What a day we’ve had here at the Star in Frisco. We on the site will be breaking down Media Days in detail over the next couple of days, but here are some of the highlights from Day One:
1. The day started with a shock for TCU, with Ridwan Issahaku and Omar Manning not on the media guide roster. Manning was an academic issue, and we had some warning, but details are vague surrounding Issahaku. Presumably, details will be made available closer to the season.
2. Big 12 Head Honcho Bowlsby kicked off the morning, as Dean covered earlier. Read his article. Bowlsby went out of his way to highlight the strength of the Big 12, not just in football, but also in all sports. He covered playoff expansion, sports betting, player safety, and more (someone weirdly asked about basketball?). Bowlsby was asked a question about Baylor’s status during 2016, and the current investigation. The Big 12 Commissioner deflected those questions, promising written reports presented to the public soon, but his comments were effectively an affirmation of Baylor’s tenuous position. Bowlsby concluded the Baylor matter by deferring to the results of the investigation, and praising Matt Rhule and his new direction.
3. Gary Patterson’s comments focused on the continuing quarterback battle - not naming a starter seemed to be the theme of the day. More specifically, Coach P spoke about the need for the team to “grow up”, a mixed result from the leadership turnover and the youth of TCU.
4. Coach P set the tone with a phrase we heard repeated in the player breakout sessions later in the day: focus on the next game. “I think one of the things everybody wants to talk about the Ohio State game - but to be honest with you, we tell our teams all the time, the league games take care of themselves because we have Texas starting off the Big 12 conference after Ohio State along with Iowa State who we lost to last year and then Texas Tech and OU. We’re going to worry about TCU and Southern and got a lot of guys on defense back, we lost some good players. How do we replace them? Not very many of them played a lot of starts, and for us, how do we do that?”
5. GP touched on the issues with a round-robin and a conference championship: “That game probably cost us a New Year’s six bowl, but you had an opportunity to win a championship because the winner of that game and that’s the positive for the league when you play a round Robin. The second place team gets a second chance to play the team that won it. Now, the negative of that is if you do beat that team the team with the better record you may keep them out of the playoffs because you have that championship game, because you had to play them, a lot of times in other conferences where they have split divisions the only time they play each other is they play them that one time.”
6. GP’s comments ended with some pontificating on his tenure at TCU, and how his philosophy of “growing players up” and putting them in the best position after their time at TCU has made it possible for him to stay in Fort Worth so long. “When you move, you gotta help yourself. When you stay, you get to help others - the community, Fort Worth.”
7. After Gary, we saw Kansas coach David Beatty. Beatty spent his time spotlighting the stories of his players - most notably, Khalil Herbert, who was born with twelve fingers. On a more serious note, Khalil attended Parkland High School and has had to deal with the passing of his high school coach.
8. Kliff Kingsbury touted his defense, talking about how Tech has improved year to year on that side of the ball, and looks to continue that this fall. Kliff got to boast about some recent recruiting success, and discussed how the changes to the recruiting timeline have benefited schools who have struggled in the past.
9. Matt Campbell spent the morning fending off questions about subtraction and surprises - Iowa State lost a line coach, and most of their offensive line, and surprise, returning QB Kyle Kempt was a topic of conversation. Campbell was optimistic, but grounded: “These are the things that we’re going to have to do at Iowa State to be really successful. The little things, winning in the margins. Those are truisms and if we continue to grow and to water those foundations, then we’re going to have a chance to continue to have success.”
10. Finally, Lincoln Riley of course talked about his Georgia comments. We’ve beaten that dead horse. Congruent with the theme of the day, Riley shockingly informed reporters that Kyler Murray was not the starter yet, and there was still a battle. He dismissed questions about Murray’s baseball career. In the spaces of his comments, one could almost read a little bit of annoyance with the situation. As multiple people on twitter noted today, it would be not great of Lincoln Riley to stump for Murray to return and then not name him the starter.
That’s a wrap on day one! Follow us on Twitter, where we have a slew of player interactions and all the moments you missed from today. The rest of the week we will have more of that #Big12MediaDays content you all crave.