The Times West Virginian

July 24, 2013

Holgorsen: ‘Clay may be our best football player on our team’

By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — This and that at Big 12 Media Day in Dallas’ Omni Hotel, where not only is the Big 12 gathered but where Mary Kay Cosmetics is holding its annual convention, which led someone to ask Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops if his wife, Carol, was in attendance at the cosmetics convention.

“My wife is a national sales director here for Mary Kay. She comes down Friday, and her seminar starts, I think, Monday through Wednesday. So she’ll be part of this group, just in a different seminar. Very proud of her. These women do a great job,” he said.

But, being a football coach, he couldn’t stop there.

“Get your wives into it,” he said. “It would be good for them. I’m recruiting.”

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Texas Coach Mack Brown found himself in an interesting position. One extremely popular national magazine selected his Longhorns to finish fourth in the nation this year, while his own conference media picked them to finish fourth in the Big 12.

Which agreed with him more?

“I really like the first guy better. I don’t know about his merit, but I like it better,” he said with a smile.

“Who knows? You know, I do think that we have the most balanced league in the country right now, top to bottom. You look at Kansas struggled some this year, but they nearly beat us. They nearly beat everybody they played in Lawrence.

“They had some great games. Charlie (Weis) 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.

“You saw in the SEC there’s seven that beat — the top seven beat the bottom seven 30-0, and that’s not happening in our league. 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.”

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Brown, by the way, is one of the most diplomatic coaches ever, even in brushing off the media.

Q. Mack, I’m paraphrasing, I think, but I believe you said because of the tempo of the offenses that the defenses in the league kind of have to change identity or tactics or something along those lines. Apart from being just very good at what you do, is there something you have to do very well just to discourage and slow them down?

COACH BROWN: I don’t think I said what you just said, but you were kind of unparaphrasing. I’ve learned it’s not what I say, it’s what you hear, which is a difficult thing for a coach when I’ve got a thousand of you sitting in here.”

“Unparaphrasing” is a nice way of saying making up.

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West Virginia University’s Dana Holgorsen has always stressed having his best five skill players on the field but this year because of the versatility and ability of Cody Clay, a tight end/slot, he may have to be inventive.

“There’s a couple of them that I think we’ll be able to move around like that, and I think there’s a couple of slot receivers that we have that could move around into the backfield as well. So that’s a game-plan issue,” he said.

“With a guy like Cody Clay, he may be our best football player on our team. He can be in the backfield. He can line up at tight end. He can line up at slot receiver and do a lot of thing. It’s all about personnel groupings, which a lot of defenses are going to try to personnel group us as well as they can, and we’ve got some guys in the Big 12 defensively that are as good as it as anywhere in the country.

“Our job offensively is to try to disguise that, to try to put people in positions they don’t think are going to be there and be able to execute our offense regardless of where they land.”

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Baylor’s “head” coach Art Briles had the team’s shiny new gold helmet on display on the table in front of him when someone asked him about it.

“Well, there’s two shiny things up here, that helmet and my head probably. To me, that’s what it’s all about. You’ve got style; you’ve got attitude; you’ve got effort. You have an image, and our image is we’re going to play fast, we’re going to be fearless, and we’re not going to worry about what other people think because we know who we are and we know what we’re going to do.

“So the new uniforms and all that stuff, it’s tied in with presenting the image that we are at Baylor, and that’s being really good football players, really good students, at a really good university,” he said.

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When it was brought up to Briles that his Baylor Bears have three open dates before they play eight games this year, he claimed he wasn’t even aware of that, but it hardly flustered him.

“It is what it is. Speed limit is 55; drive 55. You’ve got three open dates; deal with it. Really, it just depends on how you approach. The thing I’ve learned over the last two or three years is don’t wear them out on the open-date time,” he said.

“So we’ll keep them fresh, and they’ll be healthy and ready to go.”

Email Bob Hertzel at or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.