Each year we ask college football coaches to tell us what they really think about the other teams in their conference. But we don't want the cliche'd press conference platitudes, so we ask them to give us their quotes...anonymously. Here are this year's quotes in alphabetical order for each team in the Big 12.
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Baylor
“Baylor is the most difficult team in the Big 12 to prepare for. They do so many unique things, especially on offense. But even defensively, they did some things that were a little different. They weren’t really talented on defense, but they did some unique things."
"Texas and Texas A&M can’t sign everyone in Texas, and they have done a good job getting some athletes in there."
"Their wide receivers are so fast it’s freaky. They have big offensive linemen. They have looked like a different team in the past few years. They look like a Big 12 football team."
"With all that talent, they spread you out and put that skill in space. And what is the scariest is they have (eight) starters returning on offense."
"Robert Griffin is amazing. He would be good on any team in any system. He can throw it. He is a smart kid. Sometimes you question his toughness a bit. But 99.9 percent of the colleges in this country would want him. "
"You can be good on defense at Baylor, but you have to willing to accept the fact that your defensive numbers aren’t going to be great. You have to create turnovers and get the ball back from the offense. Are you going to give up some points? Yes. Are you going to give up some yards? Yes. The other team has the ball for so long.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Iowa State
“I think they will be better without Austen Arnaud. They started to depend on him too much. I don’t think he always went through his reads. He was tough as nails, and they believed in him. But they can be better without him."
"Their personnel is not good. It’s near the bottom of the league, with Kansas and Kansas State and Baylor."
"I don’t know who has done more with less than Paul Rhoads. Two years ago, the Cyclones got to a bowl game and last year they just missed. They beat Texas last year and the year before won at Nebraska. Those are huge wins for their program."
"It’s tough to win there. You are in the middle of nowhere. You don’t have any tradition. At least Kansas State has some tradition. Iowa State is hard. You can win some. You can take junior college players and win some, if you can get some stuff to go together. But it’s hard to win consistently."
"The kids play hard for Paul Rhoads. They play really hard. They are a tough team. They want to play for him and they are well-coached. They are doing things the way they are taught."
"Part of the reason for Rhoads’ success has been the acquisition of defensive coordinator Wally Burnham. What he has done is simply amazing. The defense has carried this team despite not a great deal of talent.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Kansas
“I was surprised how bad they were last year. They were bad. Very bad. But if you think about it, it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise, because they were never that talented. (Mark) Mangino was such a good coach, and people got spoiled."
"They lost a lot of recruiters who were getting Texas kids. They are doing a good job recruiting now, going to Florida more."
"None of their quarterbacks really put much fear in a defense, and they’re average at the skill positions. Really I guess they’re average everywhere. They try to run the spread, but in that offense there is such a premium on quarterback play, everything goes to the quarterback. It’s hard to be good in that offense if the quarterback is not that good."
"They weren’t good at quarterback last year, but I don’t know how much of it was the quarterback or the offensive line. They didn’t have any playmakers. They lost Dezmon Briscoe. They lost Kerry Meier. They lost some playmakers. I don’t know how good their quarterbacks are because they didn’t have anybody around them who could make any plays."
"On defense, they weren’t very good. It just seemed like they struggled to fill the gaps."
"Turner Gill is a great recruiter. They will have some players eventually. They have awesome facilities."
"Last year was not the kind of start Gill needed to have to prove that he’s the right coach for Kansas. They were held without a touchdown in losing the opener to North Dakota State and finished with only three victories.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Kansas State
“Thank God Daniel Thomas isn’t back. He was so physical. They will have a huge hole trying to replace him. Last year the offense revolved around him. As he went, they went. Now they have to replace him. Bryce Brown, who transferred from Tennessee, could be a nice addition, if he lives up to the hype."
"They have to replace quarterback Carson Coffman. You know certain things to expect with a Bill Snyder-coached team: They will be good on special teams, be physical and incorporate some sort of option."
"They keep you honest on defense. They are as well-coached and physical as anyone in the league. If they only had a lot more talent like they did before Snyder stepped down the first time, they could be really strong. But you can tell he’s building it back. Snyder lost a lot of impact players. On most teams you would expect a big drop-off, but with Snyder he’ll scrape together another winning season and bowl berth like he always does."
"They need to find some playmakers on offense. With Thomas gone, there will be more pressure on the quarterback and the wide receivers."
"Their talent level isn’t great, but they find a way to win some games. Not sure how they do it, but they get it done."
"Coffman was solid at quarterback. Didn’t get a lot of attention, but he was good. Didn’t make the big mistake.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Missouri
“It will be interesting to see how they replace Blaine Gabbert. They lost a great one at quarterback. None of their running backs really scare you that much, but Michael Egnew is a good one at tight end. Also T.J. Moe catches anything thrown his way. You have to always account for both of those guys. If they can find an adequate replacement at quarterback, they should be set."
"It is a hard place to play. They have some pretty intense fans."
"Gary Pinkel is a great coach. That staff has been together for so long, they all know each other so well. They know the adjustments they need to make at halftime. They know the exact type of kid they want to recruit."
"They are a program that will continue to keep rising. Especially with Nebraska leaving, they have a chance to be really good. They might be the next big team. … They were very good on defense last year. They had playmakers. Their two defensive ends (Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith) were unbelievable. Their linebackers were good. They are long and athletic."
"Missouri will be a solid team again, but I don’t think they’re in the class of Oklahoma. But then again, who is?"
