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Friday, October 18, 2013
Big 12 mailbag

By Jake Trotter

In today’s mailbag, Texas fans gloat, Oklahoma fans lament and I’m called an idiot again, apparently for being too hard on Baylor and too easy on Texas Tech.

To the ‘bag:

Jack in El Paso, Texas, writes: Jake, has there been any indications that David Ash will be back at practice this week and possibly start at TCU?

Jake Trotter: No indication that Ash has been cleared yet. Even if he were, the way Case McCoy played against Oklahoma, I’m not so sure Ash would start, anyway.


Jake in Montreal writes: Hey Jake, I’m a big Jayhawks fan out here and was wondering what your take is on the QB situation? I’m wondering if freshman Montell Cozart should play. I think we need a bold move.

Jake Trotter: This week, Charlie Weis made one bold move by relinquishing some control of the offensive game-planning to his assistants. We’ll see what impact that has. If it changes nothing, the next move might be a quarterback switch. Cozart was moved up to co-second string with Michael Cummings this week, a sign that perhaps things are moving that direction. I still think Jake Heaps has a little bit of a leash. But he ranks last in the Big 12 in Adjusted QBR among qualified players. At some point, the Jayhawks have to try something else.


Paxton in San Marcos, Texas, writes: Your buddy Max Olson said Baylor has the best "receiving duo (Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese) in the conference, and it's really not even close." Really? Jace Amaro and Eric Ward lead the league in receptions with two true freshman QBs throwing to them.

Jake Trotter: I actually agree with Max that Baylor has the league’s best receiving duo. Goodley and Reese have been unreal. But I would counter Texas Tech has the Big 12’s best overall receiving corps. Amaro, Ward, Bradley Marquez and Jakeem Grant can really play.


Corey Coleman in Waco, Texas, writes: So I just got suspended for targeting, even though it wasn't called that way in the game, and the video shows I didn't go helmet-to-helmet. My question is, next time should I try to hit the guy in the knees after the whistle is blown? It worked for Texas.

Jake Trotter: The Mike Davis block seemed more flagrant to me, Corey, but what I can say? I don’t run the league.


Andy in Austin, Texas, writes: Does Texas' bye week help or hinder their momentum from the Red River Rivalry against TCU?

Jake Trotter: Every team is different, but I think it hinders them. Any time you get a signature win like that, you want to play again as soon as possible. The open week can serve teams needing to regroup from injuries or a loss. It doesn’t seem to help teams with momentum.


Mike in Colorado Springs, Co., writes: Before the start of the 2012 season, everyone in the Big 12 community said TCU was an upgrade over Texas A&M. Did you see all the empty seats at the TCU-Kansas game?

Jake Trotter: I saw the photo, and it did not look good. TCU was a quality addition to the league, especially based on what was available. The Horned Frogs have played good football for more than a decade now. But anyone who thinks A&M – with its fan base, support and money – is a downgrade from TCU is delusional.


Chase in Texas writes: Are you an idiot? You're going to call us (Baylor) for our crap, but give Tech a break. We might not have played perfectly, but the way you put it, we barely pulled out the win, even though we won by 10. Kansas State had a reason to play us tough. Tech had no reason to let Iowa State stay in the game.

Jake Trotter: Guess you’re not ready to be analyzed through the prism of being a Big 12 favorite and a national title game hopeful. My bad.


Kevin in Denver writes: Love the blog. Who had the best game on Saturday between Case McCoy, Bryce Petty and Davis Webb? I know McCoy and Petty threw some great balls, but isn't it more impressive with Webb's short TDs vs. the long TD throws of McCoy and Petty?

Jake Trotter: Red-zone play is something that can set quarterbacks apart, and it often gets overlooked. Pretty much everyone in college football can move the ball anymore. But only the elite offenses convert drives into touchdown after touchdown. So the throws Webb made in the red zone against Iowa State were very encouraging. That said, given the scope, the pressure of the game and difficulty of the opponent, McCoy’s performance against Oklahoma was, to me, the most impressive of the weekend.


Chris in Temple, Texas, writes: There were a lot of ZERO U fans talking smack all week. ... Where are they now!?! TEXAS FIGHT, HOOK 'EM HORNS!!

Jake Trotter: I’m allowing one of these to get in; it’s been a tough last four seasons for Texas fans.


