Big 12 morning links: KU's field is finally shrouded

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas coach Mark Mangino can finally rest, not worrying about whether his words, gestures or coaching methods on the practice field will be picked apart by the prying eyes of the public.

Of course, it was nothing a little horticuture couldn't help -- or hide.

The Kansas athletic department will spend $90,000 to strategically plant 100 pine trees around the $31 million Anderson Family Football Complex with hopes of enhancing the team's privacy during its workouts.

Kansas assistant athletic director Jim Marchiony told the Lawrence Journal-World that the additions will help the campus in several ways.

"You can say we're doing it for the sake of those who use Mississippi Street so they won't feel like they're disturbing practice if they make noise," Marchiony joked. "Also, it's an effort to assist the campus in going green."

"The real reason," he added, "is just to allow for more privacy during practice with respect to how much can be seen and heard."

Mangino told the Journal-World that he didn't have a problem with the location of the practice fields and the exposure they provided.

"I'm not at all concerned about that stuff," he said. "I think it's a tempest in a teapot. Much ado about nothing."

Ah, Coach ... If I'm going to believe that, you probably have some swamp land for me just outside Olathe, right?

No matter. The Kansas practice field is shrouded and the season is only a week away.

But most importantly, here are some tasty Big 12 links for a Saturday morning.

  • Bob Stoops' seldom-publicized compassion for sick children is profiled in a touching story by the Oklahoman's John Helsley. Stoops wears a gold pin of hope on his coaching visor for a special reason.

  • Austen Arnaud earned the starting QB job for Iowa State's Aug. 28 opener against South Dakota State. But backup Phillip Bates will get a few snaps, Iowa State coach Gene Chizik said. "Some people will say that when you have two quarterbacks, you have none," Chizik told the Des Moines Register. "That's not our case."

  • Boulder Daily Camera columnist Neill Woelk lays out the steps to an 8-4 record for Colorado this season, capped by a trip to the Alamo Bowl.

  • Texas CB Deon Beasley tells the Houston Chronicle's Joseph Duarte in a video interview about the Longhorns' development in the secondary.

  • Have Bartles & Jaymes come to sports journalism? Check out the Austin American-Stateman's columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden's most recent video effort and you might think so.

  • The Austin American-Statesman has taken the humble depth chart one step into the future, creating an easy-to-use PDF file highlighting Texas' roster.

  • Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel blogs that Oklahoma State's home schedule isn't the most attractive for ticket buyers.

  • Line of the day comes from Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Austin Meek, who had this to say about the Kansas State-Iowa State game in Kansas City next year: "A K-State-Iowa State matchup has all the sex appeal of Al Roker, with considerably less star power."

  • Missouri athletic director Mike Alden told the Kansas City Star that no changes are imminent in the Tigers' annual football games in St. Louis against Missouri and in Kansas City against Kansas. Alden also denied that the Kansas State-Iowa State game announced earlier this week would affect where the Border War game ends up. "I think our game is something that's pretty special," Alden told the Star, "and it wouldn't be affected by that game."

  • Sophomore CB Carl Gettis is emerging as a leader in Missouri's secondary.

  • Heralded freshman Nebraska WR Khiry Cooper is off-limits to the media because of Coach Bo Pelini's media-relations rules. But Cooper's teammates say he hasn't talked much about his decision to play college football and baseball rather than accepting a huge potential baseball contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

  • Bruising 245-pounder Quentin Castille is playing like the most physical of Nebraska's I-backs. "I look at Quentin as a guy who's a thumper," Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson told the Omaha World-Herald. "He's a guy who you just pound people with."

  • Dust off your pom-poms. The Kansas City Star has video of a Kansas City-area pep rally where thousands turned out to watch coach Mark Mangino talk about the upcoming season. And he didn't mention his tree-planting plans anywhere.

  • A hearty welcome to the Big 12 media corps to Brian "Boom Goes the Dynamite" Collins, a new sports anchor at KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas.

  • Baylor's three competing quarterbacks got equal time in the Bears' final scrimmage and all had their moments.

  • Lawrence Journal-World columnist Chuck Woodling looks into the Big 12's future - complete with 150,000-seat stadiums and salary caps for players.

  • Manhattan Mercury columnist Mark Janssen breaks down the good and bad of Kansas State's special teams.

  • Oklahoma State and Texas Tech agreed months ago to move their 2009 game to the Dallas area. Andrea Cohen of The Oklahoman reports, however, that the two schools still haven't decided where to play the game.

  • Oklahoma MLB Ryan Reynolds hopes to disprove doubters who wonder if he can remain healthy for an entire season.

  • Texas Tech's AaRon Moore and Brent Nickerson have emerged as the likely replacements at cornerback for L.A. Reed, who appea
    red at practice with an orthopedic boot on his injured right ankle.

  • Despite the arrival of heralded junior-college transfer Lucien "The Punisher" Antoine, Quinton Moore remains entrenched as Oklahoma State's top free safety.

  • Punt returner Niles Paul is expecting big things from Nebraska's special teams. "It should be an explosive year as a return game," Paul told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "I know we can make a splash on returns."

  • Unlike last season, Bob Stoops expects a number of freshmen to see action for the Sooners. Only one true freshman played for Oklahoma in 2007.