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stormstopper last won the day on May 26

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About stormstopper

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    Tigerslayer, Duck Hunter
  • Birthday 06/05/1993

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    Duke Blue Devils

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    Kansas Jayhawks (2014-Present)
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    Cleveland Browns Owner (2014-2016), Chicago Bears Owner/GM (2017-Present)
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    2x Big XII Champion (2014, 2018)

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  1. If you've signed up for a spring game and have not completed your depth charts and gameplan, please do so as soon as you can. Especially if you have one of the earlier spring games. 

    1. alexfall862


      Where do I submit a spring game gameplan? Is that just the regular gameplan?

    2. stormstopper


      @alexfall862 In this forum http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/forum/30-gameplans/ (which is under FBS Historic Depth Charts). Make one thread for the gameplan, but separate it into two posts. The format is in the spring game signups post.

  2. The daylight hours grow longer and longer, the scent of fresh-cut grass permeates the air, and antihistamines are flying off of drugstore shelves nationwide. That can only mean one thing: it's spring, and therefore it's time for spring football. Practice has been underway for a while, and they'll finish up with spring games over the next couple of weeks. The Big XII Network is here to take an in-depth look across the nation's most exciting conference: the incoming stars, the competition for starting spots, and what position groups or players each team is most dreading and anticipating seeing out on the field this season. Without any further ado, let's talk about the spring games. Baylor Bears Spring Game: Baylor has not announced a date for their spring game, but they have released depth charts. The Gold team will be the first-team defense and the second-team offense, while the Green team will be the first-team offense and the second-team defense. First Look: Be on the lookout for freshman center Andrew Wheatley to be an immediate starter--and potentially one of the best offensive linemen in the conference from day 1. The Woodsboro native has shown an affinity for opening up holes for the run game, drawing rave reviews during his redshirt year blocking for runningback Carlos Bowden--who himself can't be overlooked and may find himself in a rotational role behind Miles Street as the season goes on. Position Battle: Wide Receiver. This may be cheating a bit since all three guys in this battle are going to see the field in some way or another, but Baylor's got a pretty clear pecking order at most other positions on the field. At wide receiver, the battle for the #1 spot is likely going to come down to Maleek Abioye-Afua against Curtis Sheppard. Sheppard was the more productive of the two by far last year, hauling in 52 catches for 801 yards and 5 touchdowns; however, sophomore Abioye-Afua is a 6-foot-5, 233-pound bruiser who fits in naturally at split end and showed some flashes last year with 448 receiving yards. Sheppard's going to take a lot of snaps in the slot, so it's more of a matter of how often he'll be moved around the field to make room for Abioye-Afua. Also in the mix is the 6-foot-4 Elki Denson, who had 172 receiving yards as a true freshman before redshirting in 2022. Question Mark: Backfield. Caleb Olmsted and Miles Street return as starters for the third straight season, giving Baylor a level of backfield continuity matched only by Iowa State. That continuity is only a bonus, though, if the two improve over a disappointing sophomore campaign. Street improved from 4.2 to 4.5 yards per carry, but he only scored 8 touchdowns all season on the ground after scoring 12 as a freshman. Olmsted's completion percentage dropped from 60.4% to 58.3%, he went from 23 passing touchdowns and 9 interceptions to 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and his passer rating fell from 134.5 to 126.6. With an improved offensive line and an improved wide receiver corps--which isn't solely due to addition by subtraction--a junior jump in the backfield could turn the offense into a well-oiled machine. MVP: OLB Zachary McHale. Baylor's vaunted linebacker corps didn't produce to expectations last season, but that's only despite McHale's best efforts. The junior edge rusher has been a statsheet stuffer in each of his first two seasons, with 63 tackles (8 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended, and a fumble forced and recovered in his career. Baylor's defensive front remains talented with Elias Ladd at weak inside linebacker, Alexander Talbert at defensive end, and Garrett Powers returning to his more natural mike linebacker position after failing to make a statsheet in 2022--but McHale is the one who ties it all together and provides the terrifying burst off the edge to wallop opposing backfields. Iowa State Cyclones Spring Game: Iowa State's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. They will have mixed rosters: Vaughn Sheppard, Demetrius Clay, and Paul Bryant highlight the Cardinal team, while Kofi McCullough, D'Neal Norris, Dillon Dooley, Ian Johnson, and Laurent Daniel headline the Gold team. First Look: Dillon Dooley will be playing with the rest of the first-team offensive line as a true freshman and early enrollee. The Cyclones needed more help up front for star runningback Kofi McCullough, and Dooley will