Big 12 Conference Media Days

Les Miles talked about his excitement of the upcoming season and is fired up about the youth movement he has with this team. Miles summed up the entire squad for the inquisitive Big 12 media, starting with the offense. Confident in Donovan Woods as the starter, Miles believes Robert Reid will battle for the starting role once his shoulder is healed.

"Robert Reid, at quarterback, has had a real good summer even though he is slowed somewhat," said Miles. "There will be some competition from Donovan Woods for that position. We hope to run and pass with balance. Our tailbacks, between Vernand Morency and Seymore Shaw, will have to do what's asked of them in order for the offense to run. Our veterans will have to play stronger while our newcomers mature. We have the flexibility, in the offense, to throw more to the tight end (Billy Bajema). There is the possibility that our tight end will catch more balls this season. The offensive line has played together, and they understand what's expected of them. The ability of our offensive line to perform well will take pressure off of our quarterback and running backs."

Then the defense.
"We've got veterans on the inside of the line. Our linebackers are as strong and physical as they've been since I've been here. We have all five defensive backs returning, with some experienced veterans at safety."

Finally, the special teams.
"In Cole Farden, we're returning possibly the best punter in the Big 12. He's also knocked about 80 percent of his kickoffs through the end zone. We have our punt returner and kick returners back, so our return game is solid. Right now, we're looking for a field goal/PAT guy, and there will be a lot of competition for that spot."

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is doing something he has only done one other time as the Cats head coach, promote one of his players above the rest of the squad for an award, Darren Sproles for the Heisman.

"I haven't changed my approach to promoting players," said the veteran head coach. "What people fail to understand is that, that had nothing to do with exposure to Michael (Bishop) with the media. That was a completely different issue. When Michael wasn't available to the media it was for other reasons. It was for the same reasons that there could be the same restrictions placed on any player in our program. The same thing could happen to Darren, but Darren hasn't put himself in a position to do that. I don't want you to read into that. Michael Bishop is a whale of a young guy."

Sproles is less excited about promotion. He really reminds me of, Barry Sanders.

"It's doesn't mean that much to me," said Sproles, who struggles with speaking with the media. "I don't really care about the Heisman, but it would be good for the program. As long as my team wins games, I'm fine."

Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione was very forthright and had a good time with the media. The Aggies should be improved, if nothing else because of the motivation last fall's losing season had. All Big 12 safety Jaxson Appel explained.

"You don't block it out," said Appel of the feeling of last season. "You have to remember it for motivation. When it's 115 degrees outside, and you're running, you have to remember how much worse it felt to lose."

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney knows the feeling. Last season Iowa State was the only team to go winless in the Big 12. After three straight bowl seasons it was a shock.

"None of us were proud of last year," said the gragarious head coach. "We were all embarrassed and disappointed about it, but that was last year. Let's move on and let's get ready for this year. Collectively, there is a renewed passion and intensity back into the program that last year was unacceptable and we need to get back to where we were when every Saturday we have a chance."

Quarterback play may have been the biggest problem of several for the Cyclones and McCarney is intent on fixing that even if it involves a rotation of upstart run/pass signal caller Bret Meyer and incimbent Austin Flynn.

"It's really open between Austin Flynn and Bret Meyer. It was a great battle in the spring and I just really like both those kids. I've got a lot of trust in both those guys."

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