There's not much more Tyler Lockett can accomplish at Kansas State.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lockett
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKansas State receiver Tyler Lockett is determined not to coast during his senior campaign.
The Big 12's most versatile receiver has won a Big 12 title, earned all-conference honors at receiver and returner and held his own against future NFL cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Justin Gilbert.

Lockett heads into his senior season with 143 receptions for 2,195 yards and 18 touchdowns along with a 31.1-yard kick return average and four kick returns for touchdowns during his first three seasons. But he's thinking more about what he can do in the future than what he has done in the past while wearing a Kansas State Wildcats uniform.

"If you feel like you've arrived, feel you're that guy, you have to have a reality check," Lockett said. "How did I get here? I got here by my faith, I got here by my hard work, so stay true to those things, don't lose sight of the stuff that was there as you were making your way up, like family, when family has been there the whole time."

Even though it's unlikely he would have been a Day 1 selection, he could have considered making the jump to the NFL after his junior season. Yet the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native didn't think twice about returning to K-State.

"I felt like God still had more [at Kansas State] for me," Lockett said. "I wanted to graduate, I want to beat my dad's record, I have the chance to pass everything I know to the other receivers and be able to work on certain things to get ready for the next step."

Kevin Lockett sits atop K-State's record book in career receptions, receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns with 217 receptions for 3,032 yards and 26 scores while playing for Bill Snyder in the mid-1990s. Heading into the 2014 season, Tyler needs 74 receptions for 837 receiving yards and eight touchdowns to pass his father in those categories.

Even though he's already secured a reputation as one of college football's top receivers, Lockett talks of his continued hunger to excel this fall regardless of the opponent. He understands opponents will be looking to make a name for themselves against him, much like he did against more well-known names during his first few seasons.

"I look forward to every game," he said. "Because if you sleep on a team, that could be the one person that destroys your confidence. Every game means a lot to me because if I don't show up, I'm going to get embarrassed."

Lockett hasn't been embarrassed often during his Wildcats career. In fact it's been opponents who wished their friends and family hadn't been watching when facing Lockett. As a junior, he destroyed Texas with 13 receptions for 237 yards and did the same to Oklahoma with 12 receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns. The 2013 campaign was his breakout season at receiver, with 81 receptions for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing KSU's game against Baylor and the majority of the Wildcats' loss to Oklahoma State.

But according to Lockett, he's accomplished nothing.

"I look at this year and I haven't done anything yet," Lockett said. "Everything hasn't all clicked [at one time], one year it's receiver, one year it's special teams, let's put it all together. Let's do something nobody expects to happen."
ESPN.com has taken on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

The first 40 players have already been released. Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 60-41.

Here are the Big 12 players that made the third installment:

No. 42: TCU DE Devonte Fields

No. 49: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

No. 52: Oklahoma LB Eric Striker

Striker and Lockett are two of the most explosive players in the Big 12.

Lockett was virtually unstoppable at times last season, hauling in 237 receiving yards against Texas and 278 against Oklahoma. He also capped off a tremendous season with three touchdown receptions in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan. With Jake Waters settled in at quarterback, Lockett could put up even bigger numbers in 2014, which is a scary thought for Big 12 defenses.

Speaking of scary, Striker figures to be one of the most feared pass rushers in the country after a breakout sophomore campaign. He sacked Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron three times in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and forced the game-clinching fumble late in the game.

It would have been a crime had Lockett or Striker been left off the top 100.

It will be interesting to see if Fields sees the field at all this season. The voting for the top 100 players was done before Fields was arrested on allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. TCU has since “separated” from Fields, pending the outcome of the case. For that reason, we actually didn’t include Fields in our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players.

By the way, this national list, which was compiled by the entire ESPN.com college football team, won’t necessarily line up with our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players, which was compiled exclusively by Brandon Chatmon, Max Olson, and myself.

Make sure to track the top 100 rankings the remainder of the week, as there will be Big 12 players in the final two parts, as well.

Coming Thursday: Nos. 40-21.

