DALLAS, Texas — Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps sheepishly snapped a cellphone photo of a banner featuring himself. A few feet away, his teammates Cassius Sendish and Ben Heeney were taking down a Jayhawks mannequin in order to repair a helmet sticker that was peeling off KU’s new red headgear.
“We want it to look right,” Heeney said.
The Jayhawks may be picked last in the polls, but they were the first to arrive Sunday night at the swank Omni Hotel, where Big 12 staffers prepped for the football media days event. Joining Kansas on Monday will be TCU, Texas Tech, defending champion Kansas State and preseason favorite Oklahoma State.
Then Tuesday comes the league’s other half—Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor and those Eastern-time dudes from West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to bring safety Karl Joseph, defensive end Will Clarke and offensive lineman Quinton Spain—two of whom are featured on this season’s media guide cover. (We’ll ask Spain about the slight.)
We won’t be asking many quarterbacks much of anything, because only two are coming to Dallas—Heaps and Texas junior David Ash. One of the nation’s premier passing leagues is noticeably devoid of big-name passers, at least at this point of the long, sweltering summer. Come November, when a half-dozen have topped the 3,000-yard mark, perhaps we’ll rethink this alleged drought.
One of Sunday’s highlights was mingling with the crush of Mary Kay reps who are filling the Omni, and apparently every other hotel in the Metroplex. These ladies—more than 9,000 of them—came from around the country dressed better than conventioners have a right to be. (Don’t expect the sports writers to match that dress code.)
The other highlight Sunday was seeing Jonathan Kimble—the bearded Mountaineer himself—out of buckskin and without his trusty musket (first time for both). After emerging as a media sensation at this event last year, Kimball was shaking hands and sharing hugs as he reunited with peers from around the Big 12—all of whom ganged up in a sort of mascot mob upon heading out to dinner.
They’ll all be in costume Monday, when media days kicks off and Jake Heaps begins getting his picture taken by others.