The staff gathers around the proverbial campfire to discuss all things Kingsbury and Texas Tech and the immediate future.
seth: I’m going to do a social experiment where I ask both the roundtable and weekly conversation the same question and see where the conversation takes us.
On Saturday, I wrote my Sunday morning Ten Things and it was maybe the most depressing Ten Thing I’ve written in a while and to summarize, it’s that the Kingsbury era isn’t adding up the way that I or most people wanted it to add up when he was fired. Personally, I’m at the point where I think I’ve seen enough writing on the wall to think that this just isn’t going to work. Where do you stand on where things are at and do you want Kingsbury to be the head coach next year?
meestahrogers: Man, this is tough to answer. I would want nothing more than to see Kingsbury succeed at Tech. Through 9 games of his fourth season, you think you’d have a pretty good sample size of his abilities as a head coach. We’ve seen other coaches be able to turn around programs in this time frame. But this is Kingsbury’s first go at being a head coach. He’s fighting to overcome years of bad DC hires that stretch back beyond his own tenure. Kingsbury isn’t the one to relinquish what control he has, so I wouldn’t expect some form of restructuring of assistant coaches and duties (i.e. letting Morris take over play calling duties and let Kingsbury be a head coach instead of OC and head coach). We’re seeing the limitations to Gibbs’ scheme, but he’s been the longest tenured DC Tech has had since Ruffin McNeil. Are we close to seeing Gibbs’ players start making an impact on the field? Or is any more time down this path just further away from making truly transformative change? I honestly don’t know, and it’s going to cost Tech a lot of money either way to find out.
briandc: It seems to me that this surge of frustration isn’t stemming from simply the loss, but how we lost: the offense didn’t really click after the first quarter. And as Kingsbury, if your shtick is scoring and that’s not happening, coupled with the bad defense and special teams. . . what are you bringing to the table? That said I 100% want to see him coaching here next year, because as Spencer said, he’s had a steeper hill to climb starting out and if you’re going to win, next year is it. Pat should definitely return & you have experience across the board. He’s one of us, and I want him to succeed so bad. So bad. You don’t like seeing your childhood heroes fail. But that record when trailing at the half. . .
michael: I’ve dreaded responding to this roundtable as I know how I feel but I have no statistical or logical way to back it up. Kliff is still my guy, for better or worse, and a lot of that hinges on the completely depressing thought of who Tech could find as his replacement. I definitely want him here next year, and I’m still sticking by my initial 7 year period. Maybe relinquishing control on some of the playcalling would help. Maybe putting Shimonek in for a series if Mahomes is not following the playbook would help. Seth is right, though. It’s not working in its current state, but I still think it can with Kingsbury at the helm.
sethjungman: So, we’re at this weird place in our relationship with Kingsbury where we’re just not sure what to do. But not winning football games and having issues that you would think would be addressed at some point. And that’s the toughest thing about where we’re at, which is the emotional attachment to Kingsbury. And maybe that’s the problem with hiring one of your own is that you can’t really be objective about the state of the team. If this were any other coach, it would be church, but because it’s Kingsbury we want to give him that leash. Not only that, but Kingsbury’s attitude about coaching and working at his job sorta hits us to our core because that’s what we believe. Hard work = success. And right now, that’s not panning out.
So, we’re all in agreement, me too, that we want Kingsbury to stay, we just want things to get better. What tangible things would you do to be better in 2017?
michael: This is on the lower scale of big issues, but I would like to see him lift the ban on assistant coaches talking to the press. It irks me that I can tune in to Double T 97.3 and hear a live interview of one of the players calling in during a quick break between classes while the coaches are shielded from any interaction with the (predominantly TTU financed) local media. Not that it helped a lot last year to see Gibbs up there with no real answers week after week, but maybe we could get behind the scenes of the offensive play calling a bit and have Morris explain how decisions are made. This could help or hurt Kingsbury in the long run, but the way he has it structured now with the only access being to him directly, it hurts him.
Here’s a thought from a guy who’s never coached: what if Kingsbury didn’t hesitate to pull his starting QB when he repeatedly makes obviously bad decisions? I mentioned this earlier, but I wanted to expand on it a bit. We all like Mahomes. He is a phenomenal talent, but something was off on Saturday. He threw away passes into the end zone to either no receiver or receivers in double/triple coverage more than once. You need to have full confidence in your starter, but there may be a time when he needs to understand that sitting a series isn’t the end of the world while you work through what the hell just happened out there. This week’s press conference showed that Kingsbury is doing all he can to drive home the point to Mahomes about staying in the pocket and working on footwork. It just doesn’t translate to the field at times. And if all of his recent woes have been due to a QB spy during games, run the hell out of a QB spy on scout defense.
A quick thing that could be implemented even this week would be a short yardage play THAT ISN’T A QB SNEAK. (edited)
meestahrogers: Back to wanting Kingsbury around, Seth brings up a good point that maybe we’re too emotionally invested into Kingsbury being the coach. Maybe we should be a little more business minded since the football program means so much to the university and athletic department financially. At what point is keeping Kingsbury around hurting future growth and profit? Are we looking at that in the rear view? Seth’s right, if this were anyone else, they’d most likely be gone after this season. Why is Kingsbury so special?
And yes, Kingsbury could really just implement a short yardage play. I’m thinking an ISO play with a lead blocker (who doesn’t have to be Reed). And Mahomes doesn’t have to be under center, especially if it’s a handoff. Get back in a pistol formation, put 7 OL on the line, give Ward a lead blocker or two and let him find a yard.
seth: One last prediction from everyone. How does Texas Tech finish the last three games? For me, I think they finish 1-2 with a win against Iowa State, with the thought that I’m jinxing the Baylor loss by picking Texas Tech to lose, which they will now win.
michael: I agree with the 1-2 finish and am only about 60% confident Tech will win in Ames.
briandc: I’m with y’all, I think we find another win, but Iowa State has been looking to bite somebody all season and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be us. Though I’m also totally fine with an Ames loss if it means we beat OSU & Baylor
meestahrogers: Brian just wants to watch the world burn if Tech beats OSU and Baylor but loses to ISU. That would be one heck of a roller coaster for this season to end on, stretching back to the West Virginia game.
I think it’s most likely the team would finish 1-2 over the final 3 games, with 0-3, 2-1 and 3-0 in descending order of likelihood
briandc: Why wouldn’t I? 2016 has been an insane enough year, let’s send it out with a bang
Plus the thought of ruining OSU’s season is just. . . (kisses fingers)