AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Big 12 conference is going back to a conference championship game which will be played at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, so they are holding Big 12 Media Days at the Cowboys Star complex in Frisco, Texas.
Monday featured five schools meeting with the media headlined by defending champ and preseason favorite Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield enters his senior year with high hopes. The former Lake Travis Cavalier is trying to get back to New York City and another Heisman Trophy ceremony and back to a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Mayfield has come a long way from going to Texas Tech as a walk-on and then transferring to OU, also as a walk-on, before earning a scholarship. “You know it’s something you dream of as a kid,” said Mayfield on Monday. “That you’re playing football or any sport, you’re dreaming of playing at the pro level or the next level but never would have really imagined this is realistic, so it has been truly a dream come true.”
Mayfield threw for 3965 yards and 40 touchdowns and may be called upon to put up even bigger numbers with the loss of running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.
Mayfield’s first head coach, Kliff Kingsbury knew what was coming. Texas Tech is coming off a 5-7 season despite having first round draft pick Patrick Mahomes lighting up scoreboards. Defense continues to be the problem. When asked how he can’t find 15 or 20 players who can hold opponents to under 30 points per game he said, “that’s a great question, I wish I had the answer.”
Kingsbury is one of those “hot seat” coaches around the country. His contract buyout is still $6.7 million, but Tech has poured a lot of money into a number of facility upgrades and Kingsbury knows that they need to be about more than just scoring points. “We know what’s at stake,” Kingsbury said. “We have to be much improved, but that’s part of the job. everybody but the four that make the playoffs are on the seat in college football. You’re coaching for your job every year, we know that. I don’t feel any more pressure than I ever had. I expect to win and give Texas Tech what it deserves and their fans and alumni and that university. We’re moving forward to improve on our processes, but as far as pressure, that’s not something we dwell upon.”
Texas Tech will get tested right off the bat. They open with FCS power Eastern Washington on Sunday, Sept. 3 and then host Arizona State before going on the road to Houston and their new head coach Major Applewhite.
Texas will be one of five schools to talk on Tuesday. Tom Herman will hold his first news conference outside of Austin since becoming UT’s head coach. All American offensive tackle Connor Williams will be joined by linebacker Naashon Hughes, defensive back P.J. Locke, and All American punter Michael Dickson. The Longhorns report for training camp on July 30.