DALLAS ‒ Big 12 media days concluded Tuesday at the Omni Dallas Hotel, and while new Texas coach Charlie Strong was the main event, his counterparts left their mark on the second day of the event as well.
The day started with the Big 12’s coordinator of officials, Walt Anderson, who outlined new rules for the 2014 football season. Anderson announced there would be changes to the instant replay process, helmet-to-helmet contact and roughing the passer.
After Anderson, College Football Playoff director Bill Hancock discussed how the playoff system and committee will work.
“The playoff provides universal access,” Hancock said. “There's no more automatic qualification. And, yes, everyone benefits financially. The conference has managed this event just like they manage the BCS.”
Following Hancock were Big 12 coaches: Bob Stoops, Paul Rhodes, Dana Holgorsen, Bill Snyder and Strong.
Oklahoma: Stoops, Sooners primed for championship run
2013 was deemed a rebuilding year for Oklahoma and it was a pretty successful one as the Sooners finished the season at 11-2 and upset SEC powerhouse Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
With the surprise victory over Alabama, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma are prepared to make a run for a Big 12 title and a berth in the first ever College Football Playoff.
“I think, as much as anything, [the Orange Bowl win] inspired our players to really to build on it in the winter in the way we trained,” Stoops said. “The way we went into spring and we had a fabulous summer … just the chemistry and their willingness to work when they see the benefits of it like that.”
Iowa State: New offensive coordinator to boost Cyclones
Iowa State struggled in 2013, finishing the season with an abysmal 3-9 record.
But Cyclones head coach Paul Rhodes added Mark Mangino as the team’s offensive coordinator, a move that should help the Iowa State offense improve significantly.
“I reached out to [Mangino] and certainly had great respect for what he's done in our profession,” Rhodes said. “We're going to deploy a lot of three wide receiver sets and one back offense. We're not going to huddle. Those are things that are familiar to the Iowa State fan base.”
West Virginia: Holgorsen, Mountaineers still trying to find footing in Big 12
The West Virginia Mountaineers were among the top teams in nation when they were a member of the Big East, but the transition to the Big 12 has been difficult.
The Mountaineers have struggled to adapt to the Big 12’s style of play and head coach Dana Holgorsen knows speeding up the adaptation process will be key to their success.
“One of the things that has happened in the Big 12 over the last two years, we have not been dominant in the Big 12,” Holgorsen said. “We've been competitive … Hopefully, we can put a season together that everybody will be proud of.”
Kansas State: Wildcats looking to build off strong 2013 finish
The Kansas State Wildcats opened the 2013 season with a shocking loss to the North Dakota State Bison. The opening game loss fueled a 2-4 start for the Wildcats but they were able to finish strong, as they went 6-1 in their final seven games including a victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is hoping the team’s strong finish last year will help the Wildcats mature into a better team in 2014.
“The hope would have been, and was, that we had learned lessons along the way,” Snyder said. “The lessons dated back to the outset of the season in which we were not a very good football team … I think that the way that our young people finished the season allowed them to understand the value of not taking anything for granted.”