Hey sports fans! In particular Texas Tech sports fans! Head coach Kliff Kingsbury held his weekly press conference on Tuesday so let’s parse those words.
Kingsbury was asked what happened with the offense and here’s an explanation:
Q. Last week y’all had a 35-24 lead, got that big interception by Des Smith, one second left in the third quarter, you really pushed them around, gave Ben Morgan 190 rushing yards, last two drives over 100 yards and a touchdown, but then three three-and-outs, only two runs over the next three drives, all three-and-outs; why did y’all stop running the ball?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, that’s a good question. Took a shot on 1st and 10; 2nd and 10, play action, missed a comeback that was wide open like we anticipated; got a 3rd down, tried to throw it, didn’t get it. And then there were a couple run-pass options in there that we had the pass and we pulled it and threw it and didn’t hit it like we’d been hitting it the rest of the game. So that was really it. I mean, that’s how our offense is built. If you’ve got the pass, take it; you’d just like to complete it if you’re going to do which.
Q. A couple of those were run-pass options?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah.
That’s kind of important in terms of giving some leeway to Nic Shimonek and maybe, just maybe, Shimonek made the wrong decision.
Also, you all asked why Kingsbury didn’t run the ball in the second half:
Q. Looking back on that, being in that situation, would you have done it any differently when you say, okay, we’re going to run the ball like we’ve been doing or we’re not?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: You know, I would have liked to have completed the passes that are open. That’s what it comes down to. In our league you can’t sit on an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and just go three-and-out running the football. We’d like to have completed some passes with the football and not gone three-and-out, but I wouldn’t have changed the play calls.
Q. Do you feel like you would have gone three-and-out if you kept running the ball?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Possibly. The couple times we did hand it off, we weren’t getting much. They were doing things schematically to try to take away the run at that point, as well, so everybody adjusted, and they adjusted, and they got the momentum and were playing harder and executed better than us.
We have an update on the kicking situation. This is pulled from a couple of different places, but it answers a couple of things: 1) That the kicking situation hasn’t changed; 2) Hatfield’s situation was one where it was a long-term injury and maybe one that couldn’t exactly be solved once the season started (or preseason practice).
Q. Do you have any update on the kicking situation?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: No. That’ll be decided throughout the week, and we’ll figure out who’s going to be the guy.
Q. You’ve got a waiver; going into this week if you’re 25 yards — maybe does it change the way you approach it this week?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: It could. I mean, we’ll see how the week goes, but yeah, definitely. If you don’t feel like you can make it from a certain distance, it definitely changes your preparation as a play caller and where your mind is at.
Q. Have you seen the kicking struggles in practice as well as the game, or is it just when the lights come on, something happens?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I haven’t seen it in practice, but we’ve struggled in the games, obviously, so we’ve got to have some way to — where that translates from the practice field to the game field and handle those moments better.
Q. Was there an unexpected setback along the way with Clayton Hatfield, or did you know a month ago that he could be at this moment?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, we knew it was more of a long-term injury.
A nice question about whether or not Shimonek needs to stay in the pocket and Kingsbury said that this comes with experience:
Q. Do you feel like Shimonek is having a problem with pocket presence especially like late in the game last weekend, and what can you do?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think there were a few that you’d want him to maybe hang in there a little bit. I keep going back to he’s an older player but an inexperienced player somewhat, and those type situations, those type moments, there’s only way to learn from them, and that’s to do it and go through it. He’s making some great throws, and we’ll learn from some of those other moments.
And Kingsbury thinks that the more Shimonek plays, the better he will be:
Q. Folks have asked regarding Nic, why he is reluctant or seems reluctant if he doesn’t see an open receiver; would you like to see him check down and get five yards or given your maybe questionable depth at quarterback, would you like him to play it safe?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: No, I think, once again, it’s just instinctual stuff where you have to play the game and be in those situations and practice. A lot of times you’re not taking off, you’re not running it, and once you get in the game, when those opportunities arise, you’ve got to take advantage of it, and you try and get to 2nd and 5 instead of 2nd and 10, and that’s something that he made a couple scrambles last week, and we’ve got to keep progressing at that. But I think that’s just the more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll get with getting his instincts back and making those type plays.
Last, but not least, Kingsbury was asked about responding to losses and says that the team just needs to put four quarters together:
Q. A couple weeks ago we talked about responding to losses last year versus this year and they bounced back pretty well against Kansas. Do you think that’s something you can focus on again this week with the way that last week played out or have you thought about that yet?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I don’t think so. This group understands what we can be. We just have to put four quarters together, and we haven’t done that yet this season, but we’ve had moments where we’re really playing well together as a team, and we have to put together an entire game, and I think they all understand what happened last year when we played Iowa State, so there’s not going to be any pouting or feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re going to get up and put the best game plan together we can and play our best game.
Cameron Batson and Jah’Shawn Johnson were also at yesterday’s media availability and you can check out their thoughts at the link.