COLLEGE FB NOTEBOOK: Big 12 offenses are thriving, defenses not so much Print
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Wednesday, 14 November 2007 13:41
NCAAF Headline News

 ST. LOUIS (AP) -Offense sells tickets, and the Big 12 Conference is no exception with four schools averaging better than 40 points.
Nebraska rang up 73 on Saturday against Kansas State, a week after the Huskers gave up a whopping 76 to Kansas. Texas and Texas Tech combined for 102 points and more than 1,000 yards of total offense on Saturday.
Too much?
Of course, Longhorns coach Mack Brown said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. But he noted that football pays the bill for entire athletic programs, and that the game depends on TV ratings and fan support. For that reason, he couldn't complain too much.
``We averaged 50 points in 2005 and that was just a phenomenal year, and now there's two or three teams averaging 50 points,'' Brown said. ``I would have to say for the game, it's a great thing.
``For defensive coaches, they're pulling their hair out.''
Most rules changes in recent seasons have been designed to produce more points. The kickoff has been moved back 5 yards to the 30 and offensive players are permitted to use their hands more, among other things.
``You're constantly adapting and changing,'' Oklahoma's Bob Stoops said. ``I think that happens all the time. You've just got to keep adapting defensively.''
That doesn't have to mean every game is up and down the field.
Oklahoma has held four opponents to 21 or fewer points. Missouri shackled Texas Tech, the nation's top offense, to 10 points, limited Colorado to 10 points in Boulder and held Nebraska to only six points.
M to 11 and Colorado to 14.
Not coincidentally, teams playing the best defense are among the best in the country. Oklahoma is ranked No. 3, Kansas is fourth and Missouri is sixth.
M coach Dennis Franchione, who has lost to each of them. ``There is not a great deal that separates them.''
Stoops said is shouldn't be necessary to score 30 points to win.
``Fortunately, we have been able to score a lot of points, but for the most part we haven't given up a ton of points,'' Stoops said. ``That's never been our mind-set that we're going to be in a shootout.
``Hopefully that never gets to be our mind-set.''
Texas Tech leads the nation in total offense with 549.5 yards per game, but the output is likely to be much lower this Saturday at Oklahoma.
``It's hard for everybody to move the ball on Oklahoma,'' coach Mike Leach said.
Kansas coach Mark Mangino said the key is putting pressure on the quarterback with a four-man rush. That allows the linebackers and secondary to concentrate on trying to stop the spread offenses that are in vogue.
``Because everybody is spreading it out you have to have tremendous speed, because the game is being played out in space quite a bit,'' Mangino said. ``You will see people make changes to adjust.
``The offense and defense are in a constant battle for that edge.''
Missouri has topped 30 points in 12 straight games dating to last season, with Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Daniel running the Tigers' version of the spread. Kansas State coach Ron Prince gushed about Missouri's offense, estimating he'd be trying to stop three future first-round draft picks in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman.
Being on opposite ends of blowouts gives Nebraska's Bill Callahan a unique perspective. On Nov. 3, the Huskers trailed Kansas 48-24 at halftime, and a week later they were handing out the whipping in their home finale against the Wildcats.
Callahan said ``in no way, shape or form'' should Prince be discouraged.
``I know what he's going through,'' Callahan said. ``There's no question in my mind that his team will bounce back. It's been a crazy, wacky season.''
 

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