Football

Recapping the Presser: KSU – WVU

Well, that game went how we thought it would go, and yet not at all like how we thought it would go. Tech ended up losing by 6 points, pretty close to what Vegas predicted. Mahomes did in fact play (although what we saw in the second half from Mahomes could be argued otherwise). Tech now sits at 3-2 on the year, 1-1 in Big 12 play, and everyone is scratching their heads trying to figure out where the other 3 wins come from for bowl eligibility against a wide open Big 12.

This week, we of course hear from coach Kliff Kingsbury. He is joined by IR Cameron Batson and LB Luke Stice.

Coach Kingsbury

In areas where Tech fans are tied of talking about, Tech lost the turnover battle, gave up a special teams touchdown, and lost the penalty battle. Yards are good, points are better.

Coach is asked about Mahomes’ performance and decision-making in the second half.

I thought he did a good job. There were some plays we’d like to have back, but more so up front, communicating, picking up different things. But I thought he hung in there. You could tell by the end of the game his shoulder was getting a little tired, but he kept battling gave us a chance to win.

“His shoulder was getting a little tired.” Yeah, OK. Understatement of the year. And when asked if he ever considered pulling Mahomes for Shimonek, he had one word: No.

And Kingsbury’s playcalling was being harshly criticized and questioned on Twitter during and after the game, myself included, and of course when asked about those fourth down calls, he defended them. Much like what Seth said in one of the post-game posts, Kingsbury is stubborn and maybe to a fault. He’s asked if he would go back and do things differently after seeing who they played out.

No. The first one just felt like field goals weren’t going to get it done. Had a good call on it. Just didn’t finish it. And then the other two. Just were going to be aggressive and, like I said, I didn’t think field goals at that time would be enough.

I can get behind him on his feeling that field goals weren’t going to cut it. #FieldGoalsSuck However, at the point in the game when the first fourth down came up, the game was still within reach and points would have gone a long way at relieving some pressure on the entire team.

Kingsbury is then asked about preparing for West Virginia and if he thinks they’re at the top of the conference.

I’m not sure who all is at the top. I know they haven’t lost a game, so I’d assume they’re in that conversation. They’re a good team. I think they play really good defense. Quarterback is playing at a very high level, like I said, experienced offensive line. Dana does a good job schematically week in week out to try to take advantage of what you’re doing defensively. So I think they’re a good team.

Luke Stice

Obviously, Stice is asked about his evaluation of the defensive performance in Manhattan and how he saw the game going.

Well, obviously first off, our goal is to go 1-0 this week and handle this week in conference against Kansas State. We failed to do that, obviously that was disappointing, but a positive note from the defensive side of the ball, I was very pleased with our effort. I felt like our preparation leading up to the game was where it needed to be both mentally and physically, but obviously leading to this next week all that needs to improve and continue to work on little things to help us compete at a higher level.

I know this has been a point of contention on here and among Tech fans in general, but Stice is asked about Coach Gibbs making adjustments during halftime and how/why the defense came out of halftime with their hair on fire.

Coach Gibbs is a phenomenal play caller and he’ll put us in the best situation to be successful. It’s all about execution. Any plays, any big busted assignments that we were in a play call that was inferior, we didn’t execute and that’s the main focus is execution.

Stice obviously didn’t mention any adjustments, and maybe there’s something to that, but he specifically talked about executing better and maybe that was from getting a little bit of rest.

Stice is asked about freshman LB Jordan Brooks and Stice is very complimentary about how he’s doing.

He’s just physically gifted, no two ways around it. Being a true freshman, 240 pounds, a little over six foot. There’s a lot you can do with that. As I mentioned earlier, great role for me to really just help him work on the preparation throughout the week, both mentally and physically, and help when the game comes, when the game time comes on Saturday. You just go out there and you turn it off and you go back, revert back to your training when it comes to game time. He’s done a great job with that and just as an entire defense and him individually continuing to improve each week that’s what he’s done.

I hesitate to even include this, but I think it’s important to show how this team is behind closed doors (please don’t let this devolve into a political debate), but Stice is asked about “locker room talk” and how things happen at Tech.

I can’t speak for Donald Trump, but I know as far as locker room talk is concerned, we’re a family. This is Texas Tech. There’s guys in the locker room that are my brothers, and the locker room talk needs to be, in my opinion, just encouragement, what we need to help this team be successful to win a championship. And that is my role as an older leader in the locker room is I gotta maintenance that and make sure there’s no negative talk that’s going to deteriorate the culture of our team.

We’ve done such a great job over the past span since last January of instilling that positive culture and doing whatever we need to help a championship. We need to make sure that any negative comments don’t bring down a team.

Cameron Batson

Batson is asked about what he thinks is the biggest contributor to the team not being as sharp in the second half

Definitely penalties. Penalties have killed us all season, all game. We squandered drives ourselves. It’s not like other defense are really stopping us. We’ve really been stopping ourselves with penalties, making it third and 15, third and 20, and then that’s a hard position to be in. So we have to cut out the penalties and be more disciplined.

He mentioned that the offense is overcoming winning the stats (that might not be the best phrasing of that point), but that it all boils down to being able to execute better when the lights come on.

And this point right here is exactly what I was talking about in the comments of a post game thread, that Tech might be getting the opposite of the benefit of the doubt in terms of penalty calls. Whether or not it’s a reality, it’s a perception and it seems to be growing. The team knows that it has to perform better and cleaner through the games.

Sometimes. You know, it just all depends on what referees, how they’re calling the game. It was like a particular play we’re dealing with blocking downfield, we didn’t think that it was a penalty. He just finished the block.

But, I guess, since we do get a lot of penalties that the refs are definitely looking for it.

Batson is asked about how inspiring it was to see Mahomes come out and lead the team after injuring his shoulder last week.

Pat did a great job. You know, with everything going on as far as his shoulder, that happened last week, he came in, he stepped in. And he did a phenomenal job of getting the, moving the ball around.

He did a lot with his legs as well. So Pat, he’s definitely tough and he’ll do anything for this team. He puts his body on the line for this team.

Batson is also asked about locker room talk and he echoes what Stice said, but in fewer words. He answered that Tech has a family atmosphere and they don’t concern themselves too much with what’s going on in the political realm right now.

Homecoming is this weekend and Tech is #Blessed with an 11 a.m. kick. Get your tailgaiting in early and let’s get this thing back on track in Lubbock.

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