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Football News & Notes From Around The Big 12
September 17, 2013
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Four Big 12 teams are playing “Bye” this Saturday. That means that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Iowa State have the week off.

While most of us treat a week off as vacation, that’s hardly the case.

"This is not an off week for us. This is a work week,” said Oklahoma defensive back Zach Sanchez.

The Sooners will next take the field at Notre Dame on Sept. 28. The Cowboys will also be on the road for their next game; they’ll open Big 12 play against West Virginia. The Cyclones don’t play this Saturday and their next game is Thursday night game at Tulsa on Sept. 26. The Horned Frogs are at home on Sept. 28 against SMU.

“We need to tweak some things, change some things around,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose team lost at Texas Tech last week. “But we got to get some guys in position where we have people open that will catch the ball. The other night we could have run the ball a little bit more effectively.”

As OU’s Sanchez hinted, the “off” week provides a chance to make adjustments. Iowa State, for instance, wants to get its running game in gear. The Cyclones are 0-2 and the offensive line has been a patch work affair thanks to injuries to center Tom Farniok and his backup Jamison Lalk. Farniok is expected to return to the starting lineup against Tulsa.

“We need to sustain and finish blocks,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “We need to provide our quarterback longer pass protection.”

Oklahoma State, the preseason favorite to win the Big 12, has started 3-0. The chance for a week of rest and recuperation without playing a game in order to prepare for Conference play is welcomed by the Cowboys.

"I think a bye week is needed for the team," quarterback J.W. Walsh said. "We'll definitely enjoy it and get our guys that are bumped up a rest so they can come back and be ready to play."

Short Yardage
* A total of 21 quarterbacks have seen action for Big 12 teams through the first three weeks of the season. Iowa State is the lone team in which one quarterback (Sam B. Richardson) has taken every snap.

* Ryan Erxleben was going into his senior season as a three-year starter as Texas Tech’s punter. Two games into the season, after averaging 44.6 yards per punt, the coaching staff replaced Erxleben with sophomore Taylor Symmank. “He has been stellar through camp and through the first couple of weeks,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. “We thought it was just that time to make that change and let him go at it.” Symmank averaged 48 yards on six punts against TCU.

* Texas quarterback David Ash, who missed last Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss, is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game with Kansas State. Ash suffered a concussion against BYU on Sept. 7. Longhorns tailback/wide receiver Daje Johnson will miss his second consecutive game due to a sprained ankle. Wide receiver Mike Davis (ankle), right guard Mason Walters (knee) and right tackle Josh Cochran (knee) are questionable.

* Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin returned to practice Monday. He missed last Saturday’s Tulsa game after suffering a broken tooth and a possible concussion in the previous game against West Virginia.

* Texas Tech’s Sadale Foster suffered a strained calf in last Thursday’s victory over TCU. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said they “aren’t sure whether he’ll be back this week or not.” The Red Raiders play host to Texas State Saturday.

* TCU has committed 27 penalties, tied for 10th-most in the nation. The penalty yardage totals 220 yards, an average of 73.3 yards per game.

* Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oregon are the only four Associated Press Top 25 teams that have a game with 600-plus yards of total offense and no turnovers against an FBS opponent this season.

Coach Speak
TCU coach Gary Patterson on his team’s 1-2 start:
“When it’s not going the way you want it to there’s always a lot of people who have a lot of opinions of how it needs to get changed. It’s good. When I came here 16 years ago whether it was good or it was bad no one cared. Now, everybody cares. It’s my job to get it right and that’s what we’re working on.”

Texas coach Mack Brown on the fans booing him Saturday during a PSA on the stadium jumbotron:
“They don’t have to like me. I’m not very happy with me either right now. I might boo me right now…. Be mad at me, but don’t let it hurt the energy you bring to the team.”

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt:
"We don't care what the history has been here, defensively. We want to set the tone for not only this year but for the future of this program."

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