Posted July 19, 2013

Big 12 media days primer: Key storylines

Big 12, Big 12 Media Days
(John Albright/Icon SMI)

QB David Ash is one of Texas’ 17 starters returning for the upcoming season. (John Albright/Icon SMI)

By Zac Ellis

The media frenzy of the college football preseason heads to the Lone Star State with Big 12 Media Days taking place July 22-23 in Dallas. Here are three storylines to watch as the conference’s players and coaches preview the season.

1. Everything bigger in Texas? This could be the year when Texas finally bounces back from its relative lull since its 2009 BCS title loss to Alabama. The Longhorns have gone 21-16 in the three seasons under Mack Brown since that game, and fans in Austin aren’t used to complacency. But Texas returns 17 starters in 2013 — the most in the Big 12 — including quarterback David Ash, one of the most experienced signal-callers in the league. Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin is gone, but new coordinator Major Applewhite is looking to bring the Longhorns into a faster, up-tempo style. Still, Big 12 media picked Texas fourth in the conference in its preseason poll, behind Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and TCU. Brown should ready himself for more than a few questions regarding the team’s expectations this fall.

2. Newest head man in Lubbuck. Kliff Kingsbury quickly became one of the most sought-after assistants during his stint as the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in 2012. Now Kingsbury takes the reins of his alma mater to help bring the program back to success it hasn’t seen since former coach Mike Leach walked the sidelines. Kingsbury worked magic with Manziel as a freshman, so he’ll likely be pelted with questions about his own quarterback situation with Texas Tech. Michael Brewer is expected to assume starting duties under center, but the sophomore failed to completely separate himself from freshman David Wells after spring practice. Kingsbury also can’t seem to go anywhere without fielding questions about Manziel’s well-documented antics this summer. One thing is a virtual guarantee, though: Kingsbury will be the sharpest-dressed coach in Dallas.

3. More Stoops soundbites? It seems like every time Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops opened his mouth this offseason, he made headlines. From questioning the depth of the SEC to opining on the issue of player compensation, the Sooners’ coach has remained in the spotlight one way or another since last fall. What might get Stoops talking in Dallas is Oklahoma’s predicted finished of second in the conference by Big 12 media — right behind rival Oklahoma State. The Sooners will be without longtime starting quarterback Landry Jones and their top two receivers, and the defense will need new leaders to step up, but few people are doubting the roster’s talent in Norman. Yet Stoops won’t be facing the media as the conference favorite, so perhaps that slight alone will get the coach rolling with some quality soundbites at the podium.

Players in attendance

Texas
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
QB David Ash
G Trey Hopkins
S Adrian Phillips

TCU
RB Waymon James
CB Jason Verrett
S Sam Carter
DE Jon Koontz

Oklahoma State
T Calvin Barnett
LB Shaun Lewis
WR Josh Stewart

Kansas State
C B.J. Finney
WR Tyler Lockett
LB Tre’ Walker
S Ty Zimmerman,

Kansas
QB Jake Heaps
RB James Sims
LB Ben Heeney
CB Cassius Sendish

Texas Tech
DE Kerry Hyder
WR Eric Ward
RB Kenny Williams

Oklahoma
C Gabe Ikard
FB Trey Millard
CB Aaron Colvin

West Virginia
DT Will Clarke
S Karl Joseph
T Quinton Spain

Baylor
RB Lache Seastrunk
G Cyril Richardson
S Ahmad Dixon

Iowa State
LB Jeremiah George
S Jacques Washington
RB Jeff Woody

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