Conference USA media days have started at the DFW Marriott in Irving, Texas this morning with coaches and players from the West Division schools being available for interviews.
There have been a few major themes arise during the course of the morning that merit some attention.
2011 Year of the QB Versus 2012 Year of the Emerging QB
During 2011, several quarterbacks across Conference USA emerged as NFL prospects and some of the best signal callers in the country. Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne and Houston’s Case Keenum made their presence felt not only in the West Division, but nationally.
Each of the coaches this morning, when asked, made a point about how 2011 was the Year of the Quarterback, and 2012 will have many more questions. Given this, scouting is, as a whole, somewhat more difficult and the landscape of the West Division is a little more unpredictable.
There’s a general impression that whichever team in the division has an emerging quarterback willing, and able, to take control of their team could well be the team that steps up and takes control of the division due to this uncertainty.
New Additions Next Season
At each table this morning, the 2014 addition of both the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at San Antonio was a major point of discussion. The general impression is that these teams are a positive addition to the conference and will help the conference establish an even stronger regional, and to some extent, national impression.
Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship mentioned how the addition of new teams in the conference will add new wrinkles to game planning given that new facilities enter the picture. Blankenship noted that his planning — as I would imagine to be true for the other coaches in the West Division– has to do with what to expect from the uniqueness of each facility.
It was also consistently mentioned that in North Texas and UTSA, you have two schools with solid facilities which immediately will allow them to have a recruiting edge. Several coaches noted that the “feel” of a campus is a huge recruiting tool, and by entering with first-class facilities in Apogee Stadium in Denton and the Astrodome in San Antonio, UNT and UTSA will be hitting the ground running.
We’ll bring you more throughout the day today, including a wrap-up post later this afternoon with specific impressions from each of the C-USA coaches.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.