Big 12 notes: Baylor Bears relishing role as defending champs

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Baylor is in unfamiliar territory as it prepares for the 2014 season. The defending Big 12 champion is no longer chasing someone else. For once, the Bears are being chased, and coach Art Briles says that has changed the way he prepares his team.

“It’s a whole different side of the coin,” Briles said Tuesday during a Big 12 teleconference. “It’s been on the other side and we flipped it up and guess what? It landed on the opposite side we’ve been on.”

Briles said being the big dog changes the way his staff talks to players.

“We’ve got to understand people view us differently now than they did eight months ago,” he said. “It’s a phase we’re going through and something we’re working on. Image is not about what you think, image is about what other people think.”

The league title hasn’t made the Bears any more confident, Briles said, mainly because “we’ve always been a confident football team.”

“The thing we have to understand is that, yeah, it changes the way people feel about what we’ve done here and what our players have achieved. That’s the part we’re taking great pride and responsibility in as a program.”

’Horns LB blasts Baylor

Texas linebacker Steve Edmond’s comments on Baylor the other day weren’t smart, coach Charlie Strong said.

After the Longhorns’ spring game Saturday, Edmond said: “I really don’t like Baylor. I think they’re trash. They have some good players, but I don’t understand how we lost to Baylor.”

Strong was asked about the comments on Tuesday.

“Our kids are emotional, but he’s got to be smarter than that,” Strong said. “Right now, that’s the way it is. We haven’t beaten Baylor.”

Baylor beat Texas 30-10 in 2013 and has won three of the last four meetings.

Briles was not concerned with the comments.

“That’s all right. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said.

Tech QB quandary

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Patrick Mahomes, a three-star recruit from Whitehouse High School, is likely to be the backup to starting quarterback Davis Webb.

Mahomes, who also plays baseball at Whitehouse, won’t be on campus until the summer.

“We’ll see,” Kingsbury said. “He’s a very talented young man ... we have some other kids that we have walking on. We kind of scoured the state to try to find depth. We have one true sophomore and four true freshmen, which will be fun. We’ll coach them up and try to find some depth and take it from there.”

Cowboys quarterback

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback. Although he’s labeled J.W. Walsh the front-runner, he wants to see Walsh, Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph continue to compete.

“We’ll let them go at it the first 15 days or so of fall camp,” he said.

Quotable

“He’s pretty fast. He’s at a different level, speed-wise, than anybody I’ve ever coached.” — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on junior college transfer Tyreek Hill, who was one of the fastest sprinters in the nation in high school

“We’ve got a lot of kids coming back. For the first time since I’ve been here, we’ve got a lot of depth.” — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who’s in his third year with the Mountaineers

“If you win the Big 12 as undisputed champion and are undefeated, you should be in the four-team playoff at the end of season.” — Baylor coach Art Briles

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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