Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Big 12 media days: Best of Day 1
By ESPN.com staff
Day 1 has come and gone, and here's the best of what we saw and heard from half the league:
Biggest attraction: Jon Kimble, The West Virginia Mountaineer. The Big 12 mascots were in attendance on Monday to shoot a commercial, but the newest one is the only mascot who can talk. He did a whole lot of it on Monday, explaining his outfit, meeting with media and generally spreading the word of the blue and gold. He was a hit, even though his powder horn was empty after airport security made him remove the gunpowder for his gun, easily the biggest of any Big 12 mascot. “I’m surprised they’re letting him run around here with a musket,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops joked. He showed off his authentic coonskin cap, letting at least one media member (ahem) try it on, and even talked trash to Stoops before the day had begun.
Biggest absentee(s): Missouri and Texas A&M. Neither school was mentioned much on Monday, even in passing. The only mention on stage came from Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who lost two starters due to injuries suffered on Missouri's artificial turf, which came under criticism late last season. It "was not conducive really to being safe," said Tuberville. The Tigers replaced the turf this summer.
Biggest trend: Quarterbacks getting married. It wasn't a very newsy day at Big 12 media days, where the league didn't announce an official new TV deal or have to answer questions about stability. Instead, two of the league's quarterbacks showed up with wedding rings. Kansas State's Collin Klein and Oklahoma's Landry Jones both tied the knot this summer. Jones was outed by his center, Ben Habern, as the worst dancer at his wedding, but Klein's came and went without a speech from the Big 12's resident silver fox, Bill Snyder. "That wasn't my day," Snyder said.
Best quote: Habern on his newly married QB. The biggest difference between single Jones and married Jones? "He's a lot happier now. It's not hard to figure out why."
Saddest moment: Paul Rhoads revealing a clean-shaven face. There was no moment of silence before the Iowa State coach began answering questions from the media, but there should have been. Rhoads was the proud owner of a strong salt-and-pepper beard all offseason, but he fell in line with the rest of the Big 12 coaches before media day, showing up with nary a hair on his face. Bring it back! Even his players were upset at the loss. LB A.J. Klein was rocking shoulder-length hair of his own, and he wants to see the beard this fall.
Second-best quote: Bill Snyder, Kansas State. Was he surprised about Klein maturing into one of the league's biggest stars last season? "I'm too old to be surprised." Snyder said. He followed it up even stronger. "Believe it or not, it's not my modus operandi to place expectations on young guys in regards to their performance level." And you wonder why Kansas State constantly overachieves relative to its recruiting talent?
Here's hoping Day 2 is a little more interesting than a quiet Day 1.