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Originally published July 23, 2013 at 04:20p.m., updated July 23, 2013 at 11:39p.m.

Notebook: Texas coach Brown praises balanced Big 12, including KU

Texas coach Mack Brown talks to members of the media during a breakout session at the Big 12 Conference football media days on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Dallas.

Texas coach Mack Brown talks to members of the media during a breakout session at the Big 12 Conference football media days on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Dallas.

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— Texas football coach Mack Brown, whose team was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 in a preseason media poll and as high as fourth in the country by at least one national analyst, said Tuesday he did not put too much stock in either ranking because he believed the Big 12 was the most balanced conference in the country.

He defended his claim by pointing to the Kansas University football program led by second-year head coach Charlie Weis.

“You look at Kansas struggled some (in 2012), but they nearly beat us,” began Brown, whose team needed a touchdown in the final seconds last October to escape Lawrence with a victory. “They nearly beat everybody they played in Lawrence. They had some great games. Charlie is doing a tremendous job, and Kansas will be back soon, in my opinion. Everybody else can beat anybody else in the league on a given day, and that’s not happening across the country.”

Brown pointed specifically to the SEC, the conference many believe to best in college football, as being more top-heavy than the Big 12.

“The top seven beat the bottom seven 30-0, and that’s not happening in our league,” Brown said of the SEC in 2012. “Our league is very challenging. At one point, there were two or three teams that were better than everybody else, and that’s not the case anymore. Everybody is pretty good.”

As for his team, which returns 19 starters including quarterback David Ash, being picked fourth, Brown said he did not feel slighted by the preseason ranking.

“When you look at us being voted fourth, I thought what we saw is the numbers are all really, really close, and people are confused on who they think may win this conference championship,” he said. “And that’s a compliment to our league.”

Baylor coach Art Briles later chimed in on the topic and said he believed the Big 12 was the country’s best football conference.

“I mean, I’m sure there’s always doubt because we could both probably throw facts out there that accentuate both of our outlooks,” Briles said. “I’m a Big 12 guy. I think it’s the best league in America without question.”

Dreamius Smith update

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen had some nice things to say about former KU signee Dreamius Smith, a Wichita native and member of the KU recruiting class of 2011. Smith left KU before his freshman year and played last season at Butler County Community College before signing with West Virginia during the offseason.

Holgorsen did not go into great detail but made it sound like Smith would have a chance to be a factor in the WVU backfield this fall.

Year of the running back?

With the Big 12’s lack of star power at the quarterback position this season, Iowa State running back Jeff Woody suggested this could be the year of the running back in a conference that has been dominated by quarterback play throughout its history.

“If there’s any year for the running back in the Big 12, it’s probably this year,” Woody said. “Because there’s so much turnover at the quarterback position. For the first time in three or four years, Iowa State’s the one with the stable quarterback situation (with sophomore Sam Richardson).”

Slater staying put

News about a wandering eye from El Camino Community College offensive tackle Pearce Slater, who joined the Jayhawks earlier this summer as a late member of the 2013 recruiting class, surfaced earlier this week. But it appears that Slater’s commitment to the Jayhawks is solid.

One day after confirming that he did in fact make a recent visit to Oklahoma, Slater sent a calming message to Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com.

“Tell the fans, Rock Chalk!” Slater wrote Kirby in a text message.

Slater is wrapping up summer classes in early August and is expected to report to KU’s campus during the first week of fall camp. He is projected as a right tackle and should be in the mix for playing time immediately.

Comments

JHWKDW 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey thanks for nothing Coach Brown for the basic trash/crap talking on the SEC! Did you ever learn it is better to leave the talking on the field? You know scoreboard? Now you just added fuel to the fire if any Big 12-2 team happens to run into them.Good job Jackass! Not that the SEC teams need any more ammo but I hope one of those "Less than Top Heavy" teams pound you and your Longhorn teams to oblivion. for trash talking. Must Irk you & your boss 2 teams formerly of our conference told you and your Boss Douchebag Dodds to stick it where the sun does not shine & it seems they are happy without you.It Must really get your goat.

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jaymar74 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Charlies comment was not out of the blue to the players. None of them were surprised or hurt. I believe we got an insight to the behind closed doors motivation that this team will be taking to the field this year.

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shelleysue 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I just hope all the negativity is enough to inspire each and every player and coach to reach deep and be 110%. I will love nothing more than for the Jayhawks to get the last laugh. Screw 'em. Rock Chalk!!

