Big 12 football: Dana Holgorsen said Kansas State might be best team in country

Only one more ranked team remains on the Wildcats' schedule — No. 15 Texas Tech. The teams play Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.
by Michael Baldwin Published: October 22, 2012
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photo - Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) avoids a tackle by West Virginia's Karl Joseph (8) after a pass from quarterback Collin Klein during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Christopher Jackson)   ORG XMIT: WVCJ101
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) avoids a tackle by West Virginia's Karl Joseph (8) after a pass from quarterback Collin Klein during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Christopher Jackson) ORG XMIT: WVCJ101

“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Holgorsen, a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. “Our depth is coming from a bunch of young kids, a bunch of freshmen. I was pretty familiar with the Big 12 and knew what we were getting ourselves into. But I think it's going to take a whole season for everyone around here to kind of understand it.”

A couple of weeks ago, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was labeled the leading Heisman contender. After a win in Austin, the Mountaineers were viewed as a Big 12 title contender.

Now West Virginia enters a bye week with a lot of questions.

“We've got to get their confidence back,” Holgorsen said. “The only way you can do that is talk to them and work on specific things in practice. We play in a good league. I think everybody understands that. We have to get back to work. There are no secret or magical words to get those guys back on track.”

BAYLOR DEFENSE LAST IN THE NATION

The year after Robert Griffin III won the Heisman, Baylor isn't a lock to secure six wins to become bowl eligible. But the offense has been fine. It's the defense that's been the issue. The Bears are ranked 120th, last in the country, in both total defense (553.2) and scoring defense (44.0).

Coach Art Briles endorsed defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, saying better days are ahead.

“We're certainly depleted a little bit depth-wise,” Briles said. “That's a concern. We have to get off the field on third downs. That's the most critical factor for us. It's been a thorn for us.”

Baylor also is last in the country, by a large margin, in third down defense (64 percent).

MACK BROWN TALKS “REBUILDING”

When Texas coach Mack Brown was asked about Charlie Weiss trying to rebuild Kansas' program, his initial response was intriguing before he said the Jayhawks are improved under Weiss.

“I'm kind of doing it, too,” Brown said. “We started over two years ago. I looked at it, and we're playing 34 freshmen over the last two years, 18 last year and 16 this year, which are two of the most in the country. It is difficult.”


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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