Big 12 ... cattle country ... the plains ... cowboys ... boots ... If this were the Pac-10 we'd be talking about filling sandals. I'm a shoe man, personally. Anyway. Some Big 12 figures are going to be difficult to replace, although it's not as bad as you think (similar to last year). Let's review.
|TOM OSBORNE, NEBRASKA|
|Nebraska didn't simply terminate Bill Callahan last year, they terminated the heir to Osborne's throne. Bo Pelini isn't replacing Callahan, no sir. He's replacing his boss Tom Osborne in attempting to transition Nebraska football back to another dominant era. No pressure or anything.|
So far Osborne's replacements are 0 for 2, but the program thinks it has found its man in former assistant and last year's defensive coordinator at LSU, Bo Pelini. Pelini doesn't possess Osborne's steely but quiet command of his team, but no coach nowadays could. He's a spirited barker demanding tremendous effort and sacrifice. He's tasked with picking up the pieces of mistrust that led to last year's collapse and the worst defensive performance in the program's deep history.
|JAMAAL CHARLES, TB, TEXAS|
|The tailback position at Texas is developing quite a legacy. Charles' was perhaps the most inconsistent, but he seemed to explode towards the end of last year just in time to graduate to the NFL. Before him came Selvin Young, Cedric Benson and before them Ricky Williams and Earl Campbell. Expectations are reasonably high.|
His replacement appears to be a combo back in 205 pound sophomore Vondrell McGee. McGee is a jack of all trades, with decent quicks, power and speed. He'll be pushed most likely by all name team member Foswhitt Whittaker. Whittaker is more like Charles -- small, elusive and explosive.
|TONY TEMPLE, TB, MISSOURI|
|Temple leaves Missouri with a pair of 1,000 yard seasons and no clear replacement. He wasn't the most powerful runner around, but made a nice fit in Missouri's spread attack with his agility and ability to make plays in the open field.|
Superfrosh Jeremy Maclin helped fill in for some of Temple's carries last year, but now that Temple is gone they're going to have to dig deeper to establish a consistent run presence. The leading options are Derrick Washington and Jimmy Jackson. Both are over 200 pounds, but combined for just over 100 carries last year. Missouri has championship expectations this year, and while their offense won't collapse without solid back play, it wouldn't hurt to find a steady replacement for Temple either.