DALLAS, Texas — Sporting a smile that boasted some serious hang time, Nick O’Toole enjoyed every second of his media day experience.

It’s not often a punter commands such limelight.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia punter Nick O’Toole brought plenty of flair to the Big 12’s media days in Dallas.

“I’ve had a blast talking to all the reporters,” O’Toole said late Tuesday afternoon. “I’m a punter so they don’t really ask me a lot of questions about football, which is fine.”

A more pertinent topic was his mustache, which has evolved from bold and bushy last season to handlebar haughty this summer. (What does a fellow on the Ray Guy watch list use to style his boomstache? Why it’s all there in a tin of Uppercut pomade.)

This trip to Dallas culminated a long-shot dream O’Toole first dared to ponder last summer, when he enrolled at West Virginia in time to watch online as Quinton Spain and Karl Joseph did their interview tour.

“I thought to myself that would be awesome, but there’s no way a punter will ever go,” he said.

Welp, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen flipped the field on conventional wisdom—and caught O’Toole unaware—by announcing last month that the punter was actually among the three-player contingent headed to media days.

Holgorsen explained he chose O’Toole based on charisma, the eye-grabbing ‘stache and the fact that “we had to punt a lot last year, so he was one of our better players.”

Bob Stoops said Oklahoma is pursuing an NCAA transfer waiver for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the talented-but-troubled Missouri castoff who enrolled this summer. The coach also strongly advocates the immediate eligibility of quarterback transfer Baker Mayfield, who enrolled this spring after a walk-on season at Texas Tech.

“I think it’s one thing if you’ve invested a scholarship in an individual and he decides to leave,” Stoops said. “But a guy that you haven’t invested a scholarship in, I don’t know why that would even be something, why it would be an issue.”

Paul Rhoads laments the lack of elite defensive interior linemen on the recruiting trail, noting they’re even more scarce at programs such as Iowa State.

“You walk through the shopping mall, you don’t see a lot of 6-6, 290-pound guys that can run really fast,” he said. “The numbers of those guys, they just don’t exist and we all want them. So every time you find those guys, the haves in this game of college football—the traditional college programs—they’ll get first crack at those guys.”

“We’re going to take guys that on occasion are 230 pounds and develop them to be that 290‑pound guy.”

Rhoads, recounting his days as a defensive assistant, cited the fortuitous story of Jordan Carstens, recruited to Iowa State in 1999 as a walk-on who nabbed the 105th and final roster spot.

“I had to talk (then-head coach Dan McCarney) into bringing him in as 105, and he goes on to the National Football League with Carolina. He was about 210 pounds coming out of high school and ended up being an All-Big 12 player. You gotta get lucky at places like ours that that high‑profile athlete doesn’t usually have a lot of interest in, quite honestly.”

Perhaps no Big 12 play during 2013 was more controversial—and more inconclusive on replays—than the potential game-saving fumble Iowa State recovered (or rather, didn’t recover) in a 31-30 loss to Texas.

The no-call fueled Rhoads to deliver another impassioned postgame monologue, and sent the Cyclone spiraling toward a 3-9 season. Yet the coach has come to accept that replay officials simply didn’t have a camera angle to overturn the call on the field.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve lost faith in (the replay system), because of that,” he said. “(But it) doesn’t make it any easier to swallow that loss, because it’s a game we certainly thought belonged to us as it played out on the field.”

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  • Carl

    Sign o' the times.

    Our punter is the biggest story and it's not even about his game but his stache.

    I guess that's better than more stories about our dopey coach getting drunk and showing his behind.

  • John

    Nick o'toole might be zanier than Todd sauerbrun. He is exactly what is needed on every team.

  • any major dude

    From one stache to another you go brother! Launch those punts! But where's the soul?

  • richard

    way to go stache!!! enjoy your time at WVU AND HAVE A GREAT YEAR. HOPEFULLY WE DONT NEED YOU TO PUNT TOO MUCH. once a mountaineer always a mountaineer!!

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Media daze are becoming quite a snooze fest . All Rhoads lead to a shopping mall ( until Amazon puts them out of business ) . Where again is Iowa State ? So Stoops wants 2 eligible even though they clearly don't qualify to play immediately . Nice . Hey Bob why not just make a decision on your own to play them . Who gonna stop you ? According to your Commish the Ncaa don't care . So, we have the most charismatic punter in the conference - and its all because of the stache (and maybe the socks ) . Maybe this will inspire TC to grow one . Any day now practice will start in earnest and the media will be shut out in earnest and all we will have to look forward to will be Tricketts tweets about un loyal women who should just stay in the kitchen and cook ( don't ask ) . How many days til Bama ?