Big 12 Notebook: Banks to return for OU game
MORGANTOWN – The fate of Ishmael “Icky” Banks has finally been revealed.
The redshirt senior cornerback will be suspended for the first three games of the season due to an unspecified NCAA eligibility requirement, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said during his weekly Big 12 conference call.
Banks’ first game will be Sept. 20 when Oklahoma travels to Morgantown. He is still allowed to participate in practice with the team.
“I’m glad we were able to get it resolved,” Holgorsen said. “A big thank you to the NCAA for getting it figured out.”
Now the question is who will start opposite of sophomore Daryl Worley when the Mountaineers face Alabama, Towson and Maryland.
Holgorsen was hesitant to say.
“You really don’t know what you have until you get them under the lights,” the fourth-year coach said. “Terrell Chestnut has been playing well, Travis Bell has been taking reps, Jaylon Myers is good to go. We have bodies at cornerback, bodies that have played and have experience. We have to see how they respond.”
Myers is a bit of a surprise candidate to fill in the second corner spot.
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior college transfer, he intercepted eight passes last season while playing for Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Before committing to West Virginia, Myers had an offer from LSU and had also visited Oklahoma State, Florida and Georgia.
Holgorsen also addressed the Mountaineers’ season opener against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game at the Georgia Dome.
“We are thrilled to play in a game of that magnitude,” he said. “It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere.”
While Holgorsen has yet to name a starting running back for Saturday’s game, he says it really doesn’t matter when it comes right down to it.
“We’re fortunate enough to be deeper at that position,” he said. “Whoever gets the hot hand is who will have the most carries.”
It’s been an interesting first year as coach at Texas for Charlie Strong. Thing is, his Longhorns haven’t even played a game yet.
Even with all the player issues the former Louisville coach has had to deal with in his short time in Austin, Strong, the 29th coach in school history, says it hasn’t been his biggest challenge.
The obstacle for him is rebuilding his team’s confidence.
“When you have such of a demanding job as this and the expectations are so high, the players feel like they let themselves down and the university down when they don’t play at the level they think they should,” Strong said.
The Longhorns finished in a three-way tie for second in the Big 12 with a 7-3 conference record, but went 1-2 against their nonconference foes.
Strong, who complied a 23-3 record in his final two season with the Cardinals, has been relying on his senior class to set the standard
“We’ve had no resentment from any of our players,” he said. “They’re working very hard and they’re working to change themselves. When you have a team that has the leadership – we have a group of seniors that want to win – you don’t really have to force them to do anything.”
The Longhorns play host to North Texas to open the season Saturday. Texas is 6-0 against the Mean Green and won the last meeting, 56-7, in 2006.
There’s your confidence builder, Texas.
A New Bear Den
The defending Big 12 champion Baylor Bears will unveil their new home Sunday when SMU comes to Waco.
McLane Stadium, which replaces Floyd Casey Stadium, contains 39 suites, 74 Loge boxes, 1,200 outdoor club seats, 3,00o Baylor Line seating and 6,700 total student designated seating.
“It’s spectacular,” Coach Art Briles said. “Everything I put my eyes on and come into contact with is second to none.”
While Briles is impressed with all the new bells and whistles, at the end of the day, he just wants to make sure Baylor’s homefield advantage continues.
The Bears are 19-1 at home the last four seasons, best in the nation.
“Our goal, our motto, our drive is to take what we had at Ford and take it to McLane,” Briles said. “I know it’s going to be a lively atmosphere.”
Tony Viola can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org