be an incredible complement to tackle D'Neal Norris. He's already the best guard they have on the roster, and his upside is virtually limitless. It would be shocking if he weren't a day-1 starter. As a fun fact, his 6-foot-6 frame makes him only the fifth-tallest guard on the team--and taller than most of the guards on the basketball team. Position Battle: Wide Receiver. As it was with Baylor, most spots on Iowa State's depth chart are pretty much set in stone. Demetrius Clay's status as a two-way player is perhaps the most interesting question, but wide receiver is the position group where the Cyclones have the widest variety of options. They return four wide receivers who had at least 100 receiving yards last year, none of whom reached 500. (In fact, Iowa State hasn't had a 500-yard receiver since Tom Oldham and Elliott Efi in 2019). Ezekiel Renteria and Nat Donaldson-Douglas are the returning bedrocks as the team's returning leaders in yards and yards per catch, though Renteria's showing in spring practice has been far less than ideal. Troy Spears and Luka Snell are expected to be emergent options as well. Leonardo Gilbert could even play a role as a low-usage home-run threat. They won't have any issues with depth, but finding one guy to emerge as a true #1 would do wonders. Question Mark: Defensive Line. Iowa State's leader in tackles for loss last year was recruited as a tight end, which speaks to both the impressive versatility of Demetrius "Two-Way" Clay and the sheer lack of options the Cyclones have along the line. Those options grew narrower with the graduation of Savion Pryor. If Clay returns to defensive end, he'll be playing opposite redshirt senior Antoine Garvin, who has not recorded a stat in his career. Taua Aloese provides strength up the middle and the Cyclones will hope he can improve on his 16 tackles (4 for loss) and 1 sack from the defensive tackle spot. If either Marco Redding or Ibrahim Eason can emerge (both are on the Gold spring team), the defensive line becomes a solid unit. If not, it becomes a problem. MVP: Kofi McCullough. The active Big XII leader in rushing yards (2955) and rushing touchdowns (29), McCullough has been the heart and soul of the Iowa State offense for the past two years. His production declined slightly into his sophomore year solely due to workload; he maintained the same level of efficiency, and Iowa State will need him to do so once again. He's the surest thing on that offense. What's more, they need Vaughn Sheppard to take a step forward as he seemed to do toward the end of last season. If the attention is focused on McCullough, who has proven capable of handling it, then that gives more room for Sheppard's game to open up until defenses are forced to reckon with it too. Kansas Jayhawks Spring Game: Kansas's spring game will be on June 15th. The Blue team will mainly be the first-team offense and second-team defense (with some exceptions), while the White team will be the first-team defense and second-team offense. First Look: JuCo product Cameron Bowers will hope to add the high-end wide receiver talent Kansas has lacked since the graduation of Malcolm Davis, and his placement at #1 wide receiver with the first-team offense ought to give a hint as to just how confident the staff is in the rising junior. Bowers has tight end size at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, and he'll bring a level of physicality to the position that will challenge the cornerbacks of the Big XII. He's one of three Blue team receivers listed at 220 pounds or heavier--fellow junior Sebastian Christy and true freshman Zack Stephens both check in at 227. Position Battle: Outside Linebacker is the only battle of any real significance for a Jayhawk team that has very little depth to speak of. With a return to a 3-4 defense anticipated, there are essentially five players competing for two full-time spot as edge rushers and one part-time spot as a bandit linebacker. Carlos Guillen and Pat Rhoades are the incumbents in the edge rusher category, with neither having made an outsized impact heading into their respective redshirt junior seasons. Guillen had 5 tackles (1 for loss) last year, Rhoades had 21 tackles, a sack, a pass broken up, and a forced fumble the year before. Advantage: Rhoades. Jude Broussard is the only linebacker whose coverage is his calling card; that's amounted to 24 tackles and a single pass breakup, none of which was recorded in 2022. The challengers are a pair of homegrown true freshmen, Naiquon "Nuke" Crosby and Deon Evans. They are the highest-ranked outside linebackers ever to commit to Kansas and will both be playing with the first-team defense. Whoever loses the battle may not be playing at Kansas in the fall, with the possibility of a transfer from the former three or a redshirt for the latter two. Question Mark: Runningback. To say Andre Black fared poorly in his first year as a starter would be an understatement. He finished the season with 477 yards in 13 games, the first Big XII runningback ever to start the whole season and finish with that paltry a rushing yardage total. He averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, also the fewest by any Big XII runningback ever to start the whole season. What's concerning is that there was no viable option to replace him. While he's playing with the second-team offense, we are informed that the staff still views Black as the #1 option at the position over Bryce Dubose. If opposing defenses don't have to even pretend to consider the run game, that'll make life so much more difficult for Christian Graham and company. MVP: Christian Graham started the 2022 season on a horrid note, finished it on a torrid