Dear Fellow Husker Fans,
After a week in the great state that included driving through a torrential blizzard all the way through Denver, 2 snowball fights in the great state bookmarking two great days (Wednesday and Thursday) it is safe to say that I am not only not liking severe cold weather, but I am also glad to be back in sunny Arizona. As you can see by a few of the pictures I put up, the youngest, myself, and the wife had a fun day in Lincoln which was highlighted by a chance meeting, a quick question, and a few minutes of time on the Memorial Stadium Field Turf. Due to restrictions, I cannot name names, but thank you to that person for escorting us and allowing us those few fun moments.
Anyways, in sunny Arizona heaters are being turned off, the sun is shining bright, and temps are hovering in the 70's so it must be spring ball time. That means I get to have some football fun so in the next few moments, I want to take a look at each team in the Big 12 and try as I might figure out what those teams need to do to improve on 2009. These are in random order.
Baylor: Key in the Spring is which Robert Griffin returns after his knee injury last year. I am getting a first hand look at knee injuries as our oldest boy banged both of his up in basketball this year. These things are not nice. Baylor's whole spring and upcoming fall camp will be decided on how well Griffen returns from his injuries.
Colorado: Key in the Spring is finding a starting QB not named Cody Hawkins. Ok the coach's kid story was great but if CU wants to make a comeback it has to be without him behind center. He's just not that good.
Iowa State: Key in the Spring is that they tasted some success last year, now can they build on it or do they falter? The coaching staff has some work to do in not letting the success go to the teams' head and at the same time build upon it.
Mizzou: Key in the Spring is the continuing development of Blaine Gabbert. He has show signs of being a good QB in this league, now can he improve and also be consistent.
Texas Tech: Key in the Spring is dealing with the complete overhaul from the Mike Leach era to the Tommy Tuberville era. He has said he will leave the offense alone and concentrate on his forte, the defense. Where have we heard that before? It will be interesting to see how the team embraces the systems Coach T puts into place.
Texas: Key in the Spring will be which Gilbert do we see, the one rattled in the first half by Alabama or the poised one that almost led UT to a comeback in the title game? I think this is a question that will continue into the year due to the fact that I think as a whole, Bama went into cruise control way too soon in that game. If they played hard nosed football for at least 3 quarters of the game, it's not that close. Just my opinion.
Kansas St.: Key in the Spring will be which one of the many JUCOs Snyder brings in will have instant impacts in the fall? Same MO for Coach Snyder.
Texas A&M: Key in the Spring will be the continuing development of Johnson at QB and will that D ever return to Wrecking Ball crew dominance again?
Oklahoma: Key to the Spring will be how will the offensive line rebound from last year. It was a line wrought with injuries and lack of up front blocking that pretty much cost Sam Bradford his junior year (and perhaps plenty of NFL money, yet to be determined). Along those lines is if the line can hold up, can Landry Jones continue his improvement?
Oklahoma St: Key to the Spring will be adjusting to life without Dez Bryant which they did most of the year last year anyway) and all everything QB Zac Robinson. It will be interesting to see how the replace those two guys behind a good o-line.
Kansas: Key to the Spring will be seeing how the team adapts under Coach Gill (I finally have another team to almost cheer for in the Big 12 on every Saturday that isn't NU Saturday). Seriously though, this could turn into a big time hire. Just look at the recruits he's gotten for this year plus you know he's make roads inward into Nebraska to grab the athletes NU doesn't get.
Nebraska: Key to the Spring will be development along the o-line which should bring with it improvement in the offense as a whole. Yeah, I know the D will have to replace Suh, but realistically do you replace a guy that is amongst the greatest at his position in NU football history? The answer is no. Offensively there is something to work with and a great bowl performance to build from. With Hardrick coming bringing instant collegiate experience, size, strength, and hopefully some leadership things could be looking up. But that is only a start, there is also Qvale, Sirles, Coffey, and Ash all redshirted last year and should be in the mix with the returning linemen. Then fall comes along and two more big guys come in, Rodriguez and Moudy. All told the o-line is getting the depth it needs, time to see how it plays out. Now offensively that beginning point should help in the growth on offense as a whole and hopefully the injury bug stays away and all should be good.
Thats a wrap on my spring ball debate. I'll try to keep posting tidbits throughout the spring, especially those things I find that interested me. God bless and Go Big Red.