Big 12 lunchtime links

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
12:00
PM ET
Poor Pauley Pavilion...
  • Witness intimidation charges against West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood have been dropped. Smallwood is expected to be on the field with the Mountaineers when they open fall camp.
  • Thanks to the recent graduation of a player from the 1990s, Oklahoma State's APR penalty has been lifted. The Cowboys will have the full 20 weekly hours of practice time.
  • Oklahoma State added future games with Tulsa, reports the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten.
  • Oklahoma State is experiencing an all-time five-year win total, according to Kyle Porter of pistolsfiringblog.com.
  • The fate of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is in the hands of the district attorney and coach Bob Stoops, writes The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel.
  • Norman police released the 911 call in the Mixon investigation.
  • A court date has been set for two former Longhorns charged with felony sexual assault.
  • Could more Texas players face possible suspension?
  • Jonathan Truman is a tried and true veteran anchoring the Kansas State defense, writes the Topeka Capital-Journal's Ken Corbitt.
  • The Lawrence Journal-World's Tom Keegan lays odds on who will lead the Jayhawks in rushing.
  • Eastern Washington will play at Texas Tech in 2017.

Q&A: Texas CB Quandre Diggs

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:30
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DALLAS -- When Quandre Diggs says, "Ya’ll know I’m always going to keep it 100 with you," the Texas senior cornerback is not joking. Not even a little bit.

Diggs has been known to use his Twitter account as a beacon for his hot sports takes, so we spent extra time with him last Tuesday at Big 12 media days and gave him a chance to sound off on whatever he wanted. He was happy to oblige.

[+] EnlargeQuandre Diggs
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesTexas cornerback Quandre Diggs has no problem sharing his opinion on a variety of subjects.
On his summer: "Summer was great. I worked out. Busted my tail. I went to Angleton (Texas) a couple times. Went to San Diego once. My brother (Quentin Jammer) tried to kill me out there working out with him. That was tough. I didn’t know the old man still had it in him like he does."

On LeBron James returning to Cleveland: "Ah, man. See, this is the type of question I like, something off the topic of football. I think it was best for him to leave Miami, you know? If D-Wade was going to get an extension, I’d say if D-Wade is worth $7 million, I’m worth $2.5 (million) in basketball terms. D-Wade, his knees gone. When your knees gone and you’re a basketball player, it’s hard to succeed in that league.

"On the real, no, I think it was a great move for LeBron. He earned a lot of people’s respect by going back to Cleveland. As a man, you can tell what type of man LeBron really is. He loves the city of Cleveland, he loves being back at his home. Much respect to him. I’m glad he went back. He has a great young team down there and if those guys can pull off that Kevin Love trade ..."

On a Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade: "I’d give up Andrew Wiggins. He’d be gone. Kevin Love gets 26 and 12! That’s way better than what Bosh was doing in Miami."

On being a Heat fan or a LeBron fan: "I’m a LeBron guy! I wasn’t really just a Miami guy. LeBron could’ve gone to the Charlotte Bobcats, I’m going to get me some Bobcat hats or something."

On the NFL's best cornerback: "There's been a lot of talk about that. I love Richard Sherman. Best corner in the NFL is Joe Haden. He does it all. He lines up in the slot, lines up outside, plays man, plays zone. He does it all. If it was second, I would have to go Sherman. Just how I feel. I'd say Darrelle Revis is three. Revis is a beast. No matter where he plays, he's a beast."

On the record paydays NFL corners got this offseason: "Ooh, that made my eyes get big. Five more years! Five more years and ching-ching."

On LSU and other schools claiming they’re “DBU”: "Well yeah, you know, you’ve got the fake DBUs. There’s one real DBU and this tradition is going to continue to go on as long as we’re at Texas. We have (schools) that might’ve just started getting first-round draft picks as DBs. But we’ve had that since, what, the 80s? 70s? I go back in that DB room and look at the wall and I’ve got guys from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, they all made money."

On Texas linebacker Steve Edmond dissing Baylor in May: "Hey man, Steve is going to say what he’s going to say. It don’t matter. Coach [Charlie] Strong can tell him not to say something, but Steve is country. That’s just how it is. When you’re raised in the country, you don’t really care. You don’t care about hurting people’s feelings."

