Big 12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2014

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Big 12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2014

It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.

 

In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2014, Athlon asked coaches in the Big 12 to talk anonymously about their opponents.

 

Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.

 

Big 12 Coaches Anonymously Scout Conference Foes

 

Baylor


“With them, it’s all about the vision. When Art Briles took the job, just having the vision of where they wanted to be. They weren’t very good when he took over and didn’t have good facilities. The vision to trust the coaches to get it right, even when they weren’t having success early. Even as close as 2012, there was a point they weren’t very good. They’ve done a phenomenal job upgrading the facilities and recruiting players that aren’t always highly rated but can really play.”…

“Bryce Petty is a good player. He’s very competitive, he throws the ball with velocity and is extremely accurate.”…

“The guy I really like is Antwan Goodley. He reminds me of Michael Crabtree as a receiver. He’s physical and fast and strong.”…

“They are well coached and sound on defense, Phil Bennett is obviously a great coach.”…

“They lost a lot of seniors, but they also have a lot of guys that played a lot of ball for them last year.”…

“They are so unique on offense, they are very simple on defense. It’s not tricky to be able to scheme them up.”…

“Offensively they are very unique with their wide splits and power run game, so you have to be able to be physical with them up front and not get beat over the top. That’s easier to say than to do, of course.”…

“If they get a couple of first downs on you, they will get momentum and can hit big plays in a hurry.”…

“You need to turn them over but that’s hard to do with Petty being so accurate.”…

 

Iowa State


“They always play really hard. You catch them at Ames and it’s a big difference. They can beat a lot of teams there.”…

“I know they were down last year, but they are always pretty steady like Kansas State.”…

“Their deal is the quarterback. They’ve been up and down at that spot for the last couple of years. They’ve managed to hold on by playing really good defense and getting creative enough on offense to make plays.”…

“I see them being slightly improved from last year. The Mark Mangino hire is an interesting one. He’s a guy that knows the league, though it’s changed a little bit since he was in it. The thing you know is it’s going to be his deal. Coach Paul is going to mess with the defense and Mangino will handle the offense. He did a good job when he was at Kansas, throwing the corner route, throwing the comebacks, good run-pass scheming. I think everybody’s got enough good people in this league.”…

“With Iowa State, you’re talking about the team that knocked off Oklahoma State two years ago. Everybody’s got talent. They are always sound defensively. They do a great job scheme wise and the way they play the game, with a lot of effort and tenacity, really tough guys.”…

“Without question, they are a tough out defensively. But the question with them is can they manufacture enough offense to keep it interesting?”…

“ I don’t remember much playmaking outside of maybe the tight end (E.J. Bibbs).”…

 

Kansas

 

“They do a good job defensively. Their scheme is pretty good.”…

Offensively, obviously Charlie Weis knows what he’s doing.”…

“They are well-coached overall, but their team changes drastically because of all the junior college stuff they are doing.”…

“It’s hard to get a grip on their roster. It’s a team that’s tricky to figure out, but one that I think is getting better.”…

“Schematically, they are tough to gameplan for because they have a lot of offense. They are very multiple. It’s the NFL mold where you’re changing things a good bit.”… 

“Defensively they do a good job of changing things and molding to a three-down front.”…

“They do a lot on offense and a lot of defense, which is unique. Guys like Baylor, you know what they are doing but it’s hard to defend. Kansas is kind of the opposite. Their schemes change a bunch, which makes it hard to gameplan for but easier to play against.”…

“With Jake Heaps, the transfer quarterback that struggled, they ran one offense, and with the other quarterback (Montell Cozart) it was a whole different offense.”…

“The running back, James Sims, was very good. He will be a big loss for them.”…

“They have a linebacker, Ben Heeney, that was really good last year.”…

“They had a few active cornerbacks. I think their defense was relatively young so they should have a good group returning.”…

 

Kansas State


“To me they are loaded at quarterback.”…

“They will miss the John Hubert kid, the runner. He was really steady for them.”…

“They’ll always be good offensively because of the style of play and the people they play with. You won’t see much fluctuation in production as long as Bill Snyder’s there.”…

“They have one of the top receivers of the year in Tyler Lockett. That guy is really good.”…

