tools needed to succeed at the professional level, Locker’s success at Washington can only be based on his wins. “An athlete like Jake Locker is once in a generation with the skills he has,” Washington associate athletic director O.D. Vincent III told the Olympian. “(Locker) coming back for his senior season meant so much to us. … We want the rest of the country exposed to Jake.” Last season the Huskies only mustered 5 wins, though one of them came against USC. The biggest flaw in the Huskie system is their defense. Washington has been stuck at the bottom of the barrel in the Pac-10 for the past

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SEC commissioner Mike Slive travels to College Station to meet with A&M officials. Aggie athletic director Bill Byrne is in Idaho for a family reunion.

The five Big 12 teams not originally offered Pac-10 invites commit to give the buyout money from Nebraska and Colorado to the remaining Big 12 school, OB reports.

According to later reports from OB, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe convinces ESPN to honor contract with the conference, even with only 10 teams.

Texas holds a press conference announcing it would stay in the Big 12, officially declining the Pac-10’s invitation.

Later in the day, the Texas regents meeting is canceled. A Texas press conference is scheduled for the next morning.

OB would later report Texas officials began to doubt how serious A&M’s SEC move was.

busy June takes big 12

June 15

Texas and Texas Tech regents meetings are scheduled for June 15. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State schedule meetings for June 16. All four meetings are expected to announce moves to the Pac-10.

Several reports link Texas A&M with a move to the SEC.

June 14

OB reports Texas A&M is in negotiations with the SEC, and the Pac-10 has given the Aggies a deadline on its earlier invitation.

Nebraska announces its move to the Big Ten.

June 12

An anonymous Big 12 coach tells ESPN if Nebraska leaves, the conference would dissolve.

The Pac-10 announces Colorado will join the conference, giving it 11 teams.

June 10

June 9

OB reports Nebraska will move to the Big Ten. A formal announcement is to made June 11.

June 13

OrangeBloods.com reports that the Pac-10 is set to offer Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado invitations to the conference in hopes of starting its own television network.

June 11

June 3:

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott confirms to The Associated Press that Texas has declined the conference’s invitation. Statements from the Big 12’s four courted schools confirm the Pac-10’s invitations have been declined.

from Doom to survival Caleb Miller | Daily Texan Staff

A Texas player raises the Big 12 trophy after last season’s Big 12 Championship. After the departure of Nebraska and Colorado over the summer, this season will be the final Championship for the conference.

BCS Changes For the new 10-team Big 12, it will obviously be more difficult for the conference to send multiple teams to a BCS bowl. Since the BCS became the way to determine a college football champion, Nebraska and Colorado — the two teams that will no longer be Big 12 members — have appeared in a combined two BCS bowls. Texas and Oklahoma continue to represent the Big 12 in the BCS and should keep up with this trend for years to come. Even though the conference expansion stayed minimal this summer, it seriously threatened the BCS and its future. Under the current system, a conference can not have more than two teams representing itself in the BCS. Had a mega 16-team conference been formed, this may have had been changed. For now BCS executive director Bill Hancock is happy he won’t have to worry about it. “I personally don’t expect there to be a lot more expansion, but I think that if for some reason there were fewer automatic qualifying conferences, it might be more difficult to fill the ten slots with the two-team limit,” Hancock said. The BCS continues to remain intact and will not likely see any changes in the near future despite teams switching conferences.

No title Game With the Big 12’s new 10-team design, a championship game will no longer be available. According to NCAA regulations, a conference requires at least 12 participants to be allowed a championship game. Once Nebraska and Colorado are officially done in the Big 12, football seasons will consist of every team playing each other every season. Only Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder favors a championship game, while the remaining nine coaches have all preferred a system without one. In the 14-year history of the Big 12, there have been situations in which a championship game benefitted a team and sent them to a National Championship (see 2008 Oklahoma). But at the same time, it has hurt teams and taken them out of contention for playing in the

national championship (see 2001 Texas). “I don’t see any evidence that a championship game helps or hurts,” said BCS executive director Bill Hancock. Without a championship game, it has been suggested to move the annual Texas-OU game in Dallas to December — the week of other conference championship games. This would place the conference’s two most successful programs against each other in which could possibly determine who would represent the Big 12 in the BCS. “I think the major consideration is to keep the traditions of the conference as well as we can, and the tradition of that game has been around the state fair of Texas,” Beebe said. “I don’t see that really being something that we would want to mess with.” The Texas-OU game is scheduled to be played at the Cotton Bowl through 2015, but has been discussed about moving the game to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