On whether Diggs is OK with that trash talk: "I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t see what’s the problem with it. I’m just going to let that one go. I don’t want to get in trouble. Coach Strong wants us to speak our minds. He speaks his mind. He wants us to be real. I’m not going to elaborate on that situation. ... I’m not bowing down to any man. Any man, any team, I’m not bowing down to anybody. I’m an alpha male and I want to be in charge."

On Texas’ second-best trash talker: "Well, nobody can go blow-for-blow with me, but if I’m going to say one guy that can talk trash: Peter Jinkens. He’s going to say what he wants when he wants. That’s just Pete. He told me to say something stupid for y’all, but I’ll leave that to him when he talks to the media. I hope they don’t let him talk. He hit me up today on Twitter when he saw the pictures and said, ‘Q would be the only one with some Jordans on.’ That’s just me. I’m going to be me. I like to dress up, but I’m not going to dress up in church shoes with pants."

On the cancellation of the “NCAA Football 15” video game: "I was kind of mad. I wanted to see what my rating would be this year. I’d be about 96, something like that. I wish we would’ve had that game. But hey, that’s above my head. I just want to be the best player I can be."
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With the Big 12 football season kicking off in a few weeks, college recruits will be focused on setting up official visits and also narrowing their college lists in preparation for a commitment. As important as this time will be for recruits, it’ll be equally important for schools, as they prepare for a season that, with solid performances in home-game environments, can assist in landing some of the best uncommitted prospects around.

Here are some names that the Big 12 schools will be pursuing throughout the fall.

Top Big 12 players: Nos. 15-11

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
9:00
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With the season just a month away, we're taking this week to rank the Top 25 players in the Big 12.

This is a ranking of who we're projecting the best 25 players will be in 2014.

Today, we continue with Nos. 15-11, which include a pair of budding quarterbacks:

15. Malcom Brown, DT, Texas: The Longhorns' 6-foot-4, 305-pound run-stuffer might have as much NFL upside as any player in the league. The former blue-chip recruit had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2013 with 68 tackles, including 12 for loss. If Brown continues to develop he could become one of the most menacing defensive players in the league.

14. Sam Carter, SS, TCU: Jason Verrett and Devonte Fields have overshadowed Carter the past two years. But with Verrett gone and Fields' TCU future in limbo, Carter will be the cornerstone of one of the best defenses in the conference. Carter has nine interceptions the past two years, the most of any returning Big 12 player.

13. B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State: Nobody in the Big 12 has more offensive line starts than Finney, who has 39 in three years. Not only has Finney been a starter for seemingly forever, he's been a stalwart for Bill Snyder in the trenches. Finney is a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection, and was voted on the preseason all-conference squad for 2014. With Finney manning center, the Wildcats have compiled a sparkling three-year record of 29-10.

12. Trevor Knight, QB, Oklahoma: This might be our most controversial selection so far. But we're believers in Knight, who was nothing short of spectacular quarterbacking the Sooners to the 45-31 win over Alabama in January. Knight struggled with his passing accuracy and his health early on as a redshirt freshman. And sure, he's started and finished only three games in his career. But Knight was also terrific in a late-season win at Kansas State. We don't think the Alabama performance was a one-hit wonder. We think it was a sign of more to come.

11. Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech: Webb gets the slight nod over Knight, due to a more impressive spring. As good as Knight was in the Sugar Bowl, Webb was just as impressive leading Texas Tech to the upset win over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. Including that bowl game and Tech's three open spring scrimmages, the rising sophomore tossed 17 touchdowns with no interceptions. He also showed more zip on his throws in the spring after adding 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason. Tech's defense remains a question. But Kliff Kingsbury's passing offense should be prolific thanks to Webb's rapid development.

Coming Thursday: Nos. 10-6 ...
ESPN College GameDay will be in the Metroplex during the opening weekend of the college football season for the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, between Oklahoma State and Florida State.

 
The GameDay set will broadcast from the Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The Cowboys were host to GameDay last season when they played Baylor in Stillwater. Oklahoma State won that game, 49-17.
Oklahoma remains the clear favorite to win the Big 12, according to the latest odds posted by Bovada.

