COLUMN: Sooners show confidence at Big 12 media day
As the Big 12 Media Day wrapped up Wednesday in Irving, Texas, several things came to mind concerning the Sooners and the rest of the conference.
The buzz in Oklahoma is for real. Players exhibited the confidence of a champion. Talking openly to reporters, they all seem motivated to get back to work. Finishing the year at 8-5 did not cut it for Beal, Broyles, Lewis and Murray, the Sooner reps who attended the days.
“No excuses for us about last year,” Beal said. “We’re not settling for that and losing to Texas, that left a bad taste in our mouth and we are using all that as motivation.”
They are going to need all the motivation they can get. Texas A&M and their quarterback Jerrod Johnson may be sleepers coming in to the fall.
“I think I am the best quarterback in the country,” he said. “It all comes down to whether we win or lose. If we don’t win, then I’m not.”
Johnson’s statement wasn’t bold or brash. It was stated. The young man is humble and confident. If he can get to his numbers from last year, then the Big 12 South could be in trouble as OU and Nebraska could go to Kyle Field undefeated to face Johnson and the Aggies. A 3-4 defensive scheme and sackmaster Von Miller also will be waiting.
Nebraska kicked things off by flat-out refusing to take any questions about Nebraska’s move to the Big 10. Bo Pelini may have said that Nebraska was back following a drubbing of Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. Pelini backpedaled from those words on Monday after revealing there was a quarterback controversy heading into the fall.
Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech also are in the same boat. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville made his inaugural appearance. Tuberville is going to bring a new attitude to Tech, one of which could make getting points a premium from Tech.
Every coach had something to say about conference re-alignment, but Art Briles hit it right on the head.
“It doesn’t matter, you know, what Art Briles thinks,” deadpanned Briles.
The truth of the matter is no coach really did, maybe Mack Brown or Bob Stoops, but not the likes of Art Briles, Mike Gundy or Gary Pinkel. Pinkel also admitted his opinion does not count in the grand scheme of things.
“If I gave my opinion, it wouldn’t matter,” he said.
Missouri was late, holding up day two with no apology. Maybe they were preparing for Big 10 Media Day next week.
Oklahoma State also seems to be in a world of trouble. Coach Gundy admitted the offensive line is not set heading into camp.
“There are times in preseason camp that we’ll play some musical chairs to find out where those guys fit,” he said.
Not exactly the time to play games with your line, Coach. Did you see Oklahoma last year with all that talent and no O-line? OSU has half the talent and a similar issue; this could be a rough season for the Pokes.
Iowa State, on the other hand, simply wants to improve, but its conference slate includes Oklahoma and Texas. ISU QB Austen Arnaud thinks the talent is there, but the schedule is not favorable.
“We may be better, but it might not translate into wins and losses,” he said.
Conference heavyweights OU and Texas wrapped up the event. Nothing new to see here. Next.
In all reality these two behemoths will continue to dominate. Stoops and Brown headlined the days. Their players were outstanding representatives for their individual schools and both were respectful of the other. I did ask the two the same question and got two very different answers.
The question was: How important is it for OU and Texas to maintain its rivalry and a level of excellence at that game?
Brown gave an animated answer. “Absolutely, it is important for these schools to keep that level of play up."
Stoops, on the other hand, played it slow. “It’s made that game a great attraction not only in this region but across the country. So it matters to some degree.”