We round up this week’s press conference with head coach Kliff Kingsbury, defensive coordinator David Gibbs, offensive coordinator Eric Morris and Micah Awe. Again, I used the ASAPSports rather than the official site because it’s just easier for me to copy and paste.
Before we move on, the news is that Baylen Brown is day-to-day and he did not require surgery. That’s terrific news.
1. Up first is head coach Kliff Kingsbury (the audio cuts off around the 3:30 minute mark, so it’s not you, it’s the video), who is asked about the tipped passes for Mahomes and he expands a bit from what he discussed on Saturday after the game, which is that he’s not completely blaming Patrick Mahomes, those things need to be fixed, but giving enough credit to the Oklahoma defense.
Q. What did you see on the tipped passes that wound up as interceptions? What do you look at to try to break that —
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, they just made good plays. All four of the reads, he was going to the right place with the football. That’s one of the things in football that happens, and you’ve got to try and overcome that, but the one Striker jumps up, makes a great play, too, got tipped, and then the one in the end zone, we throw a fade route, give our guy a chance and their guy makes a play. I had no issue with the reads, it just went the other way this time.
2. Kingsbury is also asked about the slow start for Mahomes, that he’s not as “on fire” as he was early in the year. Reading between the lines, I tend to think that Kingsbury may not be an all-or-nothing proposition for Mahomes as the game starts. Take more bite-sized pieces rather than go for the jugular from the get-go.
Also asked is the idea that mahomes has been sacked and he talks about what Mahomes has to do, which is interesting because I tend to think that Kingsbury is putting the offensive struggles squarely on him and Mahomes to fix. I think that’s interesting.
Q. Beyond the interceptions, why do you feel like Mahomes is struggling the last two weeks compared to the way he played early in the season?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: You know, last week that’s a good defense, I think, more than anything. I’ve got to do a better job, like I said, of getting him going early, but I think a lot of those drives were thwarted on those interceptions, so we couldn’t really get in much of a rhythm and threw everything off. But he did a great job on 3rd down. I think we were 12 of 18. He converted a bunch of those, and anytime you turn it over four times, you’re not going to have the day you want, but I thought he did some good things.
Q. Do you have any concerns about — I think the first six games he was only sacked twice and the last two games nine times.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: No, no. I think it just comes with the territory. That’s just part of playing the position, and sometimes you go through streaks and teams see different things, and we just have to continue to call better plays for him and execute better.
3. Kingsbury is asked about facing Oklahoma State, who has a very disruptive pass rush and they make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He’s right about the ends. they’re terrific.
Also, in the next question is how the receivers are doing and once again, Kingsbury is not happy at all about the outside receivers and what they are doing or not doing.
Q. With that being said, you guys are facing one of the best pass rushing teams, leading the Big 12 in sacks. How do you challenge your offensive line with that challenge this week?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, they’ll be challenged. They’ve watched the film. They know what’s coming, so they’ll have to play their A game to try and slow those guys down. They have a great front. They have a really good defense overall, but those two ends are very good players.
Q. What did you think about your receivers overall and just kind of how they did against their man coverage?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, still a work in progress. We’ve got to get some guys outside, I think, that can be more consistent. I thought Reggie Davis did a couple good things. He was into the game. Jakeem did his thing, but we just have to be more consistent as a group. And I think that’ll help everything.
4. Up next is David Gibbs and how about this opening exchange:
Q. Is this challenge more overwhelming than you thought it would be?
DAVID GIBBS: Which challenge?
Q. Your job challenge.
DAVID GIBBS: My job challenge?
Q. Yes, sir.
DAVID GIBBS: No. It’s about what I thought. Disappointed, not discouraged.
Q. Do players share that?
DAVID GIBBS: I think so. These kids are resilient. They are. I thought they kept playing hard. I was worried during the game that maybe they packed bags, which you’ve seen teams do. I really didn’t feel that way. I thought they were playing hard up to the end, which is a credit to them. Obviously it was embarrassing, but we’ll just keep grinding.
