Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury was at the Big 12 Media Days to discuss the upcoming season for Texas Tech football and we’ll summarize as much as we can.
Kingsbury discussed the changes he’s made during the course of his five years as head coach as Lincoln Riley is set to be the head coach and call plays, yet still be successful in all of the other aspects of being a head coach.
There’s obviously been coaches throughout the country that have had success calling it, either offensively or defensively. There’s guys that have had success that don’t call it. I think he’s just got to find that happy medium. I’m going into year five and still, I think, searching for that, how to be successful in all those other aspects of being a head coach and still be the best play-caller I can be.
Kingsbury also said that it’s important to be involved in all aspects of coaching.
I think you just adjust each and every year to your personnel, to your coaching staff. Time management is something that I feel like I’ve gotten better at. And then trying to be more involved in all aspects of the program. Not just saying, hey, we’re going to outscore everybody. We’re going to have a great quarterback. We’re going to score a bunch of points. But having an impact on special teams, strength and conditioning, defense, recruiting.
I think, as you go, you learn that you better be involved in all those things.
Kliff Kingsbury raved about what linebacker Dakota Allen has done to earn his way back on the team:
He’s been huge. Dakota is a guy who made a mistake after his freshman year and went to junior college and paid the price and did everything right, earned his way back, and was a tremendous player for us his freshman year. We expect him to pick right back up where he left off. He’s a leader for us already in our locker room. He can tell those young guys about the mistake he made, about what he went through, about how good they have it. He’s made an immediate impact off the field, and I’m hoping that his presence on the field is felt that way as well.
Kingsbury said that winning is part of the job, regardless of the year and that you’re coaching for your job each and every year.
I think it comes with the territory. Obviously, we know what’s at stake. We know we have to be much improved. But that’s part of the job. I think that everybody but the four that make the playoff every year are basically on the hot seat in college football. You’re coaching for your job every year, and we know that.
For Kingsbury though, he knows that the pressure to win is always there and with Kingsbury, the idea that he is an alum, maybe he has a sense of responsibility more than anything else:
I don’t feel any more pressure than I ever have. I always expect to win and give Texas Tech what it deserves and their fans and their alumni and that university. So to me, we’re moving forward and have tried to improve all our processes, but as far as added pressure, it’s not something we try to dwell upon.
Kingsbury was asked twice about the defense, why has there been such bad results and the first part of the answer was acknowledging the short-lived Wallerstedt Era while the past two years has been transitioning David Gibbs:
Yeah, I think a number of things. As a head coach, it falls on me, no question. I think middle of year two we made a change where we kind of had to start over, and Coach Gibbs came in. It wasn’t the greatest situation, no question, and he’s still working through that.
I think going into year three, we have the same defensive coordinator for the first time at Texas Tech in a long time. He’s been able to bring in players that fit his scheme. He’s been able to bring in coaches that he’s comfortable with. So I expect to see us be improved.
I like what I saw this spring. We played a lot of young players on defense last year, and I’m hoping those snaps pay dividends going into this year.
Kingsbury takes credit for the defense, as he should. This isn’t some sort of praise for Kingsbury for taking acknowledgment, but it is his baby. Kingsbury was asked again about the idea that there’s so many high school players that play defense, why can’t he field a defense that holds teams to under 30 points.
That’s a great question. I wish I had the answer (laughter). Like I said, that’s something we work on. We haven’t been good enough defensively, and we’ll continue to try and recruit the right players and develop them and get better.
I think the response was joking in nature and the rest is standard Kingsbury, don’t really say anything other than continue to recruit, work hard and develop players.
Much was made of replacing Patrick Mahomes at Quarterback and Kingsbury stated that it won’t be easy to replace Mahomes, but seems confident in Nic Shimonek.
You don’t replace somebody with that type of talent, obviously, but Nic is a fifth year senior going into his fourth year in our system, knows it inside and out. Really got a ton of reps with our ones last year. There was a four or five-week stretch that Pat didn’t practice during the week, where he hurt his shoulder, and Nic got all those reps. He got some good meaningful time in the games last year and played really well, and this spring, he had a tremendous spring. With this supporting cast around him, we expect him to play at a high level. He’s a tough young man, hardest worker on our team, studies the game inside and out. Was at Iowa, learned a pro style at Iowa; came to Tech, learned our offense. He’s a bright kid, and like I said, I expect him to play at a very high level. I expect him to be very competitive.
Our team loves him because not many players in this day and age would stick around to their senior year to get their time, and he did. That carries a lot of weight with our program.
I’ve bolded that last sentence because I think the direction is obvious in terms of quarterbacks who have left as well as maybe players who leave as well.
Kingsbury knows though that it can’t be solely on Shimonek to carry the offense and the team, it has to be a group effort.
We have to have more of a group effort. We were not very good up front last year as far as running the football and protecting the quarterback. We kept bringing back a senior running back, three senior starting wide receivers and a junior starting wide receiver, so we have experience and skill that’s really going to help Nic, and they’ve got to step their game up.
I think all of us at times just sat there and watched some of the things that Pat could do, and we need to be focused on playing.
It may be also interesting to note that the depth chart states TBD (To Be Determined) as far as back-up quarterback is determined and when asked about McLane Carter AND Jett Duffey, Kingsbury only answers about Carter.
With McLane, he’s a guy that we evaluated hard in high school. Went to junior college, gained a lot of weight, really had a nice stay at Tyler. Came in this spring and was learning our system. He’s gotten bigger, faster, stronger, and really has a good skill set for what we do offensively. Excited to work with him. He’s got a ways to go, but we’ll get with him in camp and see how he develops.