6:25 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here's a short video that wraps up Day 1 of Big 12 Media Days.5 p.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
When you think of the best quarterbacks in college football for the upcoming season, who comes to mind?
A few names to consider: Jake Locker of Washington, Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Andrew Luck of Stanford, Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State, Kellen Moore of Boise State and Case Keenum of Houston.
Texas A&M senior Jerrod Johnson threw his name into the mix on Monday. And maybe did a little bit more than that.
"I feel that I am the best quarterback in the country," Johnson said. "I understand there are other players and I think that that comes with hard work and preparation. But I think that the best quarterback in the country at the end of the year will win the most games.
"I feel you should always feel that you are the best. That's what you're hanging your hat on. When you go to sleep at night, I feel you should feel you're the best at what you do."
Johnson led the Big 12 with 30 touchdown passes last year and ranked fourth in the country in total offense with 4,085 yards. With the talent the Aggies return to accompany Johnson on offense (namely receivers Jeff Fuller, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Ryan Tannehill), Johnson should have the chance at putting himself in this conversation.
There was a sense of believability on Johnson's claim. He was, by far, the most well-spoken player I heard at the first day of media days.
"You can't have success without confidence," Johnson said. "At the same time, you need to respect your opponent enough to understand that they work and put in effort as well. You should never go into a game thinking you're going to lose in anything. But at the same time, you respect what they do and their preparation, and that's what makes this game so great."
3 p.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
Iowa State senior defensive end Rashawn Parker said back in high school, he ran in track meets against a current member of the Kansas University secondary: senior cornerback Chris Harris. The two are both Oklahoma natives. Parker is from Ponca City, Okla., while Harris is from Bixby, Okla.
So who won?
"I'm pretty sure he got me," Parker said of Harris, laughing. "I was out there just for football for the conditioning. I'm pretty sure he got me in a foot race. He's a little lighter than me."
Indeed, just a bit. Harris weighs in at 190 pounds; Parker's 254.
"I talk to him occasionally after games when we've played each other. I know him on a personal level from back home. I talked to him the last time we were in Lawrence after the game. It's always friendly."
2:25 p.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
Baylor coach Art Briles spoke on the condition of starting quarterback Robert Griffin, who tore his ACL in week 3 of last season. Baylor finished the season 2-7 without Griffin.
"As far as where he's at physically right now, he was 217 pounds this morning," Briles said of the sophomore Griffin. "That's up about probably nine pounds from where he was a year ago at this time, which I like, which I'm all for. Everything he's done since his injury has been in a structured atmosphere. So in that structured atmosphere, he's really in great shape."
If Baylor wants to earn its first bowl berth since 1994, it will undoubtedly need a healthy Griffin.
I haven't seen the Bears picked any higher than fifth in the Big 12 South. With such a rigorous division, it may be tough for the Bears to make a move this season.
1:35 p.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
Nebraska senior defensive end Pierre Allen said he played the final two games of the season with a lingering turf toe injury. The injury came against Kansas on Nov. 13 in Lawrence.
With a full season of being healthy, Allen expects to have a better year in 2010.
"I'm going to have a lot more than five sacks this year," Allen said.
Allen, who led a defense that ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring D, said he and fellow D-lineman Jared Crick learned a lot from NFL Draft pick Ndamukong Suh, who went No. 2 overall to Detroit.
If you haven't checked out the Sports Science video on Suh, it's certainly worth a look. The athleticism of the 300-pounder is insane. Suh was running at 13.5 miles per hour only 1.3 seconds into a drill that records how fast Suh can get to a crash-test dummy for a sack.
And the hit he puts on the crash test dummy is flat-out silly. He obliterates the dummy with 3,200 pounds of force:
I would not want to be that dummy. That's freight train scary right there.
I asked Allen about the video and he was familiar with it.
"I just remember him killin' that dummy," Allen said. "He was running so fast, he killed it."
Was it surprising that the 3,200 pounds of force was the most the Sports Science guys have ever recorded?
"It wasn't surprising," Allen said. "We saw him killin' guys like that in practice when he wasn't supposed to. I think I remember him killin someone on a screen against Missouri."
Original post: 10 a.m.: By Eric Sorrentino
Irving, Texas — At this time last year, the Nebraska and Kansas University football teams were the two front-runners to win the Big 12 North division title.
The Cornhuskers relied on their Blackshirts defense to carry them all the way to the Big 12 Championship and a 10-4 record, while the Jayhawks sputtered into a treacherous tailspin and lost their last seven games en route to a 5-7 record.
This season, Nebraska is the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Big 12 North champions. NU was a unanimous pick in the preseason media poll.
The Huskers, led by coach Bo Pelini, will be the first team to speak at 1 p.m. today at Big 12 football media days in Irving, Texas. Pelini will be accompanied by wide receiver Niles Paul, defensive tackle Jared Crick and defense end Pierre Allen.
Baylor (1:45 p.m), Iowa State (2:30 p.m.) and Texas A&M (3:15 p.m.) will round out the first day of action.
So, should the Huskers be a no-brainer pick? Feel free to start the discussion in the comments section below. We'll get some of the players' and coaches' takes on the topic as well.
Nebraska has represented the North in the Big 12 Championship game five times in the 14-year history of the league. That's more than any other North school (Colorado has four trips, Kansas State three and Missouri two).
If not for Pelini's dedication to a defense that needed a bigger makeover than Lindsay Lohan, the Huskers would not be in position to win back-to-back division titles.
It wasn't too long ago that Nebraska couldn't stop anyone on defense. In 2007, under former coach Bill Callahan, Nebraska gave up 37.9 points per game, which ranked 114th out of 119 Div. 1 teams. It was dreadful. That was the year Kansas went all historic on Big Red and put a 76-spot on the board at Memorial Stadium. Colorado also scored 65 on NU that year.
Put simply, Nebraska doesn't let that happen anymore. In a turnaround of monumental proportions, Nebraska — just two years later under the direction of Pelini — ranked first in the country with only 10.43 points allowed per game last season.
Led by disruptive defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the most dominant player in college football last season, the Huskers held every team it faced to 20 points or fewer in 2009. In the modern era of Big 12 firepower, that's a rather amazing accomplishment.
Can Nebraska rely on its defense again in 2010 for another Big 12 Championship run? Stay tuned to hear from Huskers players and Pelini.
And as always, discuss.