By Dan Hurwitz Daily Texan Staff The Big 12 was down to its final breath. Nebraska and Colorado had already chosen to part ways. Texas A&M was looking at the SEC. The Pac-10 was desperately courting Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. And the remaining five universities appeared to be without a conference. Then came Texas. President William Powers Jr. and athletic directors De Loss Dodds and Chris Plonsky came to an agreement with Big 12 Commisioner Dan Beebe and saved what was left of the Big 12. With Texas on board, the remaining nine schools all pledged their commitment to the new 10-team conference. “It’s our view that it’s in our strong — economic and traditional and looking out for our student athletes — our strong interest to remain with the 10-team Big 12,” Powers said.

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe smiles while responding to questions during an interview. Beebe’s work during June helped keep together the Big 12.

There was concern, however, from the Texas administration about the instability of the conference prior to the new agreement. Powers said that Texas has always been committed to the Big 12 and he wanted to make sure that it would continue. “Texas led the way at the Big 12 meetings saying we need to keep the Big 12 together and we need to end instability,” Powers said. “Now we have stability.” Enticing Texas to remain in the conference was the option allowing them to pursue their own television network — something that Texas has wanted for years. Beebe’s plan also expects to at least double the amount of money that the universities would make from television revenues. Texas’ decision to stay singlehandedly kept the conference alive. The University of Texas is now responsible for saving the Big 12 and making sure that the 10 remaining universities all have a home — at least for now.

Cloudy Future There was much uncertainty of the future of the Big 12 after Nebraska and Colorado chose to depart. But in the upcoming months, Commissioner Dan Beebe and the coaches have expressed confidence in the future of the league. The lack of faith in the Big 12 was immediately shown when Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville shared his opinion on the radio.

“I don’t think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams,” Tuberville told Rivals Radio. Tuberville saw this disparity based on how the new Big 12 would divide revenue up unevenly and give more money to universities such as Texas and less to Iowa State. “When that happens, you’re gonna have teams looking for better avenues to leave and reasons to leave,” Tuberville said. Since that late June radio interview, Tuberville has

Tony Gutierrez Associated Press

changed his opinion after being reprimanded. While Tuberville was not shy about his comments following the summer conference drama, the remainder of the Big 12 football coaches stayed quiet and made it clear that they were unaware of the future status of the conference. “It really doesn’t matter what Art Briles thinks,” said Baylor head coach Art Briles. “It just doesn’t make any difference because I’m not a decision maker in that field.” The Big 12 is expected to remain as a 10-team conference for the near future and could eventually expand

to 12. But Beebe is a strong believer that a conference should not exceed 12 instituions. “I think you get beyond 12, you really don’t have a conference anymore,” Beebe said. “You have an association. You don’t even see those programs on the other side very often.” For the immediate future, Nebraska and Colorado will participate in Big 12 athletics through the 2010-2011 school year. Nebraska will leave for the Big Ten beginning August 2011 and Colorado will depart for the newlyformed Pac-12 in either 2011 or 2012.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

For web exclusive stories, videos, photo galleries and more, go to dailytexanonline.com

ACC | season preview — By Colby M. White | Daily Texan Staff

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Saying the ACC has the best conference in the nation isn’t surprising. Except when you’re talking about football. The ACC has taken several notable shots in the past five years (like Williams & Mary beating Virginia last season) but the basketball-first conference’s football status has taken strides. The conference comes into the season with five teams ranked in both preseason top 25 polls, which at this point in the season are based more on reputation than anything. Here’s a glance at the teams looking to improve the conference’s 2-10 record in the BCS.

