It’s back for another week, the second to last press conference of the year for Kingsbury & Co. All quotes are found at ASAP Sports. First, a bit of news:
- Dakota Allen, limited reps yesterday, not looking good.
- Taylor Symmank, not sure he will punt on Saturday, but Symmank will be available.
1. Kingsbury was asked about the “week off” and I think he’s essentially saying here that it really wasn’t a full week off, but the time away was good and good for the players to unwind a bit. Also asked is what stands out to Kingsbury concerning the Texas offense and defense. I think it is important to note that it is senior day and that probably shouldn’t be discounted all that much.
Q. Coach, the week off kind of help just the grind of the entire football season and get you back to where you want to be physically?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I really wanted a complete week off. We had preparation Saturday, it was Monday on Sunday. Yesterday was a Tuesday. But it was definitely good, I think, for our players to have a couple days off there to get away, work on their studies with finals coming up, and unwind a little bit.
Q. Looking at Texas offense, defense, are there things that concern you?
COACH KINGSBURY: They’re one of those teams that’s talented enough to beat anybody in the country on a given day. You’ve seen that with some of the games they’ve had, and I think they struggle with the consistency similar to what we have with some of their younger players, but all very talented. You know you’re going to get their best shot Senior Day. A big game for them trying to stay bowl eligible. So we know it will be a tough task.
2. Kingsbury was asked about the defense, which doesn’t happen a lot of the time and echoed a lot of what David Gibbs eventually says.
Q. The way your defense played against Kansas State, do you almost wish you didn’t have that half bye week, and what did you see from them?
COACH KINGSBURY: I thought they did a good job. We committed to taking away the run, and you saw that. They hit some pass plays that they probably haven’t been hitting previously. But I thought they did a good job of taking advantage of some things that we were willing to give up to try to take away the run. I’m sure it will be similar this week.
We’re going to have to sell out in some areas to try to stop their running attack with their quarterback and with their running backs. But I thought we tackled better, and I thought we played more physical. We didn’t back down like we did against West Virginia.
3. Kingsbury is also asked about Tyrone Swoopes, the goal line quarterback, and what he brings to the offense near the goal line as well as asking about Malik Jefferson, the standout freshman linebacker.
Q. What have you seen with the fact where they kind of run sweeps near the goal line? What do you see as a key for them with being successful?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think they have a lot of confidence in that group. They bring him in. If he just falls forward, it’s a three-yard gain. He’s a massive athletic individual who we played last year, and he had a great game against us last year. We know what he’s all about. They do a great job. Put hats on hats, put a number in the run game and let him be the athlete he is.
Q. A linebacker like Malik Jefferson seems to cause a disturbance every time he can. How do you neutralize somebody like that?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don’t think you can. He’s going to make his plays. You just try to make sure you know where he’s at on every play and you target him offensively. But he’s such a good player. He’s going to find a way to make plays. You just try to limit those.
4. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs is also asked about Texas’ offense and defense, with Gibbs noting that UT has run the heck out of the ball. Also of note is whether or not the long week helped, which I think the attitude will be that if Texas Tech wins, the bye week was great, but if Texas Tech loses, then it was terrible.
Q. Coach, can you talk about their offense and their running game?
COACH GIBBS: Four of the last five games they’ve run for 275 yards. So, obviously, they’ve got a powerful run game. They’ve got three or four running backs, two quarterbacks, big offensive line. Got our hands full trying to not only gap it out but tackle those guys once, if and when we do gap it out. So same thing every week for us. Just trying to get better, improve, all the things I’ve been saying for 12 straight weeks.
Q. How did the short week off help your defense get healthy?
COACH GIBBS: I mean, shoot, at this point you’ll take any day you can get. I think some guys got some extra treatment, but guys who have been hurt, I’m not sure it helped them. We’ve had some good practices. We’ve had some extra reps, which like I said for us, every rep we can get is a blessing. Look forward to practicing again today and getting to the game Thursday night.
5. The all important question of what magic Gibbs did to stop the run against K-State and as you might expect, he didn’t really do anything different, just played better. Gibbs jokes in the second quote about how he did the same thing against WVU and it didn’t change anything.
Q. You guys were able to hold K-State to a season low rushing-wise. Joe had nine yards. What do you feel like was working so well?
COACH GIBBS: If I knew, I’d do it every game. Played the same defenses we’ve been playing all year. Just played good. Played for the most part, stayed in our gaps and tackled good for us and we were disciplined. Even though they completed some passes, we had coverage on them for the most part on their play action stuff. The touchdown pass Nigel gave up was just straight drop back pass, crazy. But showed some improvement. Again, we’ve got to go play these big boys from Austin, so they’ll have another challenge.
Q. Do you feel like the blueprint you had against K-State rushing-wise is something that you take down to Austin with you? I know you guys kind of loaded the box and forced them to maybe put it in the air a little bit more.
COACH GIBBS: Yeah, truth is the week before against West Virginia I loaded the box too and they ran for 300. So like I said, we’ve just got to keep working and guys got to understand. The good news is we’ve seen these runs, obviously their quarterbacks are a little bit more athletic than Kansas State’s quarterback. But at least we’ve got the reps in practice and hopefully we’ll just keep grinding, keep getting better.
