David Gibbs on Making Plays on a Bad Defense and Entitlement

Texas Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs discusses Justis Nelson in a recent article from the Avalanche Journal, and where he will play, but at the end of the article Gibbs talks about player entitlement and making plays is fine, but you made plays on a bad defense, so what exactly have you done?

From LAJ’s Don Williams we get that defensive back Justis Nelson will start out at cornerback, but still could move to safety. Here is defensive coordinator David Gibbs discussing his plan for Nelson:

“We’re going to start him at corner and teach him the corner techniques,” Gibbs said, “because at least the first two days – maybe more than that – we’re just going to be in base defense with three linebackers and teach him to play corner.”

Gibbs also laments that Nelson could have had 8 interceptions last year, he just didn’t catch them, but maybe more than that Gibbs talks about entitlement and just because someone is playing snaps, doesn’t mean that said player is any good.

I really somewhat thought that the lede was a bit burried here as Gibbs talks about how the good news is that defense has played a lot of football, but the bad news is that it’s been bad football:

“It’s like I told those guys when I went to Houston: ‘The good news is, you’ve played a lot of football. The bad news is, you’ve played a lot of bad football. Just because you’re out there doesn’t mean you’re a good player. You could be out there by default.’

“I’m not saying that about Justis. I’m just saying that in general, because we’ve been talking about entitlement and guys made a lot of plays. ‘OK, so you’ve made a lot of plays on a bad defense. What does that mean?

“Now go make some plays on a good defense. You do that, and then we’ve all got what we want.’ I’ve got to get it done. Me and coach (Kevin) Curtis have got to get it done on the back end.”

I don’t recall a coach being so honest with a group of men and I think this goes into why I like Gibbs so much, at least right now. Gibbs isn’t making outlandish promises and he isn’t handing guys jobs because of pedigree. Like a lot of you, I want to see results and talk is cheap, but his talk isn’t making any promises other than he hopes to be consistent and he hopes to coach the heck out of these guys. That part is reassuring and so is the quoted language above.

Flat out, Gibbs is telling these guys, “so what if you made a lot of plays on a bad defense, that doesn’t mean much, if anything. It’s more about making plays and being part of a good defense that’s the most important”. That’s the part that seems unique and refreshing, at least from my perspective.

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