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Big 12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2016

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Sooners

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.

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In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2016, Athlon asked coaches in the Big 12 to talk anonymously about their opponents.

Related: Big 12 2016 Predictions

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


“If I had to pick the team I think will be the most formidable, it’s Baylor just because they’ve proven it offensively, and having Seth Russell come back off the injury at quarterback will be big. They were rolling until he got hurt. If they could get a quarterback to finish the season healthy they might win the whole thing one of these years.”

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“They’ve got a lot of team speed, and they’re always pretty decent on defense. I know they lose the one great receiver in [Corey] Coleman, but they’ll be fine. I don’t see them taking any steps back.”

“It was crazy to watch their bowl game when they ran that Wildcat and rushed for [645] yards, and it was like it almost set football back 50 years. All they did was run different running backs and receivers — to produce like that shows you how good their coaching staff is offensively. Obviously they won’t play that way this year, but it goes without saying they’re going to be good on offense.”

“They’re never going to lead the nation in scoring defense, but they’re better than people give them credit for. Not great defensively, but not bad.”  

“When you looked at them last year, Shawn Oakman got all the media attention and was a pretty good player, but losing Andrew Billings is going to be bigger for their defense because he was a great player and made a big difference inside with the run game. In the secondary they lose Xavien Howard, who was a good defensive back, but again, they’ll be solid and really, really good on offense.”

Iowa State

“The new guy [Matt Campbell] did a great job at Toledo. I went back and watched some of the stuff they did there just to get an idea of what to expect, and I was impressed. He’ll do a good job there in time, but they’re just pretty far down right now talent-wise and down in a whole lot of spots.”

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“Last year, they weren’t a good defense with their skillset at all, and they didn’t have a lot of good players up front, so they tried to piecemeal it with an exotic scheme to maybe hide some deficiencies.”

“I don’t see anyone coming back who strikes fear into you except for the safety, No. 5 [Kamari Cotton-Moya]. He’s their best player, but their overall lack of speed on defense is probably what the new staff is worried about right now because you just have to have some fast guys to match up with the skill in this league.”

“Offensively, my guess is they’ll build around Joel Lanning at quarterback. He played some at the end of last year and he’s real athletic. He has a chance to be decent.”

“They’ve got some guys they can work with at receiver. It’s a big, physical group of guys. They don’t have a lot of speed, but they’re solid.”

“They were pretty senior-laden on the offensive line last year, so I wonder how they’ll be up front.”

“The running back [Mike Warren] ran for over 1,000 yards last year as a freshman, and he’s legitimately good, but they need to get something out of their offensive line to help him out.”

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“There’s not much to evaluate; they’re just going to go through another year and try to survive.”

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“I think they’re still two or three years away from being competitive, but David [Beaty] has some time before anyone is going to expect him to start winning games. He has to just rebuild and recruit and get it going the right direction. It was so bad when he took over — there was no way to get it turned around overnight. When your scholarship numbers are low and the ones you’ve got aren’t very good, you really just have no chance.”

“The concern I have for them is he’s also had to rebuild his staff this year because they lost some assistants, and that could be an issue.”

“I actually thought the freshman quarterback [Ryan Willis] played pretty well for them, but his biggest problem is if you don’t have much talent around you it’s tough to build the confidence of a young quarterback. He doesn’t have a lot to help him, and they’re just not very good up front on either side of the ball.”  

“They had one transfer linebacker [Marcquis Roberts] last year coming in from South Carolina who played pretty well for their defense, but they don’t have many Big 12-level guys.”

“Even though the secondary was really young, nobody caught my eye as a potentially good player in the future.”

“It’s just a tough situation. Signing Day is bigger for them than any Saturday right now because they have to get faster and more skilled.”