one, and Kansas's win-loss record behaved accordingly. There's no reason to expect next year that the Jayhawks' fortunes won't ride with those of their quarterback. There's no run game to act as a safety valve. There's some good, youthful talent on defense, but their impact pales in comparison to that of the quarterback who will likely hold the Big XII career records for passing yards and passing touchdowns at season's end. He still demonstrated that he had room to grow: his completion percentage dipped sharply from 67.6% as a sophomore to 62.1% as a junior even as he went from 24 touchdowns to 31. It's the price of going from efficiency passer to volume passer, but Kansas will win a lot of games if Graham can be both at once. Kansas State Wildcats Spring Game: No date has been confirmed for Kansas State's spring game yet, though they have released depth charts. The Purple team is mostly made up of first-team offense and second-team defense while the White team is mostly the reverse, though there appear to be some exceptions. First Look: Redshirt freshman quarterback Shane Kruse has as much hype around him in Manhattan as any player to matriculate in recent years, with only Rahim Murrell and Brendan Scherer truly able to match it. The Houston product made a push for the starting job last year, though it was ultimately retained by fifth-year senior Julius Minnow. Kruse will bring a different look to the Wildcats' offense: he's entirely unafraid to use his 6-4, 234-pound frame to take off and run, bruising anyone who tries to tackle him in the process. (Bruise Kruse as a nickname, anyone?) If nothing else, that should mean Kansas State settles for fewer field goal attempts (49 in the past two years compared to 52 extra point attempts). But Kansas State fans hope to see Kruse show off the elite passing skills that have long eluded Wildcat quarterbacks. Position Battle: Runningback. Even with incumbent two-year starter Jaiden Givens returning for his redshirt senior season, it's not a given that he'll get a third year as the #1 guy. He finished with just 647 rushing yards last season (9th among Big XII starting runningbacks), under 4.1 yards per carry (also 9th), and only 4 rushing touchdowns all season (10th). The positives, though: his efficiency improved year-over-year, and he was the only starting Big XII runningback not to fumble even once in the 2022 season. He's a solid baseline, but not a game-changer. Gabriel Vinson, a redshirt freshman, hopes to be that game-changer. Like Kruse, he has more of a powerful running style--and he'll be sharing the Purple team backfield with Kruse, giving him ample opportunity to prove himself. Vinson will likely see carries in some capacity, but if Brendan Scherer and Mario Hamilton can't wrangle him then he may be getting the lion's share sooner rather than later. Question Mark: Defensive End. Kansas State's roster is about as well-balanced as it's ever been at this point. There are still a lot of positions that don't have top-end talent, but there's a solid baseline everywhere now. That baseline's lowest at defensive end, however. They return starters Prince Vann and Hunter Myrick, who combined for 4.0 sacks and 2 tackles for loss last year. It's likely that Vann will start, though whether Jacquies Greene and Preston Evans (the other Preston Evans) will push for the starting job. Greene is starting opposite Vann on the White team, so he presumably has a leg up on the job. MVP: Middle linebacker Brendan Scherer was a headhunter last season, and he's going to be back and better than ever in 2023. His 57 tackles were the fourth-highest single-season total of any Kansas State player. He had 9 tackles for loss, which is the most by any Big XII linebacker in a single season in the short time that the stat has been tracked. Richard Farrell is the only other linebacker with at least 6. If he matches his 2022 production this year, he will break David Doherty's school record for career tackles with a year of eligibility remaining. The rest of the Kansas State defense revolves around him, and he's the best centerpiece you could ask for. Oklahoma Sooners Spring Game: Oklahoma's spring game is scheduled for June 22nd. There are first-teamers and second-teamers on both sides of the ball strewn across both teams. First Look/Position Battle: There were reports after a rather lackluster sophomore season that Eric Pope was in danger of losing the starting quarterback job to then-redshirt freshman Nick Brohm. Pope ultimately retained the job and proceeded to have a breakout junior campaign. He threw for 3,298 yards and 29 touchdowns with a 153.8 passer rating and ran for 414 yards and 3 scores on 5.3 yards per carry. The Sooners had the #2 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 34.9 points per game. They lose Maurice White, Jason Dotson, and Rangi Salanoa, but the receiver trio of Lucas Dykes, Aiden Caldwell, and Chase Reardon with runningback Jaiden Douglas should still make for a formidable skill corps. Is the promise of productivity and continuity enough to make Pope the first Oklahoma quarterback to start as a senior since Robert Price? Apparently not, because Brohm has continued to gain ground during spring practice. While he's not quite as good on his feet as Pope, Brohm is capable of moving within the pocket and picking up a few yards out of it--and his upside is that he's got the more accurate arm of the two. With the first-team and second-team talent split across both teams, the two quarterbacks ought to be on somewhat even footing for this competition. Question Mark: Safety. This is a very talented Oklahoma team across the board, with virtually every starter and quite a few