Welcome to talkin’ season, everybody.
Tuesday marked the second day of preseason Media Days for both the Big 12 and SEC. That means the college football season is right around the corner, and that’s something to get excited about.
For all of the glitz and glamor of these events, they usually don’t produce much substance, so we watched the news conferences for you.
Here’s what we learned from the Big 12, which is smart and contains its media day circus to two days. We’re only halfway home in the SEC.
Previously: Big 12 Day 1
West Virginia’s got a tough non-con schedule, but so do others
West Virginia is one of two Big 12 schools that plays two Power Five schools in its three non-conference games. Coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday that he wishes every other Big 12 school would do the same. West Virginia plays NC State and Tennessee along with Youngstown State before Big 12 play begins.
“At WV we play 11 power five schools, NC State and Tennessee, along with the nine Big 12 opponents,” Holgorsen said. “I wish everybody would do that. It’s not quite fair that we have to play that schedule and then you have schools in other respective conferences that play nine. They play nine power five schools. It’s uneven, but we’re going to keep doing it. It’s fair to our fan base to be able to play local schools that they remember great games in the past. Tennessee, never played them, but they’re our neighbor and we’re going to play that game in Charlotte which is our number one alumni base in the United States.”
Texas, the other school with two Power Five schools outside the Big 12, plays Maryland and USC in 2018. However, judging Big 12 schools’ schedule by Power Five opponents is a big too simplistic.
Oklahoma plays Army — which won 10 games — in addition to UCLA. Texas Tech plays Houston and Ole Miss. SMU went to a bowl game a year ago; the Mustangs are on TCU’s schedule in addition to Iowa State.
On the whole, the combination of West Virginia’s two Power Five opponents probably gives the Mountaineers the toughest schedule in the league unless you think Maryland will be good in 2018. But there are plenty of other good teams outside the Power Five. Oklahoma could learn that the hard way if it doesn’t prepare well for Army’s option offense.
Mike Gundy didn’t want to talk about AD’s recruiting comments
Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said earlier this offseason that he wished the school would finish higher in the recruiting rankings. That seemed to be a criticism of coach Mike Gundy’s recruiting and Gundy responded with emojis on Twitter.
Holder said in June that he regretted his remarks and said he wished he put the onus on himself to better the athletic department. Gundy was asked about what Holder originally said Tuesday and wanted nothing to do with the topic of recruiting and Holder’s comments.
“I would much rather talk about football,” Gundy said. “I would hate to waste today talking about something off the subject.”
Well, recruiting is directly associated with football and Gundy later talked about recruiting in his press conference. He just clearly didn’t want to talk about what Holder said. And that’s understandable, though Gundy could have easily also not tweeted an eye-roll emoji and a thinking emoji in the first place.
Gundy did say that Taylor Cornelius was the leader at the quarterback position. Cornelius was the backup to Mason Rudolph in 2017 and participated in spring practice as the starter. Hawaii grad transfer Dru Brown — the Warriors’ starter in 2017 — hasn’t arrived on campus yet.
“When we came out of spring we felt very comfortable with Taylor, so certainly going into August he’s our guy,” Gundy said. “He’s been with us a number of years. He understands our offense. We’re confident in his abilities.”
Tom Herman: No decision on who will call the plays
After calling plays in Texas’ Texas Bowl win over Missouri, Tom Herman wasn’t committing to call the plays in 2018.
Herman, a former offensive coordinator at Ohio State, didn’t call the plays for most of the 2017 season. That was offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s role. And, at least based on Herman’s comments Tuesday, Beck could have the play-caller role again in 2018.
“The good thing is we don’t have to make that decision now in the middle of July,” Herman said. “We’re going to do whatever is best for the University of Texas and for our offense. Again, I have always been very intimately involved in the play calling on game day. There isn’t a play that’s called that I don’t have veto power of, and so, you know, I think the true measure of an offense and its efficiency is one, the talent that he is on the field, certainly. Again, there were multiple games where we started five true freshmen, a true sophomore, and there is an element to that that you’re probably not going to light the world on fire on offense.”
Kansas State QB competition is undecided
Bill Snyder isn’t willing to say if Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson has the edge at quarterback heading into the season.
Both saw time at quarterback in 2017. Delton was the team’s starter after Jesse Ertz went down with a knee injury. Then Delton was injured and Thompson became the team’s starter. Both players have been designated captains entering 2018 and Snyder brought them both to media days.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to imply some preseason pressure so you’ve got to practice the things you’re going to experience so there is a little bit of pressure in them being here,” Snyder said. “Secondly, they deserve to be here. They’re both very competitive young guys who are competing, one is a captain, one is a co-captain. They have both stepped up and provided excellent leadership during the course of the summer workout programs, which is extremely important.”
“The demanding-type leadership that is necessary because coaches can’t be involved in their practices, so they have to be part of the leadership that takes place. Both of them have done that. Both of them are just very, very capable young guys and as I said very competitive and as I said, they’re still in extreme competition for the starting position.”
Matt Rhule supports new transfer rule
While coaches have spoken out against changes the NCAA has made to the way players can transfer from one school to the next, Baylor coach Matt Rhule supports it.
Starting this season, players will be put in a database when they notify their school they want to transfer. Schools will also be unable to put restrictions on where a player transfers, however the school can rescind a player’s scholarship for the semester after the player notified the school of an impending transfer.
“My thing has always been very simple. I’ve never blocked a kid from transferring,” Rhule said. “I know in our program that our coaches, our players, our coaches’ wives, we wake up every day bent on making sure that our players are the best they can be, that they have everything they need to be successful. I probably spend more time with our players than I do with my own kids and I don’t say that proudly. I was just on the beach with my kids, I want to be a great dad. I spend a lot of time with our players, so if a player comes into our environment and it’s not right for him, then he should go. He should have an opportunity to go somewhere else. I think it’s great. I think it gives kids an opportunity to make a decision. Now, I don’t think you should be able to say you’re going to transfer September 1 and have three months where you can be on scholarship. None of us in life get to quit our job and get paid for three more months.
“So we have to make sure we teach responsibility. We want to fight entitlement everywhere, but I do believe that if a young man does not want to be in our program he should have the right to go wherever he is going to be successful. I was at Temple and I made the decision to come to Baylor. So I had that right and I had to pay a buyout and I had that right. So I think our young people should have the ability to go where they think they can be the most successful.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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