There’s no other way out of this. There’s no other way to fix it than to just keep working and grinding and teaching them, do a better job coaching and them do a better job playing on game day.
Well, that’s interesting. Casey Cowan asks the questions and the exchange, which is terrific. I think it’s interesting that Gibbs says that the job is what he thought it would be, which means that he knew how bad things were and he still took the job.
And then this: “There’s no other way out of this.” That’s the truth. I tend to think that there is this defeatest attitude amoungst us, as fans, that there’s no hope of it ever improving, but Gibbs is saying that there’s no other way out of this than working hard.
5. And now, Gibbs gets on the run defense and oh, man. It’s clear that Gibbs is keeping things incredibly simplistic on the defense and I think that he is. Gibbs not only says that the solution to the problme is better coaching, better recruiting and the players have to be better.
Q. Other than the obvious losses, what are you most disappointed in in your defense?
DAVID GIBBS: You know, obviously the run defense. Never had a problem with run defense in my history. You know, the crazy thing is we are playing run defenses. I know when you’re sitting there watching the game and you’re watching it on TV and everybody is like, why don’t you put 10 guys in the box. You have to gap out, you have to be sound, you have to do things if you’re going to improve. If you’re going to be some rat-trap guy, go blitz every snap, that’s fine and dandy, too, but I’m trying to build something.
Obviously it’s taking some time. We’ve played some really good teams, some teams that obviously you watch them come out on the field and you watch us, and it’s not the same. So we’ve got to do a better job recruiting, got to do a better job coaching, and the players got to do a better job playing. So obviously run defense is crazy to me.
Q. Is gap integrity still just the biggest issue do you think?
DAVID GIBBS: No, I don’t think it’s gap integrity. I think it’s guys getting out of place at times, and then obviously if you’re a step late and the guy you’re a step late trying to catch is that much better than you are, you’re going to have problems, but it’s not an excuse. Your job is to go out there and stop people. Even though the first half, they scored some touchdowns, at least I felt like our guys got some turnovers, and that’s just who we are right now.
And then in the second half to give them five straight touchdowns, five straight possessions, again, those second-half adjustments were outstanding.
You know, it’s disappointing.
Yep, five straight touchdowns.
6. Gibb is asked about Jah’Shawn Johnson and you would think that he would be a bit glowing and Gibbs acknowledges the turnovers, but even Johnson is prone to missing tackles.
And maybe this is my untrained eye, but it seems that the missed tackles are a result of being over-anxious and going to a spot prematurely rather than waiting for the play to develop. That’s probably silly, but there’s something off on how the defensive players attack. It’s half a step slow or half a step late.
Q. Is it encouraging, though, seeing a guy like Jah’Shawn that just every week he seems to just find the ball?
DAVID GIBBS: Yeah, now he needs to find the guy with the ball and tackle the guy with the ball. He does a really good when the ball is in the air and taking the ball away from somebody, now he needs to learn how to tackle the guy with the ball when it’s his time to tackle the guy.
But yeah, I mean, we’ve got some young guys that are getting better. Obviously it didn’t show up again, but we’ll keep grinding. Got four games left to get better, and you know, we’ll get to work this afternoon.
And before we get to Morris, I did think including Gibbs’ thoughts on the team gaining more turovers was good.
Q. Feels like the past couple weeks your defense is starting to create more turnovers. What do you think the biggest difference has been in that?
DAVID GIBBS: You know, the truth is you work it every day. From day one, that’s what we’ve preached. Some games they come, some games they don’t. Usually if you can get off the field more and get some more 3rd down opportunities where they’re throwing the ball and you can play some coverage, you get more interceptions, but because teams are running the ball so well, the passes that we’re getting, we’re not in pass defense, we’re in man — we’re in defense to where you’re trying to still stay gapped out because obviously Oklahoma did it the first two 3rd downs just like Baylor did to us. They just handed the ball off on 3rd and 7, which if they’re doing that to you, that’s telling you where you stand as a defense.