reserves expected to at least get a look at the next level. The Sooners have to replace Julian Foster and Omar Anaya at free safety, and the three options are junior Jaden Foster (no relation to Julian), junior Steven Bush, and redshirt freshman Ian Willis. It's almost certainly going to be Willis's job eventually, and he's probably the favorite to land it this year. But he's young and raw, and compounding the issue is the fact that both Oklahoma strong safeties are also freshmen with the graduation of Andrew Reaves and both of his backups. Sebastian Graham is almost certainly going to be the starting strong safety as a redshirt freshman, and Isaac Brinson might have to play a backup role as a true freshman. You can bet that any team will try to test Oklahoma deep early and often, given how difficult it will be to do anything else against this defense. MVP: Perhaps the biggest reason that it will be difficult is the presence of one Elijah Williams, the reigning Big XII Defensive Player of the Year. He's coming off of a season where he had 6 interceptions, a Big XII record-tying 3 pick-sixes, and 8 pass breakups. He's too big to be out-toughed, and he's too quick to be outmaneuvered. His 2022 production was a step up from what he did in 2021, which in turn was a step up from what he did in 2020. Does he have even more room to grow in 2023? Even if he maintains his current level of play, he makes his entire section of the field non-viable to throw into. If he takes that last step forward, he has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the entire country. Oklahoma State Cowboys Spring Game: Oklahoma State's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. They will go with a unique format, with most of their veterans on the Orange team and most of their younger players (plus Amral Brown) on the Black team. First Look: Cutler Barker, David Wagner, and Jurrell Jordan. I know I'm only really supposed to pick one here, but all three are about to play incredibly important roles for the Cowboys in short order. Jordan is a probable starter at right outside linebacker this year as a redshirt freshman. Coming out of Roscoe, Texas, he brings the burst off the edge that incumbent ROLB Aiden Cheatham never quite had. Cheatham was solid in coverage, of course, but that's what Brian Suarez is for. Jordan makes up for a lack of depth at defensive end outside of Cael Bruce. Meanwhile, fellow Black team members Cutler Barker and David Wagner are the quarterback-receiver tandem of the future in Stillwater. Barker hails from Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School, which is obviously not named for the former Oklahoma State runningback but I felt like sharing it anyway. He and Wagner are true freshmen and it's unlikely that either will see the field in 2023, but that connection is going to form the backbone of the Oklahoma State offense for years to come. Position Battle: 3rd Down Runningback, kind of. This is more than a bit of a stretch, but it's the only thing resembling a position battle that Oklahoma State really has. Junior power back Jamal Boyd and senior speed back Barack Holmes are going to split Orange team carries. Boyd has not taken a carry in a Cowboy uniform to date, whereas Holmes was the starter in 2021 and rushed for 1,393 yards and 16 touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry. That battle may be a moot point, though, because there's no reason to believe Amral Brown will be anything other than a bellcow after putting up 1,754 yards and 25 touchdowns on 6.3 yards per carry last season. So essentially, Boyd or Holmes need to perform well enough to prove that there's any reason to split carries at all. Question Mark: Offensive Line. Losing Edward Meyer to graduation and Benjamin Driver to the draft lopped off all the top-end talent on the Cowboys' offensive line. They certainly have enough depth, so it's not like they're in any kind of crisis there. However, it does mean pressing Elijah Jean into starting duty. It means choosing between senior and career backup Andre Zuniga or true freshman Bart Elder for one of the guard spots opposite Pat McCartney. And I doubt we'll see true freshman Max Galvin challenge Isamaeli Salanoa for the starting center spot, but neither option's inspiring at this point. MVP: Amral Brown. There are quite a few players who could be the most valuable player for Oklahoma State, such as safety Prince Pruitt (6 INT, 4 PD, 1 FF last year), wide receiver Samuel Barfield (70 catches for 1011 yards, 9 TD), or fellow wide receiver Jeremy Bridges (61 catches for 896 yards, 11 TD). You could even make a case for defensive tackle Amir Pryor (7.0 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 FF last year). But Brown is a game-changer on offense. His stats bear repeating: 1,754 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 6.3 yards per carry last year. The list of Big XII players with at least 1,700 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 6.0 yards per carry in a season consists of Greg Hadnot in 2015, Solomon McLaughlin in 2022, and Amral Brown in 2022. He was the most efficient runningback in the Big XII, he finished second only to McLaughlin in rushing yards and touchdowns per game, and maintaining that level of efficiency behind a weaker offensive line would give Oklahoma State's offense the chance to be one of the most effective in the nation again. TCU Horned Frogs Spring Game: TCU joins the cavalcade of spring games scheduled for June 15th. They have not published a spring depth chart, though they are expected to pursue a relatively even split rather than first-team or second-team designations. First Look: This is as much a position