Big 12 Media Days - Day 2 notebook

Texas out of national championship pursuit? West Virginia finally ready to play in the Big 12?

During the final years of Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas, no matter how prolific the Longhorns had been, there was a drop off. The Longhorns fell short of expectations, having finish shy of ten wins in each of Brown’s last three seasons.

First-year coach Charlie Strong was faced with an immediate and abrupt questions Tuesday during the second day of the Big 12 Media Days. He was asked exactly how far away Texas is from competing for a national championship.

“You know what happens,” said Strong, who has won two national championships as an assistant. “One day you wake up, you’re the national champion. It’s all about our players going out, competing each and every day.”

The comment reaffirmed his earlier opinion that Texas is not ready to compete for a national championship – at least not this year.

“It’s all about our players and just making sure we go compete,” Strong said. “We as a coaching staff need to make sure the preparation is there.”

A Growing Target

It’s hard to believe that one of the top receivers in the Big 12 last year could actually grow even better, but that’s the sentiment that Kansas State coach Bill Snyder passed along about junior Tyler Lockett, who is on the Biletnikoff Watch List.

After 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, the two-time All-American has improved his demeanor on and off the field.

"Tyler does exactly that, he’s an extremely hard worker,” Snyder said. “… He’s one of those guys that you leave the practice field, you go in your office, you look out the window and you’ve got the equipment managers out there twiddling their thumbs wanting to get the lights turned off and Tyler won’t let them because he’s out there catching balls of the machine and keeping quarterbacks out to throw to him.

“So just a young guy that’s he’s got all his marbles in the right place.”

Start of a Cyclone

Iowa State opens the season with North Dakota State, and Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads knows firsthand how dangerous the Bison can be.

He watched live as the three-time FCS champions defeated Kansas State last year. The Bison have won 24 straight games and 43 of the past 45 games.

“We’re well aware of how dangerous they are and how effective that they can be no matter who it is that they’re playing,” Rhoads said.

Right now, Rhoads is still unsure of who is going to be the main man behind center for the Cyclones. He said he hopes to name a starter before August 16 – the team’s second scrimmage. Rhoades sees the quarterback dilemma as an open competition.

“There will be a lot of coaches that would like to be able to say that as well, and I looked forward to the competition as it begins on the fourth,” he said.

So long, Big East

As the West Virginia Mountaineers prepare for their third season in the Big 12, coach Dana Holgorsen has noticed a big difference between the team’s current and previous conferences.

“The days of rolling through the Big East and being able to play in a BCS game are long gone,” he said. “We’re not thinking about that anymore. … It’s a whole different ballgame right now.”

After winning five conference games in each of the six final seasons in the Big East, West Virginia has won just six conference games in two seasons in the Big 12.But last year the Mountaineers lost twice in overtime.

Holgorsen faces the task of re-invigorating the fan base in Morgantown.

“Hopefully, we can put a season together that everybody will be proud of,” he said.

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