DALLAS ‒ The Big 12 unofficially kicked off the 2014 football season at the conference’s media days at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Monday.
The event began with Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s annual State of the Conference address. Bowlsby delivered an eye-opening speech in which he warned that collegiate sports as we know it may be vastly different in the near future.
“Change is coming,” Bowlsby said. “There is change afoot, and some of it is going to be unhappy change because I think it will ultimately reduce the number of opportunities for young people to go to college and participate in sports.”
Bowlsby was followed by five of the 10 Big 12 Coaches: Art Briles, Charlie Weis, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson and Kliff Kingsbury
Baylor: Briles preparing Bears to defend Big 12 title
The Baylor Bears won their first Big 12 title last season. Despite being picked to finished second by the Big 12 media behind Oklahoma, head coach Art Briles is teaching the team how to defend its title and the adversity that comes with the territory.
“We see ourselves as the guy fighting hard, scratching hard to try to get some recognition and some respect,” Briles said. “We have to learn how to prepare as the hunted as opposed to the hunter. We've always been the hunter. And I don't want to lose that edge and that attitude.”
Kansas: Weis, Jayhawks fighting for relevancy
The Kansas Jayhawks are six years removed from their victory in the 2008 Orange Bowl, and it’s been a rough road ever since.
Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis, in his third year as head coach, knows the team needs to improve.
“We haven't done a thing in the two years I've been here,” Weis said. “But our team very clearly knows what our expectations are. There's no hiding it.”
Oklahoma State: Gundy looking for quarterback to replace Chelf
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were a game away from winning the Big 12 Championship last season because of great quarterback play from Clint Chelf. Chelf threw for 2,173 yards, 17 passing touchdowns and 7 rushing touchdowns.
But now that Chelf is gone, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is trying to find his replacement and leading the way is junior J.W. Walsh.
“Walsh took the majority of the reps in the spring with the 1s and has had a good summer,” Gundy said. “Based on the style of play or the plan of attack that we want to use, we have a little bit of flexibility with the quarterback that we put in the game at that time.”
TCU: Patterson, Horned Frogs looking to overcome bowl-less season
For the first time in 16 seasons, TCU and head coach Gary Patterson missed out on playing in a bowl game. Despite the frustrating 2013 season, Patterson and the Horned Frogs are preparing themselves for a comeback.
“We got back to a Bowl game,” Patterson said. “So for me, it's all been about understanding it wasn't broke; you've got to make sure you go out — gotta be physical, gotta trust each other, gotta play together as a group, and also, you've got to find a way to make those plays at the end of the ballgame.”
Texas Tech: Kingsbury settling into coaching Red Raiders in second season
Under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Texas Tech Red Raiders rushed out to a 7-0 start in 2013. The Raiders followed that winning streak with a five-game losing streak. But a win in the Holiday Bowl revitalized Kingsbury and the team heading into the 2014 season.
“Yeah, [winning the Holiday Bowl] was huge,” Kinsbury said. “It proved to our team and our players that if you keep working hard and you keep focusing on your job and your responsibility, good things will happen.”