After Texas Tech defeated Stephen F Austin soundly this past Saturday, all eyes are turned towards the upcoming matchup in the desert with the Arizona State Sun Devils. We hear from Coach Kingsbury, QB Pat Mahomes, and NT Ondre Pipkins.
With the somewhat shaky performance of the offensive line, the media start right away asking about the plays breaking down and Mahomes reverting to his old self of going straight street ball.
Yeah, after watching the film, I just — we weren’t very mechanical. We weren’t very fundamentally sound. I think what I was seeing at practice didn’t necessarily carry over to the field. Maybe it’s just nerves and first-game type jitters. But it wasn’t us. And so we need to get that fixed this week and next Saturday play a much smoother, much more poised game.
And the point that Todd Graham and the ASU defense likes to blitz a ton is referenced and how the offense will prepare for the onslaught of Sun Devil defenders.
Not really, just because I know what he can do [referencing Graham here]. We’ll get better up front. I know that’s coming, and I know what Pat can do versus a blitz or a rush or whatever. So it’s good to have a quarterback that can make plays and extend plays. I watched him in the Bowl game and we didn’t block anybody the entire game, and still ran around and did his thing. Hopefully we’re better than that, but we’ll find out.
Coach is asked several questions looking back to the Holiday Bowl, his memories of the game, his emotions. Here, we get a glimpse of the robot that he is as he says he’s very day to day, was happy for the seniors and basically all he remembers from that game is that they won. He acknowledges that the two teams are very different from when they last met, even though it was only 2 years (3 seasons) ago.
He’s also asked about injuries, and though the transcript doesn’t say who else besides Gary Moore was specifically mentioned in the question, Kingsbury says they are expected back and that everything was very minor.
After the relative lack of a running game from Tech against SFA, Kingsbury is asked about the run/pass ratio, and while Kingsbury acknowledges he would have liked to have run it more, he was going to take what was available from the defense.
I’d like to run it a little bit more if we could. But if they are going to take away the run in numbers, then we are going to throw it every play. And when you have got a guy like Pat and you put the ball in his hands that many times, good things are going to happen.
He is asked about the two newcomers on the defensive line, Pipkins and Kolin Hill and really has nothing but good things to say about what he saw from them in game one.
Physicality. I thought early they really were a force in there, jamming up the middle on some of those runs and winning their one-on-one battles and that was good. They are two big, physical tough guys. They play with a chip on their shoulder. They have a lot of football built up after sitting out a year, and I think there’s a lot of room for growth, which is encouraging.
Along those same lines, he is asked about the physicality of the team and he said the defense was more physical than last year, but the offense was definitely not where it was supposed to be. He went on to clarify that the defense’s physicality went down when the first team came out. Kingsbury was obviously not happy about any of that and said the team is going to have to change that immediately and play much more physical this next game.
There’s a ton more from Kingsbury, so be sure to watch (or listen to) the video, or read the transcript, but I’ll finish his portion with how he answered if there was anything from the game on Saturday that surprised him.
I just think watching the film really showed me just how loose we were in a lot of areas. From what I’ve seen in practice, and I’m speaking for the offense right now but what I’ve seen in practice is very tight, doing things right, doing the little things, and we got away from that in the game. So we’ve got to tie that back in and play better Saturday.
Mahomes is first asked about how loose he played on Saturday and how maybe he got away from the play and got into street ball.
I thought I did well. I could have definitely done a lot better, got a little loose at some times. Kind of freelanced a little bit more than I would like to, but I mean, we won the game. We scored a lot of points. That’s always encouraging.
Yeah, remind myself, working on it in practice, really getting the game plan down and going through the reads and not try to make a big play all the time. Something I’ve been working on all off-season and hopefully I’ll get better as the season goes on.
I hope I’m just reading too much into this, but the way he shrugged off going rogue and pointing to them winning as a justification kind of irked me. We all know he is really talented, but pretty much the biggest thing we heard about his progression this spring and summer away from baseball was that he was working on staying in the pocket, working on progressing through his reads and not bailing too soon or when he didn’t need to. I realize this is game 1 and he admitted he was amped up, but I’d really like to see him settle down a little and make the routine plays when they’re there.