Virginia Tech Darren Evans spent 2008 setting the ACC freshman record for rushing yards (1,265 yards). Ryan Williams spent 2009 making Hokie fans forget all about Evans by smashing that very record with 1,655-yard season. And now they get to play together. Evans is expected to be back in the Virginia Tech roster after his ACL injury last season kept him out of the lineup and gave Williams a chance to turn heads. If Evans bounces back to his pre-injury form, it’ll give the Hokies an even scarier running attack than they already had. “I feel good,” Evans said at the ACC’s Media Days. “It’s fixed, I know it’s fixed, and I’m ready to play football. Me worrying about one little body part on my body, it will slow me down and I don’t need that. I don’t think the team needs that.” Neither back is expected to receive near the same amount of carries they did as starters, but whether or not Evans overcomes his injury will remain to be seen. But after his first scrimmage, where he broke four tackles on an outside zone play, according to assistant coach Billy Hite, there haven’t been too many doubts in the coaching staff. “We had defensive guys laying all over the ground and I ran down there and picked him up off the field,” Hite said of the scrimmage. “I said, ‘You’re back.’ He had a big smile on his face and he said, ‘I am back.’

From that time on, he hasn’t even thought about that knee.”

Miami (Fla.)

Miami’s impressive start to last season was led by quarterback Jacory Harris. Miami’s disappointing end to the season was led by Harris. Harris’ impressive play and a plan to wear a pink suit at the Heisman ceremony earned him a spot on the award’s underdog list, but his 17 interceptions let the Hurricanes down as the season wore on. But Harris is chalking the season up as a lesson learned. “I’m better suited to deal with it all now,” Harris told The Associated Press. “The Heisman, it’s just a great feeling to have your name mentioned. Of course you want to win it, but at the same time, you have a team that you have to help win. You can’t win the Heisman if your team isn’t winning.” To do that, Harris will still have to put up similar numbers (3,352 passing yards, 24 touchdowns), just not the interceptions. “Jacory’s much more of a leader now,” said Miami head coach Randy Shannon. “He’s older now. He sees things now. The guys look up to him and it’s not just the offense. He’s around the whole locker room, trying to set an example.”

Georgia Tech

Paul Johnson can’t seem to shake his critics. Even after success at Georgia Southern, Navy and leading Georgia Tech to a ACC title last year, Johnson’s triple-option spread offense is still viewed as a gimmick by some. “I quit worrying about that stuff 30 years ago,” the Georgia Tech head coach told ESPN. “If you can’t dispel it in 30 years, you’re not going to dispel it.” With Johnson’s offense proving successful on the field, Tech still feels the need to defend it. “For some reason or another, it seemed like the option offense had gone dormant as far as being in vogue,” said athletic director Dan Radakovich. “But I don’t think there’s even a question of it being effective.”


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Celebration, illegal contact penalties undergo changes ing the whistle blows and play stops. So if your favorite team is about to score but the running back high-steps into the end zone, the touchdown will be negated and a 15-yard penalty enforced. The rule covers all forms of unsportsmanlike conduct, not just taunting, so Quan Cosby’s touch• Any messages or logos on a down dive in the 2009 Fiesta player’s eye black must be re- Bowl could have been considered moved. If it’s under the eye, it has a penalty with a strict interpretato be all black with no exceptions. tion of the new rule. If it isn’t, the affected player will • Any time a game is stopped be removed from the game until he removes the offending mark for injury, the injured player must consult with a team physician or from his face. trainer before coming back on • Beginning in 2011, any un- the field. The player must sit out sportsmanlike celebration penalty at least one play, even if his team will become a liveball foul, mean- calls a timeout.

