College football essentially has two preseasons: spring practice and August camp and both can be huge indicators of what we'll see on the field come the fall. Postion battles rage. Injuries occur. Incoming freshmen burst onto the scene. It's an important time to be paying attention, especially if you're a savvy college fantasy football owner.
Here are some key college fantasy football questions to ponder as the Big 12 opens spring practice.
How will Baylor replace running back Jay Finley and his 1,200-plus yards from last fall? The powerful Terrance Ganaway and shifty Jarred Salubi both will get a shot at the gig.
The Cyclones will be looking to replace long-time quarterback starter Austen Arnaud. Jerome Tiller, who earned meaningful playing time when Arnaud was injured, would seem to have a leg up on the competition. But don’t count out JUCO transfer Steele Jantz.
The Jayhawks never really found a replacement for Todd Reesing at quarterback. Could highly-touted incoming freshman Brock Berglund be the answer? He’s enrolled early to compete with Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham.
Who will fill the void that Daniel Thomas left in Manhattan? We know that K-State likes to run the ball often and if one guy steps up, he could be a fantasy factor in 2011. Will it finally be the time to shine for former Tennessee uber-recruit, Bryce Brown?
Who will replace Blaine Gabbert and captain a potent Missouri offense? The early leader looks to be James Franklin, but he could be pushed hard by Tyler Gabbert this spring. The rushing ability of Franklin may give him the edge in the battle.
The Sooners will be adapting to life without Demarco Murray, who seemed to be in the OU backfield for the past eight or nine years. They have a rich stable of talented youngsters ready to take over, but who will it be: Roy Finch, Brennan Clay, Jermie Calhoun or incoming freshman Brandon Williams, who enrolled early? Another name to file away is Iowa transfer Brandon Wegher.
How will the departure of offensive guru Dana Holgorsen affect the Pokes production this season? They are said to keep the same offensive philosophy, but that can be easier said than done. New offensive coordinator Todd Monker, former wide receivers coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a curious hire.
Will Malcolm Brown become the work-horse running back the Longhorns have been searching for since Jamaal Charles left town? He has all the makings of a bruising 25 carry per game type of back and if he can pick up the blocking schemes, the sky could be the limit for this kid. Then again, it might not matter how well he picks up the blocking schemes if the offensive line doesn’t actually block for him. The ‘Horns o-line has been dreadful of late.
How will Christine Michael look coming back from injury and how much will that affect that value of Cyrus Gray? Michael looked to be the man before breaking his leg and watching Gray run wild in the second half of 2010.
Who will win the Texas Tech quarterback competition? While the Red Raiders don’t produce the video game type numbers they once did, they are still very productive and are fantasy viable. It looks to be a four-man race between Seth Doege, Jacob Karam, Michael Brewer and Scotty Young.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, the premier resource for all things college fantasy football.