The Big Roundup - The last look at the Big 12-2 Media Days

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36 days (give or take a few hours).

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Garrett Gilbert talks about his growth as a player.

We're Texas. The Horns still have that swagger.

Transition year? For Texas? Child, please.

"I don't like that word," Mack Brown said Wednesday, "because it gives the kids and the coaches an excuse not to be as good."

Texas doesn't do transition years. Texas has lost three games in the last 1,026 days and has won at least 10 games for nine straight years.

Reload. Right, Coach?

"What we're trying to do is sell the kids on you've got to win every game," Brown said. "That's who we are and what we want to be."

 The Texas coaching staff conducted a study.

Brown said Texas conducted studies that showed "we had more explosive plays when the quarterback was under the center as well as the tailback being right behind the quarterback."

But it all hinges on what happens up front. If the line performs the way Texas needs, the Longhorns have a chance to make the ground game work regardless of who lines up at tailback.

The Longhorns need to spruce up the running game.

Mack Brown thinks defenses are starting to catch up to the spread offense.

He’s noticed how much his defense has struggled against powerful, traditional running teams in bowl games.

And with a young quarterback replacing Colt McCoy, the Longhorns probably shouldn’t throw as much as they have been anyway.

Brown stacked it all up and came to a simple conclusion: Texas needs to spruce up its running game.

Mack Brown isn't going anywhere soon.

"The agreement we had is I would stay as long as I wanted to," Brown said. "I would be in total control while I stayed. [Muschamp] would be the defensive coordinator, Greg [Davis] would be the offensive coordinator and we would keep this rolling.

"I've told the staff that if any of you talk about the future, if any of you start discussing the next step, I'm going to fire you. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the kids and it's not fair to the other coaches on the staff."

 

Enough. And if Mack Brown and Will Muschamp are happy with the situation, everyone else should stop worrying about it.

Just feels good to type this. The Horns own the Sooners.

It's no secret that the two schools wield a lot of power in a conference that barely survived its own self-destruction in June. It is more of a secret that the administrations of both schools have helped shape conference and college sports history. Dodds and former OU AD Donnie Duncan basically brought the Big 12 together 15 years ago. These days, Dodds and Castiglione are colleagues and friends.

If it were only that easy. In the only relationship that matters to most fans, Oklahoma finds itself looking up at Texas during the latest trend in their epic rivalry.

Texas is just that devious. Yes, Belmont had it all planned out.

Mack Brown made the rounds in Bristol, Conn., this week. He went from set to set, chatting up every ESPN show as if he were sweeping through recruits' living rooms.

It was clever marketing. While the Big 12 was beginning its media sessions in the Dallas area, the Longhorns stole the national stage.

Do we have to say this again? Don't mess with Texas-OU.

New rivalry with Kansas State?

One of the comments I've seen popping up in season previews of the Texas Longhorns is that they are looking forward to having Kansas State back on the schedule.

Writers have dubbed the game, which will be played Nov. 6 at Snyder Family Stadium, a revenge match. The Wildcats defeated the Longhorns in each of their past two meetings, and were the only Big 12 team Colt McCoy was unable to beat during his stellar career.

So I'm sure there are some on Texas' roster who want the chance to knockoff K-State. But not as many as you might think.

Mack Brown is a pro at these media thingys.

Lamar Houston on the game with Alabama:

"We just ran out of time," Houston said. "If we kept playing, we would have won."

It's a theory that he has shared often with new teammate Rolando McClain, the Raiders' first-round pick from Alabama.

"Rolando knows the truth," Houston said, smiling. "They won by default."

 

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Jerrod Johnson answers five questions. Just five.

Are you the best quarterback in the country?

"I feel I'm the best quarterback in the country, but I think the best quarterback in the country will be ultimately tested on who wins the most games. Whatever that might be is how you ultimately judge that, but I definitely feel I'm competent and that my skills are comparable."

Now the Aggies want to be the prettiest girl in the room.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman opened his news conference Monday by saying the Big 12 needs the Aggies to return to national prominence. For that to happen, their hopes lie with two stars.

On offense, everything will revolve around senior quarterback Jerrod Johnson. He returns as one of the most respected players in the conference and has proved himself as a playmaker.

On defense, senior Von Miller will be the focal point. He will try to build on his whopping 17 sacks that led the NCAA last season. His challenge is to become a complete defender.

The Aggies want their money. NOW.

I do believe that is called extortion. They will stick around as long everyone pays.

 

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They leave that job for Nebraska. Sooners don't whine.

Bob Stoops boasted that his team never whined about the injuries that turned a national championship contender in September into a Sun Bowl champion in December.

