Free Time: The last two nights I've finally had some free time to start writing about the Spring Game. Last night I finished the LB Blake Dees profile and that post will be published later this morning.
NFL Draft: For those of you want more information that you'll ever need, the SB Nation NFL Draft page is a good place to start. I'll throw up a discussion link prior to tonight's proceedings for those of you who want to cuss and discuss.
Hitting the Ground Running: FWST's Dwain Price writes that the Red Raiders will hit the ground running and RB Baron Batch thinks that he'll rush for 1,000 yards next year:
Asked if he'll rush for 1,000 yards next season, Batch emphatically said: "I will. I'll go ahead and say I will."
Meanwhile, the comments from fellow RB Eric Stephens intrigued me more:
"We've already put in new running plays," Stephens said. "Last year I think we had three running plays in the whole playbook, so it's going to be a lot different.
"They're doing a lot of stuff to get us the ball in the backfield, and I'm looking forward to next year. It's going to be a big year for me and Batch and the rest of the backfield."
Everyone knows that the Mike Leach playbook isn't extensive and I don't think that the Neal Brown playbook is going to be volumes greater, especially if he is a true disciple of the Air Raid offense. I think the general consensus is that the running back position is the position of the biggest play potential.
Also, head coach Tommy Tuberville had this to say about the running game:
"We've got some things that we didn't run [Saturday], we've got some power plays that we'll run with a little option," Tuberville said. "The thing that we want to do is we want to be physical at the point of attack.
"The thing that's going to change with this offense is going to be the offensive line physically blocking and opening up the holes."
I don't know if Tuberville is saying that the team will eventually have an option play, although I believe that TTUMAR has previously reported and we've watched video on the Neal Brown offense that the option play is certainly a part of that playbook. I also really like how the offensive linemen have lost weight and I like the idea of having more mobile offensive linemen that are capable of pulling and getting down field.
Tubs Visits Abilene: Abilene Reporter News' Greg Jaklewicz writes about Tuberville's visit to Abilene yesterday and Tubs talked about the strengths and goals of the team. Here's what Jaklewicz reported Tubs said about the quarterback race:
Tuberville said both should be healed and starting workouts to get in playing shape by June 1. Also, he most likely will pick either Potts or Sheffield as his starter despite nice showing by his other quarterbacks in the spring game.
Lots of the same stuff, but there was also this bit on DT Britton Barbee, who is also from Abilene and a pre-med major (for whatever reason, I really cheer for Barbee and I have no idea why), who's dad said that Barbee probably would not have come back under the former coaching staff, but he's excited as he believes he has a role with this team:
"He's graduating in May and football hasn't been everything to him. He wouldn't have come back but he feels there is a role for him. I've never seen him as fired up," said the elder Barbee. Barbee said his son would not have kept playing football if he had not had an encouraging spring. "He's healthy and thinks they will utilize him."
More links after the jump, including the All-Undrafted Team, thoughts from others on Big 10 expansion and much, much more, super-premium content.
All-Undrafted Team: Dr. Saturday's Matt Hinton has two Red Raiders on the All-Undrafted Team, although I think WR Wes Welker should have also made the list. In any event, two of my favorites did make the list, RB Ricky Williams and LT Rylan Reed. Hinton didn't seem to know that Reed wasn't drafted because he shattered his leg in last year's pro day running the 40 yard dash, which made me incredibly sad. If anyone knows how Reed is doing, I'd love to know.
Expansion Talk: You might be wondering why I don't talk more about Big 10 expansion and it's because it gives me tired-head. I can't keep up with all of the theories and who's supposedly going to get picked, etc. I prefer to leave this to much smarter people, including friend of DTN, TB from Bring On The Cats, who wondered yesterday if the Big 10 is simply bluffing:
But I want to imagine a reality that is so unimaginable given what we've all read for five months that I may lose some of you here. What if Delany never had any intention of adding even three teams, let alone five? Other bloggers have suggested that the Big 10 may have used Missouri as a stalking horse to get to Texas, theorizing -- probably correctly -- that Texas would not make the first move on its own, but if it believed the Big 12 were in peril, it would happily throw the other 11 (OK, 10 when you take out Texas A&M) schools under the bus to save its own ass. Let's take the same theory, but apply it to a different situation. What if the Big 10 is using superconference-style expansion as a stalking horse to get Notre Dame to join?
Granted, this theory makes a lot of assumptions that aren't particularly popular. Most blogs, BOTC included, have foregone extended discussion of Notre Dame as a candidate. There are various reasons. I have foregone that discussion because I have considered it the obvious choice from the beginning, and also because it would have no effect on the Big 12. If the Big 10 wants to go to 12 schools and that school is Notre Dame, then there'd be no point in even discussing this issue on this site. Other sites may think they're not worth discussing because they're too obvious, or because they think the Big 10 is still stung by their public denial in 1999, or because they don't think they're as valuable as they used to be, or because they just don't want the Big 10 to add them.
Good stuff from TB.
I should also add that Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter (one of the best, if not the best beat-writer for any Big 12 school) wrote yesterday that the Big 12 coaches are in the dark on expansion talk. Someone commented the other day that the Big 12 seems to be a reactive, rather than a proactive, conference, and apparently, that's the truth:
Texas Coach Mack Brown sounded oblivious about any changes impacting the Big 12. He said that Texas President Bill Powers and Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds will alert him when the Big 12 is in danger of getting poached. And so far …
"We have not had serious discussions about any of that," Brown said. "So, at this time, I don’t feel like, from my standpoint and the knowledge that I have, that there’s much going on out there as far as the Big 12."
Brown might want to check the headlines. Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported that Big Ten officials met in Washington, D.C., on Sunday to discuss accelerating expansion talks, a report that has since been debunked. Nonetheless, the nation’s capital also happens to be where the Association of American Universities was hosting its semi-annual meetings earlier this week. All 11 schools in the Big Ten are AAU members, as are potential Big Ten expansion candidates Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse and Missouri.
And Matter also had this bit that I didn't know about universities that leave the Big 12 will pay a price for leaving:
If a Big 12 team indeed leaves the conference for what it presumes is greener pastures, there will be a price. According to Big 12 bylaws, a team seeking withdrawal from the conference forfeits a share of its distributed revenue based on how soon it gives notice of its departure.
With a notice of two years or more, a team loses 50 percent of its league revenue for each of the remaining two years. The shorter the notice, the greater the share the team forfeits. If a team gives less than six months notice, it forfeits its entire share.
I don't know if this provision matters much to Texas, but it may matter to a a university like Missouri.
Miscellaneous: Son of Texas Tech running back great James Gray, Jonathan Gray, is profiled in the FWST and I'd wet my pants if Gray signed with Texas Tech for the 2012 class, but he supposedly a Texas and Oklahoma lean. Nevertheless, James is staying involved in the recruiting process and I think this helps Texas Tech's chances:
"I told him to try and enjoy it, but to also be careful," James said. "He's young and we are kind of protective of him because there are a lot of things that can be said and it can bring on a lot of distractions. I just feel the most important thing now, since he has two more years, is to concentrate on Aledo. He can start to concentrate on the recruiting aspect next year."
. . . Shakin The Southland, a Clemson blog, has a fantastic breakdown of the Cover 3 and if you peruse their archives, they have a ton of great posts about the 3-4 defense. You could spend a couple of hours reading their stuff . . .