Big 12 head of officiating Walt Anderson spoke at the annual conference media days this summer about the forthcoming rule changes in college football this year, some of which are set to take effect in 2011, and their purpose. Here’s a rundown of the changes:

• Wedge blocking will now be illegal on kick returns to help prevent concussions. Whenever at least three players line up shoulder-to-shoulder, it creates a wedge, dangerous at any level of football but especially so with 300-pound Division I players. The NFL adopted the same wedgeblocking rule a year ago. • The last rule is more of an

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addendum. The NCAA Football Rules Committee changed the existing illegal contact rule to include the targeting of defenseless players, meaning defensive players cannot hit offensive players in the head if they aren’t looking. — Will Anderson

1. On a safety kick from his own 20-yard line with 8:32 to go in the second quarter, a player on Team A is offside when the ball is kicked. The kick is then muffed by a player on Team B at his own 38, only to have one of his teammates dive on the ball at the 39. What’s the call?

2. It is second and 16 for Team A with 3:39 left in the game and Team B up 20-10. Team A’s quarterback takes the snap at his own 40-yard line and throws a long pass down the right sideline to his receiver. A defensive back on Team B has his back turned to the ball and so does not see it when he makes early contact with the Team A receiver at the Team B 25. However, the receiver still catches the ball and is tackled at Team B’s 19-yard line. What’s the call?

Ref Exam

3. Team A has a firstand-10 on the opposing 44-yard line when the quarterback hits his tight end at Team B’s 46-yard line. Team A’s tight end makes it to the 39 before being tackled. However, during the pass, a Team A player blocked someone at Team B’s 40-yard line and then, after the pass, a player on Team A tackled an opponent at the 38. What’s the call?

During Big 12 media days, the conference handed out the officiating test that conference referees must pass before being able to work. All questions, edited to replace referee jargon, come from actual game situations that occurred last season in the Big 12. Test your college football knowledge with these tricky queries and check your answers in the provided key.

4. Team A has the ball on Team B’s 49-yard line with 10:16 in the first quarter, facing first-and-10 and the game clock running. Before the play, a player on Team A flinches when his quarterback makes a quick head movement. Ten players on Team B immediately react by pointing at the player who moved. What’s the call?

5. Team B is up 38-35 in the second possession of overtime when Team A’s quarterback completes a pass from the Team B 21-yard line to the 19. But the receiver is hit at the 17-yard line and fumbles the ball. A defensive player jumps at the ball, which sits at the 16, and intentionally bats it forward to his own 26-yard line where a player on Team A recovers the ball and steps out of bounds at the Team B 23. What’s the call?

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Answers: 1. Team B’s ball at its own 44-yard line, OR a re-kick from Team A’s 15-yard line. 2. First-and-10 for Team A at Team B’s 19-yard line. 3. It’s first and fifteen for Team A at the Team B 49-yard line, OR second and five for Team A at B’s 39-yard line. 4. First-and-15 for Team A at its own 46-yard line. 5. You are not allowed to bat a ball forward and the penalty is added after the recovery. It’s first and goal for Team A at Team B’s 8 1/2-yard line.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

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SEC season preview

— By Jonathan Parrett | Daily Texan Staff

The SEC has been the premiere conference in college football over the past decade, exerting its dominance over lesser conferences by winning when it counts. And if you let the preseason polls tell it, this season will be no different. The SEC starts the season with six teams in the AP top 25, and here’s a quick look at a few of the heavy hitters.

Arkansas The Razorbacks enter the season with high expectations and are the dark horse for many to compete with Alabama for the SEC West division. “The expectations are something I put right out in front of the team,” said head coach Bobby Petrino. “I told them it was great to have the expectations, the excitement is good. Now what it’s all about is work, getting out here at practice and getting better on a daily basis.” The Razorbacks return 10 starters on offense, including preseason all-SEC quarterback Ryan Mallett, who threw for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, and a receiving core that returns 85 percent of its production from last season. Speculation that he may bolt to the NFL at season’s end surrounds Mallett as he enters his second season at Arkansas, after sitting out a year when he transferred from Michigan. Many see Mallett as one of the first quarterbacks taken in the draft, but isn’t treating this season like it’s his last in Fayetteville. “I still have two years of eligibility left,” Mallett said at SEC media days. “All that stuff comes after, if I have a chance to play in the NFL.”

