In a new feature this season, here is the best quote of the week from every Big 12 coach from the weekly Monday morning teleconference that the media participates in. The order will be based on the order that the coaches speak in, no other rhyme or reason. I’ll give a little reaction to those comments below each quote.
David Beaty, Kansas Jayhawks
“We’re disappointed because we’re better than that. We know we’re better than that.”
Here’s the problem: Kansas isn’t better than that. They haven’t proven to be better than that in a decade. Until results are proven otherwise on the field, Beaty can’t make those kind of statements and expect us to believe it. Central Michigan was projected to finish near the bottom of the West Division in the MAC. This game was a big setback for much of the positive momentum Beaty had built since the Texas game last season. To get the Jayhawks back to Big 12 respectability, these are the games they have to start winning.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Sooners
On flag planting: “I think it was one of those things where he [Baker Mayfield] is an emotional guy and a competitor and got caught up int the moment a bit. I know him and our program and it was not meant to be disrespectful to Ohio State and the tradition and program they have. We know they are a great team. There’s a lot of respect there. It was more just the heat of the moment than anything else.”
I’m happy to see Riley defend his emotional, and admittedly somewhat cocky, quarterback. Baker Mayfield thrives on being who he is. Riley is smart to not try to change him or tone him down. Say what you want, he’s exciting. Compare Mayfield to Landry Jones and I’ll sign up for Mayfield any day. He might make the big mistake, but damn it’s fun to watch, a la Brett Favre or, say, Phil Mickelson in golf.
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Cowboys
“I think that we’ve come a long way in our program the last six to eight years, but we certainly haven’t arrived. We have to play well each week and we have to stay focused. We’re getting better but have a long ways to go.”
I always expect coaches to remain more humble than is necessary, but this is an interesting statement from Gundy to simply say Oklahoma State “hasn’t arrived”. If you told Pokes fans a decade ago where this program would be in 2017, I think they’d certainly believe the Cowboys are in great shape and had “arrived”. But Gundy is the kind of coach who likes to have the chip on his shoulder, and he’s wearing it well.
Bill Snyder, Kansas State Wildcats
“Schematically they’re [Vanderbilt] extremely sound and they’ve got a few things they do with their defensive schemes that are unique and harder to prepare for. But the important thing is that they’re so sound and you can tell each and every young person that’s on there has an excellent understand of what his responsibilities are… They play and scheme to the capabilities of their players which is a unique and valuable asset to have in this day and age.”
The SEC East is not close to the SEC West. But the bottom of the East is not nearly as bad as it’s been in recent years. That means Vanderbilt. Wildcats fans should go in confident, but to think they’ll roll over Vanderbilt seems unwise. This program is getting better under Derek Mason.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia Mountaineers
On Oklahoma and TCU wins for entire Big 12 conference: “It certainly doesn’t hurt. I don’t know how poor the perception is with the Big 12 right now, we do have 5 teams in the Top 25. I think the Big 12 has good football. We unfortunately didn’t win our first one [Virginia Tech], but that was against a Top 15 team. I think it’s good to have these match ups and certainly if you want respectability and getting into the top and in the discussion for the College Football Playoff, you gotta win all those games. So i was glad the Big 12 got a couple of big wins last week.”
Holgorsen gets it. It’s big for the conference to go get these wins and it’s nice to see all the coaches supporting each other in non-conference play. As I’ve always said, any Big 12 fan should be rooting for Big 12 teams in non-conference play, regardless of how much you hate your biggest rival. Why? Because it helps your team in strength of schedule. It’s very simple.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech Red Raiders
“I watched a lot of high school football. We spent our weekend recruiting high school games, I really didn’t see much [of the big college games] outside of the highlights. But anytime the Big 12 wins you’re excited for the league. We’ve taken lumps in recent years in the media and I haven’t always thought that was fair. So it’s always great getting these wins for the conference.”
Kliff also understands the importance of the Oklahoma and TCU wins (even though he allegedly didn’t watch them!). Now it’s his turn to take care of business and not lose to an Arizona State team that lost to San Diego State last week. That would sting (and would heat up his already warm seat).
Matt Rhule, Baylor Bears
“I’ll start Zach [Smith] this week.”
Woah. Anu Solomon is out as starting quarterback. Rhule praised Smith’s ability to be named the back up, but still support his teammates. Here’s a big part of what I think this is about: Baylor played 15 freshmen on Saturday. Zach Smith is a sophomore, Solomon is a graduate transfer senior. If this season is now officially a year to find out what the future is about for the Bears, then play Smith to see if he can be the quarterback of the future. Hell, give Charlie Brewer some reps by mid-season if Rhule thinks he’s ready.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State Cyclones
“My message to ours kid was really simple. It was the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve watched our kids within the game fight through adversity fight back and give ourselves a chance to win the football game.”
It was a really tough loss for Campbell’s team and a win would’ve been a nice boost for the program. But he is wise, and right, to take the positives from this game. Iowa State was crushed by Iowa last season and the program showed the strides it has made in just one year under Campbell. This team won’t surprise anyone come Big 12 play.
Gary Patterson, TCU Horned Frogs
“Number one, I’m not a big believer in the thing all you guys talk about that the Big 12 is not physical.”
Boom. Gary Patterson strikes again. With Bob Stoops out of the coaching scene, Gary Patterson is quickly becoming the feisty, quotable head coach that every conference needs. Mike Gundy is too relaxed (at least since his “I’m a man!” days) to take on this role. Patterson is perfect. And if his team gets back to national relevancy, watch out.
Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns
“I’m very proud of the way they responded. They could have been distracted by all of the noise following Game 1… they played much more free with much less hesitation and I thought they played really well, especially on defense.”
The biggest problem under Charlie Strong, and towards the end of the Mack Brown era, is that the team played tight. They felt the expectations of playing for Texas and, as a result, did not play freely. If Herman can get these athletes, who are some of the best in the country, to not overthink things, then that will be a massive win in Year 1 and will lead to plenty of success on the field.