If the Big 12 is going to provide any excitement during media days, Tuesday will be that day. With half of the teams having already taken the podium, Day 2 will include Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Mack Brown of Texas. The two heavy-hitting head coaches always provide interesting comments during interviews.
Others who will speak today include Dana Holgorsen of West Virginia, Art Briles of Baylor and Paul Rhodes of Iowa State. Each coach has also brought three players to media days, and the confident Heisman candidate out of Baylor, running back Lache Seastrunk, will be included.
The final day of Big 12 media days should be a blast.
West Virginia Uniforms
The Mountaineers took this opportunity to showcase what appear to be new uniforms for the upcoming season, as Chris Level of Red Raiders Sports caught a sneak peek:
It turns out these uniforms are the same that were released during the spring. The white-on-white is a clean look and should really pop when taking the field in Morgantown. This uniform should become popular with West Virginia players.
Big 12 Coordinator of Officials Walt Anderson
College football is undergoing a face lift with rule changes. With the ongoing research examining concussions and serious injuries, the game of football is rapidly changing. The main rule change implemented is the "target rule," which allows for immediate ejection if a player is caught intentionally hitting above the shoulders.
It was nice having a coordinator of officials at media day to help explain this rule, as West Virginia play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi tweeted:
Walt Anderson says "We need to change behavior on the field to limit unnecessary hits to the head."— TonyCaridi (@TonyCaridi) July 23, 2013
Anderson went on to mention that the NCAA is learning from the rules that the NFL has implemented, per John Shinn of the Norman Transcript:
Walt Anderson is telling us the NCAA is getting more in line with NFL this season. Seems like a very good idea.— John Shinn (@john_shinn) July 23, 2013
If this is the case, receivers should be forced to catch the ball with both feet inbounds, right?
How does a player learn to adapt to these new rules? Well, Anderson has given a little advice to coaches, per Chris Level of Red Raiders Sports:
Walt Anderson said he has told coaches to lower their target zone to avoid being called for targeting which can result in being dq'ed.— Chris Level (@ChrisLevel) July 23, 2013
But don't think big hits are going to be removed from football altogether. Big hits should still be celebrated, but the safety of the game should be taken seriously, per Joe Schad of ESPN:
Big 12's Walt Anderson says we can celebrate big hits if they are clean and legal, not dangerous— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 23, 2013
While player safety is important, there is one part of this rule that is absolutely ridiculous, as Schad reported:
Replay can overturn a targeting ejection that was in error, but the penalty will stand.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 23, 2013
Like it or not, this is the direction the game is heading, and players must adapt to the rule changes. However, there are sure to be growing pains as the season plays out.
Bob Stoops Highlights
Blake Bell is the favorite to be the starting quarterback this season for Oklahoma, but head coach Bob Stoops was annoyed when a reporter assumed he already had the job, per Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman:
Bob Stoops corrects first questioner who assumed Blake Bell starts at QB. "We’ve never been really excited about naming a guy too early."— Randy Riggs (@ranriggs) July 23, 2013
Stoops says he "wouldn't shy away" from using Bell in the "Belldozer" short-yardage package, but says he has options there with other guys.— Randy Riggs (@ranriggs) July 23, 2013
The other quarterbacks competing for playing time include Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight.
However, don't let Stoops fool you; Bell is the favorite for the starting job. Just don't assume. Stoops obviously hates it.
As for the rule changes, Stoops seems just as confused as the rest of us, as David Ubben of ESPN points out:
Is Stoops as confused as us on the new targeting rule? "Probably," he said. Will have officials come talk to his team during fall camp.— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 23, 2013
That should help, but unfortunately, it will take a lot more than that for players to adjust.
Stoops left the podium with a recruiting pitch, but it is not what you expect, per Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman:
Stoops urges writers to "get their wives into" Mary Kay. His wife is a national sales director. "I'm recruiting."— kbohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2013
Sadly, nothing was mentioned about the SEC.