The Las Vegas sportsbook released odds on each team's chance to win the conference earlier this summer and recently released an updated set of odds. The Sooners are now 2/3 to win the conference, followed by Baylor at 11/4.

The biggest surprise on this list might be Oklahoma State. Even though the Cowboys lost the bulk of their 2013 team, Bovada is still bullish on them at 10-1. But the sportsbook is not buying Texas Tech as a darkhorse conference title contender, pegging the Red Raiders at 28/1.

Here's a look at the full list of odds for the conference crown:

Oklahoma: 2/3
Baylor: 11/4
Texas: 7/1
Kansas State: 10/1
Oklahoma State: 10/1
TCU: 14/1
Texas Tech: 28/1
West Virginia: 66/1
Iowa State: 100/1
Kansas: 100/1
The initial response to the preseason poll tells the tale.

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, receiver Antwan Goodley, linebacker Bryce Hager and defensive end Shawn Oakman weren’t exactly thrilled to see Oklahoma atop the Big 12 preseason poll with the Bears sitting at No. 2.

Oakman: “Same ol, same ol.”

Goodley: “I couldn’t believe it.”

Petty: “Let’s go, that’s all I can say.”

Hager: “Just another thing to motivate us.”

These are the same players that handed the Sooners a 41-12 defeat in Waco, Texas a year ago, making their displeasure very easy to understand.

“We beat them last season and won the Big 12,” Hager said. “So that is just another motivation heading into this season.”

All four players took it as a sign they still have work to do, both on the field and off the field.

“That’s not up to us to vote, it’s up to us to play,” Petty said. “That tells us that we’re not there yet, and that’s fine with me. I don’t think you’re ever there. Once you think you’ve arrived, that’s when you're in trouble.”

The Sooners, with their Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, carried more momentum into the offseason while the Bears stumbled into the offseason after a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl loss to Central Florida. OU’s win helped cement Bob Stoops program in the national spotlight during the offseason while Baylor got overshadowed.

“They deserve it, they beat a good football team on a big stage,” Goodley said. “We have no control over that. I guess we still have a lot to prove, we still don’t get the respect we deserve, but we haven’t been at the top that long. I feel like we’re going to get there though.”

Even with the feeling of disrespect helping the spur them into the preseason, the Bears understand their 2013 accomplishments mean nothing. Art Briles squad outscored opponents by 375 total points a year ago but those points don’t carry over into 2014, so this season’s team will still has plenty to prove. It’s part of the reason the Bears still consider themselves the hunter instead of the hunted despite entering the fall as the defending Big 12 champions.

“At Baylor we’ve been fighting for respect,” Oakman said. “One day we’re going to get it, but not today.”
ESPN.com has taken on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

Monday, the first 20 players were released. Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 80-61.

Here are the Big 12 players who made the second installment:

No. 68: Texas CB Quandre Diggs

No. 72: Texas DE Cedric Reed

I can’t argue with either Longhorn cracking the top 100.

I’m not sure Diggs was more deserving than Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, who narrowly missed out on the top 100. But Diggs is a three-year, 36-game starter and probably the best returning cornerback in the Big 12.

Reed definitely was deserving. He finished third in the Big 12 last year in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss. Together with defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who also appeared in the top 100 at No. 90, the Longhorns have one of the best one-two defensive line punches in college football.

Remember to keep in mind this national list, which was compiled by the entire ESPN.com college football team, won’t necessarily line up with our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players, which was put together by Brandon Chatmon, Max Olson and myself.

Make sure to track the top 100 rankings all week long, as there will be Big 12 players in all five parts.

Coming Wednesday: Nos. 60-41.

