Houston – Two freshman linebackers have been looking good in practice. Everett Daniels and Derrick Matthews have both provided great leverage and are physical players…With a pair of junior college cornerbacks in D.J. Hayden and Chevy Bennett, plus Texas A&M transfer Colton Valencia, there are plenty of new faces to provide competition for spots in the secondary…The offense has gotten off to a slow start but UH coaches say that was to be expected
Rice – Starting free safety Travis Bradshaw has suffered an undisclosed career-ending injury. Bradshaw was second on the team with 76 tackles and had two interceptions last season. Junior Xavier Webb will take Bradshaw’s spot…The Owls are looking to use their 10 returning defensive starters to improve from last year’s defense that only caused 14 turnovers (112th of 120 FBS teams), allowed 51 percent of their opponents third-down plays to be concerted (117th) and produced just 14 sacks…The defense plans to blitz more
SMU – Two defensive starting jobs are still wide open, according to defensive coordinator Tom Mason. At outside linebacker, the Mustangs are still looking at junior Victor Jones, senior Randy McKinnon, redshirt freshman Uchenna Nwabuike and junior transfer Cody Worthen…The left cornerback spot, replacing the graduated Sterling Moore, will likely go to sophomore Chris Parks, sophomore Kenneth Acker or junior Keith Robinson…Inside linebacker Cameron Rogers, expected to replace departed starter Pete Fleps, has missed practice this week with a strained knee. He is expected to return Saturday or Monday.
Tulane – Coach Bob Toldeo has been impressed with backup corner Alex Lauricella. Lauricella had a deflection and interception on consecutive plays Friday…Defensive back Renaldo Thomas was taken to the hospital Wednesday after losing consciousness. It apparently is a recurring problem and forces him to lose eight or nine pounds a day…It looks like freshmen are going to get a chance to contribute at the linebacker position
Tulsa – Tulsa is looking like it will go with a committee of wide receivers this year. Who rises up to the challenge is yet to be seen…6-foot-3, 270-pound true freshman tackle Derrick Luetjen has been impressive, as he has picked up the system well and looks to be a vital backup…Freshman Derek Patterson is listed at free safety in the media guide, but the coaches have moved him to quarterback for the time being…Junior Lowell Rose, a transfer from UCLA, is getting the first shot at the second cornerback spot but is getting pressed by Justin Skillens. Milton Howell and J.D. Ratliff also are fighting for playing time. One freshman is also intriguing Guy – Dwight Dobbins.
UTEP – In UTEP’s scrimmage Wednesday, 10 different receivers caught passes with no one finishing with more than two receptions. There may be no clear leader emerging as a preferred target…The defense, which will be heavy on pass rushers this year, caused six sacks in that scrimmage…Coach Mike Price is going to be the play-caller this year…Nick Lamaison, who enrolled early coming out of junior college in the spring, looks to lead the race to start at quarterback