Oklahoma goes beyond Belldozer package in spring game

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Much like 2011, Oklahoma enters 2012 as the favorites to win the Big 12 title once again. You know what they say: it all starts in spring.

Today’s Red-White game was less about some returning starters (see quarterback Landry Jones) and more about the supporting cast. Case in point, backup quarterback Blake Bell, who was used a short-yardage wrecking ball last year and little else.

Bell ended up having the best day of any QB, going 14-of-19 for 179 yards and a touchdown; his rushing stats, on the contrary, included just two “rushes”. Not that surprising when you consider health is the No. 1 priority for coach Bob Stoops.

But who Bell was throwing to was the highlight of the 22-21 game won by the Red team. Trey Metoyer has been a superstar this spring and ended up with six grabs for 72 yards. Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills each had a pair of touchdowns with the former pulling in a touchdown.

“Offensively, I thought of course Trey [Metoyer] showed what I have been talking about all spring with his abilities to make plays,” Stoops said. “I thought the offense did a great job, just overall of taking care of the football.

With Metoyer, Reynolds, Stills and Dominique Franks, the Sooners look like they have the best starting wide receiver group in the Big 12.

Corey Nelson and Julian Wilson led the defense, now under Mike Stoops, with eight tackles each.

“Early on I didn’t feel like [the defense] played the run like they should. But then we settled in and were a little more gap responsible,” Stoops said. “I thought for the most part they showed good discipline. The scramble play — that happens once in a while to balls thrown over the opposite shoulder so the receiver can see it and the DB loses it. You don’t want it to happen, but it is not like it was a clean play that got in back of them.”

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Some other news and notes from around the Big 12:

  • Iowa State held their spring game today with the focus being on which quarterback, Steele Jantz or Jared Barnett would start for the Cyclones. Little progress was made on that front, as Barnett went 11-of21 passing for 67 yards while rushing 11 times for 55 yards; Jantz competed 16-of-28 passes for 194 yards. Paul Rhoads said after the game that redshirt freshman Sam Richardson was still in the mix as well. Linebacker A.J. Klein represented the defense well when he picked off a Barnett pass and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown.
  • Baylor also has QB questions with the departure of Robert Griffin III, although it’s widely believed Nick Florence will be the go-to guy this year. Florence ended up going 14-of-18 for 183 yards and three touchdowns today. Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk had 138 yards on just seven carries.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

LOOK: Minnesota unveils new uniforms for 2018

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If you’re into college football fashion — not that there’s anything thing wrong with that — today’s your lucky day.

At a team meeting Tuesday morning, Minnesota unveiled to its football players the new uniforms they will be wearing this coming season. Per the school’s release, “[t]he Gophers introduced three new jerseys (Maroon, White and Anthracite), three helmets (Maroon, White and Gold) and four pairs of pants (Maroon, White, Gold and Anthracite) to choose from next season in addition to an ever-changing array of shoes, socks, facemasks and other accoutrements.”

All told, the Gophers will have more than 100 different uniform combinations at their disposal.

Reflecting head coach P.J. Fleck‘s “row the boat” mantra he brought over from Western Michigan, two of the new helmets will feature an oar running down the middle of the lid, front to back.

Below is a brief look at the new duds the Gophers will wear in 2018.  For the complete fashion array, click HERE.

Michigan makes hiring of Jim McElwain official

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After a week’s worth of speculation and reports, the newest member of Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff is officially on board.

Tuesday afternoon, U-M confirmed that Harbaugh has completed his staff with the hiring of Jim McElwain.  The former Florida head coach will serve as U-M’s wide receivers coach, his first time as a position coach as his sole responsibility since he was the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2006.  On two other occasions, with Louisville from 2000-02 and again at Michigan State from 2003-05, McElwain was responsible for receivers at a Power Five school.

There has also been chatter that McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at Alabama, could take over play-calling duties, although that aspect hasn’t yet been addressed by the football program.

“I am excited to work with this offensive staff and Coach Harbaugh,” said McElwain in a statement. “There are a lot of great offensive minds in that coaching room and I look forward to learning from them.”

McElwain interviewed for the job earlier this month and, not long after, it was reported that McElwain was a “strong contender” for a position with the Wolverines.  Offered the job late last week, McElwain reportedly agreed to join the program this past weekend.

Under the direction of offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.  It’s that subpar performance offensively that has some pointing to McElwain as a very likely candidate to over calling plays.

In his three seasons at Florida, however, the Gators’ offense finished 109th (22.1 ppg, 2017), 107th (23.9 ppg, 2016) and 99th (23.2) in scoring.  Those numbers were with McElwain as head coach; calling plays at Alabama under the notoriously conservative Nick Saban from 2008-11, the Crimson Tide’s numbers went…

2008 — 30.1 ppg, 35th nationally
2009 — 32.1 ppg, 22nd
2010 — 35.5 ppg, 18th
2011 — 34.8 ppg, 20th