We’ve sent five staffers to AT&T Stadium in Arlington for this year’s Big 12 media days — columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden and writers Brian Davis, Suzanne Halliburton and Danny Davis. Here are their takeaways from Day 1, which included coaches and players from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas:
Bohls: Horns Down on that Horns Down ‘ruling’
I couldn’t help myself, so I asked Bob Bowlsby if the league had resolved the ongoing, raging controversy last year concerning the Horns Down gesture.
Asked if everyone is clear on the subject, the Big 12 commissioner said, “I don’t know if everyone is clear or not, but the officials are instructed to enforce anything they consider unsportsmanlike conduct. Players are held to a certain standard of conduct.”
OK, we all clear now?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Brian Davis: The NCAA transfer portal ain’t all that
Is the transfer portal a turnoff for coaches?
It’s obvious that administrators and coaches are already tired of the NCAA transfer portal. From the sound of it, going into the portal is a turnoff at this point. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said players who have a bad practice or a bad week are tempted to just leave and not stick it out.
“I don’t think that was ever envisioned and it shouldn’t work that way,” Bowlsby said. TCU coach Gary Patterson said he tells his staff, “Don’t bring me portal parents or portal kids.” Chances are, if that athlete wants to leave, he didn’t do enough homework up front. The portal is simply not the panacea some believe it to be.
Danny Davis: New Tech coach, new Tech offense
Texas won’t step into the spotlight at AT&T Stadium until Tuesday, but a Longhorn still received a shout out on the opening day of media days.
Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells mentioned UT defensive coordinator Todd Orlando alongside Gary Patterson and Iowa State assistant Joe Heacock when discussing the good defensive minds in the Big 12.
Orlando’s defense forced three red-zone turnovers in Lubbock last year, but Tech’s new offense that utilizes a tight end and ranked second nationally in scoring last year at Utah State will present a different challenge for the Longhorns on Black Friday.
Golden: No pressure in Lubbock? Oh, there’s pressure
New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said the recent successes of basketball coach Chris Beard and baseball coach Tim Tadlock has made the challenge he’s facing in Lubbock even more exciting.
“I don’t think their success puts any more pressure on me or our staff or our program than the pressure that was on it on December 1st, to be dead honest with you,” Wells said. “I took the job based on a lot of other factors, and none of those were considered. I respect the question. I think it’s really good.”
It’s all good in July when every team is 0-0. But the real heat will come in the fall when the Red Raiders take the field as a team picked to finish seventh in the Big 12’s preseason media poll.
On the bright side, even if Wells struggles, he could end up with an NFL head coaching job like his predecessor, Kliff Kingsbury.
Halliburton: Even at 7-6, last year was one of Patterson’s best
The worst bowl game of last season could’ve been TCU’s 10-7 overtime victory over California.
OK, if you loved defense, then this was your game. It had nine interceptions and it took extra time for any team to break double digits. Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson is a defensive guy, so he loved the performance. His team, which was decimated by injuries, especially at quarterback, managed to qualify for a bowl and win it.
Patterson had some swagger Monday as he addressed the media. He’s always a fun interview because his tangents can be revealing. Last season, even with the 7-6 record, might’ve been one of his best as a coach. And the weeks before the start of training camp are the most delightfully optimistic times of the year.