Florida The Tim Tebow era is over at Florida, and those Heismanstamped shoes have to be filled by junior quarterback John Brantley. “I know it’s going to be hard because he set the bar high,” Brantley told USA Today. Brantley, who had initially committed to play for Texas, was the 2006 Gatorade National Player of the Year. In limited action last season,

Brantley was able to throw for 410 yards and seven touchdowns. “He came in with all the expectations, and sat behind a great quarterback for three years,” senior center Mike Pouncey said. “Now I’m happy for him that it’s his time.” Brantley won’t have to carry the offensive load for the Gators all by himself. Jeffrey Demps, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody return and will try to make up for the loss of Tim Tebow in a rushing attack that averaged over 200 yards per game last season.

Alabama

When Mark Ingram crossed the goal line for the 20th and final time last season, it solidified a 37-21 win over Texas in the BCS championship game. With Ingram and fellow explosive running back Trent Richardson returning to lead the Alabama offense again this year, it’s no wonder why the Crimson Tide sit atop every preseason poll, including the AP, a spot they haven’t held this early in the season since the days of Bear Bryant. Expectations are high in Tuscaloosa, and the players are aware of the type of competition a No. 1 ranking brings. “We know that we have bullseyes on our back, teams that want to knock us off,” Ingram said at SEC media days. “They’re going to bring their best week in and week out.” Head coach Nick Saban has tried to downplay the importance of the ranking and says that this team needs to find an identity of its own. “What was accomplished by last year’s team has nothing to do with this year’s team,” Saban told ESPN. “The players have to understand that.” The Crimson Tide lost defensive stars Rolando McClain, Terrence Cody and Javier Arenas to the NFL in the off-season, and are returning only three starters. Less experienced players must find a way to step up early and often, as the Tide’s grueling SEC schedule is prefaced by a visit from Penn State the second week of the season. “We have confidence in our defensive players,” Saban said. “I think it’s more a matter of knowledge and experience and maturity that the defense is going to have to develop.”


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Tuberville enters Tech with focused attitude

By Dan Hurwitz Daily Texan Staff When new Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville held his first team meeting, he said something that surprised his entire team. It had nothing to do with pirates or fat girlfriends or Twitter – a few of former head coach Mike Leach’s favorite topics. “I’m here to win championships,” Tuberville told his team. Prior to Tuberville’s arrival in Lubbock, the word championship was not allowed to even be thought about. With a new sheriff in town, the players now know that Tuberville is all business. “He is more old school,” said defensive lineman Colby Whitlock. “It’s been a good change.” Old school means more structure to everything. “When we walk in from the start of the day we know exactly where we are going to be, what we are going to do, what time we are going to be done,” Whitlock said. Being on time for Tuberville means being five minutes early. And if you are not at practice or at a meeting five minutes early, a trip to the strength and conditioning coach is scheduled for an intense workout.

“It’s more like real life,” quarterback Steven Sheffield said. Sheffield used to be one of the last guys to team meetings but has since changed that habit. For Sheffield, coming to meetings early also had to do with the decision that Tuberville recently had to make regarding who would be his starter. It was announced last week that Taylor Potts won the competition over Sheffield, but until the decision was made, Tuberville had a close eye on both of them. He even brought both quarterbacks to Big 12 Media Day in July. Leach never once brought a quarterback. With Tuberville in, the Red Raiders have a different philosophy on the field as well. Instead of Leach’s pass happy offense, Tuberville expects to run the ball much more. “People think we are going to start lining up in the ‘I’ and doing fullback stuff, but we are going to still throw the ball,” Sheffield said. Tuberville is not giving up the pass game as he expects a ratio of 60-40 in favor of the pass. But he isn’t married to that idea. “If we get into a game and find a team that can’t cover anybody, we’re going to throw it 100 [times],” Tuberville said. Tuberville knows a lot about offense, but defense is something that he knows more about and he

