2022 Big 12 Media Days takeaways: Texas embracing expectations, Oklahoma optimistic about roster turnover
The second and final day of Big 12 Media Days featured the conference's blue-blood programs
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas and Oklahoma highlighted the second day of Big 12 Media Days on Thursday. Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian took the stage after landing back-to-back No. 1 quarterbacks, and he spoke about the quarterback competition and transitioning into his second year as a coach. Meanwhile, Brent Venables met with the media for the first time as head coach, where he spoke about the Sooners' roster turnover as well as the.
Two more first-year coaches were also featured for the first time at Big 12 Media Days in Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire and TCU coach Sonny Dykes, who takes over the Horned Frogs after a successful stint as SMU coach. Additionally, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell spoke as he became the second-longest tenured coach in the Big 12, trailing only Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State.
Below are some analysis and takeaways as Big 12 Media Days wrapped up on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.
Steve Sarkisian is embracing expectations
Texas struggled in Sarkisian's first season, finishing with a 5-7 record and fielding the worst losing streak in more than 60 years. Sarkisian was introspective about that performance.
"I didn't think I did a great job a year ago of developing the team and the quality of team and the bond on our team as well as I would have liked," Sarkisian said. "So it's been a huge point of emphasis of ours in January all the way through now of bonding as a team and becoming a team."
The program was in the midst of building facilities last year, so Sarkisian has emphasized trying to get players in the same spaces over the offseason.
The Longhorns had a strong offseason by adding former No. 1 overall quarterback Quinn Ewers to lead a strong transfer class. 2023 No. 1 overall player Arch Manning committed to the program as well, though he won't arrive on campus for another year. Ewers is battling it out with Hudson Card for the starting job entering the 2022 season.
"We haven't made a decision yet, but I don't think it'll take quite as long as maybe last fall took us," Sarkisian said.
Brent Venables is optimistic about turnover
Oklahoma coach Brent Venables broke down that 40% of his roster has never played a game for the Sooners after major turnover during the offseason. However, Venables pointed out that within the group of 15 transfers, there are a combined 444 games played and 243 starts, with a number coming from quarterback Dillon Gabriel and defensive lineman Jeffery Johnson.
The Sooners bring back 12 returning starters -- six on each side of the ball -- despite fielding just one preseason All-Big 12 nod. With a new coaching staff, new starting quarterback and new philosophy on both sides of the ball, Oklahoma will have a vastly different look in 2022.
"As y'all can imagine, the last seven and a half months, there's been a lot going on in Norman, Oklahoma," Venables said. "You only get one opportunity, one chance to be a first-time head coach and do things right the first time."
Matt Campbell optimistic about tight ends
Iowa State fielded perhaps the best tight end combination in the country last year with Campbell Award winner Charlie Kolar and veteran Chase Allen leading the way. However, Campbell is optimistic that some of the young up-and-comers can replace the production next to new starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers.
"Guys like Easton Dean, DeShawn Hanika are guys that have played a lot of football for us, even though they weren't the starters," Campbell said. "They're guys that have played meaningful reps and give us an opportunity to have success."
Campbell also mentioned the flexibility to play different formations and schemes based on talent availability. The Cyclones have to replace a star quarterback, running back and tight ends. Luckily, Xavier Hutchinson is set to be one of the Big 12's top receivers.
Joey McGuire, Sonny Dykes bring some Texas flavor
Including Venables, there are three new coaches to the conference. The two others have quickly made their impact as big Texas personalities at two of the four Texan programs in the Big 12.
Former Texas high school coach Joey McGuire was a star on stage at his first media days after five years in various roles at Baylor. He gave credit to the Texas High School Coaches Association and spoke highly of new offensive coordinator Zach Kittley returning to Lubbock, Texas. McGuire also mentioned that, along with a new coach, Texas Tech also has a new Masked Rider and a new horse mascot. Only in Texas.
TCU coach Sonny Dykes is slightly more reserved but has deep Texas ties. His father, Spike Dykes, was the head coach at Texas Tech for 13 years and through the inception of the Big 12 Conference.
"I think he would have gotten a kick out of me being at SMU," Dykes said. "I know he had a lot of respect for that program and certainly would have now that I'm at TCU."
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said that he emphasized trying to build interpersonal relationships as a team over the offseason. "I don't think I did a good enough job of developing the bond on our team as well as I would like [last year]."
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian has not made a decision on the starting quarterback, but is optimistic about his options: "I don't think it'll take quite as long as last fall took us. I've been really impressed with both of these guys to prepare themselves. I think they've earned a lot of respect from their teammates."
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said that the Longhorns have 35 new scholarship players, and only 10 of the 28 freshmen were on campus in the spring.
TCU coach Sonny Dykes points to passion for football as to why the SEC has emerged as the top conference in the sport -- and believes the footprint and fanbases involved in the new Big 12 sets the league up well to continue to grow and develop as a major league. Points specifically at the state of Texas.