battle as a first look, but Taylor Cook is going to be the man to watch in this spring game. The Horned Frogs have never hesitated to pick upside over experience, and Cook is the most high-upside quarterback they've perhaps ever had (depending on how you compare him to Sam Milner). Much like the other quarterback battles, this one will show a contrast of styles. Felix Luck's feet are wedded to the pocket outside of the occasional sneak. Cook is a lot more willing to move around and make plays with his legs, and unlike the other hybrid quarterbacks he's a lot lighter on his feet. But he'll have to show a lot to take the starting spot of Luck, who ranks first and second on the TCU single-season leaderboard for passing yards and passing touchdowns in two seasons as a starter. Position Battle: Wide Receiver. Quarterback is the far more interesting battle, but wide receiver is the five-way battle that could go in just about any direction. What's certain is that redshirt senior Finn Nielsen (968 yards, 10 TD in 2022) is going to have a major role after having caught double-digit touchdown passes each of the last two seasons. He's the favorite for #1 receiver--but again, upside has a high value in Fort Worth. Will F.T. Grady (460 yards, 6 TD) move from the slot to flanker (or even #1) after drawing rave reviews in spring practice? Will sophomore Rodrigo Marroquin (111 yards, 1 TD) take the starting spot in the slot? Will redshirt freshman Julio Robledo leapfrog him? Or will that role belong to gadget player Griffin McHanna (635 yards, 6 TD), who dropped 7 passes last season and struggled at times at flanker? Will McHanna even play wide receiver or will he split carries with Matteo Cates at runningback? There is any number of plausible receiver arrangements for a deep, deep TCU corps. The spring game should give some insight as to who's the frontrunner to fill each role. Question Mark: Defensive Front. Gone are Aidan McAlister, Aidan Morrell, Jasiah Pickens, Elliot McElmore, and Chance Herring: TCU returns just one starting defensive lineman and one starting linebacker. For most teams, that level of attrition would be a pretty big problem; for TCU, it just means one area of the defense where their starters will be drafted in three to four seasons whereas the others feature players will be drafted in one to two seasons. Kwon Shaw had the best 2022 season of any of the returners, with 28 tackles (7 for loss) and 6.0 sacks from the defensive tackle spot. He's rather light for a player often projected as a nose tackle, as is Hooker Jackson--which is perhaps why neither actually play on the nose in TCU's 4-3. Joining them on the line will be redshirt freshmen Jefferson Cruz and Clinton Staton, with Cruz being an edge-setter and Staton being a pass-rusher. The other experienced players are Richard Farrell, whose production dropped off in 2022 to 20 tackles (1 for loss) and 2.5 sacks, and junior college transfer Blake Burns, who should be a natural at sliding back into coverage. The outside linebackers should cover for the defensive ends' inexperience. On the flipside, the more experienced defensive tackles will slow down anything coming up the middle toward redshirt sophomore Lardarius Pendleton or redshirt freshman Guillermo Luna. With Pendleton's aggressiveness and tackling skills and Luna's coverage, TCU's front has in flexibility what it lacks in experience. Which will win out in the end? MVP: Patrick Ross. As a true freshman playing nickel corner, Ross turned in an impressive five interceptions and a pass breakup. It bears repeating: that was as a true freshman playing nickel corner. Sure, it helped that he was playing with Roman Blackmon and William Cooper, two elite corners who essentially forced opposing quarterbacks to pick on him. But now he's got the extra year of experience under his belt, he's got the inside track to be the #1 corner, he's the most productive returning defensive player on the team, and Felix Luck is not guaranteed to be the starter at quarterback (otherwise he'd have this section in a runaway). Ross is a stud, and he'll be a cornerstone of a defense that's been one of the best in the country. Texas Longhorns Spring Game: Texas's spring game is scheduled for June 29th, the last possible day for Big XII teams. Their first-team offense and second-team defense will be on the Burnt Orange team, and the first-team defense and second-team offense will be on the White team. First Look: True freshman quarterback Benjamin Lockwood will have his chance to headline the White team offense. I promise this is the last time we're using the contrast-of-quarterback-styles narrative, but it once again fits here. Kyler Tackett occasionally ran. Lucas Beckwith (probably) likes to run. Sam Milner likes to run. Benjamin Lockwood will not run unless he really, really has to. Instead, his arm will have Texas fans reminiscent of the days of national champion Brad Davis. What's more interesting is the fact that Lockwood's getting the ball over Beckwith, a redshirt senior who made just two appearances last year before Kyler Tackett was re-inserted into the starting lineup; given that he threw for a total of 308 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions (plus 42 rushing yards and a touchdown), it's not surprising that ex-TCU and ex-Juco quarterback Sam Milner has the inside track to the starting job. But Lockwood starting the spring game means that Beckwith does not have a path to even challenge for the starting job. It's Milner's team now. Position Battle: Center. I could have gone with runningback, but it's a battle between a true freshman who will probably have issues in the short-term (but can develop into a