The Big 12 logo on a pylon at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


Big 12 media days: Our staff’s Day 1 takeaways, from Horns Down to the transfer portal

Posted July 15th, 2019


We’ve sent five staffers to AT&T Stadium in Arlington for this year’s Big 12 media days — columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden and writers Brian Davis, Suzanne Halliburton and Danny Davis. Here are their takeaways from Day 1, which included coaches and players from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas:

West Virginia defensive lineman Jeffery Pooler, Jr. (13) motions with the Horns Down signal toward Mountaineers fans after the 42-41 win over Texas at Royal-Memorial Stadium last November. (Stephen Spillman/For Statesman)

Bohls: Horns Down on that Horns Down ‘ruling’

I couldn’t help myself, so I asked Bob Bowlsby if the league had resolved the ongoing, raging controversy last year concerning the Horns Down gesture.

Asked if everyone is clear on the subject, the Big 12 commissioner said, “I don’t know if everyone is clear or not, but the officials are instructed to enforce anything they consider unsportsmanlike conduct. Players are held to a certain standard of conduct.”


OK, we all clear now?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Remember Texas quarterback Cameron Rising? Perhaps not, since he never played a snap with the Longhorns. The freshman entered the NCAA transfer portal at the end of last season and now is playing for Utah. (Nick Wagner/American-Statesman)

Brian Davis: The NCAA transfer portal ain’t all that

Is the transfer portal a turnoff for coaches?

It’s obvious that administrators and coaches are already tired of the NCAA transfer portal. From the sound of it, going into the portal is a turnoff at this point. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said players who have a bad practice or a bad week are tempted to just leave and not stick it out.

“I don’t think that was ever envisioned and it shouldn’t work that way,” Bowlsby said. TCU coach Gary Patterson said he tells his staff, “Don’t bring me portal parents or portal kids.” Chances are, if that athlete wants to leave, he didn’t do enough homework up front. The portal is simply not the panacea some believe it to be.

New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells speaks on the first day of Big 12 media days on Monday. (AP Photo/David Kent)

Danny Davis: New Tech coach, new Tech offense

Texas won’t step into the spotlight at AT&T Stadium until Tuesday, but a Longhorn still received a shout out on the opening day of media days.

Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells mentioned UT defensive coordinator Todd Orlando alongside Gary Patterson and Iowa State assistant Joe Heacock when discussing the good defensive minds in the Big 12.

Orlando’s defense forced three red-zone turnovers in Lubbock last year, but Tech’s new offense that utilizes a tight end and ranked second nationally in scoring last year at Utah State will present a different challenge for the Longhorns on Black Friday.

Former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was popular in Lubbock as a former Red Raiders quarterback, but he ended up being forced out last season. After a short (as in, one month) stint as USC’s offensive coordinator, he was hired to coach the Arizona Cardinals. (File photo)

Golden: No pressure in Lubbock? Oh, there’s pressure

New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said the recent successes of basketball coach Chris Beard and baseball coach Tim Tadlock has made the challenge he’s facing in Lubbock even more exciting.

“I don’t think their success puts any more pressure on me or our staff or our program than the pressure that was on it on December 1st, to be dead honest with you,” Wells said. “I took the job based on a lot of other factors, and none of those were considered. I respect the question. I think it’s really good.”

It’s all good in July when every team is 0-0. But the real heat will come in the fall when the Red Raiders take the field as a team picked to finish seventh in the Big 12’s preseason media poll.

On the bright side, even if Wells struggles, he could end up with an NFL head coaching job like his predecessor, Kliff Kingsbury.

Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs prepares to take the field with his team before last year’s season opener against Texas Southern in Fort Worth. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Halliburton: Even at 7-6, last year was one of Patterson’s best

The worst bowl game of last season could’ve been TCU’s 10-7 overtime victory over California.

OK, if you loved defense, then this was your game. It had nine interceptions and it took extra time for any team to break double digits. Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson is a defensive guy, so he loved the performance. His team, which was decimated by injuries, especially at quarterback, managed to qualify for a bowl and win it.

Patterson had some swagger Monday as he addressed the media. He’s always a fun interview because his tangents can be revealing. Last season, even with the 7-6 record, might’ve been one of his best as a coach. And the weeks before the start of training camp are the most delightfully optimistic times of the year.