LJWorld.com weblogs Conference chatter
Big 12 Media Days, Day 3
1:58 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Be sure to check out our final Big 12 Soundoff podcast from Big 12 media days, which was just posted.
Topics include the media-friendly Bill Snyder, the hilarious Mike Leach, Texas Tech mohawks and what stuck out the most to each of us during Big 12 media days.
1:02 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Who says Bill Snyder can't relate to the younger generation?
Kansas State linebacker Alex Hrebec related a funny story about Snyder at media days Wednesday.
"We don't wear earrings in the (football) complex, and one time he said if he would wear them, he'd take them out," Hrebec said with a smile. "But (he said) he doesn't wear them because he couldn't find a pair that he liked."
KSU tight end Jeron Mastrud said Snyder was a stickler for details, making sure his Wildcats paid attention to the little things.
"He's a lot sharper than you think," Mastrud said. "People want to say he's old — yeah, he's older, but an old coach can still coach."
Hrebec said that when Snyder arrived, he had already done his research. The coach already seemed to know what cities players came from, details about their families and what degrees his players were working toward.
Mastrud hopes the new regime will help the Wildcats to a victory in Nov. 7's Sunflower Showdown.
"I haven't won one yet," Mastrud said, "so I'm looking forward to that game to have my first opportunity to go win one and get that Governor Trophy back."
12:33 p.m. update: By Dugan Arnett
He's the face of one of the most storied college football programs in history. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy last season and a leading candidate to win it this year. In 2008, he was the most accurate quarterback in the history of the sport.
But one day last week, when his quarterback counterparts were likely taking in the final days of summer on their respective campuses, University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy spent eight hours under a Brownwood, Texas, lugging hay bales with his granddad.
"It's the worst labor that a man can do, I promise you," said McCoy, who opted to return to the Longhorns for his senior season despite being a projected first-round NFL draft pick. "If you ask anybody that's baled hay before, they'll tell you. It's worse than building a fence — which I did for him earlier this summer, also."
On this day, the two loaded 350 bales onto a trailer and then unloaded them, one by one, into a nearby barn. According to McCoy, the hay was enough to feed his grandfather's cattle for a year. and by the end of the day, his fingers — which, some would argue, are sort of important — were in pain from constantly grabbing the wire that holds the bales together.
McCoy said today that he has attempted to inform Granddad that his plate is rather full these days, and that hay-baling is a rather demanding way to spend his limited down time.
Although, he admits, the pleas have been largely unsuccessful.
"I tell my granddad, 'Hey, I kind of got a job at school. I'm kind of busy,'" McCoy said. "And he said, 'I know, but if you get a chance, I could really use some help.'"
12:09 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Make no mistake: The life of media days is Mike Leach.
Here's a video where he discusses technology. The original question asked was if he was the type of guy that always spends time on a laptop computer surfing the Internet.
I would like to say more, but I don't want to ruin anything.
Please spread to your friends. I have a feeling this could be the next YouTube sensation for Mr. Leach.
11:22 p.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
I've called Texas Tech coach Mike Leach the ultimate quote machine.
There's no question Leach is one of the more colorful quotes in the conference and probably the country. These quotes don't need a lot of introduction. As one of our readers, Raider, requested, here are the best "Leach-isms" from today's Media Days:
On losing to Oklahoma and the South's three-way tie:
"The truth of the matter is if we lost to Oklahoma the second game of the season instead of the second-to-last game of the season, we would have gone to the championship game."
"My opinions are pretty well-documented. I think the bowls need to be an important part of a future playoff system, which I hope comes about. I don't know if it will. I'm trying to think of a way to freshen up my annual bowl statement or my annual playoff statement (laughter). There's a lot of 'Oh my god, this has never been done, we've never heard of such a thing. How can you suggest that this has never happened in college football?' Everybody else does it this way. There ain't nothing unique about what I'm saying. I'm the mainstream. This other system, that's what's not mainstream. The mainstream is everybody has playoffs that involves a lot of teams. None of this let's have four (teams), and play one or any of that crap, you know? Let's cut the regular season back to 10 games, and you can have some well-placed off weeks, you can have an NIT in between to fill in the blanks, and let's have a 64-team playoff, the champion will play 16 games."
(Reporter starts laughing)
"You see this guy (reporter) here? What, I'm not off the mark here. You're off the mark. Everyone else does it this way. Hey, Texas high school football champion? 16 games. Division II champion? 16 games. Division III — well, depending, because some of those guys will fudge on a game — 15 or 16 games. NFL, the old guys? Even more than that. Everybody thinks that I went into a cave and carved all this out. No, I walked down the street and it was like, 'Uh, baseball, boom (smacks his forehead with his hand). Softball, boom. Basketball, boom. Division II, NFL, boom (laughter)'.
Here's another one, when asked about offensive lineman's Brandon Carter's game-day, face-paint look:
"I don't think it intimidates anybody. A couple things about him. Yeah, kind of looks like a curveball, but it's going to come in as a fastball straight down the middle. He's got the highest test score on our team. He's a ridiculously articulate person.