good option in the long-term) and a redshirt senior who was recruited as a career backup. Instead, I'm going with center, which is a battle between a redshirt freshman who will probably have issues in the short-term (but can develop into a great option in the long-term) and a redshirt senior who is the incumbent starter. Abe Hay was a great option to have in an offense that revolved around Simeon Wells, who's now moved on from Austin to Houston. But Frederick Orlando is the type of center you want in a pass-first offense that Texas may transition into under Lockwood beginning next year--and that may begin to poke its head out this year due to the runningback situation. Question Mark: Several, but particularly EDGE. The good news is they return Thomas Sanders, who surprised with 6.0 sacks and 25 tackles (4 for loss) at defensive end. He's the closest thing the Longhorns have to an edge defender, and he's really more of a 3-4 defensive end than a true edge. The other good news is that they have a ton of interior talent: Zion Gaines (17 tackles, 6 for loss, 5.0 sacks in 2022) and Jamal Robinson (no stats in 2022 but 35 tackles, 5 TFL, and 4.0 sacks in his career) at defensive tackle, with Nehemiah Staples (23 tackles, 4 for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 FF in 2022) and Ted Stanford (no career stats) manning the middle. Why are Robinson and Stanford bolded in the edge section? Because that's where they're listed on the White team depth chart, which shows just how dire the talent level is among the true defensive ends and outside linebackers on the defense. Playing a will linebacker like Stanford at 3-4 outside linebacker will be an awkward fit, as would playing a defensive tackle like Robinson at 4-3 defensive end. Is it the worst option available? Probably not. Will other teams poke at that from day 1? Certainly. MVP: Bobby Drake. Read into an offensive tackle being the choice here however you want, but the Austin native is a bedrock of the offense. He's agile enough to drop into pass protection, but he doesn't let his 6-foot-7, 311-pound frame go to waste when called upon to be a road-paver against the run. He'll be sorely needed in an offense that's going to see a ton of turnover, and with a defense that has its own documented issues. Every second he can buy for Sam Milner will be worth its weight in points, and he'll be an early favorite for the Big XII Preseason All-Conference team. Texas Tech Red Raiders Spring Game: Texas Tech has neither scheduled a spring game nor posted a depth chart. At press time, they are not expected to hold a spring game at all. First Look Secret Weapon: There have been 31 players in Big XII history to record at least 1000 receiving yards in a season, 30 to catch at least 10 touchdown passes in a season, and 15 to do both in the same season. Dominique Dixon intends to be the first Texas Tech player to hit either or both of those marks (Eugene Sanders came up 4 yards and 1 touchdown short in 2018), and it would be hard to bet against him doing just that sooner rather than later. If Texas Tech had a spring game, he would likely have been afforded the opportunity to show exactly why; instead, Red Raider fans will likely have to subsist on insiders' reports and the occasional practice highlight tape. The receiver corps is deep enough with Graham Beck and Atoshi Kanisawa to avert any need to burn Dixon's redshirt--any decision to do so would strictly be out of want rather than need. Position Battle: Inside Linebacker or Defensive Tackle. We know that Curtis Jones and Zac Huntley are starting at defensive end. We know that Austin Callahan is starting at outside linebacker and Josh Poe Jr. is starting at inside linebacker. There's maybe some intrigue over whether Shawntez Currie or Nasir Gordon is going to take the other outside linebacker spot. But the more important question hinges on whether Texas Tech opts to stick with the 3-4 that's been their calling card lately or chooses instead to switch to a 4-3. The former would allow Jones and Poe to play to their strengths, though it would mean either a low-ceiling veteran at mike like Preston Richmond or Lamont Maxwell, or it would mean an inexperienced redshirt freshman like Anh Nguyen at the position. It would also mean a choice between Sebastian Bolton (a more natural 4-3 fit with a lower ceiling) or Hunter Beckham (a less experienced, higher-upside, true 3-4 player) at defensive tackle. Alternatively, a 4-3 would keep Poe in the mike role he played (and played well) last year, but let Callahan, Currie or Gordon, and Huntley all be at their most effective positions. It would mean starting Bolton and likely one of Beckham or Levi Conte (who is more of a Bolton than a Beckham). Question Mark: Quarterback. The Red Raiders haven't really had much need for the position lately; Donald Garrett is coming off of a season where he passed for 971 yards and 7 touchdowns in 13 games and Texas Tech still won 9 games. Zoom out, and the Red Raiders have had 3,410 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air over the past three years combined--and they've won an average of 8 games a year. That's the Solomon McLaughlin effect--but McLaughlin is now in San Francisco, and Texas Tech will find an entirely new offensive identity without him. Hayden Dyer returns, and he's been effective in limited opportunities so the run game will still be a solid base to work from. The aforementioned Kanisawa and Beck are as good of a receiving duo as Texas Tech's had in a while. All that's left is for someone to actually put the ball in their hands. Donald Garrett is the incumbent, but the favorite for the job is redshirt freshman Grayson Gillette. Like