Big 12 spring games wrap-up

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Recapping the Big 12 spring games from Saturday: 

Iowa State
Iowa State’s offense took off during the Cyclones’ spring game on Saturday, with both offenses combining for nearly 900 yards and 68 points. Grant Rohach completed 19-of-31 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. Sam Richardson, a starter late last season, completed 9-of-12 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns

— Running backs played especially well yesterday. DeVondrick Nealy rushed 18 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns; Rob Standard had 65 yards on 10 carries; and Aaron Wimberly had 89 yards on 15 carries
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“I had felt the running back position overall had the best spring,” Rhoads said. “DeVondrick Nealy is running as he was capable. He is going into his third season and that is encouraging to see. James White is James White. He runs hard, smart, and knows everything about the offense. Aaron Wimberly showed why we are excited to have him and why we recruited him. Rob Standard is productive every time we play him.”

Oklahoma State
Though Oklahoma State finished the 2012 season with an 8-5 record, it could be considered one of Mike Gundy‘s better coaching jobs in Stillwater. Now, with three quarterbacks with starting experience competing for the No. 1 job this fall, the Cowboys could also be in a position to make a run at another Big 12 title. But Gundy won’t tip his hand as to who will start Week 1: Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh. 

“We are not really going to talk about that from this point on,” Gundy said. “There is no reason for us to talk about what our quarterback situation is. I think we have been very open about it throughout the spring. Our players have been very open about it.

— Believe it or not, but Oklahoma State’s defense held the advantage in Saturday’s spring game. Linebacker Caleb Lavey and cornerback Justin Gilbert combined to intercept three passes, one of which went back for a touchdown. Afterward, Gundy pointed out Gilbert’s strong spring.

“Justin played very average last year, and he would be the first to admit that,” Gundy said. “He’s certainly very talented, and he was in position to make plays today, and that’s what he needs to do for us. He needs to be a guy who has several interceptions and runs the ball back. As fast he as he is, if he’s in the right area, he can get the ball off a tip–and that’s what he did today. He played very well.”

— Overall, Gundy was pleased with the defensive effort in its first spring following the departure of DC Bill Young.

“I know the crowd here is not used to it. We dropped some passes on offense that contributed to it, but I’m really excited about the play we’re getting on defense. In the long run, we’re going to move the ball and score a lot of points here, because that’s what we do and who we are, but if we want to consistently compete for a championship, we have to play better on defense,” Gundy explained. “I’m excited about our group, I think their attitude is different and I think they have a chance to be better this season.”

Texas Tech
Tommy Tuberbille is out. Kliff Kingsbury is in. And on Saturday, over 16,000 fans made their way to watch Texas Tech’s spring game. Quarterbacks Michael Brewer and Davis Webb combined for 506 yards and three touchdowns through the air during the scrimmage.

Jace Amaro led all receivers with 11 catches for 80-yards, but Derrick Edwards had the most receiving yards with 101, including an 83-yard touchdown pass from Webb. Senior linebacker Will Smith led the defense with 10 tackles.

“I loved the atmosphere,” Kingsbury said.  “It was a great crowd and our kids were fired up.  I thought the defense came out and really competed well.  Both sides kept it base but their effort was really, really good.”

West Virginia
Coming off a 10-win season with Orange Bowl victory in 2011-12, West Virginia was predicted by some *ahem* to immediately compete for a Big 12 title. Yeah, about that. The Mountaineers went on a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season and finished 7-6. Now with the likes of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey gone to the NFL, WVU must replace the core of its offensive production. Battling to succeed Smith are junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress.

Though both QBs posted solid passing numbers, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson wasn’t happy with their tendency to hold on to the ball. “Taking sacks gets you beat,” Dawson said. “We’re giving up sacks we shouldn’t give up. If you sit in the pocket for three, four, five seconds and get sacked, you can’t do that. If that’s what they’re going to do, then neither one of them can play.”

— Running back Dustin Garrison shined as a freshman in 2011, but was limited last year because of an ACL tear he sustained right before the Orange Bowl. Garrison came back strong in WVU’s spring game with 51 yards on seven carries.

— Though it will be difficult if not downright impossible to replicate what Tavon Austin did for WVU’s offense, receiver Jordan Thompson could emerge as a similar shifty playmaker. Thompson had three touchdowns during yesterday’s game.

— Defense will still be a concern for WVU, but Travis Bell‘s move from safety to corner could be an upgrade for a unit that was picked on often during last season. “He has embraced the change, and he’s excited about it. He can run fast, and he has great conditioning,” Dana Holgorsen said. “It is an experiment that we talked about a week ago, and we moved him. We’ll keep looking into it.”

— The Mountaineers will be sporting some new unis this fall as well.

Coronavirus has finally forced Nick Saban to get email

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Nick Saban is finally taking ‘The Process’ online.

After years and years of being one of the rare worldwide holdouts, the Alabama head coach has apparently joined modern times and gotten an email account. Per 247Sports’ Charlie Potter, Saban jumped on a livestream with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. While chatting about his daily routine at home in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Crimson Tide overlord revealed a fascinating nugget about his communication habits — including the involvement of his wife Miss Terry:

Incredible.

Saban is often lauded for how he connects to players decades his junior but that has rarely extended to the forms of digital communication he uses. While he does FaceTime recruits or, now, Zoom with his staff, the addition of email is quite the milestone in Tuscaloosa.