Quote of the Day?
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard isn't exactly thrilled with how he appears on the EA Sports video game NCAA Football 14. He told Joe Schad of ESPN that his appearance is way off:
OU C Gabe Ikard says he's not sure EA Sports is using his likeness: "My image is of a guy with a legitimate frown and a receding hairline."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 23, 2013
Not sure this matters much with football players wearing a helmet most of the time. Still, it is the front-runner for best quote of Day 2 of Big 12 Media Days.
Mack Brown Highlights
Texas fans will be happy to know that quarterback David Ash is confident heading into the season. Coach Brown continued to hammer home the point that the junior is feeling good about himself and looking to play more consistently, per Kirk Bohls:
Mack Brown: "David Ash is very confident and in command."— kbohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2013
Mack Brown says David Ash "has really grown up" and last year at times "played like Vince and played like Colt."— kbohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2013
The Longhorns are also looking to run an up-tempo offense that should create more balance and help the defense improve. Texas returns 10 offensive starters, so speeding things up shouldn't be a problem.
How many plays does Brown expect to run this season? Bohls found an exact number:
Mack Brown said he'd like to see his offense have at least 80-plus plays a game.— kbohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2013
To put that number into perspective, Oregon averaged a little more than 81 plays a game last season. Looks like the Ducks will have company.
Brown also believes the Big 12 is the most balanced conference in college football and used an SEC statistic to prove this theory, per Will McKay of Red Raiders Sports:
Mack Brown said that the top 7 SEC teams beat the bottom 7 teams to a win-loss record of 30-0. He believes the Big 12 is much more balanced.— Will McKay (@WMK74) July 23, 2013
Shots fired or just the hardcore truth?
He also admitted that the game has changed, particularly on offense, per Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal-World:
Mack Brown: No question that last year B12 offenses were ahead of the defenses. When you're happy to win a game 56-50, things have changed.— Matt Tait (@mctait) July 23, 2013
Some will argue that high-scoring offenses make the game more exciting, while others will say it's pathetic. You be the judge.
Dana Holgorsen Highlights
Holgorsen is tired of coaches crying about the spread offense and up-tempo approach. When asked about how he feels about his peers complaining, the West Virginia coach didn't even begin to bite his tongue, per David Ubben of ESPN:
Dana Holgorsen to Bret Bielema and Nick Saban: "Get over it, because it's not going to change.— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 23, 2013
Holgorsen: "I don't see it changing any time soon, so you better learn to adapt to it."— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 23, 2013
This should sit well in SEC country.
Although West Virginia fans may feel different, Holgorsen isn't the least bit worried in losing two stud wide receivers in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, per Brice Cherry of the Waco Tribune-Herald:
Holgorsen: "I haven't lost any sleep over losing Tavon (Austin) and Stedman (Bailey) to NFL. That happens."— Brice Cherry (@BriceCherry) July 23, 2013
Nice and Shiny
Art Briles is up next at Big 12 media days. Check out the Baylor helmet that will be sitting next to him. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/ofz0PmvHjn— Nathan Thompson (@NathanDThompson) July 23, 2013
Art Briles Highlights
In one of the most surprising quotes of the day, Baylor coach Briles admitted that he has yet to look at his team's schedule, per Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register:
Baylor coach Art Briles claims he hasn't looked at his team's schedule yet, just the first game. I'm a little skeptical. #Big12MediaDays— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) July 23, 2013
Coaches usually have the "take one game at a time mentality," but that is mighty tough to believe. However, it does sound good during an interview.
Briles also had a motivating comment regarding running back Lache Seastrunk, according to the Longhorn Network:
Art Briles on Seastrunk, "I'd much rather have players wanting to win the Heisman instead of clapping for the one that does."— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) July 23, 2013
The Baylor running back claimed that he will win the Heisman this season. Last year, he rushed for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns.
Check back later; this article will be updated with highlights throughout Day 2 of Big 12 Media Days.