"The thing about Missouri is that they run a spread offense, but they’re unique in their own way. If Oregon is unique and Auburn is unique in their spread attacks, Missouri is unique in their own way. Trying to get ready in four days to face their offense is not an easy task.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Oklahoma
"Obviously quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles are two of the best around. Jones is excellent, as is Broyles. Also, I think Roy Finch has a chance to be a difference-maker at running back. I think he can be every bit as good as DeMarco Murray was. He could be the next great Sooner running back."
"Oklahoma is the league’s most physical and most skilled team and they also happen to have the league’s best quarterback. They have no weaknesses. They’re probably going to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason and will be in the national championship hunt all year. And they should be with eight starters coming back on offense. I don’t feel sorry for Bob Stoops."
"That is the most difficult place to play, especially now that Nebraska is out of the league. They have so much confidence. Even when you are playing really well against them, they still think they are going to win. They just have a certain swagger that other teams don’t have. And they have a lot of good players."
"They have so many weapons. They keep replacing great players with great players."
"They should be the team to beat in our league next year. There are some other good teams, but no one else has the type of talent that Oklahoma does.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Oklahoma State
“Their recruiting is great. You should be able to recruit there. Their facilities are unbelievable. They have a very personable head coach. They have a good recruiting base. In my opinion, they should be able to recruit better than Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Their facilities are like the Taj Mahal."
"I wasn’t really surprised at their success last year, because I know what kind of recruiting classes they were getting. They have some dudes."
"The Brandon Weeden kid is unbelievable. His presence. His arm. He can make every throw. They have most of their starters returning on offense, including the two big ones in Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The fact those two returned makes Oklahoma State a legitimate top-10 team. The biggest unknown is how they do without Dana Holgorsen as offensive coordinator."
"Justin Blackmon is a freak. He is so good because he has great ball skills. He is not overly fast, but he has amazing ball skills. You throw the ball up to him and he will go get it."
"Brandon Weeden has a strong arm, but it’s not outrageous. He is really, really smart. The ball goes to one-on-one matchups, and when you’ve got a guy like Blackmon, that’s a good thing. He makes plays."
"(Defensive co-coordinator) Bill Young is unbelievable. I am a huge Bill Young fan. I thought he was the reason they were good at Kansas. His teams are always sound and well-prepared. They attack your protections, but they make it simple and easy for his guys. I am a huge fan.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Texas
“Their quarterback (Garrett Gilbert) wasn’t as good. I don’t like to say that. But it’s hard to be as good as Colt McCoy, so it’s kind of unfair. But he wasn’t as good."
"They get a ton of early commitments, so we are talking about the best 16-year-olds in the country. But you are playing with 19-year-old kids. Sometimes the best 16-year-old kids don’t turn into the best 19- and 20-year-old kids. They get all their commitments before the end of their junior years; maybe they aren’t getting the best players. I think there is something to be said about that. Another thing: The guys they are taking are good-character kids, and good for them. But they don’t get a lot of kids who have overcome a lot of adversity. How tough are they? When things aren’t going right, how tough are they?"
"Surprisingly, they were not that physical last year. They weren’t physical at all. You also never felt like the quarterback (Garrett Gilbert) could beat you. Also, it just didn’t feel like they played hard last year. They have some big running backs and some wide bodies up front, but something was missing there. They never utilized their running back last year — they gave up on it and they were quick to abandon the running game."
"I guess Mack Brown figured the best way to shake up the program after last year’s dismal season was to blow up the coaching staff. We’ll see if that was the answer this fall.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Texas A&M
“Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is an excellent player. Running back Cyrus Gray also is a very nice player, and the fact wide receiver Jeff Fuller opted not to turn pro is huge for them. You could argue they have the three best skill players in the league — certainly the three best returning skill players. They also get (running back) Christine Michael back from injury."
"They had a nice season last year. About halfway through the year, they were starting to let it slip away, but they regrouped and finished strong."
"I don’t think they’ve got enough firepower to unseat Oklahoma, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they followed up last year’s (Big 12 South co-championship) with a runner-up finish this season."
"What Tim DeRuyter accomplished last season in his first year as defensive coordinator was very impressive. The defense did a 180 with him in charge. They ran multiple fronts and gave you different looks. It fits in pretty well against what we see on offense in this league. They do have to find replacements for stud linebackers Von Miller and Michael Hodges, but I think they’ll continue their improvement from last season."
"That was a big year for Mike (Sherman). There was talk about his future, but they got it done. They were really, really good down the stretch."
"Tannehill was very good at quarterback, but they’ve had some quarterbacks not play well as seniors, for whatever reason. They need him to play well, obviously.”
What Big 12 Coaches Are Saying About: Texas Tech
“Quarterback is the biggest question for the Red Raiders. They lost both Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield. It looks like Seth Doege is the frontrunner for the job."
"(Tommy) Tuberville keeps telling people they want to run the ball more than (Mike) Leach and how he is committed to running the football, but then they were throw, throw, throw, then run."
"They just don’t scare you to death offensively like some of the other teams in the league. They used to scare you. Not anymore."
"On defense, they should look different with new coordinator Chad Glasgow, who comes over from TCU. Last year Tech was among the nation’s worst defenses. This fall, they’ll have a new look ditching the 3-4 alignment for TCU’s 4-2-5 defense."
"Tech has a lot of key guys back, so another bowl trip is not out of the question. However, I think at best they’re a middle of the pack team in the Big 12 and probably the best they could realistically hope for would be to finish fifth or sixth in the league."
"This is a big year for Tommy as he tries to change the identify of the team. Last year, they didn’t run the ball well and weren’t good on defense. That’s not Tommy Tuberville football. It will be interesting to see if he can get his team playing the way he wants to.”
Other Candid Coaches' Quotes: