Big 12 coaches conducted their first of what will be a weekly conference call with reporters Monday morning.
As Texas prepares for its opener against North Texas, here’s what’s going on around the league:
TCU coach Gary Patterson isn’t tipping his hand on his starting quarterback. Both Trevone Boykin and Matt Joeckel will play, he said. Boykin played both quarterback and receiver last season, while Joeckel was at Texas A&M, backing up Johnny Manziel. The Horned Frogs are switching to an up tempo spread and open against Samford.
Iowa State is another team switching over to an up tempo approach. Paul Rhoads announced last week that Sam Richardson had won the starting job.
Linebacker Frank Shannon isn’t on the Oklahoma depth chart for the opener against Louisiana Tech. Shannon, the team’s leading tackler from 2013, was suspended by the school for a sexual misconduct violation. But he’s been practicing with the team as his lawyer fights the suspension through the Oklahoma state courts. OU returns nine defensive starters from last season. Coach Bob Stoops said his defense is signficantly ahead of where it was a year ago when the Sooners switched to a 3-4 base. He said every position on defense is “bigger and stronger” than a year ago.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and his team face the tough assignment of playing Alabama in their season opener. Only Oklahoma State has it tougher, taking on Florida State, the defending national champions. Holgorsen announced on Monday that the NCAA suspended Ishmael “Icky” Banks for academic reasons. Banks, a fifth-year senior, will miss all of the non-conference portion of the schedule.
“For the first three games, he will be suspended but able to practice,” Holgorsen said. “He’ll back for our Oklahoma game and the remainder of the Big 12 schedule after that. We’re glad that he got it resolved and thank the NCAA for their ruling on that.”
The Cowboys may use as many as 20 players who are either sophomore, redshirt freshmen or true freshmen against the Seminoles.
Baylor will be playing its first game in brand new McLane Stadium. First opponent is old SWC rival, SMU. The teams play Sunday night. Kansas is the only team not opening this weekend. But coach Charlie Weis said his team’s late start will allow extra work for his new tailbacks. The Jayhawks lost two senior tailbacks last week to season-ending injuries.
Former Texas coach Mack Brown wasn’t on the teleconference for the first time in years. Charlie Strong took over Brown’s traditional spot, kicking off the teleconference. Brown will be participating in his first media teleconference as a member of ESPN later this week. So look out for his comments on all things college football.
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