Garrett, he has a prototypical quarterback's body at 6-foot-6 and a prototypical pocket passer's arm. He'll be given far more freedom in the offense than Garrett or Chase Shapiro, but it may take time for the whole offense to get in sync after having spent so much time in a unique system. MVP: How could it be anyone other than Curtis Jones? Because it could also be Charlie Becker. I'm sorry, I have to cheat on this one because I can't decide between the two. Jones's impact is obvious, and opposing offenses felt it regardless of whether or not Samir Sample was on the other side of the line from him. He had 54 tackles (7 for loss) and 12.0 sacks his sophomore year, and followed it up with "only" 32 tackles (6 for loss) and 11.0 sacks as a junior. He's tied with Anthony Ortiz and Hudson Adam for the Big XII career sack record, which he'll almost certainly break--even if Jamari Callahan breaks it first, bet on Jones to chase him down like he chases down opposing quarterbacks. What Jones is to the defense, Becker is to the offense. The rising junior has made a massive impact from day 1, and you'd often see him stunning opposing defensive tackles in their tracks to clear gaping holes for Solomon McLaughlin. Obviously his workload will change drastically as the offense balances out, but he's certainly versatile enough to handle it. West Virginia Mountaineers Spring Game: West Virginia's spring game is scheduled for June 15th. The first-team offense and second-team defense will be on the Blue team, and the second-team offense and first-team defense will comprise the Gold team. First Look: Dominic Acuna. West Virginia's had a lot of talent on the defensive line in recent years, with Hudson Adam sharing the Big XII career sack record with 23 sacks and Aaron Pagan having just graduated with 19 of his own. That's not due to change thanks to the combination of Elvis Cornejo, Riley Reardon, Mordechai Chappell (or maybe Jack Yazzie), and redshirt freshman Dominic Acuna. His burst off the edge is nothing short of frightful, and as a member of the scout team he flushed Martin Lake out of the pocket so often that Lake credits him with helping him improve at operating in scramble mode. There aren't a lot of West Virginia defenders who have had a huge impact as freshmen in the front seven--even Hudson Adam only had 2.5 sacks as a frosh. Acuna's got the potential to make a big impact early on, and the spring game ought to demonstrate that up front. Position Battle: Runningback. Incumbent starter Bryce Madison had an up-and-down season as a redshirt freshman, rushing for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns on under 4.4 yards per carry. Those numbers are good enough to to instantly pull the plug, but certainly not enough to box out any competition. Challenging him will be Mike Freeman, a big and bulky true freshman from just outside of Richmond. The 5-foot-6 Madison's the type of runner who can use his low center of gravity to take contact and elude the tackle; the 5-foot-10 Freeman just uses raw strength and a bit of subtle shiftiness to break free instead. There's a strong chance that both will see carries this season, but the lion's share will be at stake in the spring game. It appears that Freeman is the clubhouse leader for now, as he's set to share the field with Martin Lake, Corey Easley, and the rest of the first-teamers. Running behind guard Mario Lawton in particular should allow him to shine--but a strong showing from Madison could wrest the job right back. Question Mark: Secondary. Losing Lamont Carson to early declaration threw a wrench into the works here, as he's the difference between a solid secondary and one with extensive question marks. There's not very much returning production from the cornerback corps. Harry Conner should be able to slide into the #1 role, which will be perfectly fine as long as he can improve on his one career interception. The bigger concern is moving redshirt freshman Moussa Lacy to #2 corner instead of working him in as a nickel. You could conceivably see Aidan Nobles or Adrian Clemons get some rotational time there if Lacy's not ready for it, but it's Lacy who's been working with the first-teamers. At free safety the Mountaineers should feel confident: Preston Evans returns for the second act after interception 6 passes, breakup up another, and recovering a fumble as a redshirt freshman. That's not a position to worry about. Strong safety is, however: the choices are Bronson Stinson (6 tackles, 1 FF in his career) or redshirt freshman Bucky Richardson, who like Lacy has been playing with the first-teamers. It's going to be a young secondary learning on the job, so the defensive front will need to do their part to keep it from being burned. MVP: Corey Easley. The list of Big XII wide receivers to record at least 1,000 receiving yards as a freshman begins and ends with Lamont Wilder and Corey Easley. Martin Lake was a massive improvement over Darren Lemons and Bobby Davies, but he had his inconsistencies in year 1 of a new system. Easley smoothed those inconsistencies over consistently. 34.9% of Lake's yards and 36.4% of his touchdowns went to Easley, even though just 26.6% of his completions went to him--the freshman just kept finding ways to get open whether he was lined up at split end, in the slot, or anywhere on the field. His biggest issue was his 5 drops, but his explosiveness is more than enough to make up for it. He's the home-run threat that will open up everything else on the offense, and every indication is that he's improved by leaps and bounds over the spring. He's going to be as hard as anyone in the country for opposing secondaries to try to find a way to slow down.