Tight end Jermaine Gresham never played a snap in 2009 and was drafted in the first round of April's NFL draft. Reigning Heisman winner Sam Bradford didn't make it to halftime of the season opener before an injury to his throwing shoulder eventually required surgery. A rash of other injuries on both lines turned hopes of 14-0 before the season began into a frustrating reality of 8-5 at season's end.

"It happened," Stoops said. "You move on."

Landry Jones will lead the Sooners back to the promised land.

"Coming into this season . . . you can tell (Jones) is in command," Stoops said. "You can tell how confident he is and sure of what he's doing."

If Jones continues to develop, Stoops said, his level of performance will be comparable to that of Bradford and former Sooner quarterbacks Jason White and Josh Heupel.

"We've won (Big 12) championships, six of them, with five different quarterbacks. That says a lot," Stoops said. "And (Jones) is in that mold of all those guys."

Ryan Broles for Heisman?

"I wouldn't think you were crazy to say that," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops at Wednesday's Big 12 Conference media days.

OK, I'm saying (writing) it.

Is Broyles a Heisman long shot? Absolutely. Does he have no shot? Absolutely not.

Yea, Bob. Right back at ya'.

Even Stoops, between talking conference titles, admitted he hated to see Texas quarterback Colt McCoy suffer an injury early in the BCS title game.

"But let me say this," Stoops added quickly. "I wasn't rooting for Texas to win."

 

The Pokes

OU Insider has a Q&A with Poke coach Mike Gundy.

Q. Just wondering what was it about the offense that you like that made you want to switch to that?

COACH GUNDY: I felt like the number of players that we could recruit to fit this system was greater than the system that we had competed with in the years before. If you look at the areas that we recruit in Kansas and Oklahoma and Texas, Louisiana, most of the offenses have a number of wide receivers who can make plays and running backs. There's not as many tight ends. There's not as many fullbacks to recruit.
So we believe that the success in college football is all about the players you bring in, and there's a greater pool to choose from in this type of offense than what we have played with in the past.

 

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Things are coming up roses in the Big 12-2.

"There’s a great deal of excitement about the future of the Big 12," Beebe said. "There’s a renewed sense of commitment, a new sense of belonging and a greater appreciation for each other."

No one can talk about the future.

Texas coach Mack Brown said coaches were told to stay away from talking about the future of the league.

The Commish combats all those pesky rumors.

"I think there's such a leap to get to the airwaves or the Internet that it was, frankly, somewhat disappointing about how little attention was given to whether something was true or not," Beebe said. "We have not changed our revenue distribution formula whatsoever. Whatever institutions at any level in our conference were able to achieve before, they still have the same ability. There's no different -- nobody got more money."

Big, bad bullies OU and Texas would like some company.

Big 12 bullies Texas and Oklahoma will roll into Big 12 Media Days here Wednesday, and their presence will remind everyone of the conference's pecking order.

The Longhorns and Sooners have claimed the last six Big 12 championships. Each school has won a national crown in the past 10 years. And with Nebraska bailing the league after this year, their dominance should continue well into the next decade.

"I'm not happy about it, but that's a good way to put it," Oklahoma State defensive end Jamie Blatnick said. "So let's go take it from them."

Two schools will continue to dominate the conference.

Big 12 football’s structure after this season — 10 teams, round-robin schedule, no conference championship game — means one thing for certain. The dominance of Oklahoma and Texas should continue into the foreseeable future.

With a playoff game, the North Division champion has a puncher’s chance of winning the league title. But under a round-robin format, winning the title for any of the other eight teams likely means beating OU and Texas.

Maybe the Buffs should use all walk-ons?

If Colorado coach Dan Hawkins had as much luck with his blue-chip signees as he has had with his lesser-regarded recruits, the Buffaloes might be riding high. Instead, Hawkins is on the hot seat heading into his fifth season.

Through his first four years, none of which has resulted in a winning season, up seems to be down, and down seems to be up when projecting what CU recruits will do. Hawkins has gotten little or no production from some of his highest-rated recruits, including tailback Darrell Scott, linebacker Lynn Katoa and wide receiver Markques Simas.

On the other hand, former walk-on Scotty McKnight stands just three catches from becoming CU's all-time receptions leader, and CU's two-deep is full of formerly unheralded prospects, including 5-foot-6, 175-pound tailback Rodney Stewart, the team's leading rusher the last two seasons.

Once again, there is a quarterback question in Manhattan.

Probably not coming as a surprise to Kansas State fans, head coach Bill Snyder hasn't decided on a quarterback yet for the season opener at home on Sept. 4 against UCLA.

Odds are it will be senior Carson Coffman, as he has emerged as a slight favorite coming out of spring practices. But then again, Snyder said on Tuesday during Big 12 Football Media Days that sophomore Collin Klein and junior Sammuel Lamur will also be vying for the starting job.

