Recapping the Presser: Baylor vs. Texas Tech

We recap this week’s press conference as Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, defensive coordinator David Gibbs, offensive coordinator Eric Morris and DE Branden Jackson. As an aside, C Jared Kaster spoke yesterday as well, but he was relatively quiet and his answers were pretty short today. I didn’t highlight any of his quotes this time.

1. Let’s start with Baylor, where a reporter asks about the similarity between TCU and Baylor.

Q. How similar is TCU’s offense compared to Baylor’s offense?
COACH KINGSBURY: Different. Baylor does what they do. Nobody in the country does what they do with the spacing, the way they space you out, run the ball very well, play up tempo and find ways to get those receivers to the ball in space.

The two teams do play up-tempo, so I guess there’s that.

2. Kingsbury was also asked about what he was most proud about with his team on Saturday. Obviously, the outcome wasn’t what he wanted, but he liked the effort:

Q. The tenacity that they showed on Saturday just hanging in there the whole time, that’s gotta be a good thing to look at, carry over. Can you tell us how you see that?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah. Just effort, the effort was outstanding. It’s just we didn’t play as clean as I thought we did the previous two weeks. We missed a few things here and there on offense. And then defensively you had some big third and longs, third and 11, third and 23 that should have got up the field and didn’t and they ended up scoring points on those drives. So you just have to keep that same effort and clean up the execution.

3. More on Baylor, this time QB Seth Russell, who really played well against Rice last week (played well is an understatement, he was terrific):

Q. What have you seen from Russell since the end of last year, quarterback for Baylor now and getting more reps this spring?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, he looks great. Slid right in there and they haven’t missed a beat. Actually production has gone up. So that’s a credit to him and their offensive coaching staff. And he’s very athletic, can run and a great thrower.

4. The next two questions are about injuries, so I’m lumping them together. Kingsbury was asked about if he was limited on his play-calls and I think this is accurate, but I’d also say that Pat has a ton of freedom and I’d bet that he can pretty much run when he wants.

Q. Did you feel limited in your play calling at all just based on Pat’s injury?
COACH KINGSBURY: A little bit, but you know, I felt more for him because I knew he couldn’t do what he normally does on some of those things. But as I said Saturday, I was just very proud of the way he battled and hung in there. He was very good for not being 100 percent.

And I was wondering what the status of IR Ian Sadler was, so here you go:

Q. Do you have an update on Ian Sadler?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I mentioned it earlier, just day to day. Just day to day. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to go or not. But we’re going to try to get him moving today and see how he feels.

If you have not already figured it out, Kingsbury really doesn’t give specific injury updates on Monday and you’ll usually get updates right before the kickoff on Saturday. Usually on Monday he’ll say that he hasn’t seen the player yet, which is true.

5. Up next is defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who was asked what the team learned from Saturday’s loss:

Q. What do you think they learned from Saturday, your defense?
COACH GIBBS: I think they learned if they’ll just keep fighting and keep playing we’ll have a chance to win a whole bunch of football games. They don’t have to be perfect. And I think sometimes when you’re trying to rebuild a defense, you know, I think sometimes guys, they over react and they panic. You hear me use that word all the time. They want to let’s go zero blitz and make a big play and stop them. But the truth is all you’re going to do is speed up the process of the other team scoring faster, and also speed up the process of, you know, giving up more big plays. So you know, what did they learn, you know, I hope they learned, if they just do their job, which I’ve been saying since day one and take care of your business and trust the other ten guys to do their job, that we’ll be okay.

This is the best answer for me, partly because I think that I appreciate not over-reacting to a play, or a game, or a particular thing. It’s natural to want to do that, but there seems to be a real process here and we’ve really just started.

5. Gibbs gets the Baylor question, but framed a bit better:

Q. What are some of the different nuances between an offense like TCU and Baylor? Probably for the fans it looks pretty similar as far as spread. What do they do?
COACH GIBBS: Baylor is a lot more power run game oriented, play action pass. TCU, in my opinion, TCU is more like our offense. You spread it out and your play action game is off of quick runs. But Baylor will line up and run it 60 times on you if you let them. And also scary because their wide receivers are so good. But that would be the difference to me. They play with a tight end a lot more than us and TCU does.

Oh, and what to stop against Baylor?

Q. What do you find more consistent with Baylor, their pass offense or their run offense?
COACH GIBBS: I think the average 380 yards rushing and 380 yards passing. So you tell me what you want me to stop and I’ll try. Let me rephrase that. I’ll call a defense that’s supposed to stop it. And then they’ll run it anyway. No, they’re, shoot, they’re phenomenal. We got our hands full again. Again, we gotta give our offense a chance to win the game at the end. That’s our goal.

6. These next two answers are about specific players, LB Dakota Allen and the cornerbacks. With Allen, Gibbs likes what he’s done, but there’s still work to do. He’s got to be more consistent and make plays:

Q. What’s Dakota’s overall play been like so far?
COACH GIBBS: He’s getting better. He’s getting better. He’s playing like a freshman, makes two good plays and then makes — you know, he was unblocked two of those stretches at the end of the game where they’re running over our left side, their right side. Dakota, he’s unblocked and just didn’t make the tackle. Just can’t quite get there. Whether he’s fatigued or whether it’s a slow reaction to the path of the back. But he’s gotten better. He has. He just — he’s a young man playing in a big man’s game right now. But he’ll grow up.

