The Ties that Bind
West Virginia jumps into the Big 12 Saturday at home against Baylor. And the two teams may be looking at mirror images of themselves.
Both West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and Baylor coach Art Briles served on the same Texas Tech coaching staff under Mike Leach from 2000-02. Briles coached the running backs. Holgorsen handled the wide receivers.
Both are great offensive minds. Baylor is third in the Big 12 in total offense (568.7), while West Virginia is fourth (529.0). Baylor's averaging 51 points per game. West Virginia 47.
And it's fair to say Holgorsen is going through this year with his quarterback Geno Smith -- 96-118-0 1,072 12 TD, 67 rushing yards, 1,139 total offensive yards -- what Briles went through last year with Robert Griffin III. Each quarterback is a dual threat to make plays. Smith is a Heisman Trophy candidate. RG3 won it last year.
"I see a lot of comparisons with Geno and Robert in terms of production, and that's the bottom line," Briles said. "Geno has been phenomenal. He's really been playing strongly the last couple of years, and is the reason they are where they're at. He's a great leader, a great football player and is in control of what happens on the football field without question."
As much buildup as there has been for Smith, the expectations may be reaching unrealistic proportions. Against rival Maryland last week, Smith was 30-for-43 with no interceptions, three touchdowns and 338 yards. But the Mountaineers' running game really struggled averaging about one yard per attempt.
"People want to say he wasn't very good but I think he did great,'' Holgorsen said. "There was some pressure because we couldn't establish the run. He still handled it. He's physically gotten better. He's quicker. From a coaching standpoint, he's doing a better job of understanding where the ball goes.''
Sound familiar, Baylor nation?
If turnovers aren't a problem in this game, both offenses should make this entertaining. It could be the last team with the ball wins.
"Baylor has a great offense, and if you think you're going to shut them down you're nuts," Holgorsen said. "Obviously, Baylor poses problems because their guys have been in Briles' system four or five years and they're experienced."
After going silent for about the last three months, Livingston's Chevoski Collins now can't stop talking with the media.
Collins told our Oklahoma Rivals colleagues on Wednesday that his top three were Oklahoma, Texas and TCU with Baylor and Oklahoma State in the second group.
A day later, our Jason Howell confirmed a report that Collins is scheduled to announce his commitment decision on Oct. 8.
However, Collins told Howell that his finalists are now Oklahoma, Texas, OSU, and Baylor. So no TCU now? But Baylor was not a finalist in the previous 24 hours?
Obviously, this is a developing story because Collins provides a great challenge as to where he can best serve a team. Some see him at wide receiver. Others see him as a defensive back.
Collins is scheduled to visit Texas Oct. 6 for the Longhorns' game against West Virginia. The only drawback for Baylor is that Collins has not visited the campus and won't see the Bears play in person. The Bears have been out of town for the last two weeks and don't play the following weekend. Their next home game is Oct. 13 against TCU.
It may not be until December before the Baylor coaching staff really knows where it's going with offensive line prospects.
Momentum with Katy Seven Lakes prospect Caleb Benenoch appeared to stall following his visit to Waco over the Labor Day weekend.
Benenoch visited Oklahoma last week and is scheduled to visit UCLA in December. The Bruins offered him in early September.
The Bears' coaching staff continues to evaluate Hurst L.D. Bell's Jesse Robinson and was in contact last week. But it's clear that the staff wants to wait what happens with Benenoch and Trinity Valley's Josiah St. John before it makes a move on Robinson.
Robinson has not been offered by the Bears.
Houston Lamar defensive back John Bonney continues to talk with Baylor coaches and has a good dialogue going.
But there's still a little time before the 2014 prospect does anything and really before the Bears do anything. The 6-1, 180-pound has split his time in the secondary. In fact, teams may want to look at him more at cornerback. Bonney said he has played 60 percent cornerback and 40 percent safety.
He is a ball hog collecting an interception in each of his first three games.
"It's been a great start,'' Bonney said. "I'm having fun but just have to work to continue to get better.''
Big 12 Weekend
Here is a look at the upcoming Big 12 games for this coming weekend along with their TV listings. All times are central.
No. 24/25 Baylor (3-0) at No. 9/7 West Virginia (3-0)
11:00 a.m. Saturday, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W VA (FX)
The Skinny: The Mountaineers make their arrival to the Big 12 complete when they take on the Bears. There will be a crazy atmosphere. Baylor quarterback Nick Florence leads the conference in total offensive yards. West Virginia's rushing attack hasn't been very impressive. The Bears could make a game of this if they make Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith one-dimensional.
Texas Tech (3-0) at Iowa State (3-0)
6:00 p.m. Saturday, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA (FOX College Sports)
The Skinny: Pretty important game for each team because the winner has a good jump on qualifying for a bowl. The great matchup is how Texas Tech's running game, led by Eric Stephens Jr., will fare against Iowa State's defense led by maybe the best linebacker corps in the conference. ISU quarter Steele Jantz need to make plays.
No. 14/15 TCU (3-0) at SMU (1-2)
6:00 p.m. Saturday, Gerald J. Ford Stadium, University Park, Texas (FOX Sports Net)
The Skinny: SMU pulled off the shocker last year in Fort Worth, 40-33, in overtime. The Horned Frogs want payback. The question in this game becomes how much can TCU establish a running game? It couldn't against Virginia. However, it should against the Mustangs. While it pitched a shutout and forced 10 turnovers, SMU is 120th in the nation in total defense. Rain is in the forecast.
No 10/12 Texas (3-0) at No. 22 Oklahoma State (2-1)
6:30 p.m. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK (FOX)
Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma have the week off
Emptying the Notebook
I talked with Kinate' Griffin who confirmed he is grey shirting this fall and expects to be on the Baylor campus for the 2013 spring semester.
"I did summer school and raised my GPA,'' Griffin said. "Got my test scores too. Now, I'm waiting to leave [for Baylor] in January.''
Griffin is not taking any junior college classes. Technically, Griffin doesn't count against Baylor's 2012 signing class because he didn't enroll. He would count against the 2013 class. Should Brian Nance qualify and get into Baylor, he would also count against the 2013 class.
With 19 commitments, the potential of adding those two raises the total to 21. It's been thought Baylor would sign about 22. Of course, there are some things with the roster that could take place over the next several months to make that figure change.
Keep in mind Baylor did not renew the scholarships of seven players earlier this summer.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial