The Daily Texan Presents:
Aug. 6, 2012
Vol. 7, Issue 1
defensive dominance The Longhorns return seven starters from one of the nationâ€™s top defenses in 2011 and are poised to make an impact this year. PAGE 4
Monday, August 6, 2012
Cover photo: Elisabeth Dillon, Above: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan file photos
EDITOR’S NOTE The Daily Texan’s Double Coverage is printed the Friday before every Texas football game and twice during OU week.
DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE The Longhorns return several players from last season’s defensive unit who finished among the best in the conference.
BEARS BRACE FOR BIG YEAR Coach Art Briles has confidence senior quarterback Nick Florence can lead Baylor on another run at the Big 12 title.
GAMES OF THE YEAR Check out a breakdown of the best five games the Big 12 Conference has to offer this season.
PRESEASON AWARDS WATCH Our resident college football expert Trey Scott breaks down the Longhorns’ chances of winning college football’s top awards.
THE DAILY TEXAN PRESENTS:
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1 • 2012 EDITION Double Coverage Editor……………Nick Cremona Photo Editor…………………………Elisabeth Dillon Copy Editor……….....……Klarissa Fitzpatrick Issue Designer...............Natasha Smith Writers……...................................Christian Corona
Monday, August 6, 2012
Weis, Crist reunite in hopes of revamping program By Nick Cremona Kansas head coach Charlie Weis has had a busy past three years. In 2009 Weis was let go by Notre Dame after five years and a 35-27 overall record with the Fighting Irish. From there Weis made the move back to the NFL, where he served as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for the 2010 season. Then in 2011 he was offered the offensive coordinator position at the University of Florida where he spent just one season as well. Now Weis finds himself at Kansas, worlds away from the constant media attention he received during his time at Notre Dame, but still eager to grow the Kansas football brand. “Not so long ago in 2007 and 2008 this team was playing in the Orange Bowl and Insight Bowl and winning,” Weis said. “When I took the job this year I said, ‘Let’s go hit the state hard and let the people get a little touch of the Jayhawk football program as it currently stands.’ And I think it’s paid good dividends so far.” Although he hasn’t served as a head coach for the past two seasons, Weis sees the Kansas job as a great opportunity to guide a struggling program in the right direction. “To be honest with you I think it’s a very challenging situation, one that we thought would be a good challenge for us as a family but also very rewarding,” Weis said. “I really enjoyed my time with the Chiefs, it’s one of the reasons I took this job.” It won’t be an easy task, and Weis is well aware of this. In the past three seasons the Jayhawks have won just three conference games and have been among the worst teams in the nation in terms
Looking back, you can see a handful of games that they could have ... but the bottom line is that there were too many games where they got the crap kicked out of them. — Charlie Weis, Kansas head coach of team defense. “Looking back, you can see a handful of games that they could have, or maybe should have won but the bottom line is that there were too many games where they got the crap kicked out of them,” Weis said. Those bowl victories are distant memories now after how badly the Jayhawks have performed in recent years, but that hasn’t altered expectations for the team in 2012. “You could tell that there was a definite desire and eagerness to win from these guys,” senior quarterback Dayne Crist said. “No one was happy with how they finished last year.” Crist joins the Jayhawks by way of transfer from Notre Dame, where he played under Weis in 2009. Crist saw limited action in four games last year but feels comfortable enough in Weis’s offense to make an impact for the Jayhawks in 2012. “I know that my experience within this system and my overall familiarity and comfort level will help me bring other guys along and allow them to do less thinking,” Crist said. “I can do a lot more of the thinking for the guys on offense and help put us in the best place by being a leader.” Weis and Crist won’t be the only new faces in Lawrence this year. Dave Campo, former Dallas Cowboys head coach and
defensive coordinator, was hired by Weis to serve as the Jayhawks’ defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Campo took his first coaching job as a 24-year-old assistant at Central Connecticut State in 1971 and has since held various positions both at the collegiate level as well as the NFL. “Two qualities I’ve always admired about Dave Campo, beside the fact that I like the man, he’s a great teacher and he’s very well respected by the players,” Weis said. Campo will take over a defensive unit that gave up an average of nearly 44 points per contest, including 70 points in a game against Oklahoma State last October. Joining Crist in the Jayhawks’ backfield is junior tailback James Sims, who rushed for 727 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Sims’ sophomore statistics were very similar to the numbers he put up as a freshman when he ran for nine scores as well. He provides a solid rushing option and is also a threat to catch balls out of the backfield, evidenced by his 33 career receptions. The Jayhawks’ top receiver from last season, D.J. Beshears, will return as well. The senior from Denton nabbed 40 catches to the tune of 437 yards and three touchdowns in 2011 and should remain their top option as receiver in 2012. Weis has a lot on his plate
Elisabeth Dillon| Daily Texan Staff After three years at Notre Dame, senior quarterback Dayne Crist joins Kansas this season and has asserted himself as a team leader. The Jayhawks eye improvement after winning only three Big 12 games since 2009.
