ARLINGTON, Texas – No one can say Kansas coach Les Miles didn’t know what he was walking in to.
KU’s decision to suspend running back Pooka Williams for only one game after punching a woman he was dating this offseason has been scrutinized plenty, so Miles made it the first thing he addressed at Big 12 media days.
“There is no violence – violence will not be accepted with women, period,” Miles read from a prepared statement. “Action was taken immediately. We felt like a strong point was made not only with Pooka Williams, but with the team. For 7.5 months Pooka was going through a process and didn’t have the opportunity to spend time with his team, go to the weight room, you know, just be a part.
“Pooka went through legal investigation with the legal community. Pooks also had proceedings that went through the conduct board at the university, and understood very much that if he did not meet the criteria that the board ask that this would not last long.
“He has taken responsibility. He’s been remorseful. He’s learned from this experience, as has our team. We’re thankful to have him back, and again, no violence against a woman is OK. I did not make this decision, but I stand by it and see it as a right one.”
In wake of the Baylor mass rape scandal, the Big 12 has an official policy regarding “serious misconduct.”
“The Kansas process followed what our misconduct policy describes,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “And that is that the decision is made outside the athletics department and within the university higher administration. That’s the level at which that decision was made.”
Williams made the all-Big 12 preseason team after rushing for 1,125 yards as a freshman last season.
Bowlsby eager to see Brown
Count Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby among those impressed with new West Virginia coach Neal Brown’s resume.
“Neal Brown is someone I’ve been advised to keep an eye on for a number of years,” Bowlsby noted as he talked about all four of the league’s new coaches. “He is an outstanding young coach.”
Bowlsby also realizes it’s little coincidence that all four new coaches were picked in the last four spots of the league’s preseason poll. The other new coaches are Kansas’ Les Miles, Texas Tech’s Matt Wells and Kansas State’s Chris Klieman.
“I don’t envy the task they have,” Bowlsby said. “They all have to come in and build programs. They all have lots of work to do and they all have the vision right in fron of their consciousness that there aren’t a lot of days off in the Big 12. Every week during the season is going to be a brutal contest. But they are all people that have had great success and I wish them well and welcome them here.”
Bowlsby on the defensive
Bowlsby has heard all the talk about how Big 12 teams can’t play defense. And he would like to take issue with it.
“Last year of our seven bowl games, six of the seven opponents’ offenses were held below their season averages by Big 12 defenses,” Bowlsby said. “Contrary to popular belief, there are kids that can tackle in the Big 12.”
Miles now a Djokovic fan
Miles didn’t see Novak Djovovic’s epic five-set win over Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, but he was happy to learn the champ celebrated his victory by munching some grass from Centre Court.
While at LSU, Miles became famous for occasionally munching on the grass at Tiger Stadium before games.
“I recommend those people that enjoy a relationship with green grass to take a nibble now and then,” Miles said. “I don’t think they need a big bite. But if a nibble now and then happens to coincide with a championship, so be it.”
The mullet stands firm
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s trademark mullet hairstyle isn’t going anywhere for the immediate future – though he joked it might be.
“I thought about getting a haircut yesterday, but it was Sunday and they were closed,” Gundy said.
Gundy said the hairdo will stay as long as it shaves years off his actual age.
“As long as it makes me look younger,” he said. “If somebody said ‘It makes you look old,’ I would probably cut it.”
Quote of the day
“I have a little bit of cockroach DNA.” – TCU coach Gary Patterson