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January 15, 2013
1. I'm hearing DT Brandon Moore is leaving Texas early because he thought it was getting crowded at the DT position with Chris Whaley, Desmond Jackson, Ashton Dorsey and Malcom Brown.
And if A'Shawn Robinson comes in and does well enough to get some playing time, you can understand Moore's thinking.
One NFL scout I talked to about Moore said, "With that body (6-5, 325), he'll be in camp with a team next fall. Whether he stays, will be up to him. He shows signs of being explosive, but we didn't see it that much this season."
2. If Jake Raulerson is like to start out at defensive end, he'll have his hands full getting playing time right away.
Let's say Jackson Jeffcoat comes back from his pectoral rupture without incident. That means Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed, Reggie Wilson, Shiro Davis and Hassan Ridgeway are all ahead of him right now.
There's a chance Ridgeway could move inside, but Ridgeway struggled some with the technique aspect of taking on blocks and shedding them. Put Ridgeway in an explosive position, such as rushing the passer and he knocked some people sideways in practices this season.
Nonetheless, that's why I think TE Geoff Swaim has the best chance to make an impact of the early enrollees on campus now. QB Tyrone Swoopes is likely to redshirt, and LB Deoundrei Davis is coming off an ACL tear.
I love Raulerson's fire and his being so aggressive in recruiting other players to Texas. I just wonder if there's a spot for him to contribute right away.
3. Texas isn't the only Big 12 school losing an underclassman to the NFL Draft.
****Oklahoma is losing juniors: WR Kenny Stills (82 catches, 959 yds, 11 TDs), S Tony Jefferson (119 tackles, 2 INTs) and LB Tom Wort (53 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks)
(Junior CB Aaron Colvin, 61 tackles, 4 INTs, has indicated he is returning to OU next season.)
****TCU is losing juniors: WR Josh Boyce (66 catches, 891 yds, 7 TDs) and DE Stansly Maponga (26 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4 sacks)
****West Virginia is losing junior: WR Stedman Bailey (114 catches, 1,622 yds, 25 TDs)
****Oklahoma State is losing junior: RB Joseph Randle (1,417 yards, 5.2 ypc, 14 TDs)
4. With Wort and Jefferson leaving early, the OU defense has 8 starters it has to replace from this season, in addition to QB Landry Jones, WR Justin Brown and Stills on offense.
Wort was outspoken in saying he didn't care for the scheme changes made by Mike Stoops and was ready to move on. We'll see if he sticks in the NFL.
Jefferson is a significant loss for that OU defense.
Jalen Saunders and Trey Metoyer will have to fill the void left by Stills and Justin Brown.
This year's Oklahoma defense was nothing special, and Texas made them out to be the 1985 Bears. If Texas can't go into the Cotton Bowl as the favorite and close the deal in 2013, Mack Brown would have a hard time surviving at UT, no matter what else happens that season.
5. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is back with the Horned Frogs after completing substance abuse rehabilitation.
Pachall threw for 948 yards with 10 touchdowns and 1 interception in TCU's first four games before being suspended.
TCU returns leading rusher B.J. Catalon, DB Jason Verrett, who had 6 INTs, and DE Devonte Fields, who had 10 sacks as a FR.
6. TCU and Oklahoma State probably return the most proven playmakers in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State has all its QBs back (J.W. Walsh, Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt), RB Jeremy Smith, the Cowboys' top 3 WRs, including 1,000-yard WR Josh Stewart, talented DTs and CB Justin Gilbert.
That's why TCU and Okie State are getting so much hype for 2013.
7. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is replacing his offensive and defensive coordinators - again.
Cowboys' OC Todd Monken took the Southern Miss head coaching job, and Gundy has yet to replace him. But after Larry Fedora, Dana Holgorsen and Monken, Gundy has a pretty good track record.
The weird situation in Stillwater surrounds Gundy's dismissal of veteran DC Bill Young.
Young told the Tulsa World Gundy told him he was worried Young was too old (at age 66) to handle the job any longer in terms of recruiting and being the face of the defense.
Gundy replaced Young with co-DC Glenn Spencer, and Gundy has hired K-St DL coach Joe Bob Clements to take the same job at Ok St.
For a guy who once made an issue of age - "Come after me, I'm a man. I'm 40." and in an era where Monte Kiffin and Bill Snyder are still employed in their 70s - Gundy should have just said things aren't working out and leave ageism out of it.
8. The Texas men's and women's basketball teams are both winless in conference play.
The women have lost six straight and now are missing forward Cokie Reed and Chelsea Bass, who gave up basketball in Tuesday, because of medical conditions.
The men let winnable games get away against Baylor and West Virginia before being blown out at Iowa State as Rick Barnes benched leading scorer Sheldon McClellan for all but 1 minute of the game.
9. Barnes benching McClellan is confounding for an offensively challenged basketball team, but it's nothing new.
Barnes benched Kabongo the same way last season. He did it to J'Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton as well.
He did it to Dogus Balbay against Missouri a few years ago in a game at home Texas probably would have won with Balbay on the floor.
He did it to James Thomas in an NCAA Tournament game against undersized Xavier in 2004 in a game UT probably would have won with Thomas on the floor.
Barnes is hard-headed. And he's going to make his point, whether his team wins the game or not. But that approach takes its toll on the rest of the team. He lost the team four years ago, when he made similar points with Brown and Hamilton on a team that went 17-0 and to No. 1 before finishing 7-10 and flaming out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
His players tend to end up getting better as a result of all of his tough love, but his teams haven't done better unless they can all stick around for a few years the way this group has a chance to.
If these players stick together this year, they should be much better next season. The question is how bad will it get this season?
10. Did I mention the Big 12's No. 1 team - Kansas - is up next for the Longhorns on Saturday?
KU is hoping to have 6-5 super freshman and leading scorer Ben McLemore in the lineup after an ankle sprain suffered in a win over Baylor on Monday.
McLemore is averaging 16.4 points per game and is already being touted as a possible No. 1 pick in the next NBA Draft.
Texas freshman PG Javan Felix leads the Big 12 in assists - 6.31 pg - but also minutes played per game with 36.4 mpg.