TCU, Oklahoma State expected again to chase OU in Big 12

TCU head football coach Gary Patterson responds to questions during Big 12 media days, Monday, July 18, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/AP

DALLAS (AP) Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy knows Mason Rudolph has to feel better physically, even without talking to the junior quarterback about how he feels.

Rudolph played the second half of a game with a broken foot late last season, then got in only one series in the regular-season finale against Oklahoma before playing far from fully healthy in the Sugar Bowl. The Cowboys lost all three of those games after a 10-0 start.

''When we finished spring ball, he was very close to being pain free,'' Gundy said Monday, the first day of Big 12 football media days.

''I would guess that he feels like he did prior to the injury, and he's had a really good summer. … He looks really good. His strength levels are the highest they've ever been.''

While the Cowboys get a healthy Rudolph back, TCU has former Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill and sophomore Foster Sawyer competing to succeed dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin.

''It's going to be a healthy (competition). They improved this spring,'' Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said. ''I'm kind of excited about this season.''

Oklahoma State and TCU finished tied for second in the conference last season behind champion Oklahoma, which is the overwhelming preseason pick this season to win its 10th Big 12 title after last season becoming the league's first team to make the new College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs and Cowboys are picked to finish second and third, respectively, in that media poll.

The Sooners will be among five teams to take part Tuesday in the second day of media days, joining Baylor, Kansas State, Texas and West Virginia.

Baylor was still prominent Monday, with Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressing several questions about the sexual assault scandal that led to the departure of coach Art Briles, plus the demotion of school President Ken Starr and resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.

Mack Rhoades, who had been at Missouri the past 15 months, was introduced as Baylor's new AD in Dallas.

Also Monday at Big 12 football media days:

HEAVY HEART: Second-year Kansas coach David Beaty, whose late father was a retired Dallas police officer, said he was excited to be home, but that his heart hurts for Dallas and other communities across the country that are suffering and in pain.

The Big 12 media days are at the Omni Dallas, a downtown Dallas hotel only a couple of blocks from where a shooter killed five officers on July 7, after police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Minnesota the previous two days. Then on Sunday, three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers investigating a report of a man with an assault rifle were killed.

''I pray that we will begin to listen to one another, love one another and get to the hard work of healing our nation, to the issues that we're facing right now,'' Beaty said.

''I believe that college football can be an example in the midst of our struggles in America. Young men from all walks of life, different backgrounds coming together, listening to one another, working hard together, learning from one another, fighting together for a common goal. I think society can learn a lot from these young and I'm excited about working with some of them at KU.''

OFF THE DIAMOND: Patrick Mahomes has gone from two-sport athlete at Texas Tech to standout starting quarterback.

After leading the nation with 393 total yards per game last season, the dual-threat quarterback gave up baseball to focus solely on the gridiron. Coach Kliff Kingsbury expects that to make Mahomes a more refined, athletic and polished quarterback.

''It's the first full offseason he's ever had as a football player … the weight room, film with his teammates, working on mechanics and working on his footwork,'' Kingsbury said.

''He worked on becoming a better all-around quarterback and last year made spectacular plays, really carried us at times, moving around and making things happen. This year, we're going to work on things with him, when the ordinary play is there let's take it. When you have to be extraordinary, you have that ability to go do it.''

Mahomes' father, Pat, played for six different teams over 11 seasons in Major League Baseball.

The younger Mahomes, who appeared in three Tech baseball games during the 2015 season, threw for 4,653 yards while 36 touchdowns last fall while running for 456 yards and 10 touchdowns.

NEW KID IN TOWN: Matt Campbell was introduced last November as Iowa State's head coach on his 36th birthday, and is the youngest head coach for any Power Five conference team.

Campbell, 35-15 in the past four-plus seasons at Toledo, supplanted Kingsbury as the youngest Power Five coach. Kingsbury turns 37 next month, more than 3 1/2 months before Campbell's next birthday.