League coaches and players will take the stage at the American Athletic Conference Media Kickoff on Tuesday in Newport, Rhode Island.
The event started Monday with the conference’s traditional New England-style clambake. Tuesday, veteran broadcaster Verne Lundquist will host several panels featuring American commissioner Mike Aresco, coaches and student-athletes. The panels will be broadcast at 8 a.m. on the American’s Facebook and Twitter pages, starting with opening comments from Aresco.
Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery will be included in a roundtable discussion with Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, ECU’s Mike Houston and Memphis’ Mike Norvell at 9:30 a.m. Making the trip with Montgomery and also representing the Golden Hurricane are linebacker Cooper Edmiston, defensive end Trevis Gipson, offensive lineman Chris Ivy and running back Corey Taylor II.
Before representatives from every conference team meet with media for the first time this season, here are four storylines to look out for Tuesday after a busy offseason for the American.
TU quarterback battle
The biggest question surrounding TU most likely won’t be answered Tuesday, but Montgomery will surely address it.
The Golden Hurricane’s preseason will be headlined by a quarterback battle between Zach Smith and Seth Boomer. Smith, a redshirt junior, sat out last season after transferring from Baylor, where Montgomery first started recruiting him. Boomer, a sophomore from Collinsville, started TU’s final eight games last season.
Connecticut announced in June the university is leaving the American to join the Big East in all sports except football, which the conference doesn’t sponsor. Since then, the biggest talk surrounding the American has been how the conference will replace the Huskies, or if it will at all. Aresco will likely give an idea of the American’s future plans during his opening remarks.
A month before UConn fled the league, the American agreed to a 12-year television deal with ESPN. The deal will start in 2020, bolstering each team’s media payout and national coverage. The conference will get more airtime on ABC and ESPN’s cable networks during football season, however, most coverage, especially for sports other than football, will be on ESPN+. This will be another event Aresco will address.
Holgorsen’s return to Houston
Dana Holgorsen made one of the biggest coaching moves of the offseason, leaving West Virginia, a Power-5 school in the Big 12, for Houston. Holgorsen was the Cougars’ offensive coordinator for two seasons in 2008 and ’09 before leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. He took his first head coaching job in 2011 at WVU, where he was until leaving for Houston.
Holgorsen will take the stage in the last coaches’ roundtable of the day at 10:10 a.m. with UConn’s Randy Edsall, SMU’s Sonny Dykes and South Florida’s Charlie Strong, who is also a former Big 12 coach (Texas).