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Big 12 Roundtable: Spring Edition

Thanks to Matt over at Crimson and Cream Machine, our favorite Oklahoma blog, for setting up a spring roundtable.  Check out his post for links to all the other responses.  Sorry my answers are short, not well-thought-out, and unsubstantiated with links, but I'm studying for three exams at once right now.  Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments or the diaries.

1.  Who are some of the new faces that emerged in the spring who could be serious playmakers for your team this fall?

Surprisingly, the biggest newcomer was a walk-on.  Keithen Valentine rushed for more than 100 yards in the epic, heart-stopping, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat spring game that ended in a 3-0 White victory.  In all seriousness, Valentine looks like a solid addition at running back, which is welcome after the departure of James Johnson.

2.  What is your biggest concern following the spring?

Integration of JuCo transfers.  Most of them won’t be on campus until this summer or even August, so it’s going to take some work getting them into the system.

Other than that, it’s the same thing we heard all last year: defense.  There are some encouraging signs, particularly the return of Josh Moore and Antwon Moore’s recovery from knee surgery.  Also, we have scrapped that stupid 3-4 and will move Ian Campbell back to defensive end, which is where he should have been last year.

3.  Any major changes (philosophy, coaching or personnel) that you are concerned or worried about?

As usual, we had more coaching turnover than necessary in the offseason.  Who knows how much different the product on the field will look?  We have gone back to a base 4-3 on defense, thank God.  On offense, nobody has any real idea what we’ll be doing.  The new offensive coordinator is a spread offense disciple, but it would be damn near impossible to really implement a full spread offense in the limited time available (i.e., spring practice and fall camp).  On top of that, we'll be implementing the 214 JuCo transfers we signed for next year this fall, so putting in anything radically different would be a steep learning curve for all parties involved.

4.  Looking over the 2008 which home and away game will be the most difficult?

Among the teams that come to Bill’s House next year, the Dirt Burglars are probably the toughest matchup.  Texas Tech is never an easy game for us either, and that is the first conference game on the slate (What??? We start conference play at home?  Somebody in Irvine probably got fired over that one!).  Clearly the most difficult road trip will be to Columbia to face North favorite Missouri.

5.  Time for your way too early predictions (Yes, you can change them in August). Rank how you see your division finishing up next season.

  1. Missouri
  1. Who knows?
  1. Who knows?
  1. Who knows?
  1. Who knows?
  1. Who cares?