A colleague of mine at Triple Play Sports Radio, where I host the daily radio show Sports Talk with Robert Allen and Friends, wondered out loud on his show if Big 12 Football Media Days, which start on Monday in Dallas, were really necessary or even relevant anymore.
Casey Kendrick, who made the comments, cited "coach speak" answers, repeated optimism from every coach and player, and lack of opportunity or nerve on the part of the media to ask controversial and cutting edge questions. I called into his show and countered that there are some good questions asked (check Paul Finebaum this past week during SEC Media Days with either Alabama's Nick Saban or Mississippi's Hugh Freeze as an example).
People are in the mood to talk and hear some football. After all, one more Kevin Durant departure story in The Oklahoman and I may go over my wife's head and cancel the subscription that I've wanted to deep six for years.
Last week sports radio everywhere was talking Saban's exchange with Finebaum over Cam Robinson's summer incident in Louisiana and whether he would be suspended for the game with USC. The Big 12 Media Days should be loaded, especially day two with league favorite Oklahoma, everybody's hot seat coach Charlie Strong from Texas, and now a four-member contingent from Baylor all on the docket.
I believe that while it all won't be positive like the schools and the Big 12 will like, this will be an interesting and news worthy Big 12 Football Media Days gathering.
I disagree with Casey and I bet most of his shows next week will be driven by the news and discussion out of Dallas. All that said, what are the most pressing questions for each coach and player? I'm taking my shot at it below and I welcome your response and suggestions as good advice will be loaded in my homework notes and readied for the two days in Dallas.
Day One (Monday)
Head Coach Gary Patterson: Realizing that you played a lot of young players on defense and gained a lot on that side of the ball, how can you expect to win the league with a new (transfer) quarterback, mostly new receivers, and four new starters on the offensive line in a league dominated by offense and quarterbacks?
DE Josh Carraway: How much pressure will there be on the defense to carry this team early on and is it a throwback to the days before the spread offense at TCU?
RB Kyle Hicks: How good are Kenny Hill and Foster Sawyer at quarterback and how close can they bring the offense to where it was with Trevone Boykin?
OC Austin Schlottmann: How far along is this new combination of guys on the offensive line?
LB Travin Howard: How much do you and other defenders feel like you went through the ringer with Coach Patterson last season as a young group with much expected of you?
Head Coach: David Beaty: Tell me about the two former Oklahoma State coaches, Joe DeForest and Todd Bradford, that you added to your staff, part of six new assistants at KU?
QB Montell Cozart: So where is the quarterback competition between you and Ryan Willis? Most sources have Willis projected to start.
LB Joe Dineen Jr.: How much burden can the defense take and how much should they expect to take?
FS Fish Smithson: You were the Division I leader in solo tackles per game last season in the NCAA. How do keep from being the leader again?
Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury: How close is the defense getting to be able to play alongside the offense and how can the offense help or is this style of offense always going to be a hindrance to a developing defense?
OG: Baylen Brown: You're the only returning starter on the offensive line, but does the ability of Patrick Mahomes really help in a new group establishing itself?
QB: Patrick Mahomes II: First, can you really throw a baseball 95 miles per hour? Are you sold on your playmakers on offense for this season?
CB: Justis Nelson: Five starters returning on this defense, how close is the Tech defense under DC David Gibbs to getting to an acceptable level?
Head Coach Matt Campbell: When your Toledo team beat Iowa State in overtime last season what were your thoughts and could you even imagine that you would end up being head coach there at the end of the season? How nice is it to have former Oklahoman Michael Warren at running back?
FS Kamari Cotton-Moya: Your thoughts on switching to the 4-2-5 defense, kind of the defense dejour in the Big 12 these days versus spread offenses?
QB Joel Lanning: Discuss your first start – a 24-0 win over Texas – and then the 35-31 loss to Oklahoma State. Is Jacob Park competition for you at quarterback?
WR Allen Lazard: Tell me about Joel Lanning as a quarterback?
