Who will win Big 12 Media Days?
As a coach, first impressions are everything. A coaches ability to build up their program and sustain a cordial relationship with the media is just as important as their program’s performance on the field. One wrong or poorly worded answer can turn the people telling a program’s story against them. This will not be Mike Gundy’s first time in Dallas for Big 12 Media Days, but it will be his first as the longest tenured coach in the Big 12. However, the public is set to learn more about Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman than ever before.
Mike Gundy has spent the off-season hunting rattle snakes and growing out his luscious mullet. If there was a perfect fit for the face of Oklahoma State University, Gundy would be it. His program, on the other hand, is continuing to gain momentum as one of the premier teams in the country heading into this season. Gundy has never been one to pull any punches. When asked if his team should be considered with Oklahoma as Big 12 Title contenders, expect him to tell the media exactly what he thinks. When asked if his team was 11-2 or 10-3 last season, expect Gundy to hold his ground. Oklahoma State returns the deepest skill unit in the country–nobody can deny that. This is why it is necessary for Mike Gundy to begin to separate the pre and post-Bob Stoops era in the Big 12. He can do that this week in Dallas.
Tom Herman has done everything the right way to try and separate the last four years of Texas football while heading into his first. His coaching and support staff has hit social media hard, keeping the public knowledgeable of just how hard his team is working and how much fun they have. Unfortunately for Herman, the last four years of football at Texas can’t be unseen. Herman has been known to have short, subtle responses to any sort of question that may negatively impact his program during his tenure at Houston. The media will hit him hard over his plan to bring Texas “back”. It will be interesting to see if he is able to keep his composure throughout his entire press conference with all sorts of questions about the status of Texas in today’s college football. Herman arguably has the most pressure of any coach in America, and the media knows that.
When Bob Stoops retired, many were ready for a more exuberant, more flashy press conference from new head coach Lincoln Riley. Well, it is going to feel like Bob Stoops never retired when the youngest coach in college football is asked questions in Dallas. Riley is a smooth talker and is able to explain his thoughts in a short, detailed way. He won’t bite on any internal questions, nor will he bite on any questions about other programs. With the best offensive line in the country, a Heisman Finalist, and many defensive players returning, Riley will not have any pressure to sell his program as being elite during the Big 12 Media Session on Monday. Expect Riley to knock his availability out of the park as the 33 year-old enters a much better situation than his counterpart in Tom Herman.
The mullet may be trimmed, but Mike Gundy does not lack personality. He will answer all of his questions to reflect how he actually feels. Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman will be the darlings in Dallas during the Big 12 Media Days, but fully expect Mike Gundy to win over the Big 12 Media as he can finally take his first step out of Bob Stoops’ shadow. Oklahoma State knows that this is their year to reach into the top tier of college football, and Gundy can have a good start to that on Tuesday.
Schedule for Big 12 Media Days