Big 12 links: Sooner paranoia closing Oklahoma's practices

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Times are changing around Oklahoma, where Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has opened up some practices this summer while Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has thrown up a "Crimson and Cream" curtain around his preseason work this fall.

Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler has as good of a handle on the inner workings of the Sooner program as anybody around. He said that some Oklahoma insiders are telling him that Stoops is closing his practices because he's still miffed from 2005.

It seems that Stoops believes that some "friends of the TCU program" tipped off the Horned Frogs with secrets they had learned by watching the Sooners' open scrimmages. The result was a 17-10 upset victory for TCU.

Sittler also said that former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones, now a radio talk show in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, was turned down to watch the Oklahoma scrimmage because he's now considered a member of the media.

I'm sure the Sooners would be pretty vanilla in those scrimmages if they knew that we prying minds -- or even fans -- were watching.

Because you never know what those "friends" might be saying to your upcoming opponents.

Particularly when Oklahoma's first game will be against that vaunted defense of the Chattanooga Moccasins, which ranked 102nd in rushing defense, 75th in pass efficiency defense, 84th in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense in the Football Championship Subdivision last year.

Until then, we'll have to wait to hear what the players and coaches have to say after their scrimmage today at Owen Field. Because Stoops has made sure that nobody else will be watching.

And if Oklahoma-area fans really have to watch football today, they can drive up to watch Oklahoma State's open scrimmage this afternoon.

Sure, Gundy might scream at reporters when's he not happy. But he still knows that he needs us to help sell a bunch of seats for the Cowboys' home opener on Sept. 6 against Houston.

Until then, here a few other links to whet your appetite this weekend.

  • It appears that Texas Tech DE McKinner Dixon still might be eligible after all, according to Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

  • The Lincoln Journal-Star will be conducting a contest for the best Nebraska fan video this season. But Larry the Cable Guy can't participate, can he?

  • Nebraska DT Jared Crick emerged as a potential starter this week. His development will be important after Kevin Dixon's dismissal and Ty Steinkuhler battling through a back injury.

  • Austin American-Statesman columnist Cedric Golden predicts that Vondrell McGee and Fozzy Whittaker will eventually emerge as Texas' primary running backs.

  • New Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is in no hurry to name a starting quarterback as Jerrod Johnson and Stephen McGee battle for the No. 1 position. "Why close the door on competition," Sherman told Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station Eagle. "That's not me. I want to keep them competing."

  • Ron Prince's new contract amounts to a one-year extension, according to the Wichita Eagle's Bob Lutz. But for Prince, it's still one more season -- at a big salary hike to boot.

  • Colorado LB Lynn Katoa is trying to find the right path back into the program's good graces. Katoa, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge and received a deferred sentence, is practicing with the team this season with hopes of returning to the team in 2009.

  • The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerhoff writes about Missouri's underrated defense. I still think the Tigers' defensive improvement will be the key to their Big 12 title hopes.

  • Iowa State football recruiting coordinator Scott Fountain joined the cacophony of Cyclone coaches who blasted the NCAA's ban on text messaging in a story in the Ames Tribune.

  • Sittler reports flames are licking at the backsides of former Oklahoma assistants Chuck Long and Mike Stoops at their new jobs as head coaches.

  • Chad Conine of the Waco Tribune-Herald said that increased depth inside will mean Baylor defensive tackles won't be playing nearly as much as last season. I'm guessing that Baylor's starting defensive tackles played as much as any in the Big 12 last season.

  • The development of oft-injured Oklahoma MLB Ryan Reynolds, replacement for Curtis Lofton, will be critical for the Sooners' Big 12 three-peat hopes.