Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s Tuesday, July 17th.
On this date: LeBron James and Serena Williams won ESPYs for best male and female athlete (2013); Tiger Woods won the British Open, his 10th career major (2005); Deion Sanders — of the New York Yankees — hit an inside-the-park home run (1990); Seve Ballesteros (1988) and Tom Watson (1983) also won British Opens; the national drinking age in the U.S. was raised from 18 to 21 (1984); Bob Gibson became baseball’s second pitcher in the 3,000 career strikeout club (1974); Ty Cobb died of cancer at the age of 74 (1961); Disneyland opened (1955); Yankees star Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak finally ended, in Cleveland (1941); and Babe Ruth drew his 2,000th career walk (1934).
And on July 17, 1996, Cliff Gustafson retired as the winningest baseball coach in Division I history, going 1,466-377-2 in his 29-year career. He led Texas to national championships in 1975 and 1983.
During last month’s College World Series, Kirk Bohls caught up with Coach Gus. Here’s that column.
And happy birthday, Rick Barnes. The Tennessee men’s basketball coach turns 64 today.
Football in Frisco, Big 12 style
Big 12 media days kicked off Monday at The Star in Frisco, as Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas and TCU met with the media. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke on a variety of topics, Kliff Kingsbury was asked about job security and Oklahoma continued life without Baker Mayfield.
We have five staffers in Frisco, covering media days. We asked them to share their takeaways from the first day:
- Kirk Bohls: Bob Bowlsby played it safe, unfortunately
In his annual state of the Big 12 union, commissioner Bob Bowlsby was, well, stately. And above the fray. There was a complete absence of anything remotely controversial or even intriguing. No talk of conference expansion. (Sorry, Houston.) Little revelations about the league’s review of Baylor’s improprieties. (Monitoring situation.) Hardly any fanfare for a league that probably ranks an iffy fourth in a grading of the Power 5 conferences. (Sorry, Pac-12.) But Bowlsby did brag on the Big 12 as the only conference with at least one team or more in the CFP, Final Four, College World Series and Women’s College World Series. So there’s something.
- Cedric Golden: You can’t drop a mic until you HAVE the mic
With 520 media members gathered, sometimes it’s difficult to get a question in during the formal press conferences. So the idea is to get the moderator’s attention so he can call your name. Well, Peter Irwin has done a great job for the conference over the years so when he pointed my way after I made the motion that I wanted to ask TCU coach Gary Patterson a question, it was business as usual.
That is, until he didn’t send a mic my way. Turns out he was pointing to another reporter sitting a couple of rows behind me.
“I didn’t see you,” he said. He made sure to ask if I had any questions for Kansas’ David Beaty. “No,” came my answer — I was assigned to do a TCU column.
No worries. The next time, when I pointed his way to ask Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury a question, it went off without a snag. Good times.
- Suzanne Halliburton: Gary Patterson was the star of the show
TCU’s Gary Patterson says he loves to make his annual appearance at media days. He really did say that. He joked that he sometimes likes it when people call him Gary (as opposed to Coach P). And Patterson probably was the most popular coach who appeared Monday, drawing a bigger crowd than Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley. He definitely was in a chatty mood. While OU is the definitive favorite, Patterson knows the Big 12 race is wide open. There’s no reason to think the winner can’t be his Horned Frogs.
- Brian Davis: Just stick to the script — and start winning
Every coach that’s ever attended media day will heap loads of praise on his boss. Never seen one bash an athletic director. But I’ve never seen one read prepared remarks about the AD, either.
Kansas’ David Beaty opened by constantly looking down at his notes while praising new athletic director Jeff Long. It looked like he was reading a prepared script. “We think he’s going to fall in love with the University of Kansas just like we have,” said Beaty, who is 3-33 in three seasons at KU. His only win over a Power 5 team was against Texas in 2016. If the losses keep piling up, Beaty will be reading about his dismissal, too.