“They lost quite a few impact players on defense. Safety Ty Zimmerman was a four-year starter for them. They have a good inside tackle that I think they are losing, and a good defensive end is back (Ryan Mueller).”…

“With them, it’s about where you’re playing them. In Manhattan, it’s probably a 10-to-14-point difference every time. They will get a punt blocked or make a few plays there and next thing you know you’re giving up points.”…

“They are always big on the offensive and defensive lines. Snyder always gets big kids.”…

“They fill in with junior college guys every year there and there will never be a drop-off.”…

“The junior college quarterback, Jake Waters, he’s pretty good. I thought he got better as the year progressed.”…

“The way they played Michigan in the bowl game, K-State was hitting its stride later in the year. They should be a player in league play.”…

“Lockett is special. He really helps them stretch the field.”…

“There’s not really a glaring weakness with them. They just play sound football.”…
 

Oklahoma


“They’ll be the preseason favorites, mainly because of how they finished last year beating Oklahoma State and Alabama.”…

“Trevor Knight had a huge performance in the bowl game, that gives him a lot of momentum coming into this year.”…

“They’ll always be really skilled across the board.”…

“The secondary’s always good. The Zack Sanchez kid probably played as good as any freshman could have played last year in that position. He’ll be a little better.”…

“Third year in Mike Stoops’ defensive system, they’ll get better there. They’ll be more comfortable.”…

“To me, they are the team where, if you ask the coaches in the league, most of them will say Oklahoma is the favorite.”…

“Knight was erratic at times. He’s a spark guy. If there’s a spark, you can start a fire. At least you have the ability to make something happen with him.”…

“The thing that will help them is as long as Blake Bell’s not sitting over his shoulder (Bell moved to tight end), that’s a good thing for Knight. That hurt him some last year, and it hurt Bell some, too, It’s just tough.”…

“Bell is a big tight end. The Belldozer.”…

“One guy they’ll really miss is Jalen Saunders. They’ll need a few guys to replace him.”…

 

Oklahoma State


“They’ll probably be down a little. They lost a bunch of good guys on defense.”…

“What’s been impressive about them the last few years is how they’ve played on defense has kind of been overlooked. They lost good safeties that have been four-year starters.”…

“Losing the quarterback, now it’s going to be J.W. Walsh, he’s kind of been up and down so far. We’ll have to see how that goes. I think they lost the top four receivers, too.”…

“From the outside looking in, it’s a rebuilding year. That’s the way I see it.”…

“Defensively they had an identity, but they had guys that played a lot of snaps for them and won a lot of football games.”…

“They do a good job scheme-wise and they have good people. They had a safety that was really good (Daytawion Lowe). They had Justin Gilbert, who’s probably a first rounder. They had one of the most dominating two-techniques (Calvin Barnett) we saw last year - they’ve done it with some good guys, and they’ll be breaking players in.”…

“Josh Stewart coming out early had to be a blow to them. They were probably counting on him.”…

“The running backs were pretty good and they return good depth there.”…

“It’s going to be on how J.W. plays and finishes. I don’t know if they have another guy that’s ready right now.”…

 

TCU


“Making offensive changes this offseason means they are adjusting to the Big 12 as opposed to being in the Mountain West and staying true to what you do. They are just kind of catching up with the times so to speak with more of a no-huddle.”…

“They probably have a little bit of a quarterback issue. Trevone Boykin will probably be their guy, I would think.”…

“I think their skill players have been really good last few years, on both sides of the ball, especially in the secondary. Really good skill guys, and they don’t always get credit for it.”…

“I think they are a little bit of a darkhorse team. They were probably 15 points away from being 8-4 instead of 4-8.”…

“They are certainly a team people might look at and think they aren’t a contender, but I think they are.”…

“Their offensive line was a problem, but that should be better. They have a junior college kid (Frank Kee) coming in that should help them. A lot of schools wanted him. Everybody will have some line issues because it’s a hard to average eight or nine good offensive linemen every year.”…

“With the quarterback, it all depends on the style of play and how Boykin fits the new methods. I know Sonny Cumbie and they hired Doug Meacham – they are both from the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach tree so it just depends on how that fits Boykin. That’s a strictly throwing offense from the shotgun. I think he has a lively arm and is a good player.”…

