Spring look around the Big 12

As the spring season nears, our Big 12 notebook addresses the big questions for each team.

Updated: February 27, 2006, 1:51 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | Special to ESPN.com

Is Texas ready for life after Vince Young? How will Colorado adjust to new coach Dan Hawkins? Who will replace Cory Ross as Nebraska's I-back? Can OU adjust to new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's philosophy? Our Big 12 notebook addresses those questions and much more.


• Spring practice starts March 6, spring game April 8.

• New offensive coordinator Lee Hays arrives with a tough decision, settling between Shawn Bell and Terrance Parks at quarterback. Hays formerly was the offensive coordinator at Division II West Texas A&M, where he directed the nation's most potent passing attack.


• Spring practice starts March 13, spring game April 15.

• Hawkins arrives from Boise State hoping to put his imprint on the team quickly. The Buffaloes have claimed four of the last five North Division titles, but former coach Gary Barnett lost his job when his team was outscored 117-12 in the final 10 quarters of the regular season.

• Hawkins' first big job will be to find a replacement for Joel Klatt at quarterback. James Cox should get the first opportunity to replace him, although Brian White looked strong in Colorado's bowl game.


• Spring practice starts March 22, spring game April 15.

• The Cyclones return most of their offensive weapons from a team that just missed winning the North Division last season. Coach Dan McCarney's most immediate concern will be finding several defensive playmakers. Top pass-rushing threat Jason Berryman, the defensive MVP of the 2005 Houston Bowl, was kicked off the team after being ticketed for being underage in an Ames, Iowa, bar. Before returning to the Cyclones last season, Berryman spent 258 days in Story County Jail after he was arrested for punching an Iowa State student and stealing a cellular phone and $4.


• Starts practice on March 11, spring game April 14.

• The Jayhawks' biggest spring chore will be to find defensive playmakers like DE Charlton Keith, LB Nick Reid and DB-KR Charles Gordon. But coach Mark Mangino got one piece of good news this winter when plans were announced for construction of a $31 million football facility. "This," Mangino told reporters at the announcement, "will be a place to develop the total football player."


• Spring practice starts March 27, spring game April 22.

• QB Allan Evridge returns as the top building block. But new coach Ron Prince's biggest spring chore will be to build cohesion on a young offensive line. He's already made inroads across the state, making an eight-city tour in a three-day swing that was unprecedented during the Bill Snyder coaching tenure.


• Spring practice starts March 9, spring game April 15.

• The Tigers will hope to build on the momentum from their dramatic Independence Bowl comeback victory over South Carolina. Mizzou overcame an early 21-0 deficit en route to a 38-31 triumph. Chase Daniel replaces Brad Smith at quarterback, but coach Gary Pinkel's biggest concern will be to find three new starters in the secondary, including both cornerbacks.


• Spring practice starts March 22, spring game April 15.

• Quarterback Zac Taylor is back and the Cornhuskers' confidence is brimming after their upset victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. The Cornhuskers must find a replacement for underrated Cory Ross at I-back. Heralded one-time RB recruit Myron Lucky needs to emerge as a contender there.


• Practice starts March 20, spring game April 8.

Adrian Peterson likely will have little spring work, giving QB Rhett Bomar a chance to attune with new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's philosophy. OU's most immediate chore will be finding replacements for four departing starters on the offensive line.


• Practice starts March 6, spring game April 15.

Bobby Reid will have a chance this spring to build confidence as coach Mike Gundy's starting quarterback. After last season's struggles, he certainly needs it.


• Practice starts Monday, spring game April 1.

• Coach Mack Brown is looking to build defensive toughness -- and find a quarterback to replace Vince Young. His job will be made a bit easier because for the first time in his Texas tenure, all of his assistant coaches return from last season. "A number of our guys were offered pro jobs this year and thank goodness none of them took them," Brown said. "I feel like, as a group, this is the best staff we've had and they worked so hard to put a great team together. It will be fun to see them work through this again this spring."


• Practice starts Friday, spring game April 8.

• A revamped coaching staff arrives looking to shore up a leaky pass defense. Coach Dennis Franchione still is looking for another defensive backs coach after Chris Thurmond and Melvin Smith left for other jobs after last season.


• Practice starts March 22, spring game April 15.

• Coach Mike Leach is bracing for a new situation as he looks for a new quarterback. For the first time since Kliff Kingsbury left school, Leach is poised to work with a starting quarterback for multiple seasons if heralded sophomore Graham Harrell can win the job. Tech has started three fifth-year seniors the last three seasons, with Cody Hodges, B.J. Symons and Sonny Cumbie each starting for a season.

Tim Griffin covers the Big 12 for the San Antonio Express-News.