Recapping the Presser: UTEP vs. Texas Tech

Texas Tech held their weekly press confernece (PDF) and speaking was head coach Kliff Kingsbury, defensive coordinator David Gibbs, offensive coordinator Eric Morris, C Jared Kaster and DE Branden Jackson. Before we get to the press conference, congrats to QB Patrick Mahomes and KR Jakeem Grant, for being named the Big 12 Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week.

1. Kliff Kingsbury is still not pleased with the way that that the team didn’t finish the game. He was asked for something positive and still talked about how the team didn’t finish:

Coach, did you see anything on the film that you were encouraged a little more than what we heard from you Saturday night?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, there were some positives, but like I touched on, the biggest disappointment was not finishing the game. That’s what I felt. Coming off the field, I still feel that way. But there were some positives from young guys who made some plays, which was good to see when the lights came on, but lots of room for improvement.

This is a departure and it is good, I think, to not just be sorta pleased with the way that the team finished. To have higher expectations that just beating a team, but to really finish a team when you have tha topportunity.

2. And given an opportunity to talk about the offensive line, again, Kingsbury mentioned how he was disappointed how the offensive line had too many penalties:

Not bad. The false starts were concerning to have an experienced group like that put us in first and 15, second and 15 four times, which I don’t think we had four of those the entire camp. So we have to get that figured out. As a unit I thought played fairly well, kept Pat on his feet and provided
some good holes for the running game.

3. Kingsbury is asked about UTEP:

Luckily we have that game from last year to base a lot of what we’re selling them this week on. Them holding the ball, possessing the ball. So offensively when you get drives, you’ve got to try to make them count. Defensively you’ve got to be ready for a downhill run game, play-action pass, and sit in there and stay focused on some of those long drives.

That’s the Miners in a nutshell.

4. A couple of interesting things here, which is that Kingsbury calls out a media member for the way that they were dressed, “Chuck,” and probably a reference to Chuck Heinz. Pretty funny. Kingsbury confirms that Pete Robertson is still game-to-game and Josh Outlaw is just no longer on the team. Gone. No explanation. Outlaw will be the new Michael Starts (DRINK!). And Kingsbury is also asked about the new stipend and says that they’ve talked about how the players should budget and that he won’t be fining players, saying that these players aren’t professional players and that’s not something he is going to do.

5. I find David Gibbs fun to listen to and just so that we’re all clear, I do have expectations that the defense gets better. I really do, but I also know that these things take time. Ya know, 7 coordinators in 7 years tends to have an effect on a defense. I’m hopeful, as I hope you are, that things will improve, but it takes time. In any event, here’s Gibb’s opening statement when asked as to his message to the defense after the game.

Just smile and wave. You know what? It is what it is. I’ve said all along, you are what you put on tape on Saturday afternoons. Obviously, we didn’t play very good, don’t know why. I’m still in the process of figuring it out. But I’ve done this a long time. I’m not going to panic. We’re not going to panic, old-school

You go back to the basics and you go back to stance, you go back to alignment, you go back to reading your keys and doing your job, and it all sounds good. For whatever reason, they went out there, I don’t know if it was first time in front of a crowd, I don’t know what it was, but unacceptable. I take the blame. It’s not their fault. They weren’t prepared. That’s your job as a coach was to get them ready to play. Sam Houston was better than most people thought they were. Now, were they that good? No. But they were Saturday. So, obviously we’ve got a lot of corrections to make, we’ll get started this afternoon at practice and build off the turnovers, which is probably the only positive we had. Didn’t tackle well, didn’t lineup well. Played a lot of guys, so I guess that’s good news. But we’ll get back to work this afternoon.

I sorta like this idea of Kingsbury holding the offense accountable, and the defense to a certain extent, for not finishing the game and then Gibbs accepting responsibility for how the team wasn’t prepared. That level of accountability won’t work out well all season, but again, hopefully they’ll get better.

And someone asked about the defenders not playing their gaps and being taken out of the game:

Q. You mentioned before the season you said if guys don’t stay in the gaps they’re not assignment sound they won’t be playing. How many instances of that?
DAVID GIBBS: Man, you’re going straight for that, huh? I hear you. You know, somebody’s got to go out there. We’ll see. For the most part I felt like they tried to do what they were supposed to do. Obviously didn’t do it. When you give up that many yards and that many points to a team that you’re supposed to be a lot better than. I’m not going to defend anybody. Nobody played good. We won’t have a defensive player of the game. It’s not acceptable. But we’ll build off the positives. It does no good to be the grim reaper and cuss everybody out and fire everybody, because at the end of the day we’ve got to go back out there Saturday and go play a bowl opponent who is a really good football team.

6. Gibbs was also asked about if he will spend more time on UTEP or Arkansas and the answer is neither:

I’m going to spend more time watching us and fixing us and fixing our problems and trying to get us better, because at the end of the day we know what’s coming down the road. And UTEP’s got some great players, but until we can lineup and know what gap we have and know what leverage we need to keep on the football, then who we’re playing really doesn’t matter to me.

