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Kellis Robinett’s Big 12 Report

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Sep. 9, 2013, at 4:05 p.m.

It was more than a loss.

The Texas football team’s humiliating 40-21 defeat Saturday at BYU, in which it allowed an astronomical 550 rushing yards, felt more like an earthquake. The aftershock could still be felt Monday.

That’s when Longhorns coach Mack Brown tried to explain why he dismissed defensive coordinator Manny Diaz two games into the season and replaced him with the much-traveled Greg Robinson. The heat is on Brown in Austin. Texas has been in decline since it reached the BCS championship game in 2009, and Brown has done little to indicate the program is on its way back to elite status. Some have labeled this as a make-or-break season for him. Losing badly at BYU didn’t help that stigma.

So, after watching replays of the game, he hit the largest, red panic button he could find — even though he claims it was a methodical choice.

“It’s not a panic move, because we are early in the season and Greg Robinson has been here,” Brown said. “He has been on our staff. We knew that there was improvement after mid-season last year and that improvement needed to continue and it didn’t. We’ve got better players than we’ve got production right now.”

That much is true. Texas brings in top-notch recruits every year. It should never allow an opposing quarterback — even an underrated one like BYU’s Taysom Hill — to run for 259 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.

But will replacing Diaz, especially with Robinson, be enough to save the season? No matter who the defensive coordinator is, Brown is the one who signs off on the game plan. He complained Monday that the Longhorns were slow to adjust out of a defensive-back heavy lineup against BYU’s running attack under Diaz. Isn’t it Brown’s job to force the defense to change if he doesn’t like the results?

Diaz hadn’t gone rogue. Brown deserves blame, too.

“I just felt like we needed to make a change,” Brown said. Why? “I think that is obvious.”

Maybe Robinson will do better. He has worked for Brown in the past, and had success as defensive coordinator in 2004 when the team went 11-1. But he has also failed miserably as a head coach at Syracuse and a defensive coordinator at Michigan in recent years. He has been working for Texas as an analyst since the summer.

“He is obviously in tune with our personnel and has watched our practices since the fall,” Brown said of Robinson. “He has gone back and studied a lot of the things we did last year with a lot of our games and he has some game plan thoughts on the upcoming opponents. So Greg is a natural fit to step in.”

He needs to be up for the challenge. Texas takes on No. 25 Mississippi on Saturday and Kansas State in two weeks. Another loss would feel like a crippling blow.

Winning helps coaching

For Kansas’ Charlie Weis, the most exciting thing about beating South Dakota was the conversations with players that followed.

“There are so many things you can criticize after a win that are so much easier to do than after a loss,” Weis said.

We will see what kind of impact that has moving forward. Kansas lost its final 11 games last season. It faces Rice on Saturday.

Two-quarterback system

K-State coach Bill Snyder wants to make two things clear about the two-quarteraback system he used against Louisiana-Lafayette.

1. Jake Waters is the team’s starting quarterback.

2. Daniel Sams will continue to replace him whenever the situation warrants.

“The bottom line is that you have two fine players and they are very confident in the things that they do,” Snyder said. “When one of them is out on the field there are some things you are missing out of your offense. Both of them performed well enough to be our quarterback.”

Waters threw for 278 yards against the Ragin’ Cajuns, but has four interceptions in two games. Sams rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown last weekend, but has only completed one pass.

Quote of the week

“I could play for a lollipop and be extremely excited.”

— Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on playing for a trophy against Iowa.

Weekly awards

Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma safety Gabe Lynn and Kansas State receiver Tramaine Thompson took home the Big 12’s weekly awards on Monday. Walsh competed a school-record 24 passes on 27 attempts, Lynn had an interception and a fumble against West Virginia and Thompson returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Game times announced

Kansas will take on Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21. The game will be televised by Fox Sports 1. Kansas State will face Texas that same day at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Who’s hot

Baylor’s offense: Lache Seastrunk notched his sixth straight 100-yard game and Bryce Petty threw for 338 yards. Oh, and Baylor scored 60-plus points for the second straight game.

Tramaine Thompson: K-State senior came within one yard of returning a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game.

Justin McCay: Two catches for 12 yards isn’t much, but he also caught a touchdown pass, becoming the first Kansas receiver to do so in 17 games.

Oklahoma’s defense: Sooners came up with five turnovers against West Virginia

Brennan Clay: Oklahoma running back had 170 yards against West Virginia.

Who’s not

Casey Pachall: Two games into his fresh start for TCU and he is already injured.

Texas defense: Longhorns couldn’t stop anything against BYU, and now they have a new defensive coordinator.

Mack Brown: He can blame Diaz all he wants, but the head coach has final say on the game plan.

Jake Heaps: Only 110 passing yards in his KU debut. Not a good sign considering defenses will only get tougher from here.

West Virginia’s ball-handling: Without three fumbles, it might have beaten Oklahoma.

Ranking this week’s games

Set the DVR: TCU at Texas Tech (Thursday), Mississippi at Texas.

If you get the channel: Kansas at Rice, Iowa at Iowa State, Tulsa at Oklahoma.

Why bother? Massachusetts at Kansas State, Georgia State at West Virginia, Lamar at Oklahoma State.

Big 12 power rankings

1. Oklahoma State (2-0): Only team that has won both its games away from home.

2. Baylor (2-0): Offense. Offense. Offense. The Bears are explosive.

3. Oklahoma (2-0): Defense looks good. Can Blake Bell get the offense going?

4. Texas Tech (2-0): Red Raiders haven’t faced the toughest of opponents, but two wins is two wins.

5. TCU (1-1): Got the bounce-back win it needed, but lost quarterback Casey Pachall.

6. Kansas State (1-1): Two-quarterback system worked well in first win.

7. Texas (1-1): The Longhorns are in turmoil. A loss to Mississippi could start a tailspin.

8. Kansas (1-0): Jayhawks are coming off their first win in a year.

9. West Virginia (1-1): Played OU tougher than most expected.

10. Iowa State (0-1): How will Cyclones respond after losing to Northern Iowa?

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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