With spring training completed, Big 12 coaches addressed some issues including policy concerning graduation transfers, the addition of a 10th assistant coach and other topics.
Oklahoma State could get immediate help from graduate transfers.
OSU’s defense ranked ninth in the Big 12 last season, allowing 7.15 yards per pass attempt. The Cowboys moved top corner Ramon Richards to safety and added Clemson graduate transfer Adrian Baker.
“We had a great spring,” Gundy said. “We need some cornerbacks on defense that are quicker than they are at this time. We need to stay healthy at the quarterback position. We need to stay healthy at running back. We need to bring a couple of the offensive linemen along – which is fairly common for us.
“I was encouraged with the work we were able to get accomplished with these guys. We got quite a bit done in our practices. I think we are where we need to be at this time, moving into the summer.”
The manner in which graduated players transfer has shifted.
“Things have changed in the last couple of years,” Gundy said. “They come so often now. I had mentioned earlier that these young men are doing a lot of research on their own and they have seen the history that we have with grad transfers. They’ve been successful.
“The majority of them contact us. Now, there’s also a list that goes out now and that list allow us for a certain period of time to look and see who’s out there. But we can’t contact them until they have been released.
“Originally, it was later in the spring. Now it happens much earlier. Once they contact us and have a release, we can talk to them.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says one of the keys to using graduate transfers is careful research.
“The first thing is to understand whether the player is willing and wanting to leave somewhere,” Stoops said. “And then there’s some contact between high school coaches and coaches at his current school that he’s looking to leave. You do a lot of research that way to find out what type of individual you are looking at.
“And making sure the individual has been released and that you are allowed to contact them. And then contacting the individual themselves to gauge their interest and to let them what the opportunity is. Then you set up a visit and then you work from there.”
A recent example of a graduate transfer is Kentucky wide receiver Jeff Badet who transferred to Oklahoma. Badet will be immediately eligible for the Sooners and has one year of eligibility remaining.
The 6-0, 180-pound Badet, earned a bachelor’s degree from Kentucky, started all 13 games for the Wildcats in 2016. The junior finished the year with 31 catches for a team-high 670 yards and four touchdowns on a team that featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Badet ranked sixth nationally by averaging 21.6 yards per catch.
With one year of eligibility left, former OU quarterback Trevor Knight lost his starting job to Baker Mayfield. He graduated with one year of eligibility and transferred to Texas A&M, where he started last season.
Big 12 football notes
Adjustment at Texas
New Texas Coach Tom Herman said he thinks his new team is accepting the changes and the challenges to try to get Texas back on top.
“I think our guys are genuinely embarrassed by the last three seasons,” Herman said. “I think they will do anything and everything to make sure we have a successful season.”
Herman said his needs to develop more leg strength, especially on defense. They need to get better practice habits and “prepare like a pro” every day.
Unpopular new rule
The NCAA has a new rule that a school can’t hire a coach who is close to a recruit.
“It’s unfortunate,” Stoops said. “I guess I’m not really for it. The problem with is in football camps, we use a lot of high school coaches who we have great relationships with that we have worked with for 19 years. It will be tough to figure out how to work through that but that’s just where it’s at now.”
Stoops said all the ramifications are unclear but he was going to check with OU’s compliance team to make sure they are doing things the right way.
Stoops doesn’t know Herman
Houston, coached by Tom Herman, was one of only two teams that beat Oklahoma last season. Herman now coaches Texas.
Stoops didn’t know Herman before he took the job at Houston.
“I can’t speak to however their team is at Texas because I haven’t played them yet. Their team at Houston really played well,” Stoops said. “It was a team that played hard and had a lot of good players. And it was really fundamentally strong football team.”
Stoops likes adding an assistant
“I think it will be a positive impact for all everybody,” Stoops said. “With the number of players that we are responsible for, 85 on scholarship and 20-25 more that are nonscholarship guys, there’s a lot to keep up with.”
Stoops has thought about creating a position but he’s not ready to detail his plans.
“I’ve got my ideas but I’m not gonna express it just yet, but I have some pretty good ideas how to do it,” he said.
OU replacements should work out
Stoops said the players who will replace running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine plus wide receiver Dede Westbrook will do a good job for the OU offense.
“I really feel good about the running backs,” Stoops said. “And the quality of players that they are. Rodney Anderson is a guy that we had expected to have a strong role last season before he got injured. He’s healed up for next season and we feel he will be able to step in along with Abdul Adams. The new guys we’ve got, Trey Sermon (and others), these guys have all come on and they are really good. I feel like these guys will be capable.
“And the same thing at receiver. I feel like we will have more receivers capable of making more plays”
Rudolph is working hard
“Mason is really working on his mental approach,” Gundy said. “He watches a lot of tape on his own. He’s really gotten into footwork, trying to perfect his footwork.
“With our skill players coming back, we are very excited about our group. We think they are very talented and we have some depth there.
“Like every other year, you have to stay healthy at key positions. And we fall into that category. We’re excited about our team. And if they stay committed and work hard this summer and fall, we’ll have a shot (at the Big 12 championship).”
Talent rising at KU
Kansas coach David Beaty described the talent levels of when he came to KU versus now as “night and day.” He said that is because of the more talented players they have added and the development of players already at Kansas.
“We tell our players, when we go out on the road (recruiting), first, we love you,” he said. “Secondly, we are trying to replace you. We are going on the road to try to find someone better.”
He hopes that will add to the motivation of players already on the team.
“If you are any kind of competitor at all, it’s going to make us better as a team,” he said.