The Tigers are all fired up about that game with the Sooners.

"It's a big game. It's our Homecoming game," said cornerback Kevin Rutland. "Since I've been here, we've never beaten them. So it's a big game for me, and our entire team. Losing to them in both championship games, it hurt. So we'll be ready for them."

Said running back Derrick Washington: "We're looking forward to that. The last time we played them in the Big 12 Championship, they put it on us.

 

Missouri's QB is ready to stay healthy.

The Parkway West graduate answered emphatically and instantly, earning Big 12 offensive player of the week honors in his splendid first game against Illinois and ascending among the nation's passing leaders to trigger MU's 4-0 start.

But it was what Gabbert did after being hobbled by an ankle injury for much of the rest of the season that perhaps most distinguished him.

There is a defense unit in Lubbock.

Now about that guys who play defense at Texas Tech. Yes, they really exist. Who knew?

"We want to let them know that they're part of the team," he said. "The one thing I've noticed about our defense is they didn't have a lot of confidence. You know, there wasn't a lot of talk about them.

"If it was, it was about not playing very well. I think they played pretty well last year. I'm a team player. I wanted the players to know pretty quick this is going to be about team. It's not going to be about special teams or defense or offense. It's going to be about team."

This next statement should frighten people and especially Robert Griffin. I probably know more about football than Baylor's left tackle.

Tough schedules don't bother the Cyclones.

The schedule reads like a prison sentence for a rebuilding program.

Iowa State's 2010 slate features 10 games against 2009 bowl teams, including two against BCS programs Iowa and Texas.

The epic degree of difficulty of the Cyclones' schedule, which has been ranked by analyst Phil Steele as the nation's toughest, has ISU slotted to finish last in the Big 12 North Division, according to the league's preseason media poll.

Bad taste in ties? Mike Gundy and Turner Gill have a lot in common.

Kansas coach Turner Gill (on Wednesday) and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy (Tuesday) both showed up at Big 12 Media Days wearing paisley ties.  But their similarities go far past wardrobe.

Tommy isn't on teevee anymore.

When new Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville volunteered his opinion in a live radio interview recently that he questions the long-term viability of the restructured Big 12 Conference because of its revenue distribution, he was reprimanded by commissioner Dan Beebe.

"In television they taught us to speak our mind," Tuberville said. "I forgot to get that out of my mind a few weeks ago."

Big 12-2 Controversy! Tommy Tuberville wants a 2004 revote for the national champion but Bob Stoops doesn't.

"Why in the world would you not give it to somebody? Oklahoma, us, Utah? It doesn't make any sense," Tuberville said. "Everybody played that year. So you give it to a team that wins it on the field – uh oh, they cheated. They broke rules. We're gonna take it away from 'em. Well, give it to somebody. Because there's other teams that did the right things that were there."

 

Crop Watch: Children of the Corn

There really isn't much to do in Nebraska, is there? The Cornhuskers are at it again.

Who knew the Texas football team had so much love for Nebraska?

The Longhorns said so many syrupy things about the Huskers at Wednesday's Big 12 media days that the floor of the interview room was declared a hazardous waste slick.

It is called being a class act. Something Cornhusker fans don't seem to know much about anymore.

Really, this is all much ado about nothing. A national pundit caused all this mess.

Osborne and Pelini have both expressed disappointment about the "Beat Texas" slogan on the video that came from the Nebraska marketing department. Probably not a big deal until a national pundit made it one by writing a column about it. The slogan has since been removed.

Fun with Bo Pelini, Barking Carnival style.

Pelini: That’s really why — you know, at the end of the bowl game, after the Arizona game, when I said Nebraska’s back, I wasn’t saying we arrived, and we’d won a national championship or anything like that.

Lose to Iowa State. Go 10-4. Win minor bowl game. Nebraska’s back!

In fairness, Pelini means that the culture of Nebraska football is back (minus steroids, felonies, championships). What says Nebraska football more than pushing around an undermanned league?

Roll left, roll right...Either way, you lost.

If you keep asking the same question, you get the same answer. Did the official tell you what you wanted to hear?

There was Walt Anderson at a podium again.

Except on Tuesday, there was no mention of Rule 12:3. No use of the word "egregious."

That’s the word most Husker backers probably associate with Anderson, the Big 12’s coordinator of officials, the man at the center of a news conference moments after last December’s conference championship. He assured everyone that the officials had gotten the call right.


 

And finally...

This is for Bob. Sooner video day.


 


And Bob...We weren't rooting for you, either.

 

BDR doesn't endorse any of the rubbish that is out there, we just link to it. If you happen to find something on the interwebs that might be of interest, please send the link to dimecoverage@gmail.com.

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