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.


— 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

“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.


Adam Gerval 8 years, 11 months ago

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

Joe Ross 8 years, 11 months ago

Shhh! Dont tell anybody. The inflammatory comment is working to our benefit. 1. Gives exposure to Kansas. 2. That comment, hate it as you may, is according to Charlie Weis the hook that gets recruits, so let it ring. 3. It reduces expectations on our players, perhaps letting them play more freely, at the same time motivating them to play in such a way that allows that tag line to be shed.

mahkmood 8 years, 11 months ago

KU can tag the comment "verbal abuse" and put it in their "How to Fire Weis for Cheaper (if things don't work out)" folder, and store it beside their template "How to Fire Mangino for Cheaper". Personally, I like Weis' ability to bait the media to his own publicity advantage.

Bobby Burch 8 years, 11 months 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.

mikehawk 8 years, 11 months 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!

Cmill1221 8 years, 11 months 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!

Displayhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

I agree to a certain extent Cmill. It was good that Rivals had HCCW's picture and an article devoted to what he said. And if any recruits read the article, they will see what KU has to offer. So basically he is putting his recruiting speech out there for everybody to see.

TexiCaliHawk 8 years, 11 months 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!

actorman 8 years, 11 months ago

Of course you could look at the "pile of crap" line as a setup -- if (that all important if) KU plays significantly better this year. Then people would be paying a lot more attention to it than they might have otherwise. Maybe Charlie knows exactly what he's doing.

Robert Brown 8 years, 11 months ago

Finally, some proper perspective on the pile of crap comment. KU football is a joke and this only reinforces it so it is not good publicity. If you live outside of the area, you know that a lot of people confuse KU with K-State.

Also, many people outside of the area think Charlie Weis is a joke and his comment reinforces that.

That being said, similar to the last 45 years, I enter the season optimistically believing this will be a good year. The first year I remember following KU was 1968-the Orange Bowl year. In the intervening 45 years, there have sadly been only 7-8 truly satisfying seasons.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months ago

"If you live outside of the area, you know that a lot of people confuse KU with K-State."

You're definitely right about that. I get that all the time and I'm sure it's not just a Houston thing! There's also a lot of people who get us confused with Kentucky, which really, really irks me.

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

The people who confuse KU with KSU and Kentucky are also the same people who don't pay attention to college sports and are completely oblivious to Charlie's comments and could not care less about it.

CrystalJones 8 years, 11 months ago

In football, I actually don't mind if people confuse KU with K-State. Maybe they think we've won a couple of conference championships, been ranked No. 1 a couple of times and had a Heisman runner-up in the past 15 years.

(Of course, in basketball I do not want to be confused with K-State...or anybody else for that matter.)

And yes, I heard the Jay Mohr diatribe. Man, he really went off on Weis, and then went on to mock KU football in every way imaginable. I think Charlie did make a mistake. Brutal honesty in public isn't necessarily a smart move. Better to mince your words. And it's not like the position of KU Football Head Coach, regardless of who's in the job, is any respected platform for making over-the-top remarks. It just comes off as silly.

Stoops, Saban or Snyder would be in a better position to say something like that, but I doubt if they'd ever do it. Charlie, as the coach of lowly KU, just looked kind of ridiculous because nationally everybody already knows that we're a pile of crap, and frankly nobody cares. That's why they were all laughing.

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

He said “pile of crap”, he didn’t actually crap on somebodies food.

The other thing is, it is only seen as negative by a portion of the people exposed to it. No matter what Jay Mohr says, many, many others have no problem at all with it. Others, like myself, think it was exactly what he intended it to be, a funny remark, and in those cases, the publicity is positive, because otherwise nobody ever really sees or hears from us. Now they have the KU brand in the front of their mind for a bit. Maybe they tune into one of our games this year to see what funny old Charlie and KU are up to. Better ratings! I seriously doubt that works the other way. Nobody is gonna boycott watching KU football games because of this. Are you? Do you know anybody who is taking exception to this remark and taking a stance against KU and Charlie by not going to, or watching KU games on TV? I doubt it. A lot of this is about TV and radio coverage, and people tune in to see train wrecks. They tune in to see fighting and bickering and drama, so even if they think his comments were awful, it will likely get them to tune in. Ugly as that may seem, it’s a positive.

Furthermore, we aren’t Dominos. Dominos is at the very top of their industry. They are competing for championships, okay. They have a long way to fall. KU football is at the very bottom of their industry. Most people who matter in this particular case, already have the perception that KU is a laughable football program. We don’t have much room to go backwards, and we can’t become much more invisible.

Finally, you don’t like the statement because you think it is over the top. Probably because you aren’t a high school kid anymore. If you remember, “crap” wasn’t exactly the worst word you heard/used in high school. The most important feedback on the issue will come from the recruits because they are the potential subjects of a similar remark in the future, and I have a feeling they don’t mind Charlie using the phrase “pile of crap”. Especially because even if it’s brutal, honesty always has a ring of respectability to it. Recruits have already raved about Charlie’s honesty being a huge part of them choosing KU. And that honesty will endear itself to a lot of recruit’s parents too.

Is there some negative to this publicity. Perhaps if you feel embarrassed by his words it negatively affects you. But in the big picture, I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 11 months ago

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

Robert Brown 8 years, 11 months ago

Mack is the classic glad handler. I'm not sure why anything he says is print worthy.

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

He was factoring in the terrible uniform selection working against us. That’s like a 30 point swing right there.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 11 months 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...

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

Don’t think for a minute that Charlie’s NFL card went unplayed with Slater. Or his Grunhard card for that matter. Those two cards look like a full house to an offensive lineman.

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

It’s good for the conference, even if they are pretending, to be all in. It’s much more attractive to a school who may want to jump when the shuffle begins again.

You don’t want a school like Clemson or Florida St. to balk because they think Texas is still unsure. You want any school to jump at the chance to join if asked, and Texas being a solid Big 12 member will help.

jhox 8 years, 11 months 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.

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, I think Nick Saban’s whining about spread offenses was directly related to getting beaten by one.

dylans 8 years, 11 months 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.

shelleysue 8 years, 11 months 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!!

jaymar74 8 years, 11 months 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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