Monday, August 15, 2016

Big 12 Twitter-bag: Volume IV

With fall camps bringing news of Big 12 teams figuring out their depth charts, working out their team identities, and in some cases losing crucial pieces it's a great time to break down news around the league with a round of Twitter-bag!

It's definitely shaping up to be another interesting Big 12 seasons.
Of course! I could see Oklahoma losing two games before conference play starts thanks to early dates with Houston and Ohio State. I suspect the Cougars would currently be one of the better teams in the Big 12 and they have more than enough talent for Herman and Orlando to fashion into a good unit.

Ohio State is one of the most talented teams in the whole country, that's what happens when you combine a school that can get the best players in a talent-rich region with a coaching legend who's excellent both in evaluating and recruiting. The Buckeyes are young and vulnerable but they do have more talent than the Sooners and they return their QB which makes it easier on a young team trying to find a team identity. Everything on offense will fit around what JT Barrett can do, which makes it easier for young guys to nail down roles. On defense they're pretty simple so it's usually fairly easy for them to just plug in athletes.

I doubt the Sooners win both of these games or that they run the table in the Big 12. I'd say the prospects are very good for Oklahoma winning the Big 12 with a 10-2 (8-1) season and then missing the playoffs.
There's a chance but I'm not betting on it. Mixon and Perine have very complementary skill sets whereas D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren are both excellent power backs that will rotate in for each other. Mixon and Perine can regularly share the field and I think there's a good chance we see Perine rush for 1200 yards or so and then see Mixon add 500+ on the ground and then another 500 or so receiving.

Oklahoma knows that their running game is where it's at and they'll make it a point of emphasis. Last year they worked out some early kinks in their run game and ended up being really good there. This season they return three starting OL and the same OC so I think they'll literally hit the ground running.
Nothing too shocking, really. It's all about Obo for me, and then his back-ups at that Jack OLB position. If OU can get a great pass-rush from those guys then they'll probably be the class of the league.
I doubt they win the Big 12 without Mayfield and they certainly wouldn't make the playoffs. I don't see Oklahoma as being so far above the rest of the league that they could take a huge hit like that and not become vulnerable to losing to K-State, Tech, Texas, Baylor, or in Bedlam. People in this league can drop a lot of points on you and if you're suddenly rolling with an untrustworthy QB then things can get out of hand.

They'd still run the ball pretty well and play defense though so I'll say something like 8-9 wins, depending on which games he missed.

Oklahoma and Texas both have a few OL apiece that will be the biggest, baddest guys on the field on a given Saturday next year. I think the Oklahoma OL will probably be the class of the league but the Texas one may give people some problems as well and West Virginia will run the ball down some people's throats at times.

As I noted in my breakdown of the league's nose tackles, the league is lacking a lot of really strong DL.

Oklahoma's Charles Walker should cause some problems and I'm curious to finally see Neville Gallimore in action because I was really high on his film. TCU's entire defensive front will probably be solid though maybe not dominant, same for their OL. Iowa State's Demond Tucker will be an interesting one to watch, last year they were slanting him around as a 0-tech in their 3-4 defense but this year they return to the 4-3 and will be playing him as a 3-technique where he's a more natural fit. He's supposedly been working on his conditioning also, which would be huge because he was very inconsistent a year ago dashing into the backfield one snap and then getting caught and driven off the ball the next due to lack of effort.

I'm all in on Kansas State's Byron Pringle to have a big impact this year and Kavontae Turpin to win my "Darren Sproles water bug trophy for most outstanding tiny person."

Texas Tech is going to have some guys go off in a big way because, well they always do, but also because Patrick Mahomes is about to go ape on this league. Cameron Batson may surprise people with his numbers in the slot but Derrick Willies and Dylan Cantrell figure to do real damage on the outside. Ian Sadler will of course have a ton of receptions.

If you don't already know the names Ka'Raun White and Shelton Gibson you might start learning them, although word out of Morgantown is that their offense still hasn't put it all together.

I think people will be surprised by how good Dede Westbrook is at Oklahoma, they didn't really have to use all of their WR talent last year because Shepard was always open.
The better question is probably, "who can Baylor afford to redshirt?" I think the WRs and DBs that don't crack the two-deep will shirt, and there will be a few of those, and I suspect LB Deonte Williams will shirt. Everyone else will be needed due to the lack of scholarship players on the roster and the hits from suspensions. I think losing Jeremy Faulk was probably the most grievous to this team since Roy may now be pressed into action as the starting nose tackle.
For Oklahoma: Getting pass-rush from the new OLBs, so Obo or maybe one of the younger guys.

For TCU: Can they foster an identity around the new QB quickly? Hill and Sawyer are fairly different QBs and the Frogs will need to get the most out of whoever the starter is. I'm naming Sawyer the X-factor for how he pushes Hill in fall camp or what he brings if he wins the starting job, presumably a big time arm.

For Okie lite: They HAVE to run the ball some and they have to replace some major athletes on defense. Let's go with Jarell Owens, the young DE, who needs to become the next Jamie Blatnick sooner than later.

For Baylor: They gotta find a nose tackle and avoid all of the distractions. Let's say Seth Russell, if he has the kind of statistical season he was on track for last year then the Bears will be okay. That happens if Chris Platt has a huge year taking the top off opponents.

For K-State: Jesse Ertz needs to be one of the top stories of 2016.

For Texas: Shane Buechele needs to be one of the top stories of 2016.

For Texas Tech: I'll go with young DT Breiden Fehoko, who was promising a year ago but not always assignment-sound. If they make a leap of improvement across their D-line then I'm pretty sure the defensive backfield will end up being fairly solid. Combine that with what could be the league's best offense and you really have something.

West Virginia, Iowa State, and Kansas aren't competing for the Big 12 crown in any possible future I can envision in 2016.
Mike already ruled out a negative change, like perhaps converting the Oklahoma offense into a single-wing that just runs the QB or into a pro-I set that doesn't have any tight ends to work with.

In previous years this would be easy, I'd call for Texas to install a coherent spread system that could allow them to make the most of all the superior young athletes on the roster but now that's finally happened.

Oklahoma State running more of a multiple formation, up-tempo offense with tight ends that really zeroes in on mastering outside zone is something that could actually happen and might yield fruit. They have to run the ball and that'd be one way to do it.

West Virginia adopting K-State's single-wing QB run game and making it the major focus of their offense is something less likely to happen that would have a huge impact and might save their season.


  1. Man, I wish I could have gotten a question in that I've been wondering about for a while now. I've been wondering, given Gary Patterson's historical defensive success without (much) blue chip talent, why haven't more teams tried to import that defense? It seems like it could be the defensive version of the air raid: a really great equalizer for programs who can't recruit at the highest levels. And yet, the only program that I'm aware of that has tried to hire away any of his defensive staff to coordinate is Texas Tech in 2011. Why is that?

    1. You can't really pluck the staff away because what really makes it go is Patterson himself. People have tried to do that and failed.

      TCU's system is different from most defenses and most coaches don't like to totally overhaul their entire systems.

      However, the "split field" coverages idea is one that is taking hold big time. Also, the normal procedure is that someone like Leach, Briles, or Patterson will have this breakthrough system.

      Then all the Texas HS coaches will learn it, apply it, and evolve it. Then it filters up to college football. So you'll see more and more of the TCU-style 4-2-5 as it filters up.

      Split field coverages, base nickel defense, and many of the various schemes Patterson uses are increasingly common now across the Big 12.

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