Maybe he’ll get a Twitter account next.

Ahh, who are we kidding, the Twitters and the Instas are too much to ask. Still, now we can’t help but wonder what his email address. Did he get creative? Sixringz@UAemail.com? Or was it just a Gmail with a Nick Saban username?

COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the world at large and college football in general. But it’s good to know that at least in some cases, there are a few silver linings for a few head coaches.

Virginia Tech AD: ‘We would be open to shifting the (CFB) season’

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Virginia Tech doesn’t speak for all of college football but a key figure at the school opened up about massive potential changes coming to the sport as a result of the coronavirus.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, athletic director Walt Babcock told reporters that the entire calendar for CFB could be moved back just to get a full season in.

“Everyone wants to try to play a football season if it’s safe,” Babcock said, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Mike Barber. “We would be open to shifting the season, even if it overlapped with other sports.”

That comment isn’t just some AD speaking either. Babcock is a member of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, a key decision-making body. While he doesn’t speak for the committee as a whole, the fact that he is even bringing up the topic is notable.

It goes without saying that nobody knows just how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will play out over the coming months. Some, like Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundyhave advocated for bringing players back to campus as early as May. Most others are far more pessimistic.

Babcock also noted that he would rather wait to make things are safe enough for fans to return to stadiums as well. That is in line with other AD’s, with Texas A&M’s Ross Bjork noting the financial impact of playing in empty stadiums to go along with the eerie feeling.

Hokies head coach Justin Fuente was also on the call and was asked for his thoughts on a potential return to the gridiron. He seemed to indicate that while it’s not ideal, he may need as little as a month of camp prior to taking the field for a live game:

That is a bit of a contrast to USC’s Clay Helton, who indicated he would need four weeks just to get ready for fall camp — so roughly two months before the season starts. Such conflicting views should underscore how difficult it will be for everybody to gather in support for one unified start date to the 2020 season.

Leaders in college athletics will have plenty of time to work through all that in the coming days, weeks and months. The good news, at least, is that there are far fewer questions about if college football gets played again and far more comments about when it gets played again going forward.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 8, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?
THE SYNOPSIS: As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long for that answer.  Ed Orgeron claimed his first national championship as a head coach as LSU dropped Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff title game.

2018

THE HEADLINE: UCLA’s Jaelan Phillips vows ‘MAJOR comeback’ after ‘minor setback’ in recovery from scooter accident
THE SYNOPSIS: In a twist, Phillips’ comeback will happen at Miami.  The nation’s top 2017 recruit transferred to the Hurricanes in July of last year.  After sitting out the 2019 season, he has two years of eligibility remaining.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher on Deondre Francois: He is a big-time player, he can lead
THE SYNOPSIS: Eight months later, the head coach left Florida State to take the same job at Texas A&M.  A little over a year after that, the quarterback was dismissed by FSU amidst an off-field imbroglio.

2016

THE HEADLINE: NCAA shuts down satellite camps for good
THE SYNOPSIS: Remember this storyline?  Remember how it engulfed the sport of college football for a year?  Yeah, that was awesome.  Or not.

2015

THE HEADLINE: LSU’s most-improved offensive player? It’s (gulp) Leonard Fournette
THE SYNOPSIS: “You’d be hard-pressed to have me tell you anybody other than Leonard is the most-improved player on our offense,” then-offensive coordinator Cam Cameron stated at the time.  So, how did it play out on the field?  Let’s go to the Tale of the Statistical Tape:

Freshman Fournette: 1,034 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns in 13 games
Sophomore Fournette: 1,953 yards, 6.5 ypc, 22 touchdowns in 12 games

2014

THE HEADLINE: Notre Dame, Georgia talking future series
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly three months later, a home-and-home between the college football bluebloods was formally announced.  The Bulldogs won both of those matchups, in 2017 and 2019.  UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in September of last year that he’s open to adding games to the series.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Petrino support group planning Monday rally
THE SYNOPSIS: This headline makes me laugh every time I see.  Every.  Single.  Time.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Lacerated kidney latest setback for ‘Cocks’ LeCorn
THE SYNOPSIS: “‘Cocks.” The 12-year-old in me still giggles.  As does the current-day me, actually.

Nick Saban will reportedly add Shiloh Keo as an Alabama football staffer

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The sport may have hit the pause button, but The Process for the Alabama football program continues.

According to Matt Zenitz of al.com, Nick Saban is expected to add Shiloh Keo to his extended Alabama football staff. No specific job description for Keo was given, with Zenitz writing that he will work “in a support staff capacity.”

Thus far, Alabama has not addressed any new additions to Saban’s football staff.

The 32-year-old Keo played his college football at Idaho from 2006-10. The Idaho native earned first-team Freshman All-American honors that first season with the Vandals. A four-year starter — he took a redshirt in 2008 because of injury — the defensive back was first-team All-WAC (remember that conference?) as a redshirt junior and second-team honors as a fifth-year senior.

The Houston Texans selected Keo in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Keo played six seasons for four different teams. In addition to the Texans, Keo spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

Alabama is set to open the 2020 college football season against USC Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It will be the 14th season under Saban. The Crimson Tide will also be coming off missing the College Football Playoff for the first time since the system to determine a national champion was instituted for the 2014 season.