Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Big 12 Media Days: Best of Day 2
By David Ubben
Another successful day at the Westin Galleria on the new, shorter Big 12 Media Days. Here was the best of Day 1, and now for Tuesday's top moments.
Best one-liner: Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tuberville, surely mindful of the reprimand he received last summer after he questioned the Big 12's future publicly, was asked a similar question and had his response ready.
"I don't know what the future is, but I don't think there's any doubt we can sustain with 10 teams and we can make the best out of it and even become a stronger conference maybe than what it was," he said.
But he couldn't resist once he finished.
"That's a political answer, right?" he asked, drawing laughs before he stepped off the dais. "I worked on that."
"I was going to wear all three of them, but I decided to just bring one," he said. "I didn't want to blind anybody."
Best dressed: Texas Tech
The Red Raiders take home the overall title for the second season in a row, narrowly edging out the Kansas State players with the Powercat-embroidered blazers.
Texas Tech players, coaches and media staff were all suited up, complete with Double T logo lapel pins.
Coach Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma contingent made a unique entrance into Big 12 Media Days.
Best entrance: Oklahoma
The Sooners ascended the escalator for the morning interview session into a throng of cameras and reporters, as well as TV cameras. No other team faced that kind of attention throughout the day, as the national championship contenders took their turn during media days alongside four other teams picked to finish as the Big 12's bottom four teams.
According to Bill Haisten at the Tulsa World, at one point during the coaching one-on-ones, Stoops was surrounded by 29 reporters while no other coach had more than five firing off questions at them.
Best Star Wars reference: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
Asked if the Sooners needed 5-7 Texas to have a better year in 2011, Lewis replied, "Does Obi-Wan need Darth Vader?" Lewis, who was also shilling for his own television network throughout the day, was asked about the comments later in the day.
"Of course we're the good guys!" he said.
Biggest eyebrow raiser: Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tech fans couldn't have enjoyed hearing Tuberville admit his reasons for canceling a game with TCU. Asked if there was any truth to the perception he couldn't win it right now based on the team's current construction, Tuberville admitted there was "a little bit of that as a coach."
"That's really probably not the type of team we want to play right now. Not that we didn't want to play them. It was obvious that we had somebody had to go in that slot where they were at, you know, pretty much fit what we needed to do," he said.
Tuberville did say the Red Raiders eventually "need" to play what he called a "natural game," but for now, it won't be happening.
Most underrated interview: Kelechi Osemele, LT, Iowa State
I hadn't had a chance to meet Osemele until Tuesday, but I was impressed, and I'd expect his coaches (past, present and future) would all agree. His physical skills are obvious, but he was engaging, funny and any time a player drops a "cognizant" in an interview, it's probably going to be a good one. Osemele didn't attract as much attention of some of the conference's bigger names in attendance on Tuesday, but he should have.
Best salesman: Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Rhoads opened his time at the dais with a reminder of the impressive upgrades on the way at Iowa State, including a new indoor facility, big scoreboard and sound system. The sound system and scoreboard are expected to be ready for the 2011 season, and the indoor facility will follow in 2012, giving Rhoads another recruiting tool to help put his 2012 class together.
"The video scoreboard wasn't something I had in mind [when I took the job], but very quickly got thinking that way after the opening game of 2009. The sound system was well beyond it's time," he said. "And the environment of Jack Trice Stadium is really going to be enhanced by this new video board as well as the audio component of it, which I think is maybe just as important. Having moved into our current facility back in 1996, when we moved from the Big Eight to the Big 12, and knowing what was in place there, yeah, I knew sooner rather than later we were going to need a brand-new football facility. And I'm very appreciative that Jamie Pollard and the administration saw that way as well."