  3. I broke my streak of getting exactly 2/5 correct! ...nobody look at what I got this time
  4. Bears schedule: at Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints vs. LA Rams
  5. Now that the draft over, let's get this popping.
  6. OG Silolo Siula 6-1 333 R Utah [Pass Blocking] [0] 83 4 years // 28.0 million // 62.50% Guaranteed G//7.0//5.0//3.5//2.0//Total:17.5 $//0.0//2.0//3.5//5.0//Total:10.5 Total//7.0//7.0//7.0//7.0//Total:28.0
  7. Day 2 draft cards Ryan Garvin Mualu Sititi Damien Bethea Gabriel Keene Jariel Martinez Devin McGinnis Spence McDonald Abdoul Ridley Lamont Carson
  8. I made more graphics than just Siula's; I made one for several of the players I felt were plausible (not necessarily likely to fall or likely to be our actual choice, and not even necessarily the whole list, but guys who were in some way justifiable) candidates for our pick 1-2 weeks before the draft. Consider these the equivalent of the "Chicago Bears Super Bowl XLI Champions" T-shirts for the 2023 draft. Deontre Graham Solomon McLaughlin Samir Sample Shane McCord Alex Vasili
  9. MIDWAY GROWS MORE MONSTROUS Bears focus on trenches in the early rounds of the draft JACKSONVILLE, FL. - After another year of having one of the league's worst offensive lines and a tumultuous offseason that saw the departure of Andrew Fazande, Akeel Morris, and Kevin Harris, the Chicago Bears' draft was very pointedly focused on replenishing and building up the offensive line and defensive front. The first round opened with a chaotic burst of activity, as each of the first four picks changed hands shortly before the main event. The New York Giants traded up from #4 to San Francisco's #1 spot less than 24 hours before the draft, using that pick to select Rice quarterback Eric McLean. Mere minutes before the draft started, the Indianapolis Colts moved up from #18 to Minnesota's #3 pick. San Francisco then moved up from #4 back to #2, jumping Indianapolis for Texas Tech's record-setting runningback Solomon McLaughlin and consigning the Colts to Georgia defensive back Dominique Dawkins. The Chargers, after trading down from #2 to #4, proceeded to drop from #4 to #6 and allow the Patriots to move up and select Deontre Graham. That left the door open for the Bears to have the offensive lineman of their choice, and they went with Utah offensive guard Silolo Siula with the #5 pick acquired from Arizona in the Akeel Morris trade. Siula impressed scouts during the combine with his top-of-class agility and top-of-class strength and seems to be an obvious candidate to start day 1 over Jim Thomas or Jamie Shank. "I'm blessed to be in Chicago, man," Siula said with all smiles in his post-draft interview. "It's a city that loves their football and really loves their big guys. I can't wait to team up with Brian Chavez, Mo Foster, Vaughan Abraham--the rest of the league isn't ready for us." Foster, Chavez, and Abraham all retweeted the video clip of that quote with the familiar emojis representing "Bear" and "down." The Bears had a team-record amount of draft capital on the extended day 1, having acquired second-round picks from the Cardinals and Panthers. They selected Rice inside linebacker Andres Arriaga with the 39th pick, and immediately followed it up with their second offensive lineman in Washington State tackle Riley Greenfield at #40. Greenfield projects to compete with Marcus Waterman and veteran Bob McMahon for the right tackle spot. Waterman has been the starter for much of his first two seasons after being selected in the second round in 2021, but a backup role or a change in scenery may be in line for him next. With the 55th pick, the Bears opted to trade down to the Raiders' spot at #58, and from there to the Browns' spot at #74. They collected an extra fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder in the process. In the interlude, they selected Toledo defensive end Ezekiel Williams, Jr. at #68. While Williams made a minimal impact on the statsheet in college, his off-the-charts combine, his versatility, and the Bears' extreme need at the position were certainly factors in the selection. After trading down twice, the Bears still managed to snag one of the top centers in the draft in the person of Marshall's Shawn Cortez. He will very likely replace Quinn Ledbetter as the starting center (with either Ledbetter or Tate Gilbert as the primary backup), and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a starting lineup of three rookies, a second-year, and one veteran on the line. "From the day my brother Darman and I were granted the opportunity to direct this franchise, we've made it a priority to win in the trenches," said a visibly exhausted general manager stormstopper after five hours of drafting. "Not all of our picks have panned out, but we've got a special class here and we're very confident in this group going forward." He smiled and added, "We don't draft Cubs here. Only Bears." The Bears will have another massive day tomorrow. They'll have two selections in every round except the fifth--in which they'll have three. The 14 picks they have in this draft will be more than they've had in the past two drafts combined, and it will shatter the franchise record of 8 picks made in its inaugural 2017 draft.
  10. Rainey had probably the biggest range where he could have fallen, just because he fits such a specific need. I'm a bit surprised the Chargers went this direction, but I really like him as a player.
  11. I've been high on Siula for a while, and I was nervous with how many different mocks had us taking him--that just seemed like a recipe to get traded up over. (Glares at Patriots) Siula fills one of our biggest needs and will immediately boost an interior line. Excellent combine and pro day, and (to what degree it matters) Utah actually allowed fewer tackles for loss and sacks than its opponents typically recorded. Still a lot more offensive line to build, but Chavez and Siula (and hopefully Waterman eventually?) are a strong foundation.
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