Rose Bowl Champs 

NFL Considers Rose Bowl Plan

NFL owners might hear a presentation from Rose Bowl officials next month, along with stadium presentations from Coliseum and Anaheim groups.

"We're still evaluating the implications of a possible Pasadena referendum and how it would impact the presentations," said Neil Glat, the league executive overseeing the negotiations to return the NFL to the Los Angeles area. Glat said the league was still deciding "whether Pasadena would have the opportunity to at least give an update to our L.A. working group."

That group, made up of 10 team owners and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, are tentatively scheduled to hear presentations May 2 in Dallas.

The Rose Bowl proposal showed a flicker of life this week when a referendum to revive the city's NFL bid qualified for the ballot. That bid appeared to die last year when it became clear there were not enough votes on the City Council to continue.

Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden, who cowrote the measure, said he hoped the Rose Bowl would be included in the May discussion.

It would be important, he said, "just to put a face with the whole Pasadena Rose Bowl conversation and let them know a little bit more about what's involved in the election, and what we would expect to be the outcome."

Several Big 12 football teams breaking in new quarterback talent

The morning after the Rose Bowl, with the national championship trophy ready for transport back to Austin, the Texas football staff wasn't so giddy it played gin rummy on the plane ride home.

"I'll never forget reading that Rick Pitino called a 7 o'clock staff meeting the next morning after winning the national (basketball) championship game at Kentucky," UT coach Mack Brown said Tuesday during a Big 12 teleconference.

"I thought in talking to coach (Darrell) Royal and talking to a number of guys who had won national championships over the last four or five years, all of them said go back to work and go back to work immediately."

Before long, finding a new quarterback became part of the detail. Vince Young declared for the NFL Draft, leaving the Longhorns without an experienced QB, a situation they couldn't settle in just 15 spring practices.

Two freshmen - redshirt Colt McCoy and early enrollee Jevan Snead - will head into two-a-days still competing for the No. 1 spot. And even when UT opens Sept. 2 against North Texas, each figure to play.

There are no expectations either can supply the same electricity as Young, who guided the Longhorns to a 13-0 finish and by the end of the Rose Bowl left many voters wishing for a Heisman recall election.

"We feel like we would need both of them because we don't have any experience on this team at quarterback," Brown said. "We have to prepare both to play."

Abundant talent at other positions makes Texas the early favorite to repeat as Big 12 champion, even without a proven quarterback. That, plus most other teams in the conference are fielding inexperienced QBs as well.

Iowa State's Bret Meyer, Oklahoma's Rhett Bomar and Nebraska's Zac Taylor are the only quarterbacks in the conference who steered their respective teams for the entirety of the 2005 season.

"It makes a big difference. There's just a confidence and a calmness that the guy out there leading the offense in the huddle has been out there," said ISU coach Dan McCarney. "He's already been there and done so many positive things, and in Bret's situation, he leads the offense with such a passion."

Talent, too. Meyer ranked second in the Big 12 in passing last season with a 239.7-yard average and returns his leading targets, led by 6-foot-5 junior Todd Blythe.

Bomar and Taylor were each first-year quarterbacks who blossomed as the season progressed and led their teams to bowl victories.

Elsewhere, questions abound.

Starters emerged in spring camp for five Big 12 teams. Three of them, senior Shawn Bell of Baylor and sophomores Stephen McGee of Texas A&M and Chase Daniel of Missouri, played some last season. Another, junior Bobby Reid of Oklahoma State, was the choice early in the season before injuries limited his effectiveness. And another QB, redshirt freshman Kerry Meier of Kansas, has never played a down of college football.

Although Daniel was blocked into the game plan last season as a back-up, his situation is most similar to that at Texas. Daniel must also replace an entrenched starter, Brad Smith, who set more than 50 school, conference and national records engineering the Mizzou attack the last four seasons.

"All our quarterbacks are more a distributor of the ball now," MU coach Gary Pinkel said. "We're not going to run a quarterback 18 times a game now like we did with Brad. This opens up more opportunities for our tailbacks, our tight ends and our receivers, and I think our players are excited about that. We're going to distribute the ball more, and rightfully so, but Brad was a very unique athlete."

Interestingly, the one program that depends most on its quarterback's arm is undecided on a starter. Sophomore Graham Harrell and freshman Chris Todd will take their competition into two-a-days at Texas Tech. which will field a QB who isn't a fifth-year senior for the first time in five years.

"They're both real accurate," said Tech coach Mike Leach. "Graham operates pretty quickly back there and has a real good grasp of everything. Chris Todd can really do some things. Some of his throws were really impressive and he did a good job taking command of things."

Although Tech isn't settled on a starter, the blueprint of its offense is now in place at another Big 12 school. Baylor adopted the system, in some part through coach Guy Morriss' ties to Leach when the two worked together at Valdosta State and Kentucky.

"It's just kind of an organized hully-gully deal," said Morriss, "but the kids will enjoy it. We got great skill players in the state of Texas and all these kids come out of high school wanting to catch a hundred balls a year. It's an exciting brand of ball if it's executed properly."

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