Big 12 Football: 6 Starters on the Hot Seat in 2014 Spring Practice
As the weather heats up and spring ball begins around Big 12 country, there are plenty of players whose grip on the starting job isn't as tight as they'd like.
Guys like David Ash and Clint Trickett haven't lived up to expectations, while others like Terrell Burt and Jake Waters have guys nipping at their heels for the starting job.
The spring season gives everybody up and down the roster new opportunities to prove themselves. But for the starters, all that means is that he has guys gunning for his job, and the spring is simply another test he must pass.
With that, check out six starters around the Big 12 that are on the hot seat this spring.
Sure, Jake Waters slowly but surely took hold of the starting quarterback job in the Little Apple last season, and if his performance against Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl proves anything, it's that he is the right choice for the future of the Wildcats.
But in 2013, it seemed like anytime K-State needed a spark, Bill Snyder plugged in Daniel Sams at quarterback. And more times than not, Sams provided that spark.
Waters is presumed the better quarterback for the Wildcats. But last spring, both Waters and Sams looked like equals and the battle for the starting job wasn't settled until just a few days before Week 1. If Sams has another great spring, Waters will have to prove he can maintain his late-season form to keep his grip on the starting job.
The Baylor Bears, fresh off of winning the Big 12, have an immediate need at safety after losing Ahmad Dixon.
Terrell Burt looks to hold on to that second safety spot, but after Blake Bortles' dismantling of the Bears secondary in the Fiesta Bowl, Art Briles may be looking for a shakeup there.
Orion Stewart is a good guess to take Dixon's spot, but freshman Taion Sells could make a run at Burt's job with an impressive spring showing.
With Briles so focused on offense, there's always room for the Baylor defense to get better. If Burt doesn't take leadership of the secondary in the spring, Briles could look elsewhere.
Jake Heaps' first year eligible with the Jayhawks certainly didn't go as planned.
Projected as one of the rising stars of the conference in the 2013 preseason, Heaps eventually lost his job to Montell Cozart, temporarily.
The spring brings new life to the quarterback race at Kansas though. Now Heaps has a chance to strengthen his hold on the starting job.
But he'll have plenty of competition, particularly after a disappointing season. Guys like Cozart and T.J. Millweard, a UCLA transfer, will surely be nipping at Heaps' heels.
J.W. Walsh may be the de facto starter in Stillwater with Clint Chelf's graduation. But that doesn't mean his hold as the starting signal-caller for Oklahoma State is as firm as he'd like.
Walsh wasn't the most popular guy for the Cowboys when he saw action as the quarterback last year. During a home game against Kansas State, he was forced to leave after losing his helmet on a play, and the crowd erupted.
It's not like Walsh did enough to earn the support of his fans though. He completed under 60 percent of his passes last year and had just nine touchdowns to five interceptions.
Early enrollee Mason Rudolph will likely be Walsh's toughest competition for the starting job. If Rudolph has a big spring and Walsh falters, Walsh's seat could go from hot to burning, quickly.
Sure, Devron Moore may not have played a single down of Big 12 football yet. But being one of the most coveted safeties of the 2014 class, this JUCO transfer is coming into Ames, Iowa with the hype of any big-time starter.
Ranked as the No. 6 safety in his class, according to 247sports, Moore is projected to earn a starting spot this spring after enrolling early at the school.
But with Iowa State being one of the worst teams in the Big 12 last season, and with everybody gunning for starting spots in the secondary after the departure of Jacques Washington, everybody's seat is hot in Ames, even for new guys like Moore.
David Ash has been far from good as Texas' starting quarterback over the past few seasons. He missed most of 2013 with a concussion, but he was just 2-2 as a starter before he went out for the rest of the year.
At the tail end of last season, Tyrone Swoopes started to see playing time and could provide a unique spark this spring in the quarterback race, especially with the Charlie Strong era underway.
Strong will certainly go into the spring with no predispositions about whom to start at any position. He'll look at the players he has and mold the best ones he sees into his system.
And that could very well be Swoopes this spring.