Even if he knows his competitors are doing it the wrong way?“I mean, we’re going to play by the rules and do things with a high degree of integrity,” Wells said. “I’m not going to allow somebody to change my job title based on something like that. I can tell you that.”“Just don’t do it,” Miles said. “No shortcuts. And you’ve got to tell the assistant coach that’s going out on the road the same thing. ‘No. You can’t do it.’” “You hit the nail on the head right there,” new Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said at Big 12 Media Days. “I know what I signed up for. I know exactly what I signed up for. You have to balance that.”MORE: SN’s top 40 players of 2019Wells isn’t the only one who knows that. The Big 12 has four new coaches in 2019 — 40 percent of the league’s 10 head men — and the hyper competitive nature of the industry means some of them may be tempted to cut corners or bend the rules for quicker on-field results.“Or cheat,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “Just call it what it is.”With so much turnover in the Big 12 over the last three years, it’s worth examining how the league’s coaches approach their own individual situations.— At Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley inherited a high-pressure job on a team used to success. As Barry Switzer used to say, he now must simply feed the monster.— At Baylor, Matt Rhule arrived with a bucket and a mop, spending the last two years cleaning up the mess left behind by Art Briles and others while he fortified the foundation in Waco.— At Texas, Tom Herman was tasked with turning a perennial underachiever into champ finally living up to its blueblood reputation.— At Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy goes into his 15th season trying to fight complacency — starting with his own.— At TCU, Patterson is safe and secure in his 19th season, but carries a competitive fire that might burn hotter than any of his peers.— And at Iowa State, Matt Campbell heads into his fourth season having put forth a model for how to quickly — and correctly — improve what had been a moribund football culture.“If we worried about what the expectations of our football program were outside of our walls,” Campbell said, “the first three years, I think we would have crumbled really fast.”Campbell’s Cyclones are widely projected to finish third in the Big 12 this season, despite the graduation of two all-time playmakers on offense in running back David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler. If Iowa State wins at least eight games in 2019, it would be just the second time in school history since 1976-78 the Cyclones accomplished it three years in a row.Notably, Campbell is also lauded by his peers for doing the job with the highest degree of integrity.Said West Virginia newcomer Neal Brown: “Campbell and his whole staff have done a great job of building that program.”HOOVER: Ehlinger ready to back up Longhorns’ hype in 2019At Oklahoma, Riley replaced a legend and has taken the program a little further. Riley is young and has surrounded himself with young assistants. He has experienced nothing but success. How does he reconcile the insane expectations at OU — built long, long ago by previous generations — while staying above the fray as he goes after America’s best recruits?“That’s a good question,” Riley said. “I think there’s got to be expectations to (win) each and every year. I think the goal is going to be to do it each and every year. But you’ve got to be reasonable, too. I think as a football coach, whether you take over a program that has had some down years or you are taking over a program (like) I was lucky enough to — that was already having a lot of success — I think the only thing you can ask for from the fan base, decision-makers, anybody, is to understand that every now and then a tough year is going to happen.”Gundy followed on the heels of a Cowboy culture change orchestrated by Les Miles, but when Gundy took over for Miles in 2005, he immediately remade the roster. Gundy expelled nearly a quarter of the team’s 2004 returning two-deep, and the Cowboys largely struggled for three years. But then Gundy — a former record-setting OSU quarterback during one of the program’s rare heydays — hit his stride and defined his own vision for what he thought OSU’s culture should look like. The program’s success has since reached unprecedented heights.“I wasn’t smart enough to realize how difficult it was to develop a culture and I never worried about ‘winning now,’” Gundy said. “I had great confidence in (athletic director) (Mike) Holder and in the people that were supporting me that if we did things the right way it would work out. I’ve said this many times before as I look back: If I would have realized how difficult it was to get to the position that we are today, I don’t know if I would have been able to make some of the decisions that we feel like helped to establish a culture at Oklahoma State.“The win-at-all-costs theory has never crossed my mind. That’s not something personally I believe in. I believe in developing young men.”After two years away from the sideline, Miles is back in coaching at Kansas, where there are zero expectations on him — other than to maybe build something lasting like he did in Stillwater from 2001-04. Miles is 65, owns a national championship and got a $9 million buyout from LSU. He’s hardly hurting for money, prestige or even another job. His motivation for flying right is different.“Here’s the issue,” he said. “The issue I have is my boy Ben (a sophomore fullback at Texas A&M). If he ever saw my name on a line that said, ‘He cheated,’ he would not believe in his dad, and that would be something I could never take.“So I promise you this: You have the ability to cheat in every recruiting season, and you can’t do it. You just can’t do it. It’s too important to your family, it’s too important to your career, it’s too important.”The Big 12’s other three newcomers are taking over their first FBS program. Kansas State’s Chris Klieman perpetuated a successful FCS powerhouse at North Dakota State, winning four national championships in five years. Brown was a successful offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Kentucky before establishing a new standard at Troy, winning 31 games and three bowls in his final three seasons. And Wells came up through the Group of 5 ranks before taking over at his alma mater and leading Utah State to two 10-win seasons and 44 wins in six years.Now in the Big 12, it would seem the pressure is on. Miles and Patterson said there are no shortcuts to winning with integrity.With these three, Campbell said, there doesn’t have to be.“I think similar to us when we came from the University of Toledo,” Campbell said, “you saw how they built their programs why they’ve got great opportunities. It’s because they have built their programs to last. What happened at Troy, at Utah State and certainly what happened at North Dakota State, you’re talking about built to last, built on character, built the right way. You’re talking about three coaches there that have sustained success at a really high level, and I don’t think it changes (depending on) what level you go to.”Brown said he doesn’t expect any temptation to skirt the recruiting rulebook, even when he finds that others are doing it.“Do we want to win right away? Yeah. We want to win every game,” Brown said. “Do I understand it’s going to take some time to get the program where we want it? Absolutely. … We’re going about building a program.”Brown added that he likes to think everyone is playing by the rules, “but that’s probably not reality. I’ve got three young kids, and I want to be able to come home and grow them, nurture them and feel really confident when I lay my head on the pillow that we’re doing everything the right way and we’re accountable to how we’re doing our business.”MORE: Ranking Big 12 coaches for 2019 seasonPatterson said “it’s hard” for new coaches, but they need to look past the money and the helmet logo and be very clear about what the expectations are before they agree to take the job.“If you don’t win enough ballgames over X period of years, now you do something off the field you’re not supposed to do,” Patterson said. “The key is for these guys, everybody wants to blame the coaches who are there, but a little bit has to do with the programs: ‘OK, well, here’s who you hired and you came to an agreement on this; well, why did you decide on that?’”“We all understand we want to win right here and right now,” Wells said. “But we want to do things the way we believe in doing them. We’re gonna do them the right way and we’re not going to cut corners.” ARLINGTON, Texas — Coaching college football can be a zero-sum game: Win, or get fired. Skyrocketing salaries present a very real pressure, but the overall financial investment that schools, athletic departments and boosters have made in their teams’ futures only increase the stakes.That pressure may produce an inherent temptation to win now, at all costs, rather than to just color in the lines and patiently build a foundation and an enduring winning culture.
fpnsrhds August 16, 2020 admin