What to Look for in Big 12 Spring Football Practices

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterFebruary 12, 2013

What to Look for in Big 12 Spring Football Practices

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    The Army Black Knights started their 2013 football spring practice on Tuesday, February 12.

    For college football fans, this is a welcome sign—one month after the BCS bowls ended and just under two weeks after signing day, we can now focus on reality.

    2013 college football has officially begun.

    For Big 12 teams, there are a lot of question marks surrounding a lot of teams, but many of those questions will start to be answered when the Big 12 starts its spring camps.

    We've got important dates for you as well as what to look for as the weather and Big 12 teams both warm up on the field. 


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    Important Dates: February 21, first day of spring practice. March 30, spring game. 

    What to look for: Improvement on fundamentals. Expect to see a particular focus on tackling—a.k.a. "wrapping up"—by both linebackers and defensive backs as well as the linebackers staying committed to their gap assignments. The secondary should be focusing on not getting out of position and linebackers should work on avoiding over-pursuing on dive and sweep plays.   


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    Important dates: March 11, first spring practice. April 13, spring game.

    What to look for: The quarterback competition should be particularly compelling now that Landry Jones is off to the NFL—does Blake Bell win the job?

    Wide receivers are another corps that will have to be reloaded. Also keep your eyes on who fills tackle Lane Johnson's shoes—they're pretty big shoes.

    Finally, of tantamount concern is the secondary, particularly in the safety positions. 

Oklahoma State

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    Important dates: March 11, first spring practice. April 13, spring game.

    What to look for: The Cowboys will need to replace running back James Randle, so that unit should be an interesting watch. Punter/kicker Quinn Sharp is also gone and while most football fans don't get excited watching kickers, this is an area that is of critical concern and should be monitored.

    Finally, the O-line needs to be retooled—there will be a lot of new faces to keep your eyes on. 

Texas Tech

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    Important dates: March 24, first practice. April 20, spring game.

    What to look for: The Red Raiders' practices will be one of several that promises to be the most intriguing. The team has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and that in itself always draws large crowds—his appeal to the fairer sex also cannot be overlooked.

    Kingsbury will have to replace quarterback Seth Doege and pretty much the entire offense from last season, so this is going to be an arduous process. What should be fun to watch is whether or not Kingsbury sprinkles a little Johnny Football magic in the Red Raiders' offense—while many are hoping for this transformation, realistically, fans should lower their expectations. A lot.   

West Virginia

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    Important dates: March 10, first practice. April 20, spring game.

    What to look for: Well, this should be interesting. Quarterback Geno Smith and his favorite targets, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, are gone. So is center Joe Madsen and two other starting linemen.

    That's just on the offense.

    While head coach Dana Holgorsen will no doubt amaze us with the plethora of talent waiting in the wings, the real problem for the team is its defense. Holgorsen made some changes on his defensive staff and the hope among fans is to see progress on the defensive side of the ball, particularly against the run. The Mountaineers finished eighth in the Big 12 in rush defense. 


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    Important dates: March 1, first practice. Spring game TBD.

    What to look for: Quarterback competition between Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin should be a focal point. The Horned Frogs also have to fill an unexpected hole at defensive end since Stansly Maponga defected to the NFL.

Kansas State

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    Important Dates: April 3, first practice. April 27, spring game.

    What to look for: We won't bore you with the list of departing seniors—it's long and extensive.

    The Wildcats need to establish a new leader now that quarterback Collin Klein is gone. They also need to replace the entire linebacker unit. Watch head coach Bill Snyder pull out another miracle this season.


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    Important dates: March 5, first practice. April 13, spring game

    What to look for: Kansas actually improved last season under Weis. The offense chewed up the clock with a solid running game (at times) and actually put a little scare in Kansas State.

    I love the fact that Weis went heavy on JUCOs in 2013's recruiting class—these guys will be ready to play and will compete for numerous positions including quarterback, receiver, cornerback and safety.

Iowa State

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    Important dates: March 26, first practice. April 20, spring game.

    What to look for: I think the competition for starting quarterback should be interesting. I also am curious to see if offensive tackle Jake Campos gets the opportunity to compete for one of the two open spots later on or whether he redshirts and adds some bulk to his frame.  


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    Important dates: March 1, spring practice. April 6, spring game.

    What to look for: Three big question marks for the Bears are who will replace quarterback Nick Florence and receivers Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson. The defense returns basically intact.

    One other note: Will Baylor run more with Lache Seastrunk ready to make a Heisman statement?