Spring practice is looming and so are some big positional battles for Big 12 teams. Focusing on the running back position, it's interesting that only three Big 12 teams were ranked among the top 25 FBS rushing offenses in 2012: No. 14 Baylor, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 22 Kansas.
Oklahoma and Texas, traditionally strong rushing teams, weren't even ranked in the top 40—Texas came in at No. 49 and Oklahoma checked in at No. 61. Obviously, there's some work to be done in spring practice, and we're fairly certain that numerous teams will have some lively competition for the starting spot at running back.
Some Big 12 teams look fairly set at running back (Baylor, Iowa State ,Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, Texas and West Virginia), so they won't be included here. For the other three Big 12 teams, it's game on for the battle at running back.
This battle could be epic.
Damien Williams vs. Roy Finch vs. Brennan Clay. Williams was the team's leading rusher last year and despite many thinking that Finch was in the doghouse, head coach Bob Stoops says he wasn't.
In any case, Keith Ford has now been added to the mix, and while he will need some time to get the playbook down, I wouldn't be shocked to see him get some carries this season.
Pass the popcorn.
Joseph Randle defected to the NFL and now Mike Gundy needs to find another running back to fill those big shoes left behind.
Desmond Roland vs. Jeremy Smith vs. ?
Roland rushed for 301 yards backing up Randle, but he also missed some games. Smith also had limited carries and was observed limping in some games. So what we have here are two talented backs who haven't quite lived up to expectations but also were in reserve roles.
There's also a lot of young talent that could compete for a spot on the depth chart, so this battle is a little up in the air—head coach Mike Gundy has a knack for making stars out of unknowns, so this should be a very interesting spring camp.
On paper, Kenny Williams looks like the back who will get the starting spot at running back since he led the Red Raiders in rushing last season with 824 yards and five touchdowns, but I'm not so sure SaDale Foster won't challenge him this spring.
Foster racked up 451 yards and three touchdowns on limited carries, and he averaged five yards a carry—Williams averaged 5.8 yards per carry.
Still, because there is a new head coach (Kliff Kingsbury) in Lubbock, you would expect a lot of skill positions to be up for grabs during spring camp.
That's it for the running back position battles in the Big 12.
Next up: receivers.