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Big 12 football coaches open up about players, conference and each other



Big 12 football coaches open up about players, conference and each other


LAS VEGAS — Big 12 Football Media Days wrapped up on Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. All 16 teams took part in the two-day conference.

Here is a collection of the most interesting things each coach talked about:

Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn on ASU coach Kenny Dillingham

“I’m a big fan of Kenny’s. He did a great job with us in 2019 (at Auburn). He was my coordinator. We had Bo Nix as a true freshman, we had some huge wins over Oregon and Alabama. He’s young, but he’s got a lot of wisdom as far as football goes and his approach, and he’s got his own way. I think nowadays in college football, the guys that are true to themselves and the way they go about it, I think they’re going to have an advantage. Arizona State is lucky to have him. I think he’s one of those guys that are really rising up in the coaching profession.”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on RB Ollie Gordon II, who appeared despite a recent arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence

“I think that it affected him like it would most people. We brought him here today so you guys could ask him that question. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to bring him here. I can only give you some indication on what I’ve seen over the last week. I sit back and thought about what I thought was best for Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State football and Ollie as we move forward, and we made decisions. The other thing I shared with Ollie yesterday was after he decided that he wanted to come to today’s event, this is finished today. It’s over for me. I’ve already made the decisions that I think what’s best for you and this team, and you need to make the decisions and the comments what you think is best for yourself and the team. And then after today it’s over with.”

Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham on offseason preparation

“It’s exciting because this league probably has more diversity in terms of defensive scheme than any league I’ve ever been in. This league, you see four down, you see four down simulated pressures, you see odd fronts, you see odd fives, you see four down fronts with 4-2-5 schemes and you see four down with three high safety schemes. Most leagues I’ve been in have one or two flavors of the league. This league has variety of flavors. You have to be able to practice that in your fall camp and build it into your schedule so the first time your guys haven’t seen it is the week leading up to the week of the game. It’s one of the most fun parts of this league from an offensive perspective. And then defensively, this league has turned into smash mouth, and you’ve got to practice tough to be competitive in this league. That’s something that I hope our defense embraces and takes on, is that toughness of what it takes to stop people in this league with all the running backs.”

Colorado coach Deion Sanders on the Division I recruitment process

“I’ve sat in all seats, the parent’s seat, being recruited as the kid, now being the coach. That helps me tremendously when I’m recruiting. When I’m understanding what the parent is thinking, what the kid is thinking, now what the coach desires to want to know. It’s been a tremendous asset for me to understand those facets of this new recruiting age that is impacted tremendously by NILs and collectives. So I love it. Sometimes I don’t like it, but I love it and I love that these kids are being compensated somewhat for what they bring to the table. I don’t want them to put the bag before the game because if you have the game, the bag is going to come. I want them to understand that. I just don’t want to take away from the purity of this wonderful game that we have.”

Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire on the school’s relationship with Patrick Mahomes

“I don’t think anybody in here can come up with a guy at the level that he’s playing at, the best quarterback in the world, and doing what he’s doing whenever it comes to the university and is going to continue to do that. I always tell everybody, we’re playing in Lawrence, Kansas last year and probably the large majority of the NFL on their bye week are going somewhere to take a break, and he’s on the sideline in Lawrence, Kansas, watching us play the Jayhawks. The guy just absolutely loves Texas Tech. What’s cool is being able to join Adidas and Patrick Mahomes, he gets to wear the double T every single day without any tape over any other logo. And I just really credit him for what he’s done. He’s one of the guys literally that texts me, because his number changed, texts me: Coach, what do you need? He’s one of those guys that is always there for us.”

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on what coach Deion Sanders has brought to Colorado

“Coach Sanders has done a great job infusing excitement into that program and talent. His own sons are terrific players. … They started off very strong last year. Injuries caught up to them and didn’t end the way they wanted. But he’s definitely rejuvenated things in Boulder. We get to go to Boulder this year. It’s a tough place to play. And last time we were in Boulder there wasn’t many people in the stands, and now it’s full every week. So that will be an environment that we have not experienced there.”


ASU football coach Kenny Dillingham’s prank OK with players

Arizona State offensive lineman Leif Fautanu and the rest of the football team were pranked by head coach Kenny Dillingham and coach Bryan Carrington

BYU coach Kalani Sitake on his quarterback battle

“We knew we needed to get better at a lot of different positions. I can’t tell you that there’s a deadline other than when we know, we will know. And when the player takes it, and we have a good amount of players that can play. We have four quarterbacks that have played college football. Gerry Bohanon and Jake Retzlaff. There’s also Treyson Bourguet and McCae Hillstead. All four of them had played college football and started games. That gives me a lot of confidence, knowing that a lot of things can happen in college football. Last year we had an injury to our quarterback position, and we had to learn from that. We have much deeper position with the quarterback, but we’ve done that with other positions as well.”

Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield’s advice to new Big 12 teams

“We’re obviously still relatively new. It’s the second year, and we’re playing some teams that we didn’t play last year, and you’re going to some places that you haven’t been to. So I think these teams, the difference, I think, probably mainly was last year we brought in four teams that basically were group of five teams, where now the teams we’re bringing in have already been playing at the power level and amongst that competition level. I think that’s probably the major difference. And the fact that you’re playing so many new teams and now our league is spread from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast now and trying to logistically figure that piece out. We’re getting to see some great parts of the country where they have outstanding fan base and great coaches and players. It’s fun for our players that get to experience this, the fact that college football opens up so many doors for our players and our coaches to be able to experience everything this country has to offer.”

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell on the oddity of having 20 starters back

“The only way you’re really going to have success is retention and development. We just are not going to ever be the people that have the most money or most NIL money. We’ll have to be the team that develops our players better than anybody. And again, when we have been at our best we’ve been older and been able to keep our guys and get older. Just a great credit to our coaching staff right now. A great credit to our senior leadership. We’ve got a great locker room. There’s no way we would have been able to keep or retain the players in our football program and the quality of players in our football program if we didn’t have a great locker room and they believing in the coaches and they believing in their teammates and themselves.”

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman on preseason rankings

“Everybody sees it, but it’s not something that we talk about an awful lot. I hope it shows people the overall depth and value of our roster and how important our role players are and how important our players are as far as if you’re a successful team, individual honors at the end of the season are going to come. I’m sure that our players, if you asked them, they probably saw both polls, and I don’t know if they’re excited, disappointed, but I know they were aware that there was nobody from K-State on one of those teams, but you still have to perform, and we’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to the end of August.”

TCU coach Sonny Dykes on parity in Big 12 compared to the Pac-12

“I’ve coached against all 16 current members of the Big 12. Every team has its own personality and every team has its own niche in the way they have to be successful and developing their program. What makes the Big 12 unique is parity. If you look at the Big Ten, you look at the SEC, you look at the ACC, the same teams have represented those leagues year in, year out in the conference championship games. In the last three years, six different Big 12 teams have been in the championship game. Right there that speaks to the parity of the league. It does remind me a little bit of the Pac-12 when I was at Cal; every team in the league is good. Every team in the league is capable of beating any other team on any given Saturday. I don’t know that that’s the case in some of the other leagues. We’ll see how that plays out, but I really truly believe, top to bottom, this is going to be the most competitive league in college football.”

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