College Notes- A&M opens at Notre Dame

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M will open the season before 80,000 at Notre Dame on Saturday with a cast that includes new starters at quarterback, tailback, punter and possibly both safety spots, just to name a few. "I don't think the atmosphere is a big concern," A&M offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe said. "A bunch of these guys have played in big games in front of big crowds before."

Kragthorpe mentioned freshman quarterback Dustin Long, who's expected to redshirt this fall. "Even Dustin played in front of 40,000 in high school," Kragthorpe said.

– Al Carter

National stage

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A key motivation for Texas A&M against Notre Dame this week is the chance for the Aggies to rectify the PR damage caused by high-exposure losses in three games last season. A&M lost to Oklahoma, Nebraska and Penn State, each time in a nationally televised game. The Aggies were outscored in those three games 112-6.

"If we can come back and win a big game on national TV, I think we can regain some success," linebacker Jason Glenn said. "I believe if we can beat Notre Dame, I think everything will fall into place for us this season."

– Al Carter

Davie scouted early

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M linebacker Jason Glenn remembers being "recruited" by Bob Davie when the Notre Dame head coach was defensive coordinator at A&M.

Glenn was 14 at the time, and his older brother, Aaron, was on his way to earning All-America honors as one of Davie's cornerbacks. "He told me he wanted to pick me up," Glenn recalls of his first encounter with Davie. "And I hadn't even started my high school career yet."

– Al Carter

Mum's the word

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M kicker Terence Kitchens is holding firm to his refusal not to talk about last season. Kitchens' 1999 season came to an end after seven blocks cost him his job. Kitchens will gladly talk on any topic – except that one.

"That's good," A&M coach R.C. Slocum said. "I hope none of us talk about it."

– Al Carter

OU freshmen to play

Five true freshmen can expect to make their debuts for Oklahoma in Saturday's season opener against Texas-El Paso, head coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday.

Stoops said tailback Renaldo Works, tight end Lance Donley, defensive end Dan Cody and linebackers Teddy Lehman and Jimmy Wilkerson have good chances to play this week. All but Donley are listed as backups on the two-deep roster.

Tight ends listed ahead of Donley are sophomore Trent Smith and seniors Matt Anderson and Chris Hammons. Anderson and Hammons are coming off knee surgeries.

– Charlie Smith

OSU picks captains

Because the team vote was so close, Oklahoma State coach Bob Simmons decided on four co-captains for the 2000 season. They are quarterback Tony Lindsay and tackle Josh Lind on offense and tackle Zac Akin and cornerback Alvin Porter on defense.

– Charlie Smith

UNT injury update

DENTON – Freshman wide receiver Freddie Johnson, from Wichita Falls High School, is out for the year with a broken hand.

Sophomore running back Michael Hickmon, from A. Maceo Smith High School, has been cleared to play but will wear a pad on his arm.

UT looks to freshmen

AUSTIN – Texas defensive coordinator Carl Reese said the freshmen he expects to play on defense against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 9 include DE Kalen Thornton of Dallas St. Marks, CB Nathan Vasher and DT Stevie Lee. ... Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said WRs Roy Williams and B.J. Johnson of South Grand Prairie are the freshmen he is certain will play in the season opener.

– Chip Brown

Applewhite impresses

AUSTIN – After voicing skepticism about Major Applewhite's reconstructed left knee for much of the pre-season, Texas coach Mack Brown is now praising how well Applewhite's knee has held up.

"I've had five knee surgeries, so I thought there would be swelling, and we would have to limit his time in practice," Brown said. "But everything about Major's knee is really good. We don't know how it will react to major contact. But that's the only other test – in a ballgame where people can take shots at him."

Brown said he wouldn't announce a starter at QB until next week, maybe even just before game time against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 9.

– Chip Brown

Non-named QB

AUSTIN – Texas coach Mack Brown said he has several reasons for not naming either Chris Simms or Major Applewhite as the starting QB until he absolutely has to.

"If you name a starter, and that guy gets hurt before the first game, the other guy knows he wasn't the top pick," Brown said. "If you name one guy the starter, the other guy might drop off a little bit in practice. Right now, we're getting great competition from both guys. We'll have two starters, and I'll send one out on the field at the beginning of the Louisiana-Lafayette game."

– Chip Brown

Where's the beef?

AUSTIN – In an effort to emphasize speed instead of size, all of Texas' offensive linemen are 10 to 20 pounds lighter than they were last year.

Senior OT Leonard Davis said he is at 355, down from his Cotton Bowl weight of 370. The Longhorns worked with an NFL dietician in the off-season who emphasized more fruits and vegetables over fried foods and five small meals a day instead of three big ones.

Despite the weight loss, UT's offensive line still averages 322 pounds per man, which figures to again be among the nation's biggest.

– Chip Brown

Around the nation

Forward Jason Parker, a one-time North Carolina recruit until he was denied admission, enrolled at Kentucky and will be eligible to play for the Wildcats this season. Parker, a former Mr. Basketball in North Carolina, is expected to become an immediate contributor to Kentucky's front line.

VANDERBILT: Vanderbilt University football player Luke Hammond was in critical condition Tuesday after falling 100 feet down a dormitory elevator shaft. Hammond, 19, a freshman linebacker from Montgomery, Ala., fell Monday night trying to climb out of a crowded elevator stopped between the ninth and 10th floors.

– Associated Press

Forcing the issue

Baylor has renamed its special teams "special forces" this season, and assistant head coach Scott Smith wants his players to attack their roles on those teams with an attitude. He wants to see enthusiasm and the mindset that they can change the game with big plays.

As was the case last year, Smith said he plans to use the team's top players on those units in an attempt to give the Bears their best chance at making big plays and winning that phase of each game.

– Dan Noxon

Off the field

The Baylor offense didn't help the defense last year, going three-plays-and-out with regularity. But the Bears' defense didn't help itself, either. Opponents converted 50 percent (84 of 169) of their third-down opportunities against Baylor, and coaches have focused heavily on bringing that number way down this season.

"We're constantly reminded by the staff about that," senior cornerback Gary Baxter said. "So now even in practice, every time we're, say, in a third-and-5 situation, guys are in the huddle saying 'OK, it's time to get off the field.'"

– Dan Noxon