He's a real intense guy before the game. He's one of those guys that wishes we were playing a doubleheader instead of one game. He plays really intense. And you can literally see, regardless of the score, he's disappointed the game's over. And you're talking about just a huge, gigantic person ambling around, diving at stuff, hitting stuff, wrecking stuff, and then looks up at the clock and is upset that it's over.
You also learn something about tattoos and body piercings. What you discover, even though it's not really my cup of tea, there's kind of a creative element to it. He's asked me if I want to get one. And I've pointed out, no, it looks very good on him, but if I was interested in something, it would probably be a piercing because, when I got tired of it, I could pull it out.
And you don't have anything to look forward to with regard to me and piercing, believe me."
I really don't know what else to say. The guy is the most original quote I've probably ever heard.
10:52 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
As promised, here is a brief video from our tour of the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
What stood out most (obviously) was the center-hung video board. Oftentimes, I had trouble zooming out enough on my video camera to get the whole screen in the picture.
Dugan Arnett and I actually had a discussion about whether the video board had more square feet than both our apartments combined. After a while, we decided the board was probably bigger.
I always wondered how punts wouldn't hit that big board, but our tour guide said they actually researched the topic, measuring how high the Cowboys punter's kicks sailed. We were told that none of the test punts would have hit the big board (and if a punt does hit the board in a game, the teams will replay the down).
As Dugan mentioned in yesterday's podcast, Plasma TVs also serve as menus in the concourses. There are more than 3,000 plasma TVs in the stadium in all.
Another item of note: Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was asked afterwards whether Cowboys Stadium would be considered as a permanent site for the Big 12 football championship.
Beebe didn't say yes, but he also didn't say no.
From hearing him talk, I would say there is definite interest from the Big 12 in considering Arlington for the permanent Big 12 football site.
I'm not sure how it would work exactly (would Oklahoma City and Kansas City then split the Big 12 basketball championships?), but I thought him not ruling out the possibility spoke volumes about the potential of having a permanent site for the Big 12 football championship.
9:35 a.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
Another funny Bill Snyder quote: When asked how he was different this time around: "Well, less hair. There's no dark tint to it whatsoever," Snyder said.
I asked K-State linebacker Alex Hrebec about the rivalry with the Jayhawks.
"It has gone their way for the past few years, but we're excited and we know that game means a lot to the people of Kansas," Hrebec said. "Any time you play in a rivalry like that, especially in college football, the atmosphere is awesome."
Kansas has won the last three meetings.
I will also say: The Wildcats looked sharp, and I credit a lot of that to Snyder. As of now, the K-State players were the only ones to dress up in suits and ties for interviews.
"Coach wants us to look professional at all times," Hrebec said. "He said the word, so we dressed up."
9:18 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
There are some worries that Bill Snyder might not be able to adjust to the new technological world of college football.
He admitted — in a funny way — this morning that college football has changed quite a bit since his last tenure.
"You get this Blackberry thing out and it's got all the recruiting services," Snyder said with a grin, "and they have long recruiting stories about every recruit above the age of four."
9:13 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has never been known as media-savvy, but he seems in pretty good spirits today.
One reporter asked if he was worried about "killing himself" trying to get the program back to where it was.
"I hope you said that in jest," Snyder responded with a smile.
8:45 a.m. update: By Eric Sorrentino
The final day of Big 12 Media Days should have some interesting story lines to follow. More specifically:
• Kansas State kicks off the festivities at 9 a.m. today. What will Bill Snyder tell the media about taking over the Wildcats and his expectations in his first season back since 2005? Snyder may have orchestrated the greatest turnaround in the history of college football in leading the Wildcats to prominence, but it's been awhile and the game's changed. In Snyder's final two years before he retired (2004, 2005), he went a combined 4-12 in Big 12 Conference play. Can he recapture the magic in Manhattan?
• Texas Tech will follow Kansas State. How will Mike Leach direct his program without Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree? Texas Tech went 11-2 last year and had one of the most successful seasons in school history. Most pundits are expecting a dropoff for Tech this season. I've mostly seen them picked fourth in the South, behind Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Thing is, Leach hasn't won fewer than eight games in a season since 2001. How will the Red Raiders look this season under gunslinger Taylor Potts?
• Then, Colorado steps to the plate. Ahh, Colorado. It should be a fascinating setting once Dan Hawkins takes the stage. If the first question to Hawkins isn't about his 10-win proclamation for the Buffaloes this season, I'll be shocked. The Buffaloes are the wild card of the North. Can they win 10 games after winning only half that many last season?
• And finally, Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns will close out the day. Certainly, the BCS will come up. The three-way tie. The asterisk in the locker room. Did the BCS truly mess it up last season by leaving Texas out of the Big 12 Championship game? I'm sure UT players will be asked if they will use that as motivation for this season.
More to come, friends. As always, discuss.