Karl Anderson | Daily Toreador

Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville addresses the team during a spring practice. has brought that knowledge to Lubbock. He admitted that when he first came, his defense lacked confidence and is looking for new things out of them. “We want our defense to take a step up,” Tuberville said. “We

want to let them know that they’re part of the team. For us to win a championship, they have to be accountable.” Overall Tuberville is looking to develop his players into winning machines and eventually NFL

players, another subject that was never talked about during Leach’s time at Tech. Now it is common. “That is something that we are not used to at all,” Sheffield said. “If we talked about the NFL, that really pissed [Leach] off.”

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Friday, August 27, 2010

BIG EAST season preview

Recycle your copy of

— By Sameer Bhuchar | Daily Texan Staff The conference is in need of a reputation boost. But it doesn’t look to be this season. Preseason pollsters only granted two Big East teams spots in the rankings, continuing a BCSera trend. In the BCS’ 12-season history, the Big East has yet to send an at-large bid. Even the conference’s champions have been lukewarm at best, posting a 6-6 record in BCS bowls including back-to-back losses by Cincinnati the past two season. If the far-fetched idea of turning around the league happens this year, it’ll be these teams facing the odds.

West Virginia No. 25 West Virginia will be dealing with a few distractions this year. The Mountaineers’ football program is linked to the investigation of head coach Rich Rodriguez, who allegedly violated NCAA rules by failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance at Michigan and during part of his tenure at WVU. With constant probing into the program by the NCAA, one would imagine the Mountaineers could feel preoccupied. Nonetheless, West Virginia finished last season 9-4 and are still expected to make a run for the Big East title this season. Their offensive line is very experienced and they will take that experience to guide star running back Noel Devine through the gaps. Devine ran for 1,465 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. But the Mountaineers have a forgettable wide receiver corp and a new quarterback under center, which could spell trouble when defenses start focusing all their attention on Devine. Fresh off a surprising 10-win season, No. 15 Pittsburgh comes into the season with the highest ranking of any Big East team.

Pittsburgh Pittsburgh is expected to continue their recent trend of winning with sophomore running

back Dion Lewis leading the charge. Lewis carried the ball 325 times for 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. And with a young quarterback at the helm, Pittsburgh will need Lewis. Redshirt sophomore Tino Sunseri has only thrown 17 collegiate passes. “Everybody has to start somewhere,� Sunseri said. “Look at all the great quarterbacks who come out, Colt McCoy, all those other guys.� The Panthers also have strong defensive personnel returning for another year. Outside linebacker Max Gruder will be the spark plug on defense as he recorded a team-high 91 tackles last year. Pittsburgh, while extremely talented, is going to have a tough out-of-conference schedule. They will travel to Utah early in the season and then play host to Miami a few weeks following. If the Panthers are to make a big splash in the national conversation, then they will have to take down these two highly ranked opponents.

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Connecticut The Huskies are pinning the Big East title hopes on their breakout junior running back Jordan Todman this year. The All-Big East athlete had three 100-yard games last year and is not expected to slow down. The Huskies are also adding another running back into mix, with USC transfer D.J. Shoemate sharing a small chunk of time with Todman. Shoemate will help the Huskies establish that dual running back threat they have been known for the past few years. Connecticut will be tested early in the season when they face Michigan in Ann Arbor. They will also have to face traditional Big East powerhouses Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Assuming they come out of that gauntlet with a winning record then Connecticut is seen by many to be a real threat in the Big East. They may not be ranked in the top 25 this season, but they did receive 32 AP votes in the rankings.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

