Texas coach Mack Brown knew what kind of player Johnathan Gray was at Aledo High School. It was no secret that Gray, a national Gatorade Player of the Year winner, was one of the top recruits in the country. But now, nine games into his freshman season as a Longhorn, Gray has shown why he is such a special player.
"He's so competitive, that's what you didn't know," Brown said. "He works so hard every day in practice that you're not surprised to see him accomplish what he does on gameday."
Gray has rushed for consecutive 100-yard games in Texas wins at Kansas and Texas Tech and has become the 17th-ranked Horns' featured back with Malcolm Brown out with an injury.
"He's done what we expected him to do," Mack Brown said. "He's very mature, he's tough, he's fast, he's a very smart football player. He loves football."
Gray has had more carries than all other Texas rushers combined in the last two games, while averaging 6.2 and 5.3 yards per carry. He had 217 yards on 38 carries; the others had 32 rushes.
Texas Tech is hoping conference doormat Kansas is exactly what it needs this Saturday. The Red Raiders (6-3, 3-3) have lost two in a row since escaping Fort Worth with a triple-overtime win against TCU. Tech outgained Texas and led 25-18 in first downs, but settled for three field goals and saw one blocked in the fourth quarter.
"The whole thing you worry about now, whether you're undefeated or just won a few games, is the 19- and 20-year olds getting mentally drained," Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We're getting pretty close to that. We've got to reach back deep. This is where you find out what type of football players you have and what kind of leadership you have."
Tech finishes at Oklahoma State and against Baylor at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk is finally getting a chance to show why it was such big news in Waco when he transferred from Oregon in August 2011.
The ex-Temple High star had to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules and hadn't made much of an impact until last week against Kansas. The sophomore rushed for 103 yards and caught five passes for 91 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown in the Bears' 44-14 win. Seastrunk's 23 touches in the game nearly matched his 30 combined plays (29 rushing, 1 receiving) for the season. His only two starts have been in Baylor's past three games.
"He's fast," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "He was a very dynamic player in that game. We knew about him, but you can't get ready for every player."
Baylor (4-4, 1-4) plays at No. 12 Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. "He's a good football player," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said of Seastrunk. "Makes people miss him."
We meet again
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will face a former assistant for the first time when the Cowboys host Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Holgorsen was OSU's offensive coordinator in 2010. Ex-Gundy assistants are also head coaches at North Carolina (Larry Fedora) and Illinois (Tim Beckman).
The Big 12 schedule for Nov. 17 has been set. TCU and Texas are idle before playing on Thanksgiving night in Austin. The Nov. 17 games:
Texas Tech at Okla. State, 2:30 p.m. (FSSW)
Iowa State at Kansas,
6 p.m. (FSSW)
Oklahoma at W.Va.,
6 p.m. (KDFW/Ch. 4)
Kansas State at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
4Career kickoff returns for touchdowns by Kansas State sophomore Tyler Lockett, tied for second-most in Big 12 history.
11-16 Record of home teams in Big 12 play. In 2011, home teams were 24-18.
"Being competitive for a half just isn't good enough." Kansas coach Charlie Weis, on his team's second-half struggles.
"Against Purdue, I think, I knocked a guy out, I was out, and two or three series later I get an interception and I don't even remember it. That's just kind of how things were then. As long as you could count fingers and things like that. I'm sure I sounded OK. That was a long time ago, too." Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, on how concussions are treated differently from his playing days at Iowa.
"He's [seems] fine to me." Will he play Saturday? "I hope so. I hope they all play. He's had his helmet off before. Maybe they're uncomfortable." Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, on whether his quarterback Collin Klein, who might or might not have suffered a concussion in the second half last week, will play Saturday at TCU.