By Wendell Barnhouse | email@example.com
Big 12 teams that have started preseason workouts have been practicing for just over a week and already the injury bug is biting.
* Nebraska coach Bo Pelini announced that senior offensive lineman Mike Smith will miss the season after suffering a broken leg. There’s a chance that Smith could request a medical hardship redshirt and return next season. The 6-6, 285-pound Smith started all 14 games at left tackle last season.
* Texas senior right guard Tray Allen, who figured to be a starter for the first time in his career, aggravated the left foot injury he suffered during the spring. Allen, who has played in 31 games, is likely to miss the rest of preseason practice. Redshirt freshman Mason Walters could take over at right guard. The Longhorns don’t have much depth or experience on the offensive line.
* Missouri junior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson suffered a fractured bone in his left wrist Wednesday. His wrist has been placed in a cast and he could be out up to four weeks. That means he could miss the Tigers’ season opener against Illinois on Sept. 4. Jackson is Missouri’s top returning receiver. He caught 37 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns in 2009.
* Missouri sophomore linebacker Donovan Bonner, who was likely to be the backup at weakside linebacker, will miss the season after suffering a torn ACL. Also, the Tigers’ top two middle linebackers – Will Ebner (hamstring) and Luke Lambert (knee) – have missed practice time the last few days. And safety Jarrell Harrison will undergo surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. He might be recovered in time to play in the opener.
* Kansas sophomore linebacker Huldon Tharp will miss the season because a foot injury that bothered in during spring practice has failed to heal. Last season as a freshman, he started seven games and finished with 59 tackles.
* Texas Tech inside receiver Austin Zouzalik underwent an emergency appendectomy early Thursday. He’ll likely be out two to four weeks. A sophomore, Zouzalik, caught 35 passes for 469 yards and two touchdowns last season. Also, the Red Raiders lost senior defensive tackle Britton Barbee is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. He suffered the injury Sunday and had surgery Tuesday.
Worth the weight
Your Humble Correspondent is a work out warrior. No, really. The picture that accompanies YHC’s Big 12 Insider available on this web site? Sure, it’s a mug shot that indicates YHC could lose some “lbs” – but trust YHC, that picture has been digitally enhanced to add chubby cheeks.
The love of eating and the issue of waist lines leads YHC to point out the following three items regarding Big 12 football players.
There’s hungry and there’s hungry
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Sunday that sophomore wide receiver Tracy Moore has “looked good” so far but needs to “stay hungry.” Gundy was speaking of Moore’s need to practice hard day-in, day-out but there was irony in the comment.
Last season as a freshman, Moore looked more like a tight end or linebacker. He was 6-2 and weighed between 230 and 235. With ample opportunity to make plays in the Cowboys’ new four wide receiver offense, Moore changed his eating habits. He weighed 220 at the start of practice.
"Nobody made me lose weight. I just decided that I wanted to eat better," Moore told the Tulsa World. "I wanted to be in better condition. I dropped a lot of bad weight and tried to put some good weight in its place. I had to give up all of the good food - the fried foods. Anything fried. Now, it's grilled chicken. It's still a struggle, but if I step out of line, I step right back in.
"I just want to be a playmaker. Whatever I can do to help, I'll do it. I love (the offense). I wouldn't trade it for anything else."
‘Sticks’ wants a correction
Texas Tech Steven Sheffield is nicknamed “Sticks.” That’s because a stick figure portrait of the senior quarterback would be spot on. Sheffield is 6-4 and … well, let’s just say, slender.
On ESPN.com, Sheffield is listed as weighing 175 pounds. Sheffield has respectfully asked for a correction.
"I'm right around 200 (pounds)," Sheffield said after the Red Raiders' first practice. "Or right under 200. It kind of fluctuates, but that's a big difference from what I was playing at last season at 185 – or 180, some people had me 175. I was probably 175 but I didn't want to tell anybody that.
"If y'all can, tell ESPN to change their little thing, it says 175."
All you can eat
Eric Mensik is listed as Oklahoma’s starting right tackle on offense. Last season, he started one game at tight end – his natural position – and two at offensive tackle. Those two starts on the O line came because of the Sooners’ injury woes.
To make sure he has the ballast necessary to block defensive lineman, Mensik was on a see food diet – see it, eat it. Hamburgers, ice cream, candy – as long as he piled on the pounds, it was good.
“I also eat the good stuff like fruit,” he told the Oklahoman. “But I got to splurge a little because I had to gain the weight. If you had told me as a freshman I’d be playing on the O line I’d have said you’re crazy. I came in as a freshman at 231. I’m 290 now. I’ve gained 60 pounds.”
* We've all heard about the legend of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. Texas is featured on the magazine's regional cover for its college football preview. In 2008, Missouri was on the regional cover and finished 10-4. Oklahoma State graced the regional cover last season and finished 9-4.
* In its annual "College Football Pigskin Preview" edition, Playboy magazine has Ohio State ranked No. 1 and Texas No. 2. The magazine picks the Buckeyes to beat the Longhorns in the national championship game. Oklahoma is ranked No. 9 in the Playboy preseason rankings.
* Texas A&M defensive coaches are wearing out their voices during preseason practices. Defensive backs coach Charles McMillian and inside linebackers coach Dat Nguyen had raspy voices that were barely a whisper during Thursday's workouts."It's crazy," Nguyen told the Bryan-College Station Eagle. "I think all of the coaches have lost their voice. It's part of the deal. I don't think it's mean to yell. We're just out there trying to make sure they get our undivided attention."
* Oklahoma State's Bryant Ward was an All-Big 12 fullback last season but he's struggling to find a place to play this season. New offensive coordinator Dana Hologersen favors a four wide receiver, one back lineup that rarely uses a fullback. Ward could see most of his playing time in 2010 on special teams; his first three seasons, coaches have raved about his effort on special teams.
* After watching the first week of practice, Travon Patterson was cleared to start playing earlier this week. Patterson, a 5-9, 165-pound wide receiver, transferred from USC. He was held out of practice until all the details of the transfer were worked out.