How Big 12 Coaches View BYU Entering Inaugural Season

Jul 13, 2023, 7:10 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Big 12 Conference, with BYU as one of the newcomers, welcomed college football’s “talking season” with a bang. All 14 coaches in the conference addressed the media in a jam-packed two-day event.

One of the hot topics within the league was the newcomers. BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston.

The common thread among the legacy eight members, along with outgoing Texas and Oklahoma, is that there’s a lot of respect for these new P5 teams. Especially BYU.

Big 12 coaches share their thoughts on BYU

Here’s a roundup of some of the Big 12 coaches’ quotes regarding BYU.

Joey McGuire, Texas Tech

“Love what BYU does and the style of play,” McGuire said.

Texas Tech landed three of the four newcomers (BYU, UCF, Houston) on its 2023 Big 12 schedule. KSL Sports asked McGuire how much study he has already placed into the new Big 12 teams.

“Well, we played two of them,” McGuire said, referencing his time as an assistant coach at Baylor. “So in 2021, when I was at Baylor, we played BYU. I’ve prepped for BYU. Man, they’ve got a phenomenal program. I’m really anxious to play there. I hear their fan base is absolutely incredible.”

Lance Leipold, Kansas

KSL Sports asked Leipod his thoughts on opening Big 12 play against BYU this season. The former Wisconsin-Whitewater quarterback then went into a story about his days as a recruit.

“I got a letter from LaVell Edwards when I was in high school. … I thought I was a good quarterback, but obviously, I probably wasn’t that good of a quarterback. No, I wasn’t that good,” Leipold said jokingly.

Then he started to discuss his thoughts on BYU.

“You know, obviously, we’ve got our breakdowns. The things you always hear about is maybe the age and maturity of some players on the roster if they are coming off missions and things like that. To me, I haven’t looked at it. I’ll look more into that as we approach the game because you can’t change it. The maturity of the team, OK, does that go into discipline, physicality, strength, and all those different things that we’re going to look at? But you know, talking with Coach [Sitake], just a little bit the few times we’ve bumped into each other, I think he and I are aligned in a lot of ways we think and how we like running our programs and what we expect from our players. Again, I think that’s a real nice addition, just like all the schools are in their own unique way that will boost this conference.”

Matt Campbell, Iowa State

The eighth-year Iowa State head coach shared some admiration for the BYU football program when he was a player.

“As a young kid, I always dreamed of playing against BYU, and that Provo area is something that I grew up watching those games late night on ESPN, and really look forward to the opportunity to go compete there,” said Campbell.

Gus Malzahn, UCF

KSL Sports asked Malzahn his thoughts on interactions he’s had with Kalani Sitake since the two joined the Big 12.

“He’s awesome. The Pebble Beach Coaches Tournament the last three years, I’ve got a chance to get to know him out there. Great personality and a lot of fun. And then, of course, he’s a big-time football coach too. So I’m a big fan of his.”

Chris Klieman, Kansas State

The defending Big 12 Champion coach acknowledged that he hasn’t looked at a single snap of BYU this offseason. That’s because Kansas State doesn’t play BYU in 2023. He said he will probably look at the Cougars next winter.

But he did speak on the BYU program.

“BYU is one of the prettiest settings in college football,” Klieman said.

Then Klieman referenced his previous visit to BYU. He was an assistant coach at Northern Iowa when the Panthers rolled into Provo in 2008.

“They had a really good football and I thought we had a really good team,” said Klieman. “But it’s a great atmosphere for football and those guys will travel really well.”

Scott Satterfield, Cincinnati

Satterfield was asked by KSL Sports about his thoughts on Cincinnati’s first Big 12 road game being in Provo on a Friday night.

“That’s a long trip for us and that’s going to be a night game. I think maybe 10:30 eastern time on that Friday night. We know that’s a hostile environment, going out to BYU. They’ve got a great football team and a great fan support there.”

For more commentary from Satterfield on BYU, you can check out Matt Baiamonte’s recap.

Brent Venables, Oklahoma

The second-year Oklahoma head coach was asked for his thoughts about OU’s final Big 12 road game being at BYU.

“Yeah, the Cougars, I had a little bit of experience both at Kansas State and at Oklahoma. It’s going to be a wonderful atmosphere. Late November, it’ll probably be about 80 degrees in Provo. No, it’s going to be a wonderful atmosphere. Again, incredible fan base. There’s not going to be an empty seat in the house.

“It’ll be a mature football team, like many of the BYU teams are. Coach and his staff have done an amazing job to establish a program of culture and toughness, and you’re going to have to go earn victory. They’re not going to give you anything.”

Sonny Dykes, TCU

KSL Sports asked Dykes if he was aware of the history between BYU and TCU during the late 2000s in the Mountain West Conference.

He acknowledge that he was aware and sees similarities between the two institutions.


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“Two, I think, institutions that both have had a lot of success and I think they’ve kind of done it the same way. You go back and look at TCU’s history and BYU’s history; they have both been kind of blue-collar institutions. And what I mean by that is, you know, you look at BYU, throwing the ball around and all the numbers passing and all that. BYU was always really good because they were really physical up front and had a great offensive line and they played a really good defense. I think that they kind of shared that characteristic with TCU.

“So they’re very similar in terms of the success they’ve had in the past, and I think they are very similar in terms of the way that they were built. They both have great fan support and great resources. So I think they are a really good addition to the league. They’ve got a nationwide following that I think is unique and a great tradition.”

Steve Sarkisian, Texas

The former BYU quarterback gave a lot of praise to his former teammate, Kalani Sitake, and his alma mater.

“You know, people have asked me before about BYU now being in the Big 12 and how that’ll be. To me, BYU has been a national brand for decades, and going back to Coach Edwards and what he was able to do and some of the great teams and great programs and now to be in a Power Five situation in the Big 12, I’m happy for them. I’m happy for BYU. I’m happy for their alumni and those players. I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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How Big 12 Coaches View BYU Entering Inaugural Season