Head Coach Mike Gundy: You preach how much little or no summer distractions can help a team, it looks like you had that? Tell me about what Barry J. Sanders can do for your team?
QB Mason Rudolph: How much do you actually push ideas and schemes you like with OC Mike Yurcich and the offensive staff? How much do you think you are like Peyton Manning in dedication?
FS Jordan Sterns: Coach Hammerschmidt says you have to be told to go home, how deep does your passion run for football?
WR James Washington: Tell me about your work ethic and where it comes from?
LB Chad Whitener: How much further are you along from the experience you gained last year when you had to take over the MLB position at midseason with Ryan Simmons' injury?
Day Two (Tuesday)
Head Coach Charlie Strong: How nervous will you be if you have to go with the combination of an offensive coordinator first time calling plays at this level with a true freshman quarterback?
TE Caleb Bluiett: It is often said that a tight end can be a young quarterback's best friend, so are you feeling the warm fuzzies with Bueschele?
DT Paul Boyette Jr.: You're older, you're married, so how do you change the mindset in this program and get back to the confidence that Texas has seemingly always exuded?
FS Dylan Haines: Tell me what it is like playing for DC Vance Bedford these days?
OT Kent Perkins: What has the change been like from Joe Wickline to Matt Mattox as offensive line coach?
Head Coach Dana Holgorsen: You switched Joes in letting Joe DeForest go and hiring Joe Wickline. How does that change your team and how many offensive duties are you relinquishing?
QB Skylar Howard: What did you do in the offseason and summer to become a better quarterback and has the offense been tweaked some since last season?
OC Tyler Orlosky: You're in the middle and four of five starters return on the offensive line, can this offensive line dominate week in and week out this season?
DE Noble Nwachukwu: How much better than 8.5 sacks can you be this season and explain how hard it is to rush spread QBs in this league?
FS Dravin Askew-Henry: Three players in the secondary drafted into the NFL last April, yet the talk is that under your leadership this is still a good secondary, how good?
Head Coach: Jim Grobe: What on earth made you decide to take on this task and has it been more than you thought with player defections and the outside attacks?
CB Ryan Reid: Where has the stability been in the coaching staff for players, Kaz Kazadi? Phil Bennett? All the assistants? Your thoughts on Jim Grobe?
QB Seth Russell: How different will it be with no Art Briles? Didn't his personality really end up being personified by this program? How about his influence on the offense, it was his?
OC Kyle Fuller: Overall, what is the atmosphere, the daily feeling like around the program this summer and has it progressively improved? Your thoughts on Jim Grobe?
Head Coach Bill Snyder: After the debacle last time you retired when Ron Prince ran the program down, will you have the initiative to try and influence with the President and AD who they hire as the next head coach?
SS Dante Barnett: Did you seriously consider declaring for the NFL Draft and what made you either not consider it or not do it?
QB Jesse Ertz: Incredible bad luck tearing up your knee on the first play of the season last fall. How did you use that time to improve as a quarterback and talk about your resolve to be the guy?
OC Dalton Risner: Discuss living up to the reputation of offensive line play at K-State and how it is working for your coach Charlie Dickey?
DE Jordan Willis: Talk about the home field advantage at Kansas State, 27 consecutive sellouts. Do you guys hear and feel the crowd especially on Wabash Cannonball?
Head Coach Bob Stoops: You start with a crucial game for your program and the conference as a whole with the game at Houston. Where are you with the decision on punishment for cornerback Jordan Thomas?
LB Jordan Evans: How good can that linebacker group be with the losses and youth in that group moving forward?
QB Baker Mayfield: I heard you tell Dean Blevins that the early season games at Houston and with Ohio State have ramped up the energy of the summer, can you compare it to past summers? Talk about the importance of the Houston game, a big game not only for OU but for the Big 12 image as well.
RB Samaje Perine: Where are you with your rehab? Discuss the kind of confidence you have personally in your ability to run on any defense.
FS Ahmad Thomas: How has the arrival of Kyler Murray at quarterback and having him available to run scout team work helped the defense, going against a really good quarterback daily?