Fall Football Camps Open Across The Big 12
By Kevin Lonnquist
Fall camp is starting today for just about every Big 12 program. But there is some news featuring some of the programs.
At Oklahoma, starting center Ben Habern, who played his high school football at Argyle Liberty Christian, has decided to stop playing football because of lingering back and neck problems, coach Bob Stoops announced earlier this week Habern, was the center on the 2012 preseason All-Big 12 team, was one of three players representing the Sooners at Big 12 Media Days last week. He said his issues had been healed up but obviously that turned out to be different. “Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben,” Stoops said. “Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU.
At Oklahoma State, senior Michael Bowie, a potential starter at left tackle, has decided to transfer from Oklahoma State. Coach Mike Gundy said Wednesday that Bowie had violated team rules and decided to leave the program. Gundy wasn’t sure where Bowie intended to play. “The team will be fine. Another player steps in. We expect them to compete,” Gundy said. “It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s an unfortunate situation but we wish Mike the best and I’m sure that he’ll be able to transfer and play for somebody.”
Bowie started five games last season as the Cowboys won their first Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game, beating Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl to finish No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll. It was his only season at Oklahoma State after winning a junior college national championship at Navarro College and then transferring.
Kansas coach Charlie Weis unveiled a new depth chart when the Jayhawks opened camp on Thursday according to a report from the Topeka Capital Journal. The Jayhwaks will be adding a number of new faces to the both sides of the ball. At right tackle, junior college transfer Aslam Sterling is competing with junior Riley Spencer for a starting job. Nebraska transfer Josh Williams is listed as a starting end and juco transfers Keon Stowers, Jordan Tavai and Ty McKinney are listed as backups. Last season’s starting middle linebacker, Darius Willis, is listed third on the initial depth chart where Notre Dame transfer Anthony McDonald is listed No. 1, followed by freshman Schyler Miles. Another transfer from South Bend, Mike Ragone, is listed ads the starting tight end followed by sophomore Jimmay Mundine and juco transfer Charles Brooks for the No. 2 spot.
These moves are an effort for KU to establish a two-deep Roster. “If you just play the starters on defense, you’re going to get worn out,” Weis said. “You better get into the two-deep. Our No. 1 goal on defense is not who the starting 11 are. Who are the first 22? Let’s get to 22.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlines the five questions facing West Virginia in 2012.
1 The freshman class: “I’m pretty excited to see some of these new guys come in and see what they can do,” said Holgorsen. “Everybody loses guys, and each year you line up and you get in camp and you practice and you figure out who those guys are and you lean on them.”
2 The running backs: The question is the health of sophomore Dustin Garrison who had major knee surgery in the offseason. “They say he’s doing great, but there’s a mental aspect that you’ve got to overcome as far as getting out there and cutting and getting hit that we’re going to see,” said Holgorsen. “But I can only go from what [our trainers] are saying. They’re saying he’s doing well and he’s ready to go, so I assume he’s ready to go.”
3 The defense: Losing three players to the NFL draft will be tough to overcome early. West Virginia also has some questions in the secondary which is not a good problem to have in the pass happy Big 12 Conference. “You’re going to score points. You’re going to give up big plays. It doesn’t mean that the game’s over,” said Holgorsen. “You just got to keep playing defensively. I think we’ve got some guys in place that understand that.”
4 The offensive line: Guard Josh Jenkins will be returning in 2012 after missing last season with injury. This may be the strongest unit for the Mountaineers as the five starters across the front have a combined 100 starts between them.
5 Geno Smith: “He progressed and he’s got a chance to be pretty good,” said Holgorsen. “He stacks up with a lot of the other guys I’ve had in the past. Ultimately, it’s how many games you win. He’s going to be remembered for how many games you win.”
And there are reports Texas quarterback David Ash suffered a hamstring injury while working out with teammates recently. The severity of it is unknown. For now, it’s being called day-to-day. But with hamstring injuries, that could make this another two quarterback situation between Ash and Case McCoy.
Finally, Here’s my assessment of the first coaches poll rankings that were released Aug. 2. Personally, I’m annoyed with these polls because everybody is slotted far too early and it’s hard to move programs out of the Top 25 that simply don’t belong there. But it is what it is so here we go.
Oklahoma, No. 4 — It’s deserving because of what is returning for the Sooners, but they are not as strong as they have been in years past.
West Virginia, No. 11 — This is a very good team, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them win the Big 12.
Texas, No. 15 — Maybe a little generous. But they have the brand name because they get the benefit of the doubt. Love the defense. The offense is a work in progress.
TCU, No. 17 — This is earned because of the track record the program has developed over time. I’m not sure they can hold it but we’ll see.
Oklahoma State, No. 19 — Respect for Mike Gundy’s offense is why they are ranked where they are ranked. But let’s not kid ourselves, that defense is going to have to pick it up and not live off of forcing turnovers.
Kansas State, No. 21 — I think that’s fine but many people probably don’t think Bill Snyder’s team has enough style points. The Wildcats will be a solid team this fall.
Baylor and Texas Tech were in the Others Receiving Votes category. If you go by the count, Baylor was No. 31. That’s pretty good respect for a program that has defensive questions and lost its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. Tech got one vote.