Big 12 lunchtime links

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
12:00
PM ET
Big 12 coaches read mean (well, more awkward than mean) tweets.
  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon met with police investigators on Monday, The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey reports. His attorney claims Mixon did nothing wrong regarding assault allegations of a female student from last week.
  • Texas Tech added a transfer QB from Iowa to shore up its depth.
  • Seafood po’boys, barbecue sandwiches and various deep-fried and bacon-wrapped concoctions are among the concession items that will be available at Baylor's McLane Stadium.
  • Athlon released its Big 12 breakout players for 2014.
  • Defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin, a former Sooners pledge, committed to Texas, which has been picking up its recruiting momentum in July.
  • The Jayhawks are shrugging off negativity, writes KUSports.com's Benton Smith.
  • The little brother of West Virginia running backs coach running backs coach JaJuan Seider will be joining him in Morgantown.
  • Iowa State picked up a commitment from a Kansas linebacker.
  • There are plenty of questions about the Cyclones defensive line, writes the Ames Tribune's Bobby La Gesse.
  • The Oklahoman's Kyle Fredrickson did a Q&A with Oklahoma State receivers coach Jason Ray.

 
It's Take Two Tuesday time, when we give diverging opinions on a topic related to the Big 12.

Today's Take Two topic: last week, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson simulated out every game in the 2014 season. Off that simulation, which projection is most likely to be wrong?

Take 1: Brandon Chatmon -- Texas Tech

While Iowa State and Oklahoma State immediately come to mind as teams that could make me look like a fool for my low expectations for the Cyclones and Cowboys, Texas Tech is the team that could end up saying “I told you so” at the end of the 2014 season.

A 4-5 conference record for the Red Raiders would be a worst-case scenario, meaning the defense never came together and the offense ran into obstacles. But Tech, without question, has some of the Big 12’s best offensive talent with quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Jakeem Grant having the potential to perform as well as any player at their position this fall.

Their defense could be the determining factor. That unit has a couple things in its favor, including increased talent and some continuity with Matt Wallerstedt returning as defensive coordinator for the second straight season.

If Webb remains healthy, the Red Raiders will score plenty of points. If the defense comes together as the season progresses, Tech could be the team that far surpasses our summer projections and inserts itself in the Big 12 title race.

Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Oklahoma State

With all due respect to my esteemed colleagues, there is no way that Iowa State doesn’t win a game in the Big 12.

Mark it down. You heard it here first.

But my biggest gripe with their simulation was the 5-7 record they projected for Oklahoma State.

There’s no doubt with such a young roster the Cowboys will endure growing pains, especially in the ghastly opener against defending national champion Florida State.

But their projection smacks of 2010, when virtually every college football expert picked the Cowboys to finish either fifth or sixth -- in the Big 12 South. Instead, behind the unknown quarterback-receiver duo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, the Pokes reeled off 11 wins and came within a hair of winning the South.

Likewise, this Oklahoma State squad has some unknowns. Many of the defenders penciled atop the current depth chart have never started a game in their careers. And of the returning receivers, only Jhajuan Seales had more than 22 catches last year.

But Oklahoma State has never recruited better, including the classes leading up to that 2010 season. The offense is littered with potential playmakers like Seales, Marcell Ateman and speed-demon running back Tyreek Hill. The defense has speed at every level.

These Cowboys likely won’t replicate the surprising success of the 2010 team. But Mike Gundy’s track record suggests Oklahoma State will do far better than 5-7.
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The new ESPN 300 features 22 players currently committed to Big 12 programs. Texas leads the conference race with seven commits, while Oklahoma is next with five. Texas Tech has the conference’s highest-ranked ESPN 300 player in quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is ranked No. 38 and is the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country.

Here are five things to know in the Big 12:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Top Big 12 players: Nos. 20-16

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
9:00
AM ET
With the season just a month away, we’re taking this week to rank the Top 25 players in the Big 12.

This is a ranking of who we think the best 25 players will be over the course of the 2014 season.

Monday, we kicked this series off with the first five names. Today, we continue with Nos. 20-16.

20. Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas: Health is the only concern with Gray. Because when he’s healthy, Gray is a devastating combination of speed and power. There’s a reason the Longhorns have never lost when Gray has gotten 20 carries, which included victories over Oklahoma and Kansas State last year. A torn Achilles ended his 2013 season prematurely. But Gray has been cleared for fall camp, which is a good sign for the Longhorns and a bad one for the rest of the Big 12.

19. Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor: Hager is the Bryce Petty of the Baylor defense, with a pair of second-team All-Big 12 seasons behind him. Hager has recorded 195 tackles over the past two seasons and is one of the most seasoned players in the league. He missed the spring rehabbing from a season-ending groin injury, but should be 100 percent when the Bears begin fall camp. If Baylor avoids a drop off from last year’s breakout defensive campaign, Hager’s steady play will be a major reason why.

18. Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas: Diggs is the most outspoken player in the league, even foreshadowing during Big 12 media days that coach Charlie Strong might have to weed out certain players. Diggs will be a four-year starter and the unequivocal leader of the Texas defense. He should be more comfortable back at cornerback after a stint last season at the nickel. With cornerbacks Jason Verrett, Justin Gilbert and Aaron Colvin all gone, Diggs figures to be the new class of the position in the league.

17. Chucky Hunter, DT, TCU: The Horned Frogs might not have star end Devonte Fields this season. But they should still be stout up front, thanks to the return of Hunter, who is coming off an All-Big 12 season. Fellow tackle Davion Pierson is one of the most underrated players in the league. And the two form arguably the best one-two punch at defensive tackle in the league.

16. Ben Heeney, LB, Kansas: Don’t blame Heeney for the Jayhawks’ 3-9 record last year. The Big 12’s top returning tackler spearheaded a defense that gave opposing offenses fits at times in 2013, despite getting virtually no assistance from the Kansas offense. With nine starters back, the Jayhawks could create even more problems for the offenses of the Big 12. Especially with Heeney manning the middle.

Coming Wednesday: Nos. 15-11 …
Visions of long touchdown passes, big plays and head coach Gary Patterson drinking Gatorade during blowouts has TCU fans excited about the potential of the Horned Frogs' new offense.

Patterson brought in co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to jump-start TCU's offensive attack this season after its offense struggled for a large portion of 2013.

[+] EnlargeSam Carter
LM Otero/AP PhotoSenior safety Sam Carter says the Horned Frogs' defense should benefit from playing against TCU's up-tempo offense in practice.
Yet an overlooked aspect of TCU's new offense is the potential impact on the Horned Frogs' defense. It could have a major impact or it may not affect anything on the defensive side at all. The only certainty is that TCU's defense will, generally speaking, get a better sense of the type of offenses it will face in the Big 12 with the Horned Frogs' new spread attack.

"It should help us get better as a defense, because we're going to be seeing that every day," defensive tackle Chucky Hunter said. "We're going to be in better condition, we're going to be more knowledgable of the plays we're going to see."

Safety Sam Carter loves the potential upside of practicing against Meacham's attack.

"I think it's going to help," Carter said. "I don't think it can hinder us in any way. To have it every day in practice, I'm excited to go against it."

While Carter doesn't envision a scenario that includes a downside, a negative impact appears possible. With TCU installing an up-tempo system of its own, it's a fair assumption to think its offensive plays per game average -- 72.2 during the past two seasons -- will increase in 2014, which could also increase the number of plays the defense will see. Those additional plays would be sure to test the depth and overall conditioning of the defensive unit in ways it has not been tested during TCU's first two seasons in the Big 12.

The defenses at Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, West Virginia, Texas Tech averaged at least 75 opponent plays per game in conference games during the past two seasons. Of that group, only the Cyclones lack a high-tempo offensive attack.

During the same span, TCU's defense faced 70.6 plays per game as Oklahoma was the lone defense to face fewer average plays per game in conference games. The Horned Frogs understand their average number of plays per game could jump significantly this fall but don't consider it a major concern.

It could end up being a bigger deal than anticipated.

During the past two seasons, the Horned Frogs' defense has allowed more points when facing 75 plays or more on defense. In conference games only, TCU allowed 29.1 points per game in the five games it faced 75 plays or more. In the 13 games TCU's defense faced 75 plays or less, the Horned Frogs allowed 25.8 points per game. Obviously a lot of different elements go into the actual number of plays an opponent runs, but these numbers are a clear sign more plays on the field could be a bad scenario for TCU's defense.

Even though their jobs just potentially got much harder, Hunter and Carter each stressed it was the defense's responsibility to stop opponents from scoring, regardless of the circumstances, and they are hopeful their defense is improved this season.

"We talked about it [playing more plays] but we can't control what the offense does," Carter said. "If the offense scores or not, your job is to stop other teams from scoring."

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