Trying to summarize everything that happened yesterday is always tough, so I’ve just tried to compile as much as humanly possible.
Aside from Jah’Shawn Johnson’s sick burn or whatever you want to call it (truthfully, it’s a great gag and the only thing missing was “talk about”) for media question bingo. Would have been a lot cooler had it been a drinking game.
Texas Tech’s Jah’Shawn Johnson helped developed this glory pic.twitter.com/JnplLgGtIP
— marc tracy (@marcatracy) July 17, 2017
LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot also caught up with Kingsbury to discuss Jett Duffey, who was suspended the spring and summer semesters:
“It was handled through the university through their process and the code of conduct,” Kingsbury said. “We took a lot of factors into account when the athletic department decided whether on reinstatement. There are lot of facts we know that the public doesn’t know and all of that went into the athletic department’s decision.”
Kingsbury added that, “We read everything that we have been given,” and that the second chances are given on “a case by case basis on what you know about the incident and there are a ton of factors that go into each case.”
LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot writes that Kingsbury ackowledged that it’s time to win now and it starts with improvement of the defense:
The Red Raiders were ranked dead last (128th overall) in total defense last season and were 125th against the pass and 112th against the run. In his four years as coach of the Red Raiders, Tech hasn’t seen a ranking in the top 100.
It hasn’t even really been close and that is something he said is a process, but has to change this season.
There is no other option at this point. With Kingsbury’s job on the line this season, he has even had to reassure recruits that questioned his longevity with the university.
RedRaiderSports’ Will McKay discussed with the players the disposition of the team and Dylan Cantrell and Jah’Shawn Johnson said that this is a tight group:
“Coach Kingsbury talks all the time to us about leaving a legacy, so we’re doing everything we can to leave one for what we accomplish, but more importantly for guys coming up to have something to strive for. We’re just a bunch of hard working guys that play for each other and do everything they can to help their teammates win. We’re an unselfish group of guys, and we just try to play hard to win on every snap.”
But Jah’Shawn Johnson, as the top spokesman for the defense, agrees with Cantrell. This group is tight knit, and that starts on the field.
“I feel like we’re a lot closer than we’ve ever been. I can’t speak about teams I wasn’t on, but this team now, it’s as close as I’ve had since I’ve been here at Tech. Everyone trusts each other on the field, and that’s key. If you know you can trust the guy next to you, you can play hard, and you can play fast. I’ve seen guys just fly around all spring and summer. Everyone wants to make the play. No one is counting on someone else to make it. Guys get jealous when other guys make plays, and I just love that about this team. It makes your job easier.”
HookEm’s Kirk Bohls writes about how the defense needs to win to keep Kingsbury in Lubbock and I know that some of you just don’t like Bohls because he writes for the Statesman, but his son was Raider Red, yes, the mascot, so I don’t think he hates Texas Tech. In any event, this was the key to the article:
Quite frankly, it wouldn’t take much. Abysmal defense hasn’t been just Kingsbury’s Achilles heel, the failings have infected a promising program that flourished under Mike Leach but has stagnated under Kingsbury and his predecessor, Tom Tuberville. The two have combined for a 44-43 record and a depressing Big 12 mark of 22-40. The Red Raiders haven’t been nationally ranked since November 2013.
One Tech insider put Kingsbury’s chances of survival at “50-50,” but significant upgrades in facilities such as new $1.6 million lockers, a $48 million indoor practice venue and weight-room improvements, coupled with a bowl game, could keep the coach employed.
LAJ’s Nicholas Talbot writes about the master plan for Texas Tech:
“5-7 wasn’t good for anyone and we are going to give it our all,” Tech defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson said. “(Kingsbury) took a more active role in the defense (this offseason) and switched day in and out and got in the staff meetings. He knew what he was talking about and was a high energy guy and is on the field celebrating with us and it makes you feel better playing for him. Everything he does is great. He teaches you on a personal level and I appreciate it.”
And Kingsbury said he has enjoyed his time coaching the defense.
“I think they have enjoyed having me over there,” he said. “I have showed them things that work for us and how to go about defending our offense and I have enjoyed it. It is about time management and making sure spend enough time with both sides of the ball.”
- ESPN’s Pat Forde writes that Big 12 slipped to fifth wheel status and looks to move back up:
The conference missed the four-team College Football Playoff in 2016. It was the second time in the CFP’s three-year existence that the Big 12 was excluded. All told, the Big 12 has played just one playoff game and is the only Power Five league without an appearance in the championship game, while the ACC and SEC are 3-2, the Big Ten is 2-2 and the Pac-12 is 1-2.
The Big 12 wasn’t even a controversial exclusion last year. It flopped so thoroughly in non-league play – going just 3-6 against the rest of the Power Five plus Notre Dame – that there was no conference caterwauling. The jig was up by the end of September, and everyone knew it.
- LandGrant Gauntlet’s Jay Jordan writes about the fabled 13th data point with the Big 12 Championship Game:
The only real risk is that there is a clear number one and the number two team is chosen from a gaggle of teams tied with three league losses. Then, the three-loss team wins the championship game. That can happen and that is the risk that is run. But, isn’t that present in every championship game?
In my view, the Big 12 Championship provides no more risk to its members than they have previously faced without one. They didn’t get in without one, the Committee says to play one, so they are. It is the best chance to change perception and create an annual trip to college football’s biggest stage.
- Heartland College Sports’ Dave Beall writes that there was no bad news yesterday:
But this year there hasn’t been that feeling of seriousness. The only thing that everyone seems to be talking about on day one of this two day event is the departure of Bob Stoops and the subsequent promotion of Lincoln Riley. And all of that is very positive. No one has a bad thing to say about Big Game Bob for good reason. Riley is well respected, liked, and well spoken. Besides Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury getting asked about his defense by someone who was obviously very unhappy that the Red Raiders can’t stop anyone everything has been pretty light hearted. And everyone actually got a pretty good chuckle out of that exchange, including Kingsbury.
Miscellaneous . . . A photo gallery from yesterday from the official site . . .