But then there was this about going through his reads. He also mentioned he needs to trust his reads and trust the blocks from his offensive line more.
Yeah, that was the main thing, just kind of getting off my reads early, and you could tell, I was going through the progressions, I guess you would say but just not really trusting it. Trying to make — get out of the pocket and run around, throw the ball, instead of just trusting it and making the throws. Something that we’ve been working on and I expect to do better.
He’s also asked about the Holiday Bowl, which he didn’t attend because he was still in high school, but he watched it and pointed out something we’ve talked about all along, that Tech played a really good half of football in that game and then hung on.
They did really good, first half, especially, jumped on them early. Davis at the time was really good about just going through his reads and making his plays and hopefully I can do the same thing and carry it into the second half, have like a full game of really good football.
Last thing I’ll include from Mahomes is he was asked about thriving on the road.
Yes, I feel like this year especially, that was the biggest knock, I feel like for us last year, we were great at home and not as good on the road and especially as an offense. So I’m trying to really change that mind-set for the team and then for everybody else watching us, is that we can be a road team and we can win games at tough environments
Pipkins is asked about what he sees as what the team needs to accomplish on Saturday.
I think we were just getting the feel of the game again, the feel of playing football at a fast pace, tempo. We definitely did a good job communicating with each other. That also could get better. Sometimes that we didn’t communicate as well. So there was ups and downs in it, so we have to get better at that. Overall I think we all gelled together and we handled the environment pretty well.
He’s then asked about preparing for the ASU running game, going on the road, and managing other players around him as he’s a senior.
He’s a big back. The team that we are playing, they have a big back, they want to run the ball. So the way we prepare is just to tackle in practice, make sure we wrap up and we get the ball carrier down and also, you know, just weather the storm. If you go into somebody’s house, you know you’re going to have some ups and downs. Just stay constant and don’t panic, don’t freak out and we’ll be fine. You just manage the environment, that’s all.
You just preach it to them. You let them know right off the bat. Today when we go out there in walk-throughs, that will be said. That’s the first thing that will be said, once we bring it up, is that we have to learn how to control the environment going into somebody’s house and just be together. You know, stay together through the ups and the downs.
One cool thing Pipkins said about comparing the game day atmosphere with the Big House at Michigan was that he was very impressed with the crowd and how it was intense and that he’s glad they’re cheering for him instead of against him.
When asked about who he saw have a good game from watching film, Pipkins has a lot of guys to list off of having good opening games.
I think just about everybody, even Lonzell Gilmore, he came in right away and played an impact. Joseph Wallace came in and made an impact. Kolin Hill was a guy who sat out with me and he did an excellent job. I thought Gary Moore did a great job hustling to the ball. Breiden Fehoko did a great job holding his ground; Mike Thomas, Chris Williams, Jacarthy Mack, J-Mack, I don’t want to forget anybody. I think everybody handled it pretty well and they went out there and did their job. We do have some things that we have to correct and we’ll get those corrected this week.
He’s asked about how Gibbs responded to the overall performance of the defense, and his answer somewhat surprised me.
He was pretty excited for the most part. Of course, he wanted, you know, the ball a little bit more, so we got to do a better job of turning the ball over and making plays. And also, just taking advantage of our opportunities, batting balls, disrupting the quarterback, throwing his timing off. That’s something we’ve got to do better. But for the most part, I think Coach Gibbs was pretty excited.
Finally, Pipkins is asked about preparing for the QB and whether he prefers tracking down mobile QBs are going after guys that are statues in the pocket.
I don’t think it’s a problem. I think we all just need to know where we are on the field to do our job and stay in our gaps, of course and just ultimately do our job and execute when that time comes, if he gets out of the pocket, the guy who may have containment, make sure he has containment.
Those are just coaching points and game plan strategies and they did a great job last week, meaning my coaches did a great job with the game plan and I’m pretty sure they are going to do a great job this week.
Q. Do you like the statue back there or do you mind a running quarterback?
ONDRE PIPKINS: Doesn’t matter. I like them all. You know, I like to, you know — it doesn’t matter. You’re a running quarterback, okay. If you stand in the pocket, okay. See how that works for you. I like them all. It doesn’t matter to me.
You want to stand there in the pocket? “See how that works for you.” Pipkins is coming for you.