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Big 12 Media Day - The Best Of The Coaches
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com 
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

DALLAS – Five down, five to go. The 2014 Big 12 Football Media Days got started Monday with Baylor, Kansas, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech coaches and players meeting with reporters from print and electronic media outlets.

Here are the highlights of what the five coaches had to say in their time on the podium:

The Best Of … Baylor’s Art Briles 384
On being defending Big 12 champions:
“2013 is gone forever. That title is ours. We're attacking 2014 just like everybody else. That's our mindset with our players, and that's the way they've been approaching everything.  So we're just kind of geared up and ready to go. It's that time of year. The hiding's over. It's time to come out of the shadows and play.”

On the perception that Baylor is now one of the heavyweights in the Big 12:
“You know, I appreciate that perception. And that's something that we're working on, because we certainly don't perceive ourselves that way. We still see ourselves as the guy fighting hard, scratching hard to try to get some recognition and some respect. 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 and that's something that we're working hard to maintain.”

On senior quarterback Bryce Petty, who is considered a Heisman Trophy contender:
“You know, honestly, personally and professionally, I'm a little upset about the way it all transpired last year. I certainly felt like he should have been in New York without question. I mean, your first-year starter you win 11 football games, win the Big 12 Championship for the first time in school history, throw 4,200 yards, 33 TDs, three picks, and you sit at home in December? Do those numbers again this year, he'll be in New York. Might win it.”

On Baylor’s new on-campus football facility, McLane Statdium:
“The stadium speaks for itself. It's going to be as unique stadium as there is in the United States of America. What it has done in my mind is that those 44 to 60 million people that drive down I-35 every day, some eight-year-old girl or boy is going to be sitting in the back seat buckled up hopefully and look out the window to the right or the left, depending on which way they're going, they're going to say, Momma or Grandmother, man, look at that place. That place is beautiful. Where is that? And she's going to say, Baylor. And then so for the rest of their lives they're going to associate Baylor with excellence.”

The Best Of … Kansas’ Charlie Weis
On senior tight end Jimmay Mundine:
“Jimmay has become a more well-rounded player. When I first got here, he had better offensive skills than he did blocking skills, and now he's become more efficient in both manners.  And I think with the change of offensive philosophies that we're going through this year, going more to a spread mentality, I think the tight end position gets accented even more than in the offensive I've been used to running.  I think Jimmay will be an integral part of our offense this year.”

On sophomore Montell Cozart, who has been named the starting quarterback after starting three games as a freshman:
“I think that now we kind of know what we're getting, and I think I don't have to worry about the freshman jitters in the sophomore campaign.  In this offense that we're running, I think athleticism at the quarterback position is a critical factor, and he definitely has athleticism. So besides being able to stand in the pocket and deliver, I think that that added element to either on called runs by quarterback or just scramble ability to bail you out of some trouble situations gives us a better chance to score more points.

On no longer being the team’s offensive coordinator:
“My involvement with the offense will take place during the week. It will not take place on game day. I will not be involved on game day, other than a critical situation. I'll let the offensive staff run the offense line. I'm more of a sounding board, I'm more of an advisor right now. I'd like to think I'm a good person for him to use as a resource.”

On struggling to find a quarterback:
“I think with the nature of the offense we've been running from the last couple of years, I think the true drop back quarterbacks have been exposed. And that's one  of the reasons why I changed what we're doing. I think that changing the mentality on offense, going to a more spread out, wide-open offense with an athletic quarterback, hides a lot of sins. And I think I've seen a lot of other people do it with high efficiency and I know the bottom line is if we don't score more points we're not going to win games.”

The Best Of … TCU’s Gary Patterson
On making the change to a more up-tempo, spread offense and hiring co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie:
“I’m excited about (the) additions to our staff. I feel like it gives us an opportunity to level the playing field as far as being able to throw the football.  I think still I have to have a lot of patience with that. So just like anybody else, I'm excited to see what that works out to be going into the fall season. I've been looking at it for two years … Truly a change of philosophy. It's about scoring points.”