- Danny Davis: This is a real quarterbacks (issues) league
Iowa State’s Kyle Kempt, who had appeared in two games at three schools before last season, somehow has the most job security among the quarterbacks for the five schools that appeared on Monday. Gary Patterson and Lincoln Riley wouldn’t commit to Shawn Robinson or Kyler Murray, even though Robinson was in attendance and Murray prolonged the start of his baseball career to start for the Sooners. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas’ David Beaty also eluded questions about naming a starter. It’s a good thing that NONE of the teams going on Tuesday have any quarterback questions.
Our Big 12 media days coverage: Kirk wrote on Oklahoma, which said goodbye to Mayfield but may actually be better in 2018 than it was in 2017. … Cedric is wondering who the league’s next big breakout quarterback is going to be. TCU’s Shawn Robinson, anyone? … Brian had a nice feature on former and current Texas Tech linebacker Dakota Allen, making the most of his second chance in Lubbock. We had a media days notebook and a Q&A with Kansas running back Khalil Herbert, who we found out attended Stoneman Douglas High School and has an extra toe.
How others covered Day 1:
Bowlsby’s state of the conference was a glowing list of warm fuzzies that highlighted the league’s accomplishments, from Mayfield’s Heisman to OU’s run to the CFP semifinals. Indeed, for a conference that once was navigating through rough seas, the Big 12 is sailing on calm waters now, wrote Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman. (One guess which Statesman staffer ended up in Berry’s opening paragraph.)
Oklahoma — The Sooners, minus Baker Mayfield, must improve defensively if they want to win a fourth straight Big 12 title, wrote the Dallas Morning News. The Waco Tribune-Herald went one or two steps further, saying the Sooners aren’t going anywhere. The Oklahoman wrote about Lincoln Riley, who’s not close to filling Bob Stoops’ shoes when it comes to trash-talking with the SEC. And Riley’s playing it close to the vest when it comes to naming his starting quarterback because he has to, the Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson wrote. The Tulsa World wrote about the noticeable absence of Mayfield, who will be missed not just for his impact on the field, but in the locker room, too.
TCU — It’s the Horned Frogs, not West Virginia, that has the best shot at toppling Oklahoma in the Big 12, wrote the Morning News. And even though Patterson didn’t say it, Robinson is the starting quarterback, wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The S-T also wrote about TCU’s defense, which should be solid again.
Texas Tech — The Red Raiders are looking for wide receiver Ja’Deion High to increase his leadership role, wrote the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The A-J also wrote on Kingsbury’s comfort level (and good history) with breaking in young quarterbacks.
Baylor — The Waco Tribune-Herald wrote about Bowlsby’s comments about the Big 12’s ongoing “inspection” of Baylor’s football program. That should be wrapped up “in the not too distant future,” he said.
Iowa State — A second-string tackle has left the program. The Des Moines Register wrote about the state of the Cyclones’ offensive line. The paper also had an analysis of Matt Campbell’s press conference.
Kansas — If you thought Kingsbury’s seat may be hot, consider the Jayhawks’ David Beaty, who’s in a 3-33 hole in Lawrence. The Kansas City Star addressed that on Monday. But it also wondered whether being overlooked by everyone else may be used to KU’s advantage.
Media days end today with the last five schools — Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Kansas State. Besides head coach Tom Herman, the Longhorns are bringing tight end Andrew Beck, defensive end Breckyn Hager, defensive tackle Chris Nelson and left guard Patrick Vahe. On Sunday, we addressed the fact that this is the fifth straight year that UT hasn’t brought a quarterback to media days. You have to go back to 2013 when Mack Brown brought junior David Ash, who was coming off an Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State but ended up getting hurt in the second game of the 2013 season against BYU. Concussions would end his career the following year. That final line of Danny’s Day 1 takeaway was pure sarcasm; the Longhorns, Cowboys and Wildcats all remain unsettled at quarterback heading into fall practice in a couple of weeks.
OTHER NEWS FROM MONDAY:
Hager, Johnson on watch list: Defensive end Breckyn Hager and linebacker Gary Johnson were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award for national defensive player of the year. No Longhorn has ever won it.
Watson hired: Pete Watson, who’s been an assistant track coach in charge of cross country at Virginia for the past seven years, was hired for the same role. He led the Cavaliers to second-place finishes in the 2016 ACC and NCAA southeast regional championships.
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