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Quotes That Stood Out from the Newcomers at Big 12 Media Days

Quotes from Holgorsen, Malzahn, Sitake and Satterfield at Big 12 Media Days.



Liz Parke/Big 12

Big 12 Media Days had a little extra juice this year with the four new schools taking part in the event for the first time.

Houston, UCF, BYU and Cincinnati officially joined the conference on July 1 and are set to take part in their first Power Five football season this fall. Here are quotes from each incoming coach that stood out from last week, starting with a guy Oklahoma State fans know well.

Liz Parke/Big 12

Holgorsen Says QB Competition Is Still Open, but Smith Has ‘Upper Hand’

Dana Holgorsen is no stranger to the Big 12, having spent time at three different Big 12 schools before Houston was accepted into the league.

Holgorsen reenters the Big 12 with a quarterback battle between Texas Tech transfer Donovan Smith and Lucas Coley. Holgorsen was Mike Gundy’s offensive coordinator in 2010, and Holgorsen is taking a similar approach to Gundy when it comes to the QB battle: competition is a good thing. Holgorsen said the battle is going to be 50/50 until one of them makes it clear.

With that being said, Holgorsen didn’t discount Smith’s experience within the league. Smith played in 21 games at Texas Tech where he threw for 2,686 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes.

“The expectations are high for Donovan,” Holgorsen said. “But I felt like it was important to bring a guy in with experience, with Big 12 experience. We did that at a number of other positions, as well. But Donovan has impressed me. I think his best days are ahead of him. He’s only been playing quarterback for a couple years.

“He’s got the upper hand right now based on 21 games of experience, but Lucas Coley has been battling and is really competing hard, and he’s got a lot of good football ahead of him, as well. We brought in a junior college kid from California, Ui Ale who’s got loads of potential, so we’ve got some guys to choose from. But to answer your question, I’ve been impressed with Donovan. He’s 6-5, 240, and has game experience in the Big 12.”

Liz Parke/Big 12

Malzahn on Building UCF into Power Five Team

Like Holgorsen, Gus Malzahn isn’t new to coaching a Power Five team with Malzahn having spent eight seasons at Auburn.

That experience has helped Malzahn prepare for the Knights to move up a weight class ahead of this season. He said one of the biggest differences in Group of Five and Power Five is quality depth.

“As far as challenging, the great thing, we’ve had over a year, almost a year and a half to get prepared for this moment, and talking about having quality depth when you move up conferences and leagues, and specifically on the O-line and D-line,” Malzahn said. “We’ve worked extremely hard, and I really feel like today going into fall camp that we do have quality depth on both lines of scrimmage, and that was really by design, and we really feel good about that.”

That’s the here and now, but as far as the future goes, the move up to the Power Five level is benefiting UCF on the recruiting trail. As the only Big 12 school in the talent-rich state of Florida, the Knights’ now have more of a chance against traditional state powers Florida, Florida State and Miami.

UCF’s 2023 class ranked 38th nationally and the Knights’ 2024 class ranks 43rd nationally (fifth in the Big 12). For reference, UCF’s 2017 class ranked 70th nationally.

With about 370,000 living alumni, UCF’s ascendancy seems to be only a matter of time.

“Now that we’re in the Power Five recruiting, we recruit against the three larger schools in the state and it’s been a game changer as far as that,” Malzahn said. “I really think the fan bases are going to really enjoy Orlando. There’s not a better place in the country to live, vacation. There’s no NFL team. The best brands in the world are there. We’ve got a great environment as far as our Bounce House and everything that goes with it. I really feel like it’ll be a great spot for opposing fans to come.”

Liz Parke/Big 12

Sitake Points to Parity as Reason to Believe the Cougars Can Compete

There aren’t winners and losers at Big 12 Media Days, but if there were, BYU would be 1-0.

Entering his eighth season as the Cougars’ coach, Kalani Sitake was a lot of fun to listen to. He was humble. You could tell he was excited to be a part of the Big 12. And you could tell he loves BYU.

A former BYU fullback, Sitake praised BYU legend LaVell Edwards myriad times, made many references to his fandom for the Cougars as a kid and even made references to BYU’s tradition of handing out ice cream ahead of the fourth quarter, something he says should extended to the coaches also getting ice cream.

No one can be certain on how any of the newcomers will adjust to a full season of Power Five football. BYU was picked 11th in the preseason poll, but Sitake made reference to the league’s parity as a reason to believe why his team can compete. In the last three seasons Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and TCU have all competed in Arlington for a Big 12 title.

“Well, I mean, I’m looking at the last six teams I played for championships here in the last three years, and there’s a lot of parity there,” Sitake said. “I’m hoping that our team can add to that. Everyone wants to win, and my goal is to get us to perform at our best 12 times. If we do it the way that I hope, I think that will earn us more opportunities to play on the field again.”

Liz Parke/Big 12

Satterfield on The Godfather

A lot has changed for the Bearcats over the past seven months or so, but Cincy is bringing a game-wrecker into the Big 12 in Dontay Corleone.

Dubbed “The Godfather,” Corleone is listed as a 6-foot-2, 318-pound defensive tackle who had 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in his redshirt freshman season. He was an All-American and enters his first year in the Big 12 on the preseason squad.

So when the Cowboys host Cincinnati on Oct. 28, look out for a wrecking ball in the middle of the field.

“He is as strong of a player as I’ve ever been around,” Satterfield said. “He’s extremely wide, a big body, exactly what you want to be on the inside over the top of a center. He’s right around 325 pounds right now, and that’s lean. He’s trimmed down to get to that point. He’s moving extremely well. He can run with some of our linebackers at that size, which is remarkable. He’s hungry. I think that’s what I love most about him and our players and our team, is that they’re hungry and they want to prove something every single day, and he really brings that.”

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