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WVU football: Newcomer getting lots of attention

DALLAS - West Virginia University was mentioned just once last week when the league's media released its preseason all-Big 12 teams. Running back Charles Sims was named newcomer of the year.

WVU hasn't formally acknowledged Sims' arrival except for including him in the media guide and the online roster, but Coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday at the second day of the annual football media days the Mountaineers are "extremely fortunate" to have Sims.

"He's a tremendous football player," Holgorsen said. "I was fortunate to be able to be involved with recruiting him when I was at Houston, and I had him for the first year there in 2009. That was probably his best year statistically. I know he's been nicked up a little bit here the last couple of years.

"I didn't promise him anything. He knows what I'm all about. He knows how I coach. He knows what our offense is about."

As a freshman in 2009, Sims was the only player in the nation with 600 yards both rushing and receiving. As the Conference USA freshman of the year, Sims had 698 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, plus 70 receptions for 759 yards.

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HIGH-TEMPO offenses and the health risks they create have been offseason topics that seeped into the event. Holgorsen was asked how he'd reply to headlines made by Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Arkansas' Bret Bielema. They separately requested rule changes to limit how quickly teams can snap the ball so that there are fewer plays and thus a reduced chance a player gets hurt.

"I'd tell him to get over it because it's not going to change," Holgorsen said. "It's going into the NFL, for crying out loud. There are people being hired in the NFL that have the background in college football to be able to create a little bit more parity. Don't see it changing any time soon, so you'd better learn to adapt to it."

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IF JUNIOR BLAKE Bell wins Oklahoma's starting quarterback job over sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, Coach Bob Stoops Stoops will have to think about the Belldozer package he used for the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Bell the past two seasons. Bell has more career rushing touchdowns (24) than pass attempts (20).

"I wouldn't shy away from it," Stoops said. "Thinking through this, if you put Kendal or Trevor back there to run it, they're faster. So you've got more options there of what you're able to do with them. Or if they happen to hit a crease, they're not likely to be caught very soon. So there's some of that to consider, and it gives (Bell) a break or gives him an opportunity to avoid taking too many hits.

"But there are times when you maybe go with the no-huddle or you're going quickly and you want to be able to just snap it and let him do some things. We'll do that too. There could be some of each."

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IOWA STATE Coach Paul Rhoads' father was a high school coach in Iowa for 35 years and is in the state high school hall of fame, but Rhoads' mother didn't let her sons play for their dad. Rhoads, though, will be coaching his son, Jake, in the fall.

"It's going to be a completely different dynamic, and I've already seen him mature and grow in the five weeks that he's been a part of our summer training, and as a parent, that's a very proud moment to see that taking place," Rhoads said.

"In five short weeks, I've seen that growth. So to have him on the field - and quite honestly, to be under my watchful eye because I work with the specialists and he's going to be a long snapper - it will have its trying moments, but I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun."

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HOLGORSEN HAD a father-son experience this summer as well. He and his son Logan traveled to Africa. Holgorsen wouldn't say where exactly or what they did, but did confess he did not ride an elephant.

"It was good father-son time," he said. "I want to travel the world at some point. This specific trip was something he wanted to do. And he had a blast. We had a great time together."

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HOLGORSEN SAID he doesn't believe travel affected his team last season and that he will "never use travel as an excuse for a win or a loss." He does believe it can bother WVU's basketball and baseball coaches.

"They should be complaining about it," he said. "When you play two, three games in a week, it's different. When you play one game a week on 12 Saturdays in 14 weeks, it is not that big of a deal. We've got five road games."

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WVU'S REDESIGNED uniforms were on display in the interview room, but the truly eye-opening new look was Baylor's flashy gold helmets that cap a new set of uniforms.

"There's two shiny things up here - that helmet and my head probably," balding Coach Art Briles said during his press conference. "To me, that's what it's all about. You've got style, you've got attitude, you've got effort. You have an image and our image is we're going to play fast, we're going to be fearless and we're not going to worry about what other people think because we know who we are and we know what we're going to do."

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SINCE FORMING in 1996, the Big 12 has had a NCAA-best five Heisman Trophy winners, most recently Baylor's Robert Griffin III in 2011. Running back Lache Seastrunk, the league's preseason player of the year, predicted at the end of last season he would win it this season.

"Why should I regret it?" he said Tuesday. "I said it. Y'all want me to take it back?

"People are always going to be negative. They're always going to have negative comments. If I believe it in my heart and confess it with my mouth, it's going to happen. You've got to speak it into existence."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at


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