Big XII's Top Spring Football Storylines

Landry Jones returns to Oklahoma for a senior season but must develop a strong rapport with young receivers and tight ends this spring. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It may not officially be spring yet but for football fans across the Big XII landscape the spring season begins when players take the gridiron for their first workouts of the year. For Texas Tech that day is today as the Red Raiders take the field for their first spring workout and will conclude on March 24th with their spring game. For the first time in twelve years Tech wasn't involved in a post-season bowl game and for the third time in three years the Red Raiders have a new defensive coordinator.

That's just one storyline to follow this spring and as the other nine conference schools take to the practice field there's plenty out there to keep up with.

School Date Spring Practice Starts Storyline
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March 19 The Bears have lost their leading rusher, their leading receiver and a Heisman winning quarterback. They will totally have to rebuild their offense this spring which will put more pressure on a defense this fall that was 8th in the Big XII last year with 35.7 points allowed per game.
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March 20 This is an important spring for quarterback Jared Barnett who took over the starting spot last season and guided the Cyclones to a bowl game. On the defensive side of the ball there are some holes to fill in the secondary but linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein will be one of the top duos in the league.
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March 27 Its the dawn of a new era at Kansas as Charlie Weis takes over for the fired Turner Gill. When you're 106th nationally in offense and 120th in defense where do you start? Seeing how Dayne Crist fits into the Jayhawk offense will be interesting.
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April 4 The Wildcats were the surprise of the Big XII last season and will be a legitimate contender for the conference crown in 2012. Quarterback Collin Klein may be the toughest quarterback in the conference and will need to get adjusted to three new starters on the offensive line.
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March 5 Quarterback Landry Jones returns for a senior season but there are serious questions as to who he's going to throw the ball to. There were no scholarship tight ends left on the roster after the season ended and developing chemistry with the JUCOs who have transferred in along with receiver Trey Metoyer is crucial.
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March 12 The Cowboys are coming off their first Big XII championship in...well...literally forever. Now they face life without the best quarterback/receiver duo in school history. Finding someone to fill the shoes of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon is priority one this spring.
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February 23 Can Texas escape from being one dimensional on offense with their current quarterbacks? Davis Ash averaged 83 passing yards per game last season and threw 4 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Case McCoy passed for 94 yards per game and threw 7 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Ultimately Texas will have to decided on one of them and stick with their decision. Despite the defense losing 5 starters from `11 getting a passing attack on track is the top priority in Austin this spring.
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February 25 The defensive secondary is where you start with TCU this spring. The Frogs are losing four starters in the secondary and otherwise could be set both on offense and defense to make a run at the conference championship in their inaugural season.
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February 17 Art Kaufman is the third defensive coordinator in three seasons under Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. He's got his work cut out for him as well as the Red Raiders were the worst defense in all of college football last season.
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March 11 Ten touchdowns! The Mountaineers scored ten touchdowns against Clemson in the Orange Bowl and now they have a ton of talent returning on offense in 2012. Defensively they have to get stronger and more consistent in the secondary. First time defensive coordinator Joe DeForest has a decent front seven to start with this spring and he was a secondary specialists at Oklahoma State which should help out in Morgantown.
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