Big 12 Teleconference News and Notes: The Hazards of Red Bull, Baylor's Defense

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterNovember 4, 2013

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 02:  Head coach Dana Holgorsen of the West Virginia Mountaineers watches from the sidelines during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Every Monday, Big 12 coaches answer questions for the Big 12 coaches teleconference. Here are the highlights for Nov. 4.


Coaches' health and the hazards of Red Bull

A portion of Monday's teleconference was spent talking about the possible unspoken health issues coaches face in the midst of the everyday stress they face on the job. 

With the collapse of Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak during Sunday night's game against the Colts, the heart problem with Denver Broncos coach John Fox and the epilepsy condition afflicting Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, it's a relevant topic. 

One that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops knows all too well. 

"I lost my father on the sidelines at the age of 54 years old," Stoops said. "I make sure to get checked out twice a year." (Stoops expanded on his view about health risks in coaching, which you can read here from the Oklahoman.

The subject matter was interjected with some comic relief by the Tulsa World's John Hoover, who asked West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen about Red Bull energy drinks and their effect on the heart. Holgorsen, of course, has been known to toss back a Red Bull or six. 

Holgorsen's response? It's all about moderation. 


Is Baylor's defense not getting enough respect?

The Big 12 blog's annual Rodney Dangerfield Award, given to the group who receives the least amount of respect, goes to Baylor's defense.

For those already enraged, please direct your concerns to Big 12 coaches. They're the ones who voted (unofficially). 

"It’s the part of their team that hasn’t been talked about enough," said Stoops. The Sooners travel to Baylor Thursday for a Top 10 showdown that will have major conference title implications. 

"That’s a group that’s been playing together for a long time," added Kansas coach Charlie Weis, whose team lost to Baylor in Week 9, 59-14. "They're much-improved from last year." 

Oct 19, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Shontrelle Johnson (21) leaps over offensive linesman Daniel Burton (70) as he tries to elude Baylor Bears defensive tackle Trevor Clemons-Valdez (98) and safety Ahmad Dixon (6) during the game
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With all the praise being heaped on the Bears offense, it is easy to overlook how much better their defense has been. Baylor ranks first in the conference in scoring defense, second in total defense and third in turnover margin. Baylor's D also ranks third in the nation in turnover margin and tackles for loss.  

Critics will point to the schedule, the 42 points West Virginia scored on Baylor in a 73-42 blowout and Kansas State's 327 yards rushing against the Bears the following week. 

There's validity to the schedule argument, but that will be answered shortly. There was also reason to be concerned about Baylor's run defense against K-State, the one opponent who went claw-to-claw toe-to-toe with Baylor. 

But a majority of WVU's points came in garbage time—Baylor led the Mountaineers 56-14 at the half—and there was no stopping the Bears that night. 

Baylor will only face two Top 25 scoring offenses the rest of the season (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State), but a good showing on Thursday night will go a long way in changing the perception about Baylor's defense. 


In the Big 12, every month is March

Big 12 offenses, for the most part, haven't been putting up basketball-like scores, but that didn't stop Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy from drawing a basketball analogy. 

With plenty of significant games left to be played, Gundy likened the month of November to the NCAA basketball tournament, better known as March Madness. 

Several top-tier Big 12 teams will play each other over the next few weeks, so the tournament style, win and advance comparison has some merit. 


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval