Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thoughts from Big 12 media days: Day 2
By David Ubben
IRVING, Texas -- Kansas State and Texas Tech were the only two schools so far to show up in suits and ties, rather than team polos. Big picture, I don't think it matters or influences much past the way players approach the day, but there's no doubt the Red Raiders carried themselves professionally, and coach Tommy Tuberville's answer to why they did it was impressive and indicative of the type of coach he is.
"You're representing not just you, but all your teammates and all the people that love Texas Tech that have either given money or spent a lot of time," Tuberville said. "We're not trying to impress anybody. It's just, hey, this is what's expected of us. The more that you expect, the more you usually get out of it."
Before coming to media days, he told his players if they didn't have a suit, they better get one.
Here's a few other thoughts, observations and notes from Day 2 at Big 12 media days:
- Commissioner Dan Beebe remained pretty consistent in his Q&A on Tuesday afternoon. The three biggest points: The new Big 12 loves the idea of playing a round-robin schedule in both basketball and football, so there's no plans to expand in the future. I'll say what I've said before again on the issue: The only thing that's going to change that is Oklahoma or Texas being left out of the national title game based on the strength of the Big 12. Who knows if that will ever happen. There also almost surely won't be a title game, although the league is looking to move some games to December as a replacement -- just not Oklahoma vs. Texas.
- Also, Colorado seems likely to leave in 2011, but the details of that -- as well as the withdrawal fees for Nebraska and the Buffaloes -- are still being finalized. Beebe has no plans to disclose any of the details of those ... details to the media until they're finished. Although, once camps start, my guess is the media's going to be too busy with actual football to try to hunt them down.
- The Big 12 will assess raising withdrawal fees for any team attempting to leave the conference in the future.
- Beebe attacked the idea that he and the Big 12 were reactive rather than proactive during this summer's realignment mess. "We got great information that was produced by outside consultants on a number of programs in case we had to repopulate the conference or if there was interest in expansion. I didn't sit there and just bury my head about expansion," he said. There will be a least a few people who won't believe that, but I heard from plenty who didn't think much of Beebe's secretive "process" to save the conference, either. And that worked out way better than anyone thought it would after hearing him refuse to explain it.
- Tuberville admitted he was really surprised at how talented the running backs he inherited were, and expressed a hope that they'll allow the Red Raiders to run the ball more effectively than they have in the past. "I'm thinking we're going to have a couple of running backs that are probably 5-foot-8, 150 pounds because you don't think of a running game," he said. "We've got two running backs that can play. We've got Eric Stephens and Baron Batch. We're going to use those guys. Might be on screens. Might be draw plays. We're going to have some plays that are drawn up where we're going to be more physical. We'll take some snaps (Ed. note: Gasp!) under center, but we have to get those guys involved to run play-action, to keep them off the quarterback."
- Kansas State officially joined Nebraska as a team who got little clarity in its quarterback situation after the spring. The Wildcats also have three guys competing, although coach Bill Snyder said Carson Coffman, who began last year as the starter, has a slight lead. "We just do not have a clear-cut No. 1 right now," Snyder said. "We'll make a selection as it's clear cut in our minds." Snyder expressed some faith that either Coffman, Collin Klein of Sammuel Lamur will emerge to help that occur, and he better hope he's right. I'm a firm believer -- as most are, I'm sure -- that quarterback controversies can't end too early. Although, it does give people like me something to write about.
- Missouri's not shying away from the gravity of this season's matchup in Lincoln, the last game between Missouri and Nebraska for some time. Missouri running back Derrick Washington told reporters he wants that bell (the rivalry trophy) back in Columbia this year, and it could find a permanent home on the winner's campus after 2010.
- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy weighed in on the recent Dez Bryant controversy with some interesting comments. In regards to RoyWilliams'PadsAndDezBryant-gate, there's obviously a lot of room for debate between the anti-hazing folks and the people who think carrying some plastic pads 50 yards isn't pretty far behind the line of assault or harassment. "I don't think that's ever been a question with Dez Bryant -- his drive to have success when he crosses the white lines, there's no question about it. He is not going to be intimidated by anybody at any time, and whatever he has to do in order to have success on that field he's going to do it," Gundy said. "I don't know Roy Williams. I don't know what goes on. I don't really think it's important for me to comment on that. I think the only thing that's important or maybe what you're looking for is he is serious about football and he doesn't like distractions. Dez got caught up in a difficult situation, made a poor decision and paid a very dear price [ineligibility for the final nine games] for it. But, I don't think anybody's ever questioned his want to have success on the field and his willingness to pay the price in practice and do whatever it takes to give himself a chance to have success." Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips sided with Bryant on the issue on Tuesday, and his opinion is the one that counts in the matter, but that won't end the debate.
- One final note: At least one player at media days I'll keep anonymous had some Gucci sunglasses out in plain view of the media for his interview session. I'm not at all suggesting any improprieties, but with all the talk of agents and improper benefits lately, flashing high-end, expensive sunglasses in front of the media is probably not a prudent decision.