Big 12 storylines: Week 4
Every week in the Big 12 has a story. These are the stories you should keep an eye on this weekend.
The game within a game: Texas is a better team on paper than Kansas State. I picked Kansas State to win by double digits because the Longhorns biggest weakness thus far is one of K-State’s strengths: The QB run game. Daniel Sams can do things with his legs nobody else in the Big 12 can equal. He’s got fantastic change of direction and his speed speaks for itself. Ask Collin Klein if K-State knows how scheme those skills into production and success. Can Texas right the wrongs of the past two weeks? The Wildcats only needed four passes to beat Texas back in 2010. I’m betting they’d love to keep the number in the single digits again this week. Another matchup to keep an eye on that should decide a game: West Virginia’s defense vs. Stefon Diggs. William & Mary’s receivers got the best of WVU’s defense a few times early on, and Diggs is averaging almost 25 yards a catch.
The more the merrier: Last season, Louisiana-Monroe broke out a two-quarterback offense based around the zone-read that was just about the coolest scheme I’ve ever seen. Baylor’s offense is all about sheer brutality, but points to the Warhawks for creativity. Baylor’s defense had a minor freakout and had to use a timeout after a couple completions. Do I want to see it again? As long as my job isn’t to try and defend it, sure.
Gotta get it fixed: Charlie Weis spoke candidly about his frustrations with his receivers’ drops in a loss to Rice. He wasn’t bluffing. Three of KU’s No. 1 receivers have been demoted, including hyped Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay. Blue-chip juco transfer Rodriguez Coleman took over at McCay’s spot, and Tre’ Parmalee slid ahead of Josh Ford. Tight end Jimmay Mundine is now behind Trent Smiley. Weis said their inability to get open was as important as fixing the drops. Will it work? It better.
Health club: Texas quarterback David Ash took doctors’ advice and didn’t even attend last week’s game after suffering a concussion. The noise, lights and general environment wouldn’t be good for him, but he’s listed as day-to-day this week. Case McCoy will be ready to go if he’s gone, and Tyrone Swoopes will get some playing time if Ash sits again. Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield will also return after suffering a deep thigh bruise, but will it limit his mobility? Baylor will take on Louisiana-Monroe without one of the league’s top tight ends, Jordan Najvar (hip).
Watching the watchers: Mack Brown pleaded with fans to forget their feelings about him, and didn’t blame them for booing during last week’s loss to Ole Miss. “I might boo me,” he said. He wants the focus on the players, and wants to see a crowd of 100,000 arrive to cheer on a disappointing, 1-2 Texas team. Will he get it? I’m fascinated to find out. Texas fans have not traditionally been a long-suffering bunch.
Fixing what ails them: Kliff Kingsbury harped on fixing penalties and forcing turnovers all offseason. So far, Texas Tech ranks last in the Big 12 in both stats, but has been an early surprise at 3-0 with wins over SMU and a then-ranked TCU team. I’d keep an eye on those two stats in a game Texas Tech where shouldn’t feel much pressure.