Big 12 Media Days (Day 1)

Sounds like the new rulebook for Division I is going to pass on Aug. 7. Baylor coach Art Briles has some words for Jimbo Fisher and anyone questioning BU's schedule. And much more from Day 1 of Big 12 Media Days.

Before we get to the Big 12 Media Day highlights from Day 1, a former SEC coach contacted me today to ask if Charlie Strong has always gotten after players in his summer camps the way he got after the defensive linemen at Texas’ Under The Lights camp on Friday.

At one point during that camp, all 30 D-linemen at the camp were doing up-downs for poor performance.


“Why would he do that?” the former SEC coach asked of Strong. “When we had camps, the kids were there on momma’s dime, and we wanted the players to work out a little and then get to the pool and have a good time.”


But in talking to sources close to Strong, that’s the way Strong has done things dating back to his days at Louisville.


“Charlie wants to see these guys go through some adversity and how they handle it,” a source close to Strong said. “If they don’t handle it well, that’s not a player Charlie wants playing for him.”


That former SEC coach added, "I don't worry about Texas ever being soft again under Charlie. That's for sure."

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Art Briles led off Big 12 Media Days and showed a little conference pride when told that Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said at ACC Media Days Monday that every conference should have to play a league championship game.

“Jimbo needs to worry about the ACC. That's what he needs to worry about," Briles told 1660 ESPN Radio in Waco. "I'm not telling them how to do their business; don't come to Texas and tell me how to do mine."

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Baylor is the only Big 12 team not playing a Power-5 conference team in the non-conference with games against SMU, Northwestern State and at Buffalo.

Briles and Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw sound like they are in no hurry to add those teams to future schedules.

McCaw said, "We're booked through 2020. We are in the fourth year of a six-year agreement with SMU. We have Rice coming up, and those are schools we have a history with. And then we've always scheduled an FCS school. That's just how we've done it."

McCaw joked that when Baylor was in its "15-year rebuilding period," schools from every major conference wanted to schedule Baylor. Now that Baylor has improved, McCaw said schools from other power leagues don't want to play the Bears.

"I used to have the SEC on line one, the ACC on line two and the Pac-12 on line three," McCaw joked. "Not anymore."

Briles said because Baylor plays nine conference games in the Big 12 those games will pass any strength of schedule requirement.

"You go 9-0 in the Big 12, you're going to be in the Final Four because you're going to beat probably two top 10 teams, probably two others in the top 20, and maybe another top 25, which is what we faced last year.

"That's a good resume. That's good enough to match any other conference."

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Briles says he tells his players to “turn hype into type. Make ‘em type it.”


Last year at Big 12 Media Days, I asked BU safety Ahmad Dixon if Baylor could win the Big 12, and he replied, "Can God save a hooker?"

Waco bar Scruffy Murphy's made the slogan into T-shirts.

When I asked BU receiver Antwan Goodley Monday if Baylor could repeat as Big 12 champs, he said, "Can God save another hooker?"

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TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose team is coming off a 4-8 season, said he's gotten back to being a football coach after getting distracted by things like helping to design TCU's renovated football stadium.

"I looked at pictures of myself from last year and felt like I'd aged 10 years," Patterson said. "Now, I'm back and focused on nothing but football."

I asked Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw how much Art Briles helped with the design of BU's new McLane Stadium, and McCaw said almost none.

"He wanted the recruiting room to be right, where recruits will be before they go out and watch  game or afterward," McCaw said. "Other than that, he said, 'I'm not an architect.'"

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Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury thinks this year’s team will be better than last year’s 8-5 team that beat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. He pointed to recruiting on defense as the reason, namely JUCO transfer DT Rika Levi, who is listed at 6-2, 350.


“I think we’ll be much better than we were last year,” Kingsbury said. “We’re really excited about some of the JUCO defensive linemen we hit on. Rika Levi is bigger than any guy we had last year on the defensive line and probably more athletic.”


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Kingsbury said the “summer accountability” rules approved by the NCAA, allowing coaches to spend two hours per week with a player during the summer helped the coaches establish freshmen on campus while also cutting into vacation plans.


When told WVU coach Dana Holgorsen had to cancel flights he had to the World Cup in Brazil, Kingsbury said, “I’m not making the same money Dana is, so I couldn’t afford all that.”


When Kingsbury and Holgorsen were on Kevin Sumlin’s staff in Houston, Kingsbury and Holgorsen lived together for two years.


“He’s definitely the coach in the Big 12 I can give a hard time,” Kingsbury said.


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Kingsbury and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady were in a photo with Mike Tyson in a photo booth at the Preakness horse race.

"That was a little scary being in that tight of a space with Iron Mike," Kingsbury said.  "He still looks like he can take some people down."

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Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy may have had the quote of the day, saying when he first started coming to Big 12 Media Days people thought he worked at the hotel staging the event.

"Now, I feel like Britney Spears walking in here with all the cameras and the pictures," Gundy said. 


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Kansas coach Charlie Weis was asked about the inability to develop a quarterback at KU, and he said, “It’s hard to do with marginal players around him.”

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Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby definitely sounded some alarms about the current state of the NCAA and made it clear the Division I membership needs to give the Power 5 conferences the autonomy they are seeking when a vote on new rules happens Aug. 7.

Bowlsby said enforcement at the NCAA - without the power of subpoena - has made it where, "I don't think it's an understatement to say that cheating pays right now."

Bowlsby later clarified that the 32 conferences in the NCAA need to do more to help with enforcement.

Everyone I talked to sounds confident the Division I membership will approve the new rules on Aug. 7.

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Oklahoma leads things off on Tuesday and the Longhorns close things down. We'll have wall-to-wall coverage.


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