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Notebook: Day two of Big 12 media days

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Matt Wells

Texas Tech coach Matt Wells

ARLINGTON, Texas - It wasn’t the inaugural press conference Kansas coach Lance Leipold wanted.

After weather issues in Lawrence, Kansas, kept the Jayhawks private jet from flying to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Leipold, wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II and defensive back Kenny Logan Jr. were forced to resort to an old method of communication.

Zoom calls.

“First of all, just like to take the time to apologize for not having the opportunity to be there in person. It's unfortunate we could not get clearance to depart Lawrence here this morning,” Leipold said. “Nevertheless, extremely excited to be with you all today. Excited to be here at the University of Kansas. It's been an exciting few months with a lot to do in a short period of time.”

Here are some other storylines from the second day of Big 12 media days.

Tech undecided on starting quarterback

Coach Matt Wells enters his third season with Texas Tech, and said the current quarterback fight in Lubbock is the best he has seen.

“I think as coaches we put the talent in there,” Wells said. “It is up to those guys to compete.”

Quarterback Tyler Shough, a junior transfer from Oregon, arrived at TTU after a Pac-12 Championship and appearance in the 2020 Fiesta Bowl. Wells expects

“He is in early, stays late, he is a football junkie,” Wells said. “He has been a really good leader, and fits in with our players almost immediately.”

Henry Colombi was the incumbent before Shough’s arrival, after starting four games last season and appearing in two others. Colombi threw for 1,065 yards and eight touchdowns across the six games.

Wells said Colombi’s spring has been good, and he is proud of the work he has put in. The Red Raiders also have two freshmen quarterbacks Wells spoke highly of.

“Behren Morton and Donovan Smith,” Wells said. “Top to bottom, (the quarterback room) is better than it has been. We all know you’ve got to play well in that room to compete in this league and you’ve got to play at a high level.”

Leipold not looking in the rearview mirror at past Kansas seasons

Kansas football has not had a winning season since 2008, they are now on their seventh coach since that winning season.

Lance Leipold has taken the reins this offseason, and has the seemingly impossible job of turning around Kansas football.

“I think there's no simple quick fixes in building a program or in rebuilding a program,” Leipold said. “Our approach is going to be consistent in what we're going to do, consistent in our recruiting methods, starting locally, again, spreading out throughout the nation within the Big 12 footprint.”

Despite the haze cast over the program after the firing of Les Miles and the lack of success Leipold is moving forward with developing a program that has lacked direction.

Turning Kansas around isn’t an easier task, especially in the Big 12, but Leipold is prepared for the future of Kansas football, and hopes to compete in the challenging conference.

“Keep looking forward. I think whether it be success or when programs haven't had success, you can't spend any time looking in the rearview mirror,” Leipold said.

Sarkisian knows the expectations for Texas football

Steve Sarkisian is the new face in Austin, and he has the high pressure job of bringing a historic Texas football program back into the spotlight.

Texas went 7-3 last season, but still Tom Herman was relieved of his duties and in came Sarkisian.

Texas and the football program has a winning pedigree, and at the end of the day a hope for a National Championship, the rebuild of Texas was a hot topic on the second, and final, day at Big 12 Media Days.

“At the University of Texas, the expectations are very high. The standard, the bar is set very high. So, A, you have to embrace it and understand what they are. The next part of that is, okay, understand what they are, but then what are you doing to try to achieve what is that standard, what is that bar, what are those expectations?” Sarkisian said.

Replacing Brewer: What it takes in Waco

Coach Dave Aranda and the Baylor Bears do not have a starting quarterback determined. Aranda does, though, know what he is looking for.

“As an offense, the ability to build an offense that has a strong identity and can run the ball and play-action pass and have movement passes is really important,” Aranda said.

With three-year BU starter Charlie Brewer transferring to Utah, three Bears are battling for the right to lead the offense. Redshirt freshman Blake Shapen, redshirt junior Gerry Bohannon and redshirt sophomore Jacob Zeno are in the mix.

All three have been working with quarterback coach Shawn Bell to win the job.

Aranda said he is wanting to see Shapen continue learning the offense and displaying an ability to deal with adversity, Bohannon show progress in the drop-back passing game and making reads and for Zeno to increase his deep-ball accuracy and grow into the leadership-oriented role.

“They know what they've got to work on,” Aranda said. “I think the team is energized by their competition and their ability to pull for each other and their love for one another. We're going to be better for it.”

Oklahoma State lacking clear offensive number ones

It was always going to be difficult replacing last year’s top options Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace.

Oklahoma State appears as if they will be replacing their former star running back and receiver by committee. OSU coach Mike Gundy was asked which players in his receiving room he sees filling the void left by Wallace.

“We have a number of guys that we feel like should develop as the season goes on,” Gundy said. “We don't necessarily have what would be a marquee player that we have traditionally had at that position at Oklahoma State.”

Gundy specifically mentioned sophomore Brennan Presley and senior Tay Martin as receivers who he is hoping can carry the team at the position.

The OSU running back situation is also not clear cut. 

LD Brown, Dominic Richardson and Dezmon Jackson all excelled at different points last season, but Gundy did not name one running back who was ahead of the pack.

“We really feel like we have four or five players we can hand the ball to,” Gundy said.