Football News From Around The Big 12
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 08/27/2013
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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 24 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.

Oklahoma State Loses Lineman
Oklahoma State’s Devin Davis, a 6-5, 300-pound sophomore, suffered a torn ACL in his knee and is expected to miss the season. He was projected to be the Cowboys’ starting left tackle.

The 13th-ranked Cowboys, who open the season Saturday against Mississippi State at Reliant Stadium in Houston, will be shuffling their offensive line for the second consecutive season. Last year before preseason practice Oklahoma State dismissed Michael Bowie, who like Davis was projected to start at left tackle.

Senior Parker Graham, a versatile member of the offensive line, is expected to replace Davis. Graham started 11 games at left tackle last season but had moved to guard as Davis developed.

Oklahoma State assistant coach Joe Wickline, who is considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the country, makes sure his players are trained to play multiple positions. He also downplays the importance of losing a starter at what is considered a crucial position.

“The thing I think about (is) after you get your center, get your best combination of your five on the field,” Wickline told the Oklahoman. “Because if you get your best left tackle, and he can’t communicate to your guard what the entire scheme is, you’re going to break down before it’s over with. So we’ll to get our best five on the field.”

Top Rusher Will Sit
Interesting news out of West Virginia Tuesday as junior Anthony Buie, last year’s leading rusher, announced he would sit out this season as a redshirt. In 2012, Buie gained 851 yards rushing, including a 207-yard effort against Texas.

When the Mountaineers’ depth chart for Saturday’s season opener with William & Mary was released Sunday, four running backs were listed and Buie wasn’t one of them. Charles Sims, a senior who transferred from Houston, is listed as the starter. Freshman Wendell Smallwood, junior Dreamius Smith and junior Dustin Garrison were listed as the backups.

“He’s got to develop mentally and physically,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday. “We’re going to leave it at that. He’s not going to play this year. I fully expect him to be ready in the spring. He had to make some decisions. Did we force him to redshirt? No. He just felt like it was in the best interest for him and in the best interest for the program to save his year.”

Intrigue And/Or Mind Games?
One of the top games of the opening weekend in college football pits No. 20 TCU against No. 12 LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In addition to the on-field competition, there’s some mystery.

Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said he’ll not name a starting quarterback prior to the game. He said Tuesday that “even his wife” doesn’t know if senior Casey Pachall or sophomore Trevone Boykin will take the first snap. However, Patterson has made it clear that both quarterbacks will probably play against the Tigers.

Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields, last year’s Big 12 freshman defensive player of the year, was suspended by Patterson over the summer for a violation of team rules. Patterson said Monday Fields would be on the field in uniform. On the team’s depth chart, there is an “or” separating starter Matt Anderson and Fields.

So, does that mean Fields could play?

"You’ll find out at game time," said Patterson, who added that Fields is listed on the depth chart to confuse LSU. "If you’re a betting man, and you know me, you probably know which way to bet."

Meanwhile, LSU running back Jeremy Hill’s status and availability is also muddled. Tigers coach Les Miles said that a vote by the players cleared Hill to play in the opener.  Hill pleaded guilty to simple battery from an April bar fight, which violated his probation from a previous guilty plea of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

"Jeremy Hill is going to sustain discipline," Miles said. "We said earlier that we would be withholding, that he would be withheld from play. That's going to take place. Our discipline will be internal at this point, and I don't think we have much further to say."

Hill was the Tigers' leading rusher last season with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Waters Wins K-State Job
Question Bill Snyder at your own peril. His Kansas State teams have come from the depth pre-season prognostications to finish at or near the top of the standings. So when he makes a choice regarding his starting quarterback, it’s typically the correct one.

One of several schools with the quarterback position in question this season, the Wildcats will start 2013 with Jake Waters as the starter. He won the job in a close battle with sophomore Daniel Sams, who was hampered in the competition when he missed some practices recently.

“Jake just displayed more consistency in all the areas we talked about - managing the offense, being able to provide the kind of leadership we want as well as the actual physical aspect of it,” Snyder said. “He invested himself and he truly worked at it extremely hard and did above and beyond what he was asked for. He invested a lot of his time and showed a degree of consistency that helped him and helped us.”

Waters was the top-ranked quarterback recruit coming out of junior college after leading Iowa Western to a national title. He was the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year throwing for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Waters set a junior college record with a 73.3 completion percentage.

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