6. I also wanted to throw in Gibbs’ thoughts on freshman LB D’Vonta Hinton, who looks like will play quite a bit this week since Allen may not be available.
Q. What did you think about D’Vonta? It seems he’s getting better and better every week.
COACH GIBBS: He is, and he should. I say it, he got hurt for about three weeks in training camp, so he’s been behind. He had a good practice yesterday. He’s just getting better. So hopefully he’ll look like a midget out there this weekend or Thursday night. But he’ll go play his heart out.
Q. What extra does he have to do to get around and make those types of plays that he was making last week?
COACH GIBBS: Not a whole lot. He’s so small they have a hard time cutting him, have a hard time blocking him. He’s instinctive, and he can read blocking schemes and like anything else, he sees the ball, finds the ball, and goes and tackles the guy with the ball. It ain’t that hard. It’s just we have a tendency to not want to do that. I don’t know why.
7. Up next if offensive coordinator Eric Morris, who talked about the performance of his receivers against Kansas state.
Q. You finally got a good performance from your receivers last week with a couple of off weeks. What was it like seeing those guys step up and have a good game last week?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, it’s always good to see those guys succeed on the field. That’s why you’re in this profession is to work with them all week on things that people don’t see as far as them going to school and them having issues in their personal life. These kids go through different things from time to time that nobody sees. They’ve known it. They’ve been called out.
To see them go out and execute and have some big plays is always gratifying as a coach. The biggest thing is we ran the ball effectively the whole entire night. So it kind of opened up a lot of different things for us offensively. When they’re putting six and seven even there at the end of the game and you’re able to get a couple first downs, and DeAndre to run the way he did on senior night, that was a performance that I’ll never forget and I know he won’t either, to run for that many yards and they knew where it was coming in that second half. Did the same thing. Didn’t change anything schematically. It was fun to see.
8. Also asked his Morris’ opinion on the Texas defense, notably is also asked about Jefferson after Morris brings him up.
Q. What is the most dangerous part of this Texas defense?
COACH MORRIS: I think up front they have the most experience up front. They’ve got a lot of young athletes that are fun to watch. Malik Jefferson their middle linebacker 6’3″, 6’4″, 235-pound kid. They’ve made some mistakes from time to time. They’ve also done a lot of good things on tape. They’re guys up front that made plays and have done some good things and played a lot of football there. That will be the big thing to try to stop us in the run game and they’ll probably know where No. 11 is at all times too.
Q. You just brought up Malik. How do you neutralize somebody like him?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, we’re just going to have to block him. Too, we go fast and throw a lot of different sets going fast at people, which is something he hasn’t seen. They have a little bit of extra time to prepare for it. But as fast as we go, for him to be able to get lined up and still execute at a high level, maybe it will make it a little harder for him with our tempo. As fast as we’re going to go, we’ve had a couple of extra days with the script.
Our kids know where to go, where to be, and we need to come out and play fast, be effective and efficient in the first couple drives.
9. Morris is asked about the defensive line, which I do think has some pretty good talent despite what the stats say.
Q. Texas skill position players and defensive backs and flashy positions pay attention to it as a fan but how physical are these games against these type of these kind of Texas teams.
COACH MORRIS: I think they’re as impressive looking on the hoof as anybody we’ll play. Up front the Jackson guy has played a ton of football, and the Ridgeway kid has played a lot of football up front. So that will be a big part of this game. We’ll have to block them in the run game and in the middle and protect the middle there in the pass game as well in pass protection.
So our inside pieces, our guard and center will have their hands full. Those are great players. So same thing. When we’re at our best offensively is when we’re effective on first and second down, and we can start cranking it up and revving the engine and going as fast as we can go.
We’re more efficient on first and second down last week than we’ve been all year. So it’s not really a big coincidence that we’re ahead of the chains. We’re able to go fast and catch them out of position a couple times and get the ball where we needed to in space. So that will be a big key. We’ve got to stay ahead of the chains. First down, we can’t move backwards.
10. The players are next and up first is C Jared Kaster, and notes that Texas is playing to go for a bowl game and that is motivation.
Q. Given the fact that you guys haven’t won at Texas in a long time, is that something you feel they’re going to overlook you guys for?
JARED KASTER: I don’t think so. They’re going to come out and play us like they always do, just hard and physical. I really don’t look at records of where we’ve won, where we haven’t won. I think they’re still trying to look to go to a bowl game too. They’re sitting at a tough position. They’re going to give it their best. We don’t expect anything less. We’re going to have to come out there and play our best game against a very good Texas football team.
And DE Branden Jackson is asked about if Texas Tech were able to get a win on Saturday, what that would mean for his legacy.
Q. All the coaches have talked to you guys about leaving your legacy. With the big game coming up in Austin, what would it mean for you personally to get a win against Texas in Austin?
BRANDEN JACKSON: It would mean everything. There are very few teams in Tech history who have won down there or haven’t won down there in 18 years. So it’s very big on a resume, just leaving this legacy. We’ve been through so much. Especially the guys that have been here through 2011 as fifth-year seniors. Two 4 and 8 seasons, the challenges we’ve been through, it would mean everything to get a big win like this against a great opponent.