‘Dr. Johnson’s’ new hybrid role proving smarts

Football: only one part of Acho

By Will Anderson Daily Texan Staff Who is Sam Acho? Is he a first-round NFL prospect? Or the son of Nigerian immigrants who spends his summers volunteering in West Africa? Is he an articulate business and marketing honors student set to graduate early? Or the fire-breathing, pass-rushing defensive end known to teammates by the nickname “Sacho”? The simple answer is all of the above. But the full story is much more complex. Acho took a week off from summer workouts to travel to Nigeria and deliver medical supplies as part of a trip with doctors, nurses, surgeons and other medical professionals. Such off-the-field behavior makes him the face, and leader, of the defense. In the vein of ends Sergio Kindle and Brian Orakpo, Acho is next in a line of highly regarded Longhorns at that position and the authority that comes with it. “He’s such a great young man,” said head coach Mack Brown. “He’s such a giving person off the field, that gives him great leadership qualities on the field.” He is mobile and explosive,

perfect for a player at the edge of the line. The 2010 Hendricks Award, which annually honors the nation’s best defensive end, released its preseason watch list this week, and Acho’s name is near the top. But the senior may not always be at the end this season, moving inside to cope with the team’s relative lack of experience at tackle. “In those cases he could move inside because he can take on the run, as well as he’s a tremendous pass rusher,” Brown said. He is intelligent, as you’ve likely been told, a double-major honors student in the McCombs School of Business. He has spoken at the annual Minority Mentorship Symposium in Austin and was the University’s delegate to last summer’s NCAA summer leadership conference. “Sam is such a bright young man,” Brown said. “When I met with him in high school he told me he had two goals for his college career: He wanted to be a football all-American and he wanted to be an academic all-American.” Last year, ESPN The Magazine named Acho to its Academic AllAmerican team. Even so, his athletic accomplishments have not matched his accomplishments in

the classroom — yet. “He’s working hard on the football part,” Brown noted. The senior ’s booksmarts are well documented but he’s also a student of the game, constantly learning from those around him. “I remember last year when I wasn’t too sure of the exact technique to play at defensive tackle, I always asked Kheeston [Randall] or Lamarr [Houston] and they would let me know what to do,” Acho said. Who, then, is the real Sam Acho? Most of all he’s a football player, putting team over self, collective glory above individual accolades. Ask him a question about the defensive line and Acho is more likely to talk about Calvin Howell or Tyrell Higgins than mention his own name. “I love playing both defensive end and defensive tackle,” Acho said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win.” After three years, Acho is still a mystery to many, fans and opponents alike. So what does the veritable jack-of-all-trades want from this season? Well, that’s no mystery. “This is my last year so I know that winning is really important,” Acho said.

By Jordan Godwin Daily Texan Staff Google Texas defensive end/ linebacker Dravannti Johnson’s name, and one of the top hits is a Huffington Post entry ridiculing him for gesturing to the wrong end zone after an onside kick in January’s national championship loss to Alabama. But don’t let that blip be any indication of the field smarts Johnson will bring to the Longhorns’ defense this season. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp expects Johnson to play the end/linebacker hybrid that made Sergio Kindle so successful in the past four seasons. “I’m doing what he did when he was here,” Johnson said. “I looked up to him a lot and saw how hard he worked. I’m learning it, and I’m looking forward to it.” Johnson (6-2, 250) is practically identical in size to Kindle and possesses similar strength and athleticism. There’s one exception — Kindle moved from strongside linebacker to defensive end in his senior season, and Johnson is altering his versatility, vice versa. But the thing that sets Johnson apart is his enthusiasm. Ask him about sacking a quarterback and his face lights up. Ask him about how to hit a running back so he’ll feel it three days later, and he can’t hold back a cheesy grin. There’s a reason his favorite

movie is “Friday Night Lights,” his favorite video game is “Madden,” and his favorite channel is ESPN. Johnson nearly jumped out of his chair when asked about his team’s defense. “I love the scheme that coach Muschamp has for us,” Johnson said. “We get to move around, we get to blitz a lot and I get to play it all, so it’s really fun.” Some of Johnson’s enthusiasm might stem from the long road he has taken to get where he is. He redshirted the 2008 season and contributed to special teams in 2009. But to Johnson, his journey up the depth chart is just part of playing for Texas. “This is a great school with great players, and some guys have to wait their turn,” Johnson said. “It was tough for me coming in, and it was a culture shock.” Johnson will have a bit of a homecoming at next Saturday’s opener against Rice in Houston, which is less than two hours from his hometown of Nederland. It’s the closest he’ll come to his family and friends, but with a season in the limelight that Johnson is poised to have, it’ll be hard for them to not see him. “I have to find tickets for everybody,” Johnson said. “I’ve been getting so many texts and calls. I’ve been telling them, ‘You’re going to get a chance to see me, and if not, just watch me on TV.’”

Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

Above: Dravannti Johnson watches on at practice. Left: Sam Acho flexes during a photoshoot.


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BCS BUSTERS season preview — By Sameer Bhuchar| Daily Texan Staff

This is what makes college football both fun and frustrating. The established hierarchy can come toppling down. History shows that not even an undefeated season can give the unsexy BCS busters a title chance, but with Boise State finally in the top 5 before the season starts, there might be a chance that the BCS will open its title game to a non-BCS conference for the first time. Here are college football’s little men, also know as the BCS’ biggest fears

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Boise State The No. 3 Boise State are a divisive team in college football. Either fans love their tenacity and their us-against-the-world mentality or fans want to rip its blue field to shreds. Either way, the WAC conference member will be the most talked-about team in the top 5 this year. “We’ve never been hung up on preseason rankings, they don’t mean much at all,” head coach Chris Petersen told USA Today. “And so preseason rankings, we’ve never put a lot of stock into, so even though we’re ranked higher than we’ve been in the past, we’re still not putting a lot of stock into it. We’ve still got to go do some things.” Under Petersen, the Broncos have gone 49-4 and pulled off an undefeated run last year. The Broncos are likely to repeat that feat with junior quarterback Kellen Moore at the helm of the offense. He was ranked second in passing efficiency last season, throwing for 3,400 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is considered by many to be a frontrunner in the Heisman campaign. But the Broncos’ running game has been the source of talk. Petersen said earlier in the week he will likely use two running backs in his offense, but he has three options: senior Jeremy Avery and juniors D.J. Harper and Doug Martin. “You have to make some hard decisions in terms of maybe two guys that are really going to be the 1-2 punch out of the gate and figure out who else fits in,” Petersen told the Idaho Statesman. “So we’re kind of working on that. ... All those guys will be a

factor. We probably need to get a 1-2 punch.” The Broncos’ defense is also impressive. Last season, the defensive unit gave up only 17 points per game and boasted a +21 turnover differential. If the Broncos can defeat Virginia Tech and Oregon State, their two most difficult opponents, then many expect them to play for the national title.

Utah

Coach Kyle Whittingham has built No. 19 Utah into a team that can play with the best of them. The Utes are coming off a 10-3 season and expect an equal, if not better, performance this season. Quarterback Jordan Wynn is coming off a 338-yard, threetouchdown performance in the Poinsettia Bowl, solidifying his role as starter. Senior running back Eddie Wide will be a nice compliment to Wynn in the back field. Wide ran for 1,000 yards last season and 12 touchdowns. The Utes will have to take down No. 15 Pittsburgh on their opening game and conference rival No. 6 TCU in the middle of the season to have a shot at playing BCS buster and conference contender.

TCU

The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 6 coming into the season. Like Utah, they represent the Mountain West Conference, a non-BCS conference, and are a constant reminder of the continual shift of power in college football. TCU is led by quarterback and defending Mountain West player of the year, senior Andy Dalton. He was accurate at quarterback last year throwing for over 2,700 yards and 23 touchdown passes. But the offseasin for Dalton and the Horned Frogs has been about gettng back to a BCS bowl. “There’s a lot of motivation,” Dalton said. “We wanted to get to the BCS game and win it. We weren’t able to accomplish that. We lost to a great team in Boise, but that’s something we felt that was still empty in us. That’s what really pushed us this offseason. Hopefully we can get back there.”


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Double Coverage Vol. 5, Issue 1  

Volume 5, Issue 1 of Double Coverage.

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