Gridiron on the Plains: Kingsbury Talks Big 12 Championship Game and Defensive Standouts

The Big 12 coaches, including head coach Kliff Kingsbury, discuss the idea of a Big 12 Championship game, Kingsbury talked about who stood out to him this spring. Plus, Corey Dauphine is going to Oregon to run (for a track meet) and DeAndre Washington talks easy money.

Photo via Charles Henry @ Flickr.

Coaches Want Championship Game, Will Likely Be Ignored. The Big 12 head a conference call yesterday and ESPN’s Jake Trotter polled nine coaches (not sure who is missing as I didn’t put much thought into it). The reason why I wrote that the coaches’ opinions may not matter is that they really don’t get to make those decisions. It’s the athletic directors. Oh sure, the coaches get a choice, but it’s the AD’s. In any event, here’s head coach kliff Kingsbury:

Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury: “I think based upon what happened last year, I think it’s not as much being for or against it, that it’s going a necessity for our league, to get another quality game at the top of our league, to keep up with those other Power 5 conferences. Because from what I’ve heard that definitely had some impact on how it all transpired with the playoff.”

I’m not so sure that a championship game helps all that much. As others have pointed out, including Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, if an undefeated team plays a 2-loss team and the 2-loss team wins, then who would the committee take, if any?  I don’t know how much it helps and I think that given the round-robin nature of the Big 12, then sure.  I think the resume builder here would be to continue to do yourself a favor and schedule a decent non-conference schedule.

Transcript. Wreck’Em 24/7 Sports’ Daniel Paulling has the full transcript of the conference call and I wasn’t too interested in the quarterback stuff because there’s not much there that we don’t know (i.e. haven’t decided, will decide in the fall). What does interest me is who Kingsbury thinks stood out defensively:

Q: What have you seen from Mike Mitchell?
A: I’m really excited. Having not played for two years, he’s still figuring out some of the nuances of our defense and getting his legs back under him. Athletically, he’s as physically gifted as anybody you’ll see. It’s about us finding ways to utilize him and make sure he’s in the best position fit for him. We’re still sorting through that. Having sat out two years, there’s going to be a little progression. But we’re pleased with the way he’s work and fit in with our team.

Q: Who has caught your eye this spring on defense?
A: I think Micah Awe. Has great speed, will strike you when he gets there. I think he really impressed not only me but the defense coaches with the way he’s picked up the defenses and the way he’s played. We have some other guys, Peter Robertson, Branden Jackson. But as far as new guys who have stepped up this spring, I think Micah Awe leads that list.

Welp. Baylor head coach said yesterday during the same conference call that Baylor’s non-conference schedule had zero to do with Baylor not making the playoffs. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Dauphine to Participate in Prefontaine Classic. This is really huge and a shout-out and congrats to Texas Tech running back Corey Dauphine, who has been invited to run in the 2015 Prefontaine Classic:

“I know it’s going to be a great feeling,” said Dauphine, who will also get the opportunity to tour the Nike campus. “It’s going to be a lesson learned. I’m going to learn a lot when I’m over there. It’s great to travel and compete with the best.”

Mitchell Talks Non-Football Things. Want to Know Mike Mitchell’s favorite movie or what he likes to listen to before the game or other non-football things?

Washington Underrated. ESPN’s Jake Trotter writes that RB DeAndre WAshington is one of the most underrated players in the Big 12. I sorta love this:

And yet, this spring, Kingsbury and his staff couldn’t be more excited about their full stable of backs. Stockton has bulked up 10 pounds and offers the kind of speed and explosiveness you just can’t coach. Junior Quinton White is a big-play threat who can catch passes. Redshirt freshman Demarcus Felton is elusive in tight spaces. And incoming freshman Corey Dauphine might have the luxury of getting to redshirt.

“I honestly feel we have the best backfield in the conference,” Washington said. “Each guy brings something different to the table. That’s what makes our room so versatile.

“If you ask guys around here, running back is the best position on our team. That’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?”

A Texas Tech offense powered by its run game? Yeah, just a little.

“If they stack the box, that’s easy money for us,” Washington said. “I don’t think they want to do that.”

Easy money. Damn straight.


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