In this week's Big 12 roundtable we recap the spring that was in the conference:
Who was the most impressive player to you this spring?
Brandon Chatmon: It’s hard to ignore what Byron Pringle did during Kansas State’s spring game. He looked like he can be the playmaker the Wildcats' offense was missing last season after Tyler Lockett’s departure. Pringle is a big, athletic target who should have success against Big 12 secondaries. And, just as important, he could be the safety net for the Wildcats’ quarterbacks which could make a huge difference in the overall production of K-State’s passing game. True enough, it’s early in Pringle’s Wildcats’ career but the early returns are promising.
Jake Trotter: Pringle was certainly impressive, but I'm going to have to go with Texas quarterback Shane Buechele here. He was tremendous in Texas' spring game, and, in some ways, has changed the team's outlook for the 2016 season. Texas has been desperately looking for a quarterback dating all the way back to Colt McCoy. In Buechele, the Longhorns might just have found that player.
Which position battle will have the most pressure going into the fall?
Chatmon: Texas’ quarterback situation comes to mind, but TCU’s is just as important. Anyone who thinks replacing Trevone Boykin is going to occur without a hitch is crazy. Foster Sawyer and Kenny Hill are battling to replace Boykin, but, no matter who wins, I’ll have to see it to believe it before I’m ready to say TCU’s offense will keep on humming without Boykin, who loved big moments and tended to play his best when the Horned Frogs needed him the most.
Trotter: The quarterback situations at Texas, Kansas State and TCU, as Brandon mentions, come to mind. But here's another to keep an eye on: the Baylor offensive line. With center Kyle Fuller the only returning starter, the Bears went through several combinations up front this spring, and I don't think the two-deep there is anywhere near settled yet. The Bears once again have the offensive firepower to lead the nation in scoring. But they're going to need a couple of their offensive linemen to create separation in August.
Which team came out of spring ball looking the most improved?
Chatmon: West Virginia must be leaving spring drills with more confidence than it had at the beginning, which shouldn’t be a major surprise considering nine early enrollees infused the program with the excitement and energy that any newcomer would bring. The Mountaineers had several defenders step up to ease concerns about the loss of experience on that side of the football, West Virginia’s receivers look like they’ve grown and matured into playmakers, and true freshman Kennedy McKoy looks ready to help replace Big 12 rushing leader Wendell Smallwood. Dana Holgorsen’s team got a lot of good work done during its spring drills.
Trotter: I'm going with Texas. Quarterback has been what has kept the Longhorns from being relevant in the conference these last few years. Charlie Strong has done a terrific job stocking Texas with high-end talent elsewhere, notably at running back, offensive line, linebacker and cornerback. If the Longhorns get above average play from Buechele in his freshman season, they'll be a team that no one will want to face.