College Confidential

Big 12 media days: Baylor still trying to earn respect, Briles says

Art Briles’ team was picked to finish second in the Big 12. “Doubters are motivators,” he said.
Art Briles’ team was picked to finish second in the Big 12. “Doubters are motivators,” he said. Special to the Star-Telegram

Nothing got past Baylor coach Art Briles when he held court Tuesday at the Big 12 media days.

When a reporter, seemingly by accident, paraphrased a popular lyric from a Drake song, Briles was quick to connect the dots.

“Did you really say, ‘Started from the bottom, now we’re here’? Did I hear you say that? Never heard that before,” Briles quipped.

Despite winning two straight Big 12 Championships, last season’s a co-championship with TCU, Baylor still has work to do with the media, who picked Baylor second to TCU with just 10 of the 42 first-place votes.

“We understand how we’ve been able to get to this point, and to get to this point has been through trying hard to earn respect, never earning respect, understanding that people don’t know our names,” he said. “So we want to make people know our names by our actions, by our performance on the field. So that’s something that will continually stay with us because even if you do achieve what you’d like to achieve, there’s always going to be doubters, and doubters are motivators.”

So, while the underdog mentality suits the Bears well for what they are trying to do this season, it didn’t keep Briles from throwing one jab to those pollsters in the audience.

“Getting chosen second, I mean, that’s OK,” he said. “Like I said, it’s better than getting third. I guess you’ve got to win it three times in a row to get picked first.”

Stoops questioned on Mixon case

Right off the bat, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was faced with questions regarding off-the-field issues with Sooner football players, including redshirt freshman Joe Mixon.

Mixon, a running back, was suspended through the 2014 season after he was charged with a misdemeanor for punching a female student.

“First, let me say there’s no place for it,” Stoops said. “It should never happen. “There’s not only domestic violence, but there’s violence toward women, there’s violence in general. None of it should be tolerated, and it has been disciplined.

“We disciplined in a certain way depending on the circumstances we have, and these guys have had significant penalties,” he continued. “They’ve had a lot of other internal measures to meet and to stand — to right up to, and if all those were met, then they had the opportunity to redeem themselves and hopefully grow from their experience.”

Stoops said that Oklahoma, being an educational institution for young adults, affords them the chance for guidance and rehabilitation, to a point.

“They also know that we have some very high standards for them to meet, and if they’re not met, then they won’t be with us any longer,” he said.

Strong backs tough rules on domestic violence

Texas coach Charlie Strong has made a name for himself as a hard-nosed judge and jury when it comes to off-the-field issues.

So it came as no surprise that he was in favor of the SEC’s new rule blocking transfers of student-athletes who have a past of domestic violence.

“I would favor it because I always look at it like this,” Strong said. “If you are a student‑athlete and you have a chance to go to University of Texas, go to Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, TCU, wherever you go, and then for some reason you did something that they had to dismiss you from that program, I don’t think that you should be given another opportunity to go to another major school and just start all over like your slate is clean.”

Strong dismissed nine players from the Longhorn program before his first season last year and addressed his attempt to change the culture.

“When you look at what happened and when, as a coaching staff, we sat down, even with our players, it’s not where you got to sit there and say, Hey, listen, you’re out. You’re out. You’re out. You start pointing at guys and telling them they’re out of the program, that never, ever happened. They were given plenty of opportunities to do what was asked of them,” he said.

“I want them to have every opportunity to be successful, but decisions are made, and sometimes guys feel like they want to do things their way,” Strong said. “When that happens, then we have to make a decision on our end.”

QB stability at Oklahoma State

The quarterback shuffle that has plagued Oklahoma State seems to be calm heading into the season, with head coach Mike Gundy naming sophomore Mason Rudolph as the starter before the opening of fall camp.

Rudolph jumped into action in week 11, and passed for 281 yards, the most for an Oklahoma State player in his first game.

He followed that performance with leading the Cowboys to the second-largest, fourth-quarter Bedlam comeback in Oklahoma State history, in the Cowboy’s 38-35 win over Oklahoma.

“At that time, we felt like it was best for Mason to understand that he needs to be the leader on our offense and the players need to start rallying around him as their quarterback,” Gundy said.

Rudolph beat out senior Denton Guyer alumnus J.W. Walsh, who has had a rollercoaster career at Oklahoma State after leaving high school ranked the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.

Walsh led the Cowboys in total offense his freshman year with 1,854 yards in 10 games played. He saw action in five games in 2013 and two in 2014.

“We’ve very lucky to have J.W. Walsh on our football team,” Gundy said. “J.W. is going to play. He’ll be a factor in the success of our football team this season.”

Iowa State lineman battling through chemotherapy treatment

Answers to questions about quarterbacks and a newly renovated stadium paled in comparison to a short story Iowa State head coach Paul Rhodes told in his opening statement.

Redshirt junior defensive end Mitchell Meyers, one of only four players to start every game for the Cyclones last season, has undergone chemotherapy for the past six months for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed last January.

Through that time period, the lineman from The Woodlands has not missed a summer workout with his team.

Rhodes said Friday is Meyer’s final chemotherapy appointment.

After that, he will return to the Houston suburb to undergo radiation treatments, but will return to the Iowa State football team in September.

“Prayers extended to Mitchell and his family and everything he’s going through as our football team watches in admiration and appreciation each and every single day,” Rhodes said.

Meyers, 21, started last season at defensive end, before moving inside to lineman later in the season and was third among defensive linemen in tackles with 30.

He is not listed on the Iowa State preseason depth chart.

Travis L. Brown can be reached at tbrown7137@gmail.com and on Twitter @Travis_L_Brown.

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