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dylans 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I just hope the 'Hawks win more than 3 games this season and that the basketball team has less losses than the football team.

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jhox 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with Brown's comments. The SEC has the great reputation for its strength at the top. The old Big 8 was that way, winning championships, but they all went to the same 2 or 3 schools. KU would not have gone winless in the SEC conference last year. They would have beaten one or two of those teams. The SEC has also benefitted from the BCS championship game pairings, playing each other one year, weak Big 10 representatives others. The last year Texas was in the game McCoy went down early, or Texas no doubt wins that game. Not to take anything away from the top 5 or 6 SEC teams. No league matches well in terms of top teams, but their second tier isn't any better than the Big 12's and probably worse. Also, Texas A&M was the best team in that conference by year end...a former Big 12 school playing guys who all were recruited to the Big 12. There is not as much conference disparity as ESPN wants you to believe.

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Jonathan Allison 8 months, 4 weeks ago

lots of negativity this morning in the comments.

I too think that KU will be back soon. I hope that Dreamius is successful except against KU. I think that this may well be the year of the running back because I can take a look into KU's stable and I see Sims, Pierson, Cox, Miller, Bourbon, and some new faces that are supposed to be good. And Mr. Slater has made a wise choice in KU. I think that he'll make a huge impact here in 2014 and beyond.

I read lots of positive things in the notebook...

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JHWKDW 8 months, 4 weeks ago

They talk good about us and the rest of the conference!Wow i am so impressed. The conference you have nearly destroyed.Geez the B.S. is getting high and deep down in Dallas.

Wow Texass can talk out of both sides of their mouth, and they can stab everyone, and anyone they can in the back whenever they feel like it, and Dodds and his henchmen can do it with a big smile.

I feel so good that they talk so good about us and the rest of the conference.Wow I feel so happy!

We should fall to our knees and say thank you to Texass that they are happy!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't remember "nearly" beating Iowa State at home last year

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TexiCaliHawk 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes, as a Marketing executive, I can assure you this old adage has been taken out of context for years as there indeed is such a thing as 'bad publicity' (ever hear of the 'finger in the chili' hoax at Wendy's? Ask Dominoes how long it took them to recover from the viral video of a few numbskull employees taking 'liberties' with a few pizzas, etc.).

What Charlie said (regardless if actually true) crossed the line and demonstrated an error in judgment that for a fairly media savvy guy, was very disappointing -- he should never have brought that up at 'Media Day.' It was a big topic today on Jay Mohr Sports -- a nationally syndicated radio station where we were (once again) seen as a 'laughing stock'.

While despite our pre-season selection (last place in the Big 12 . . . again), I remain upbeat and optimistic that we will make progress this year as building a (new) foundation is never easy, but we DO have the top-notch facilities, coaches and yes, the all-important 'early playing time' carrot to dangle in front of recruits. So all we need now is fan support (hey, students -- why leave at half-time when you know you're going to be out late after the game anyway?) and, of course, WINS to turn this perception of our Football program around.

It wasn't that long ago that we were winning the Orange Bowl and ranked in the Top 5, so that -- coupled with the rise of K-State (and Northwestern) from punching bags to cream of the crop -- gives me hope we too can (finally) establish a program we can all be proud of.

Rock Chalk!

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Cmill1221 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I'm ok w/ the pile of crap comment. At least people are talking about us! There is no such thing as bad publicity, especially for Kansas football!

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mikehawk 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Who would have guessed "the pile of crap" comment would become our media day highlight and a comment everyone is talking about? Let's hope this story turns out well, because if it doesn't it could have legs for a very long time. Why? Because we are a pile of crap in football. But I can say that because I'm a fan. I yearn for us to be a small pile of crap this year. Go Hawks!

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Janet Scott 8 months, 4 weeks ago

What did Mack have to say about the new Royal baby? Did Mack express an opinion on Viagra as a recreational drug?

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Brett McCabe 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Why is Seth Meyer holding a microphone for Mack Brown at the Big 12 meetings?

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fearthephog512 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Indeed, Moonwalk. Football fans demand tough, losing-is-always-unacceptable football coaches, and when one makes a comment on their team playing like crap, they say he's mean. Seriously. Not that big of deal.

I personally thought the above-the-fold story was Bowlsby's NCAA reform comments. A few years ago, you'd never have a commissioner saying stuff like that and getting away with it. Now it's humdrum? Odd, media, odd.

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Adam Gerval 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Holy. Jesus. This "pile of crap" thing has been blown out of proportion.

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