“TCU will always play the kind of defense that gives them a chance.”…

“It will be interesting to see what (Trevone) Boykin can do as a wide receiver, if they are able to keep them there. He has some ability. Looked good there.”…

 

Texas


“A lot of it hinges on David Ash’s health. If he stays healthy, offensively certainly it will increase their odds. He’s a little hot and cold, probably not as consistent as what you’d like, but who knows in a new system – it may fit him better. I’m thinking Shawn Watson will be in the middle of the play-calling even though they are selling (Joe) Wickline (as the offensive coordinator)…

“They’ve got some good running backs – Johnathan Gray is good, Malcolm Brown is good.”…

“Their line, they lost a few up front, lost a leading receiver, they lost a few that are good players. But overall they have enough depth there.”…

“They are always good defensively; they may act like they are in and out, but they are like Oklahoma on defense. They’ll always be good because they recruit guys who can play well on the back end.”…

“With a new system and adjustments, who knows how long that will take. Right now they are a big question mark. That’s just the way I see it. That’s just the way it’s been – not a lot of guys drafted recently.”…

“Johnathan Gray is really good and it hurt them when he got hurt.”…

“They have a young receiver I think is good, (Kendall Sanders). He should give them a boost this year.”…

“Defensively the Cedric Reed kid was a good defensive end. Losing Jackson Jeffcoat is a big one.”…

“Their back-end guys should be fine. They are always pretty experienced.”…

“Ash is a good football player. He’s a little hot and cold, probably not as consistent as what you’d like but who knows in a new system –it may fit him better.”…

 

Texas Tech


“Defensively, they had a lot of seniors and a lot of depth so they’ll have some things to replace.”…

“When I think of them offensively, it’s up-tempo and good, well-coached quarterback play.”…

“That tight end (Jace Amaro) was such a tremendous difference-maker for them. That’s got to be priority No. 1 for them – replacing his production. He himself converted about 30 percent of their third downs. I’m glad he’s gone.”…

“They are just up-tempo and high energy on both sides of the ball”….

“Kliff Kingsbury is sharp. He has a bright mind. People say he’s young and inexperienced, but the only thing that kid’s ever done is play football. He played four straight years at Texas Tech, went to Houston as a quality control guy, then coached for 3-4 years. Football is the only thing that’s in that guy’s life. He’s transitioned just like I thought he would.”…

“Quarterback Davis Webb, I think he’s really good. He’s got good savvy. Kliff does a good job teaching confidence. He runs better than you’d think. They have a promising guy coming in as well. Now that the other quarterbacks transferred, it’s good for cohesion that the Webb kid doesn’t have to worry about what’s behind him.”…

“They are going to throw the ball a bunch and make adjustments based on what the defense gives them.”…

“The offensive and defensive lines are above average. One of their defensive linemen (Kerry Hyder) gave us fits last year. I’m glad he’s gone.”…

 

West Virginia


“This is a big year for West Virginia. You’re looking at a team that beat Oklahoma State, which almost won the league, last year in Morgantown. They aren’t that far off.”…

“The defense did some good things – they weren’t as consistent as they’d like but it seemed like they were better than the year before when it was sort of a liability.”…

“The question becomes what do you do at quarterback? Dana played three different guys and it seems the FSU transfer (Clint Trickett) gave them the best chance to win. In that system, it helps when you have a full offseason or even a full year as a starter, and I think the Trickett kid came in late in the offseason, so he was finally getting his footing.”…

“They had a chance to beat Texas but couldn’t get a first down late in the game. Maybe, with all three quarterbacks being there all offseason and playing a year in the system, they’ll settle down.”…

“It was kind of curious to see Dana struggle with quarterback play. Brandon Weeden and Geno Smith can make a lot of quarterbacks look good, but Dana’s good with quarterbacks and he’ll get them right.”…

“Running back Charles Sims was a good player for them, but they have a transfer from Pittsburgh (Rushel Shell) that should help them.”…

“Defensively I couldn’t really name a guy that stuck out to me. They were pretty active but weren’t necessarily full of standouts there”...

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