The highlights from the Big 12 Conference weekly coaches’ press conference.
By KEVIN LONNQUIST
Every week, the Big 12 coaches hold a conference call with the media. We won’t hit every coach but point out some of the issues that made the most news. These are some of the highlights from Monday’s call:
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech said that running back Eric Stephens is still not 100 percent after coming off of his ACL injury. He said Stephens was more 90-95 percent and that the coaching staff has discussed working Stephens slowly back to the fold with 10-15 touches in Saturday’s opener against Northwestern State.
“He a little overweight and has worn a knee brace,’’ Tuberville said. “We’ll decide this week if he will wear a brace [in the game].’’
Texas coach Mack Brown noted the defensive improvement under second-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz this fall has been the unit’s ability to filling the right gaps. “We gave up some bigger plays early in the  season. But after the Oklahoma State game we did a better job stopping the run…but we have not forced many turnovers in preseason camp.’’
Meanwhile senior wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who just returned from the Olympics in the long jump, went through 30-40 plays in last week’s scrimmage and should be ready to play in Saturday’s opener against Wyoming.
Kansas coach Charlie Weis believes the team is greatly improved from his defensive line this year. The Jayhawks will really know more about that Sept. 15 against TCU.
Weis also said that he believes that the biggest element to quarterback Dayne Crist’s development this year is pretty simple.
“Dayne certainly had a change from the spread to a pro offense,’’ Weis said. “His leadership has been great. The one thing he’s had to work the most on is confidence in himself.’’
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he thinks senior running back Dominique Whaley has looked really good in workouts leading up to Saturday’s opener at UTEP. “Back to where he was? Only he and the good Lord know that I’m hopeful that will be the case.’’ Whaley tore his ACL against Kansas State last season.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said redshirt freshman offensive lineman Boston Stiverson will not play in the opener Saturday against Missouri State. Snyder wouldn’t go into specifics but the highly touted recruit is out with an injury.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said running back Dustin Garrison, who missed the Orange Bowl with a torn ACL and MCL, has slowly worked his way back and should be able to play in the opener against Marshall. Holgorsen said Garrison’s naturally been sore but there will be other tailbacks who should play.
What hurts the Mountaineers depth is that freshman running back Torry Clayton has left the program. That means both of the running backs, who signed in February, won’t be in Morgantown. Roshard Burney’s SAT score was flagged by the NCAA Clearinghouse earlier this summer and he’s going to Garden City Community College in Kansas, according to reports.
For Baylor, coach Art Briles said that life without Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III doesn’t start Sunday against SMU. It started in January when RG3 declared for the NFL draft.
“I don’t know if you replace those people. What we have to do is figure out and be as productive with new personnel. We started to do that back in January when Robert declared.”
Iowa State Paul Rhoads said he believes his offensive line will be the most improved group on his team this fall….TCU coach Gary Patterson said the 2012 team will be the youngest he has fielded in the 15 years he’s been in Fort Worth.