in his first year as coach at Kansas, but he remains confident he can pique and create interest in Kansas football. “I think that the first thing
you better do is get your team to be more competitive on a weekly basis,” Weis said. “Once you do that, more wins will naturally follow. But, if
we go and stink it up against South Dakota State in our first game all that momentum that we’ve gained you’ll watch evaporate in a hurry.”
Monday, August 6, 2012
BACK IN Texas secondary becomes primary weapon as Horns enter new season By Christian Corona
ADRIAN PHILLIPS sophomore cornerback Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan file photo
This time last year, Carrington Byndom was coming off a nondescript freshman season that saw him contributing to special teams almost as much as in the secondary. Quandre Diggs, who enrolled at Texas in spring 2011 after graduating a semester early from Angleton High School, had just started his first fall camp as a Longhorn. More importantly, three former Texas cornerbacks — Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown and Chykie Brown — were selected in the NFL Draft four months earlier. That eventually meant that Byndom and Diggs were entering their first season as starting cornerbacks for the Longhorns. Byndom made 58 tackles, eight for loss, while picking off two passes and breaking up 15 others, tying him with Diggs for the team high. An AP First Team All-Big 12 selection, Byndom garnered high praise from his head coach at Big 12 Media Days last month. “Carrington will be one of the best defensive backs that we’ve had,” Mack Brown said. “He started and had an outstanding year last year for us. He’s a guy that can intercept the ball. He can make plays. He’s physical. And I think that he will end up being one of the better defensive backs in the country this year.” If Byndom does indeed go down as one of the program’s best defensive backs, he will join elite company. Twelve former Longhorn defensive backs have been taken in the past 11 NFL Drafts, including five that played on the team that captured the 2005 National
Championship. Two of them, Aaron Ross and Michael Huff, won the Thorpe Award. “I’m honored that he would think so highly of me,” Byndom said. “I still have a long ways to go. I’m still working and making strides to improve my game and get it to the top level. It’s an honor.” The first of those dozen former members of the Texas secondary to get drafted was 2002 first-round selection Quentin Jammer, Diggs’ older brother. Diggs is well on his way toward following in his brother’s footsteps. He made 51 tackles, four for loss, and had a team-best of four interceptions. The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year last season, Diggs should be part of one of the nation’s best secondary units this year. “I think we have the potential to be better,” Byndom said. “We hear the hype. You don’t pay it too much attention because it’s like eating the cheese and you don’t want to. The hype can put you in a bad position on the field.” The Longhorns return three starters from a secondary that helped Texas boast the Big 12’s best pass defense in 2011 — Byndom, Diggs and senior safety Kenny Vaccaro. One of only two senior starters on the Texas defense, the other being defensive end Alex Okafor. Vaccaro is a self-proclaimed Thorpe Award candidate. “I want to win the Thorpe. That’s it,” Vaccaro said while announcing he would not forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft after the Longhorns’ win over California in last December’s Holiday Bowl. “Then I want to go to South Beach.” By South Beach, Vaccaro meant the Orange Bowl in Miami, the site of this year’s national title game. Vaccaro and Okafor would have likely been brought to last month’s Big 12 Media Days had they, along with senior tight end Barrett Matthews, not been arrested
Monday, August 6, 2012
last month in downtown Austin. They were disciplined but not suspended. “They’re heartbroken,” Byndom said. “They were supposed to be here instead, along with [senior wide receiver] Marquise [Goodwin], but me and [linebacker] Jordan [Hicks] filled in their spot. They’re working just as hard, they’re in the weight room every day. They’re doing everything they can to help this team out.” Texas has six returning starters on defense, none of which have spent two full seasons as starters. “We know we’re still kind of young and that the young guys have to step in their role,” Byndom said. “This is what has to happen. I think a lot of guys have embraced that and are ready for the challenge.” The only new starter in the Longhorns secondary will likely be junior Adrian Phillips, who should take over for Blake Gideon as starting safety. Phillips played through a shoulder injury and was not 100 percent for much of the season. But his predecessor believes he has what it takes. “I always joked with Adrian that it’s good that I left when I did because he was close to passing me up,” Gideon said. “I think he’s going to be one of the anchors of a great defense this next year. All of his ability and dedication to the game, his willingness to study the game, and the mental part of it — he’s going to be a great player.”
