The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2018.02.09

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Notebook. A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. has a notebook that focuses on Justin Gray’s contributions to the team, and a Zach Smith update (who may have his cast off, but no real update). Here’s a bit on Gray:

Holding onto a 57-53 lead with about seven minutes left, Gray watched two Cyclone defenders faked out by a pair Zhaire Smith pump fakes before he caught a no-look pass and scored his layup. The score was the catalyst to a 17-3 run, which allowed the Red Raiders to cement their 15th win in designated home games this season.

“It just shows how much grit we have as a team,” said Gray, who is averaging about one steal per game this season. “Through times of adversity, we stick together. And in good times, we stick together no matter what. It’s just very important that we can see how we respond to certain adverse situations as far as: losing a lead, or being down a certain amount.”

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From Signing Day. I’m still catching up from National Signing Day and wanted to highlight three articles from the A-J. A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about the five players that were signed on Wednesday and also has a notebook from signing day. I think there was some confusion with some of the things I quickly transcribed yesterday morning that there really hasn’t been a decision about who will call plays. I think new OC Kevin Johns kicked the can down the road and simply said that it had not been decided yet, but praised his head coach by stating that his boss, Kliff Kingsbury, is one of the best in the country to call plays.

I did want to mention that my reaction of Johns and David Gibbs were really positive. Johns was interesting to listen to and I liked a lot of the things he had to say. he also confirmed that he likes to call plays out of 11 personnel, but that he’ll adjust to the personnel he has. I appreciate him being flexible. I’d also add that Tyler Carr could set up to being a guy that gets a ton of playing time as a tight end. And it sounds like Johns is coming in with some autonomy and Kingsbury wants Johns to force him to tthink abou things differently.

“(In) coach Kingsbury, you’re looking at one of the best play-callers in the game, one of the best offensive minds in all of college football,” Johns said. “If we don’t use that to our advantage, then I think that’s foolish on our part.

“My role, the way I’m looking at this, is I’m coming in to help him any way I can, whatever that means: putting together the game plan, offering some ideas, challenging what maybe he’s done in the past. And on game day, working with him however he needs.”

And just in case you’re wondering, running out of 11 personnel is somewhat cutting edge in regards to how teams are able to effectively run against opposing defenses and with the hire of Clay McGuire, sorta lends to the idea that Kingsbury wants to kick the heck out of some defenses. McGuire was the offensive line coach at Washington State and he’s coached running backs before, but this really adds to a versatile coaching staff that might be able to do some really fun things offensively.

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