7. When offensive coordinator Eric Morris was asked about the big play capability of his players, he really didn’t answer the question, but he, like Kingsbury, talked about all the things that they left on the field:

Yeah, no doubt. Had a lot of explosions, as many as we’ve had since we’ve been here. In the passing game I think we had over 13 explosions. We had four in the run game. You know, it’s just the guys are a little bit older. They’re playing faster, and obviously there are a lot of things out there. The film is as good as we have to teach off of. There are some small things that are so little that are costing us some big chunks of yards. Obviously the two penalties. I think I counted up — I made them chart it yesterday — like 92 yards off of penalties, and that counts we have two explosive plays and penalties come back. That’s inexcusable. It’s stupid, and we’ve got to get that fixed immediately. On the eight drops that we had, 173 yards that we left out there. So I think a much better starting point than where we were last year at this point. I thought 5 did a great job of getting in and out of some good plays. Obviously, when it breaks down he can do some stuff that’s fun to watch. But we’re just this close from really being like ultra, ultra explosive. So it was good to see. It was good to see. Some of the freshmen didn’t — they’re just not many — you saw it last year. First pass we threw to Ian Sadler at UTEP. It’s going to be a 60-yard touchdown. He looks nervous as all get out and he drops it. Saw some of that with some of the freshmen. I thought Jonathan Giles was probably the best freshman we had. His look was really good before the game. He played hard. He played smart. He got open on some stuff. He didn’t get the ball, but overall, there is a bunch of stuff that’s bad with the tape. Don’t get me wrong. But a really good starting point. Week one and week two, we have to make a big jump on some execution things.

Morris is also asked about Devin Lauderdale’s day and says that Lauderdale can be great, but he can’t take plays off, dropping a pass here or there, also mentioning that if he’s tired then he needs to come out.

8. When asked about the lack of killer instinct, he says that the players have to do a better job of making that this is addressed:

Yeah, I think that’s got to be handled by our players. It’s something we sit in here and talk about. We have older guys, Le’Raven and Jakeem, and guys that are putting out some great individual efforts, but at some point all the good players I’ve been around, and you have that, that comes in a huddle with them together, and some of those leaders saying, hey, come on, let’s bury these guys right now. So hopefully some of these players, they’ve even made points of emphasis about it, so hopefully we can get some of these key leaders. You watch Le’Raven, he has his guy on the ground the whole entire game. But at some point, we have, as a team, we have to feed off that mentality. He’s got to do a better job. Jakeem played outstanding. As good as he’s played here throughout the course of the whole game, not justcatching the football, but blocking, so same thing. He’s a fiery guy. He’s got to get — when it gets in those situations, we have some guys that I think have the ability and they have to do it in the huddle and get those guys going a little bit.

9. Morris was also asked about Mahomes and how he played and Morris did get a bit into how and what Mahomes did and are we taking what Mahomes does, even if it is just after starting 5 games, for granted? I don’t mean that question for Morris, I mean it for the rest of us. The chances of Mahomes having a bad game is likely, I just hope we don’t overreact.

Yeah, that’s what I told Coach Kingsbury after the game. That’s his position and he does a phenomenal job coaching them. Sometimes I said, Coach, this is the fifth time he started a college football game. Is it fifth or sixth? How many did he start last year? Four last year he started, right. So this is his fifth start. The kid is not going to be perfect. He did a great job, I thought of getting us out of some run games that we called that were bad looks and had safeties down in the box. Checked some stuff to get it out quick. On third downs he checked some stuff in the quick game stuff, which I think we were 4 for 4 on all the quick game checks he made on 3rd and medium, which we call 3rd and medium, 3rd and 5 to 3rd and 7. So third downs are huge in this game, as you all know. So did a great job. I think we were 63% on third down, 62%. Which is good. So I thought he saw it well. I mean, there are a couple things that he’s going to come back and watch film and he’s going to learn from. But for his fifth game to start, I thought he did a remarkable job of getting us in and out of some stuff, and getting the ball out quick and into the right person.

10. One quick note from C Jared kaster as a reporter tries to ask him what he’s spending his stipend on, and he, rightfully, tells the reporter that what he does with that money is none of anyone’s business. I don’t know if I would have been that smart about how to answer that question. In any event, we’ll move on to DE Branden Jackson, who is asked about the guys missing tackles:

We were kind of hard on each other about that. Pick your head up, see what you hit, things like that. A lot of it you take good and bad. We’re happy the guys were shooting the gun, but at the same time, like Coach Gibbs preaches, see what you hit. Don’t just go out there and diving around. So I’m sure we’ll get out on the practice field and have a few more tackling circuits, but nothing too major to focus on with that, as long as guys continue to rally around the ball and make people stutter their feet, there will be a second man there to make the tackle, if you miss the first one.

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