2011 Texas Defense
NACTION Tied for 17th in FBS 14 fumble recoveries
Tied for 17th in FBS 96 total tackles for losses Tied for 11th in total defense 306.08 opponents’ total yards per game
4th nationally in opponents’ 4th down percentage 29.41%
Tied for 6th in overall rush defense 96.23 yards/ game
Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan file photo
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Monday, August 6, 2012
Bears seek to fill offensive holes left by NFL Draft By Nick Cremona The Baylor Bears may have lost their top three offensive threats from a year ago to the NFL Draft, but head coach Art Briles doesn’t see that being an issue as his team prepares for the start of a new season. “We’ve got some holes to fill. We understand that,” Briles said. “In general I think our brand is probably as good as it’s ever been on a national level. What we have to do now is maintain it, and that’s where my inspiration, passion and drive is going to come from.” The Bears are coming out of their best season in more than 30 years after a 10-3 finish in 2011, which included the team’s first bowl victory since 1992. But the loss of Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III as well as leading wide receiver Kendall Wright and running back Terrance Ganaway have many wondering if the Bears can duplicate their success from a season ago. “We have to fill in the gaps because Robert created a lot of gaps,” Briles said. “We have to fill that in with a variety of different methods, schematically and personnel-wise, that will give us an opportunity to stay at the level we finished at last year.” One of the players who will attempt to fill the massive hole left by Griffin III and others is senior quarterback Nick Florence. Florence would have two remaining years of eligibility, but he was forced to relinquish his redshirt late last season after Griffin III suffered a concussion against Texas Tech. In that game, Florence threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns
while rushing for another score, eventually leading the Bears to a 66-42 win over the Red Raiders. It was then that Briles knew Florence would do anything to see the Bears win. “That’s where his drive is — being a good football player that contributes to Baylor being successful,” Briles said. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the passion, energy and fearlessness he’s going to bring to the table.” Briles isn’t the only one confident in Florence’s ability to lead the Bears. Senior center Ivory Wade feels the Bears are right where they left off at the end of last season. “We’re going to be the same offense we were last year,” Wade said. “Very explosive and hopefully rack up a lot of yards.” Those yards will have to come from somewhere, and that’s precisely where fifthyear senior wide receiver Terrance Williams comes in. Williams played in all 13 games last season, including 11 at receiver on his way to 957 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. His receiving totals were second on the team, trailing only Wright, who is now a Tennessee Titan. At 6-foot-2, Williams provides a big target for Florence and should emerge as this year’s most reliable downfield threat. “He’s going to blow up this year,” Wade said. The Bears also return Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson and Levi Norwood at receiver in addition to recent Michigan transfer Darryl Stonum. The loss of Wright hurts, but there are several players who are capable of working as a unit in order to replicate Wright’s receiving
totals from last year. With all the attention paid to Griffin III and Wright a year ago, it’s easy to forget that the Bears also had a 1,500 yard rusher, Ganaway, who is now a member of the New York Jets. Ganaway found the endzone 21 times on the ground in 2011, and his production will be greatly missed as well. At the moment, senior Jarred Salubi is listed as the Bears’ No. 1 running back. He’s played in 38 career games, tied for the most on the team. “Jarred is an outstanding back. He’s able to make guys miss in space and he’s big and strong enough to be powerPu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff ful inside,” Briles said. Baylor head coach Art Briles addresses media members during Big 12 Media Days in Dallas. Briles Someone will have to and the Bears are looking to build on a 10-3 season in 2011 and win their first Big 12 Championship. step up in order to replace Ganaway, and that someone could be Lache Seastrunk. A graduate of nearby Temple High School and former Oregon Duck, Seastrunk joined the Bears in 2011 but was forced to sit out the entire season per NCAA transfer regulations. “Lache is a very dynamic player that has three years left and we’re anxious to see what he can do when there’s people in the stands hollering, because he’s got ability and that’s something that’s hard to hide,” Briles said. “We’re going to have him open up the jacket and let it show.” It won’t be an easy task replacing the drafted players on the offensive side of the ball, but the pieces are there. “Perceptions change and there’s still people who are going to write us off, and that’s the way it’s always going to be,” Florence said. “We want to earn some respect. We’ve won a bowl game and got to 10 wins, so now we want to win a Big 12 Championship.”
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Published on Aug 6, 2012