Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Big 12 notebook
By David Ubben
Iowa State: Iowa State had one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2010, and that won't change in 2011 with 11 of the Cyclones' 12 games coming against BCS teams. That included nonconference games against in-state rival Iowa and reigning Big East champ UConn. That schedule will lighten up in the future, though, a welcome sign for the ISU faithful.
"My wife likes our job, and I sort of do, too," Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads said. "A change is in place in 2012 and beyond to get away from that challenging of a schedule."
Kansas: The 2010 season was a long one in Lawrence, but the early steps to a more promising future may begin in fall camp, thanks to increased competition. That stemmed from a calculated move by Turner Gill to redshirt 15-16 freshmen, which he thought would benefit the program in the long term, even while his program suffered through a trying 3-9 season. This year, he'll add 25-26 more freshmen to the program.
"This year we got competition. That's what we didn't have last year at positions," he said. "When you've got competition at just about every position, you're going to improve your play of your football team."
Kansas State: The Wildcats are 5-2 against Texas in Big 12 play, including wins in the past three meetings. In the new Big 12, the two teams will play every season, but coach Bill Snyder balked at the idea of looking forward to seeing the Longhorns every season.
"We've just been fortunate, fortunate that our players play extremely hard. Fortunate that … things just kind of fell into place in several of those ball games that we've played with the University of Texas," he said. "I assure you that we don't have anybody's number. … I just hope we can compete this year with them."
Oklahoma: It's been over two months since Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box's death, and though the initial shock and grief is over, he'll still be felt in the Sooners program for the 2011 season and beyond.
"I don't know how I [got through] it, to be honest with you. And I think the players, more than anything, really, I think, leaned on each other, us as coaches leaned on them," Stoops said. "There's no words that truly can describe how you hurt and how the players hurt. Austin was a great, great spirit in the locker room. … He was a friend to everybody, and he's one of those special characters, a young person that everybody loved to see."
Texas Tech: Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville received a reprimand from the Big 12 last summer for saying "We have a 10-team league right now, but I just don't know how long that's gonna last, to be honest with you."
That was a radio interview, but this time around at Big 12 media days, Tuberville stuck to the Big 12 script.
"I said a few things last year. And, of course, I believe that," he said. "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."
Tuberville, though, left with one last quip.
"That's a political answer, right? I worked on that," he said.