Mike Gundy in Humble Pie, U.S.A., writes: Was I wrong for driving Wes Lunt away?

Jake Trotter: Is there any doubt that Lunt would be Oklahoma State’s starting QB on Saturday, had he not left for Illinois?


Steve in Frisco, Texas, writes: So now that the donkey-whipping is over in the Cotton Bowl, why is the media in general letting the Sooners coaching staff off the hook so easily, especially offensive coordinator Josh Heupel?

Jake Trotter: This is usually step three to recovery for Sooners fans after a loss. First, they blame certain players. Then, the coaches, usually the coordinators. Then, the media for not being harder on the coaches. I wrote several times this week that Heupel did not have a good game plan for Texas. What more do you want me to do about it? Last I checked, I do not possess hiring or firing power at the University of Oklahoma.


Bill in Oklahoma City writes: Why didn’t the Sooners take Blake Bell out during the game? Is Trevor Knight really that bad? How does a big school like OU not have a game-time ready QB?

Jake Trotter: Welcome to what most schools have to endure. The Sooners have had an amazing run at quarterback in the Bob Stoops era. These quarterback struggles were a long time coming. As for the Texas game, I would have made a change. It was becoming evident Heupel was losing confidence in Bell with the way he was calling plays. Few passes downfield. Fewer designed quarterback runs. If you’re going to limit the playbook because of the quarterback, maybe it’s time to try a new quarterback. Knight was poor in his first two games, but the talent that won the job during the preseason is still there. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Knight.


Jeff in Thornton, Colo., writes: Congrats on the whole Big 12 gig, Jake. Where does OU go from here? Bell can't throw from the pocket – we all see why Knight won the job to start with. Worse than Bell's play was Heupel's play-calling. Did any of the offensive staff watch tape and see that Texas has trouble with the read option and QB run? OU did none of that! Will Kendal Thompson get a shot? I am very confused.

Jake Trotter: Thanks, Jeff. If Bell struggles in the first half against Kansas, I would not be surprised if Knight or Thompson got a shot. Maybe the Texas game was just one bad performance. But if Bell continues to struggle, the Sooners will have to try something else to have a chance of sticking in the Big 12 race.


Benjamin writes: LSU and A&M still play, so one of them will fall. Clemson/FSU/Miami all have to play each other, so two of them will drop. The only way we (Baylor) don't pass South Carolina is if they win the SEC. We'll pass Louisville on strength of schedule. UCLA is going to lose to Stanford or Oregon on the road. So it seems the relevant questions are: Do we jump an undefeated Ohio State? Do we jump a one-loss SEC champ? Do we jump a one-loss SEC non-champ? I worry the answers are no, no and yes.

Jake Trotter: I think an undefeated Baylor would jump a one-loss Ohio State. The Big Ten stinks. But a one-loss Alabama? It would depend on when the Tide lost. Same goes for Oregon. Who knows -- the loser of Clemson-Florida State might be tricky. But there’s a lot of football left. Baylor needs to worry about winning games. Undefeated teams usually don’t get left out.


Richard writes: Does it seem a little premature to write off OU? They certainly got outplayed at the worst time, but if they run the table, can we attribute the loss to OU just playing a bad game?

Jake Trotter: The Sooners more times than not have found a way to be a factor in the conference race. They looked dead in the water after losing in Norman to K-State early last season, then came back to “share” the Big 12 title. So yeah, it’s too soon to write OU off. That said, the Sooners have problems. And I’m not sure it’s attributable to one bad game.


Josh writes: I wanna address this whole "Tech hates Baylor" situation and hopefully let outsiders see why we Tech fans are a bit hesitant to bow down to Baylor. I don't understand the thought that Baylor is doing something we have never seen before. I've seen Tech do it the past 13 years. In fact, if it wasn’t for all of Tech's success in the Air Raid, Baylor wouldn’t be where they are. Baylor is doing some great things on offense, but they're not changing the game. The game has already been changed, and you can thank Mike Leach, Kliff Kingsbury and others for that.

Jake Trotter: Josh, is anyone claiming that Baylor is changing the game? All I’ve seen is people point out that Baylor’s offense is really, really good. Which it is. Baylor isn’t the only Big 12 offense with a foundation in Leach’s Air Raid. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and West Virginia do, too. But what the Bears have been doing with their variation of the Air Raid has been off-the-charts impressive. That’s what has people talking.