DALLAS (AP) -- The Big 12 is honoring Chuck Neinas by naming their football coach of the year award after the interim commissioner credited with being such a stabilizing force during his nearly yearlong tenure.
New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby surprised Neinas with the announcement Monday during the opening minutes of the league's football media days.
''During a time when there was great instability, we were fortunate enough to entice Chuck Neinas to come and put his hand on the tiller and try and bring a period of calm to the league,'' Bowlsby said. ''Under his guidance, we brought TCU and West Virginia into the league. He had a tremendous calming force. And through his sage advice and insights and experience, we were able to get through a really tough time.''
Neinas said it was an honor he will cherish and that he had great support during his time with the Big 12.
''As I've often said, if the Big 12 is a stock, you get a buy order from me,'' said Neinas, who is wrapping up his time with the league as a consultant for a few more weeks.
CYCLONE CLEARED: Iowa State running back Shontrelle Johnson, who injured his neck in the fourth game last season, has been cleared to play.
Coach Paul Rhoads said Johnson can be on the field when the Cyclones start practice Aug. 3. That gives Iowa State its top five rushers back from last season.
Johnson ran for 247 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry before getting hurt. There had been uncertainty about whether he would be ready for the start of his junior season - if at all.
''There were doubts until he went through a set of X-rays this summer that had to be looked at by his surgeon and the fusion that took place that was fully healed, fully fused, and that he gave his blessing that he could play,'' Rhoads said. ''From there, Shontrelle and his family, specifically his mother, had to sit down and make the decision that they were going to resume playing college football.''
Johnson is behind James White and Jeff Woody on the depth chart.
''Certainly he'll have to work his way back up the depth chart. He's been out for a while. But we look forward to him doing that,'' Rhoads said. ''My biggest concern as he begins that process, is he does it with his head up and fundamentally does all the things to protect himself as he moves forward.''
GETTING DEFENSIVE: After a 41-38 win at then-undefeated Oklahoma last season, Texas Tech was 5-2.
But the Red Raiders didn't win again and finished with their first losing record since 1992.
''The big game we won last year against Oklahoma, we played over our heads. We were able to knock some plays down. We played well on third down. A lot of young guys. A lot of guys that learned a lot from that game,'' coach Tommy Tuberville said. ''We weren't able to duplicate that defensive effort the rest of the year the next five games.''
Twice after that, the Red Raiders gave up 66 points. Only one of the last five opponents scored less than 41 points.
But Tuberville is feeling better with new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, who has coached with him, and some building depth on defense.
''We've got more depth. We've got more talent. We've doubled our talent, so to speak, in the last couple of years on defense,'' Tuberville said. ''We're going to be fine offensively. We need to have a little bit of luck keeping guys healthy.''
MARRIED SIGNAL-CALLERS: A pair of Big 12 quarterbacks got married this summer.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, whose 27 rushing touchdowns last season broke the Big 12 record and matched the most for a BCS quarterback, married the daughter of former Kansas State standout and Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Gary Spani.
Oklahoma's Landry Jones got married earlier this month to former Lady Sooners basketball player Whitney Hand.
''Good for him. He's got a special wife, too,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ''Now we'll coach Landry like we always have.''