Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Notes on the Big 12 depth charts

Most of the Big 12 released depth charts for game week, which is always an exciting time for someone who spends large chunks of the offseason building text edit documents tracking those kinds of things.

The major hesitation on the part of multiple coaches across the country to name their starters at quarterback has been part annoying/part amusing to this writer. Hearing Charlie Strong explain how they aren't hurt in preparing for Notre Dame because they have tape on both guys while then insisting on not wanting to allow the Irish to know which QB to prepare for...amusing.

Alright, here are some of the more interesting depth charts I've seen so far in the Big 12.


There's virtually nothing surprising on the Sooner depth chart, perhaps the most interesting note is that former four-star recruit Ricky DeBerry is option B for the Jack pass-rushing position if Obo isn't up for that featured role. Caleb Kelly is competing for Striker's old position while Mark Jackson is behind DeBerry at the Jack spot, exactly as I anticipated.

Jordan Thomas moved over to the left cornerback spot, which tends to end up on the boundary more often and seems to be where Mike Stoops sticks his best corner. Honestly, that has often looked like a mistake over the last few years as it regularly put Zack Sanchez in positions where he had to make fills against the run game. I always found those instances hilarious...

..."nah, you got this bruh."

It looks like 5'10, 160 pound Dakota Fanning will be mostly spared the indignity of avoiding violence at the right cornerback position. Stolen Baylor recruit Parrish Cobb is already listed as the 2nd team cornerback.

Alright, one more "Sanchez avoiding violence" clip and we'll move on.

Kansas State

The most surprising revelation from the K-State depth chart is the youth across the offensive line. From left to right it goes: Redshirt freshman, redshirt freshman, redshirt junior, redshirt senior, redshirt sophomore.

The redshirt sophomore at right tackle, Dalton Risner, is the only returning starter and he played center last year. Now I've seen film (HS or B12) on all of these guys and I think this is a very talented group, well suited to what the Wildcats want to do on offense. That said, part of being a top five "run-scheming offense" is all of the variety they have in how they run the ball and how effective they always are in getting good double teams at the point of attack.

Will such a young group be up to the challenge of executing their diverse playbook? Something to watch.

Other interesting notes include Byron Pringle listed as the lead WR (called it), Jesse Ertz reclaiming the starting role, JUCO transfer DJ Reed rescuing EMAW from watching Johnny D get burned all year at corner opposite Duke Shelley, and Trey Dishon winning the 3-technique defensive tackle spot.

Matt Seiwert actually played well against Arkansas (at the nose, no less) before he was injured so it may really be something that Dishon won that job. I remember being surprised and bought in when Dishon hurdled over a dude as a 290-pound ballcarrier on his HUDL. The Wildcat defense is looking pretty good.


When my man Eric Nahlin (Inside Texas) texted me the released Frog depth chart we both had a good laugh over everyone who thought this team would struggle on offense this year. The level of speed and athleticism written in at the skill positions in Ft. Worth is insane.

First of all, you have former Longhorn recruit Emmanuel Porter now listed as a starter. That dude is all kinds of big and fast. Then you have JUCO transfer Taj Williams, a big target on the outside to help replace Josh Doctson. Finally there's Kavontae Turpin, who's at the top of my preseason watch list for the "Darren Sproles water bug trophy for most outstanding tiny person."

Assuming Kenny "Trill" is ready to go, and this nice feature by David Ubben portends good things, I think this offense is going to kill this coming year.

Judging by the small size of the Frog defensive backfield, which averages 6'0", 192 pounds with the largest guy standing at 6'3" 210, I'm guessing Patterson will have alternative packages for teams like Arkansas. My bet is that they move Travin Howard to strong safety for that game, move Denzel Johnson to weak safety in place of Nick Orr, and play whoever the 3rd best LB is in Howard's spot.

Against most of the Big 12, this ultra-quick lineup is going to be a nightmare.

Texas Tech

The Raider lineup is fairly interesting with some shuffling here and there that I didn't foresee. They moved inside receiver D.J. Polite-Bray to cornerback and he apparently won the job of Thierry Ngeuma, who was reasonably decent a year ago. D'Vonta Hinton has remained at weakside linebacker while freshman Jordyn Brooks steps in at middle linebacker after Dakota Allen was kicked out.

I'm high on Hinton but can understand wanting him at the will since they like to ask their middle linebacker to make Tampa-2 drops down the pipe and Hinton wouldn't shine in that role. My impression of Brooks out of high school was that he was a good athlete for linebacker but would have to adjust from playing as a safety. That adjustment will be less at the middle linebacker position that spends a lot of time locking down flat routes in man coverage or dropping into a middle 1/3 in terms of coverage. It'll be interesting to see how well he fills the role of inside-backer against run schemes.

Moving nickel/corner Tevin Madison to free safety behind Jah'Shawn Johnson was an interesting move, I thought Madison was okay at times in 2016 and this would seem to bury him.

Much of their season will probably depend on how healthy and conditioned Ondre Pipkins turns out to be after getting pushed out of Ann Arbor by Harbaugh over concerns about his knees.


Lots of interesting things with the Bears' depth chart. Chance Waz is apparently in trouble and they have moved Orion Stewart over to cover safety, elevating former star recruit Davion Hall to the no. 1 spot at the deep safety position. I called this on Twitter and here, it simply makes a lot of sense to move Stewart (who's good in coverage) over to the field in order to get Hall out there.

They're going all-in on the Okie front with Taylor Young as the "Jack" OLB/DE, where he was brilliant a year ago. If they don't get beat up with injuries or distractions the Bears will be fielding a very talented team to start the year. Of course, both of those seem more than likely with likely stars Travon Blanchard and Ishmael Zamora each already taken out by those two factors.

Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, and West Virginia

There's not much interesting about OSU's depth chart other than an absence of Barry Sanders at RB and a little bit of shuffling along the line. I'm still curious to see if they unveil a dime package featuring Derrick Moncrief in the box or not.

I've been talking about Texas' lineup for months over at

The Jayhawks are obnoxiously avoiding naming Ryan Willis the starter, I suspect there's legitimate delusion in Lawrence that Montell Cozart may be up to the challenge. They prefer a mobile guy, hoping to emulate Kingsbury's success with athletic, versatile QBs.

Don't blow your chance to finally win a football game, Beaty.

It looks like Campbell is going full-bore with a youth movement. Not totally sure what to make of them for this year although I'm sure they'll be towards the bottom of the league.

Here's the list of Mountaineers expected to lead the death march of Holgorsen's 2016 season.

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