On deciding on a starting quarterback:
“I think the key is to find the guy that has the swagger, that allows us to move the football, score the points and the guy that's not going to turn the ball over. Felt like last year, if we just would have done that, we would have had an opportunity to win a couple more ball games.  So really that's what we're trying. It's just finding that guy that makes the offense go, and when you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, what makes us the best football team we can possibly be. “

On having five home conference schedule and the schedule overall:
“We'll actually play ten games in the state of Texas. We only leave go to West Virginia, we go to Kansas. Most teams when they go into a new conference they struggle on the road and that's where we play the best. So for us we've got to get back to controlling and protecting the (home field). To have five conference games at home I think it's a big deal for us and play ten in the state of Texas this season where your fans can all travel to is also big.”

On turning close losses into victories – six of TCU’s losses were by 10 or fewer points last season:
“You can't turn the ball over. We've got to score points. Defensively we've got to keep making people kick field goals and you can't give up the long play and you’ve got to stop the run. For us it's finding that four or five plays. And so you have to be able to understand that when those four or five plays happen that you've got to make sure that you make them.”

The Best Of … Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy
On the season opener against defending national champion Florida State:
“It's going to be a big challenge for our team, but they're very excited. One advantage to an opener against a very good football team, much less the national champion and returning Heisman Trophy winner, is motivation is there.  They've worked hard this summer. I can't imagine we'll have any issues motivating them in practice in the month of August when it gets really hot and they get fatigued they'll be able to push through it.”

On Tyreek Hill, who was voted as the preseason Big 12 newcomer of the year:
“He's very fast. We'll play him at a running back position. We'll play him at the receiver position, and we look forward to him helping us in special teams.  We're learning more about him each day. We feel like that he needs to touch the ball at least 15 to 20 times a game, maybe more, depending on how he fits into our system each week. But I've been impressed with his work ethic, his ability to come in and run track and also be part of our football team.”

On moving junior Ryan Simmons to middle linebacker:
“Ryan is an experienced player. He's one of the few players we have at that position that brings a lot to the table from an experience standpoint. And he's very intelligent. He understands several positions.  We feel like he's a really good fit in our defense, in our style of play at that position. And he'll do really well.”

On replacing a number of starters on defense and 28 seniors from last season:
“The good thing about having a mature class and a large group of seniors is they help you on game day with experience. But the bad thing is next year they're gone.  But we have good, young players on our team who are not experienced. We've got a ways to go.”

On the differences in walking into media day Monday compared to his first media day 10 years ago:
“It has changed considerably, just like walking in right now, I felt like Britney Spears walking in here with all the cameras and the pictures. And when I walked in the first year, I'm not sure that a lot of people didn't think I wasn't just working at the hotel.”

The Best Of … Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury
On sophomore quarterback Davis Webb:
“I've been excited for Davis, to watch the progress he had. Statistically as a true freshman he had a pretty amazing year. Just have to cut down on the turnovers. And that's something that he really did a good job of in the spring.  I'm excited to watch him play this year. He's one of the hardest working quarterbacks I've ever been around. He's earned everything he's gotten. I'm excited to watch him take that next step and be a leader of our football team. “

On freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes:
“He's got to be ready to play. We only have Davis (Webb) and him on scholarship as far as quarterbacks go. But he's a tremendous athlete. Still raw, still learning the position, a guy who was a three sport star in high school. Never focused on quarterback, but tremendous upside play-making ability. And a guy that can really extend plays, which is good as a true freshman because half the time they don't know what they're doing so that comes into play.  And he'll be able to move the football if he has to go in and take some snaps.”

On trying to replace leading receiver Jace Amaro and how the passing offense will be different this season:
“I don't think you ever replace a guy like that. But I think it will be a faster wide receiving crew, which will help. At times I thought we had to play within a box. We've got to be able to take the top off, and I think with some of these younger guys they haven't played as much but they can really run.  That's exciting for us as an offense. A guy like Jace – 6-6 and 250 and can dominate blocking and has 100 catches, I don't think you replace him. You do the best you can as a group to try to get close to that productivity.”

On senior Kenny Williams switching from running back to linebacker:
“Kenny asked if he could do it. He saw there was a need. He's a very selfless player, team player, and he wanted to do it.  So we were for it. He's one of our best  football players on our team and we wanted to find a way to get him on the field as much as possible. And he'll still have a role on offense and he'll be great on special teams as he was last year, but the majority of the time he'll be on defense.”

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