And this exchange about who his best cornerback is. Anyone know what “T.B.” is? He this a transcription error and it should be C.B.’s?

Q. Who do you consider your best corner?
COACH GIBBS: We don’t have a best corner. We don’t have a best safety. And I helped coach T.B. so it’s on me. I gotta get them better. I really do.

7. Up next is Eric Morris, who is asked about how his offense performed.

Q. Coach, going back on the TCU game, how do you think your offense did?
COACH MORRIS: Decent. You know, we scored some points but squandered some opportunities for sure. Probably guys up front in the run game did a good job. Didn’t hold up as good as I would have liked a couple times on pass protection. They got to Pat a couple times, got some pressure on him and got him hit quite a few times. But did a great job. De-Andre played like a possessed man out there, it’s good to see. He stepped up, he was a leader for us in the huddle and he did a good job. But we had a couple opportunities to put it away and we didn’t, we came up a little short.

8. We’re talking about injured players here, so let’s start if Sadler is out, Morris is asked about who will fill his shoes.

COACH MORRIS: Yeah, Zach Austin, and then we’ll personnel some stuff and move some people around this week and get some people — get our best four out there in some positions to move inside and outside. So you’ll see a little bit of moving around. But I didn’t think Giles played very well. It was a big moment for him to have to kind of step in right then and his eyes were pretty big and there’s definitely, as a true freshman, we expected that. He’s got to continue to get better, but you’ll see Zach Austin there with him this week.

Don’t think about moving over Cameron Batson.

Q. Is there any chance Batson could be moved?
COACH MORRIS: No, we’re going to keep him and Jakeem over there. I need to keep Jakeem’s reps down a little bit. If he plays over 60 reps, he goes down a little bit in the way his game comes out, the way he’s graded out, so I want to keep them rotated over there. We have plenty of guys over there that can step up and make plays.

And the one you’ve been waiting for:

Q. Coach, do you think if you have to go to Webb on Saturday that it’s been good that the competition between him and Mahomes throughout the springs, throughout the fall, do you think that will benefit getting ready if he possibly had to start this game?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, he’s ready. He’s done an incredible job coming in extra every single week and preparing like he did when he was a starter, so been proud of him in that regard. He hasn’t slouched off and not put the time in. He’s in there putting hours in, breaking down film, knows where to go with the ball, been around this offense for a long time, so yeah, we wouldn’t blink an eye.

I don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday, but I wouldn’t bet against Mahomes.

9. And we get Eric Morris opining on Baylor as well.

Q. What you do you see when you look at the Baylor defense?
COACH MORRIS: Yeah, they’re really good up front, that’s what’s going to be challenging for us. Oakman and Billings are as good as anybody we’ll play this year. Billings stands out more than anybody on tape that I’ve watched this whole entire year. He’s a kid that we have to know where he’s at at all times and account for him. His effort’s unbelievable and he’s really strong. Oakman off the edge, he’s a guy that also we have to know where they’re at. The back end, I think their corners are playing better this year and their safeties are doing a good job, too. They’ve got the linebacker back, Young, that was banged up and he’s just as productive as any linebacker in the league. So we definitely have it cut out for us. We’ve got to play well and execute and not turn the ball over.

10. Last, but not least is Branden Jackson who is asked about what the defensive line has to do extra in order to put enough guys in the backfield.

Q. How much responsibility do you have yourself and the defensive line (inaudible) going up that Baylor has that might require extra men in coverage to limit how much you guys can rush the pass —
BRANDEN JACKSON: Yeah, A hundred percent. This defensive line wants to lead the defensive group in general, and we know that they have talented guys on the outside, they have a talented running back and talented quarterback. So we know they’re obviously explosive and they’re going to make plays. We put on defensive line, Coach Smith has already established that we have to make our presence known and make it often, so we have to disrupt their timing. We have to penetrate that big offensive line and get to Russell, kind of get him off his game. If the defensive line doesn’t do what we’re supposed to do, it may not go in our favor. So we’ll put it all on our shoulders. We’ve got a couple big 350-pound guys, so I’m sure we can handle the workload.

And Jackson is also asked about not having a turnover and missing some easy ones, that the team has to capitalize on.

Q. How was it to see a game with as many plays for both offenses to not have a turnover in the game?
BRANDEN JACKSON: Yeah, that’s crazy. It’s disappointing as the defense, but then again our offense wasn’t throwing it the other way, either, so it kind of eases the pain. Coach Gibbs always talks about the turnover margin. We had a couple of them hit us in the hands that we dropped, so that’s something we’ve got to start capitalizing on especially against these explosive offenses we have in the Big 12. When you get a chance to make the opportunity, you’ve got to get ’em. The gimmees, the layups, you’ve got to make those. You can miss a slam dunk, but the layups, it’s too easy, we’ve got to make those. So we’ll focus on I’m sure this week trying to get the ball back to our offense, give them more possessions and slow down the explosive offense.

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