The Big 12 will provide updates including news, stories and behind-the-scenes coverage from the 2008 Big 12 Football Media Days starting on Monday, July 21 through Wednesday, July 23. Check back here to catch up on the latest action from Kansas City, site this year's Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Welcome to the "confusing mess"
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach called DFW Airport "a confusing mess" during his interview session with print reporters Monday.
Tuesday, DFW officials deftly countered Leach's confusion with a clever public relations ploy.
Ken Capps, DFW Airport's vice president of public affairs, contacted Texas Tech with an invitation to Leach and his family. The offer includes a flight to DFW on American Airlines, a tour of the facilities and a steak dinner.
On Monday, Leach explained that while quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree didn't make the trip to Kansas City for the Big 12 media days, reporters were welcome to interview both on campus.
"You can (interview them) in their natural habitat of Lubbock, Texas," Leach said. "I recommend Love Field because DFW (Airport) can be a confusing mess. (Flights from) Love Field, about every hour, goes to Lubbock, where we have some great steak places. And we'd love to see you."
In a statement released late Tuesday by Texas Tech, Leach said of the DFW invitation that he was "sincerely appreciative of your thoughtful gesture and may take you up on it." He said he might not have any free time for a DFW visit until December. _ Wendell Barnhouse
Great Scott? We'll see
Colorado's gregarious defensive tackle George Hypolite, who could immediately become ESPN's top college football analyst if he wanted to, believes that freshman running back Darrell Scott is going to have an impact.
"Is he going to be the next Adrian Peterson? Who knows?" said Hypolite, who thinks Scott is physically similar to Peterson and Jim Brown. "But if I'm worth my salt, in three years, you'll be talking about him winning the Heisman Trophy."
Scott was voted as the Big 12's newcomer of the year. When he was told of the honor by Buffs coach Dan Hawkins, Scott showed his humility.
"He said, `Coach, I haven't even put the pads on yet,'" Hawkins recounted.
* Tickets to the Missouri-Illinois game in St. Louis on Aug. 30 were gone in just a few minutes. The tickets for the 2008 State Farm Arch Rivalry went on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday and were gone well before lunch. All that remain are a limited number of "Rivals Club" packages.
* Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he would be in favor of the Big 12 going to an 11-game league schedule that would have every team play every other team. In recent years there have been discussions of adding a ninth conference game but no consideration of Gundy's idea. The Cowboys' coach also said he'd favor doing away with the North and South Divisions if an 11-game league schedule was adopted.
*Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, on his son Cody, a sophomore starting quarterback for the Buffs:
"Cody might be the 12th best quarterback in this conference, but the 15th best quarterback nationally. That shows how many good players we have at quarterback in this league."
*Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing on the pecking order of quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference:
"I don't get into hype or predictions or rankings. I've got my Orange Bowl ring."
*Colorado defensive tackle George Hypolite on his goals for the 2008 season:
"To win a national championship. Point blank period. That's what I'm in this business for."
*Kansas coach Mark Mangino on the expectations the Jayhawks will have another season like last year's 12-1 campaign:
"We embrace those expectations, because there was a time when I first arrived here that there were no expectations for Kansas's football program."
*Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on whether he worries about quarterback Zac Robinson getting hurt:
"I worry about that every night just before I take a sleeping pill to go to sleep.''
A quarterback (insert word here)
Of all the questions asked of Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman Monday, the one he couldn't answer was who will be the team's starting quarterback.
Senior Stephen McGee, a two-year starter, or sophomore Jerrod Johnson figure to be the choices when the Aggies open the season Aug. 30 against Arkansas State. Sherman also praised the work of the two Ryans _ Tannehill and Dorman.
Sherman made it clear that there will be competition not controversy. He plans to decide on a starter during the first week to 10 days of training camp. And he doesn't plan on rotating QBs.
"I've never done that as a head coach," he said. "It just seems kind of sticky to me."
When he was hired, Sherman told McGee that his two years as a starter didn't guarantee him the starting job in 2008.
"I think it would be unfair to walk in and just hand Stephen the job," Sherman said. "I told him he's going to have to earn it. In fairness to him and Jerrod, they both have to work and compete against one another and earn the job."
_ Wendell Barnhouse
The magic of the 'Elf
Eric Morris is 5-8 and weighs 172 pounds. Last season, the senior had 75 receptions and nine touchdowns. His production more than surpassed his diminutive size.
"Someone made the comment that I looked like a midget out there making a play on the football field," Morris said. "And then he said, 'No ... elves are more athletic.' "
And that's Morris' nickname: "Elf." (And no, Will Farrell won't be playing Morris in the movie.)
"We call him the elf, because he kind of looks like an elf,'' Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "There's a little magic to him. He can catch the ball, outmaneuver the people around him. He's a real heads-up guy."
_ Wendell Barnhouse
Rock Chalk controversy
Kansas can't seem to escape t-shirt issues.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was recently pictured holding a t-shirt with the words "Barack Chalk Jayhawk." The school owns the trademark for its chant is "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk."
The school is concerned that the t-shirts give the impression that KU is supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
"We're a state university," associate athletics director Jim Marchiony told The Associated Press. "We should never be used to further a political candidacy."
The school's Young Democrats club received permission to print 100 of the Obama shirts with the stipulation only club members received the shirts. The photo of the governor sparked KU's concern.
The school recently won $127,000 for trademark infringement in a lawsuit against Joe-College.com, a Lawrence-based business that was sellng t-shirts with KU-themed printing.
* While Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was on the podium Monday, the overhead lights blinked off and then back on. Leach's line was worthy of a rim shot: "I guess it must be last call."
* Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel was asked if he is the best quarterback in the Big 12: "Of course. I think I am. That's a hard question to answer without sounding cocky."
* More Daniel: "If you look at the legend of Chase Daniel three or four years from now, it's not going to be based on my yards or my touchdowns or my interceptions. It's going to be based on wins. That's how it is for any quarterback at the elite level. So I'm going to try my best to lead this team to wins."
* Missouri linebacker Van Alexander and wide receiver Danario Alexander are both recovering from ACL injuries. Van Alexander was injured during spring practice and should be ready to go in "two weeks." Danario Alexander tore his ACL during the Big 12 championship game and then re-injured it during voluntary workouts in June. He might be back in October but he also could redshirt._ Wendell Barnhouse