If we can just get to some 3rd-and-longs to where we can play some more pass defense, then I think more turnovers will be created.
7. There wasn’t a ton of difference when offensive coordinator Eric Morris is asked about the offense as well as the line.
Q. What did you see on the turnovers that led to interceptions specifically?
ERIC MORRIS: Yeah, really good. A couple different scenarios. The first one I thought really hurt us. At the first of the game, great play by Striker. He didn’t even rush, so just kind of set back, and that was Pat’s first read and it was there, and he set his feet and banged it and the guy jumped and picked it. That was one where they made a great play.
The tipped pass was another great read. Ian is wide open in the middle of the field, and tip it, so a couple of those, and then the one ball at the end of the half was a huge play in the game in my opinion. We had some momentum. It was a great drive. We were moving it, had some positive plays, converted some 3rd downs that were big on that drive, and that one we’ve got to throw a better ball, run a better route, and make a play on the football.
So I thought some of them were some things that just happened from time to time in the course of playing in a game, and then a couple of them were bad balls.
8. I also wanted to grab the quotes from Morris about the outside receivers and he was a bit more spedific and that says that Jakeem Grant was really good, but Morris’ comments on Reginald Davis aren’t necessarily glowing and says that Texas Tech is going to see more and more of Keke Coutee and Tony Brown moving forward.
Q. What have you felt about your outside receivers about just kind of how they’ve played, especially mixed man coverage?
ERIC MORRIS: Yeah, you know, not just great. I don’t think you see us going down the field and making any exceptional plays on one-on-one coverage, rising up and catching the ball. Done some good stuff on some underneath stuff. Reg did some good stuff on some different routes, but we’ve got to be able to throw the deep ball. Jakeem is doing a good job. We’ll keep mixing him up. We’re going to put him inside and out a little bit, try to change it up, and he’s probably the best one-on-one guy we’ve got at the line of scrimmage as far as winning and getting separation.
Got to continue to get better. Need some of these freshmen to keep coming along, and you’ll see a heavy dose of Keke and Tony, and hopefully we’ll try to play them an even amount of snaps as Devin and Reg this week.
9. Morris is also asked about the sacks and Morris is taking the challenge of calling plays to keep defenses off balance, although I don’t know how accurate that is unless there’s some play action or zone read sort of plays that can maybe help stall the pass rush. I still think that the offensive line needs some work and Morris says that Baylen Brown is getting better, as well as Tony Morales, but I think Tony has to be better quicker.
Q. The first six weeks you guys had only allowed two sacks. The last two, nine. I know obviously Oklahoma is a really good defensive team, but Emmanuel Ogbah, he had a touchdown and he’s leading the Big 12 in sacks. He’s a guy that’s been around for a couple years. How do you challenge your offensive line with that in front of them this weekend?
ERIC MORRIS: Yeah, they’ll see it on film and they’ll be challenged, and we’ll make corrections from the weeks before. You know, we’ve got to do a good job of calling this game and keeping them off balance, though, with mixing in screens and mixing in runs so they can’t just come off and tee off. Going fast usually helps that a little bit and quick game and getting them tired, and it helps us out.
So I think the first four or five games we weren’t forced into those 3rd-and-long obvious pass situations where they can really tee off and come down, and we had success and we were staying in front of the chains a little bit better than we have been. You know, we were really good on 3rd downs, ironically, this past game, but we put ourselves in some bad situations on 3rd down.
So we’ll do the same thing. We’re going to try to keep them off balance. We’ve lost a couple guys up front at times that are key guys, but that’s not an excuse. We’ve got plenty of bodies up front that need to step in. They’re still getting used to playing a little bit. So they’re getting better every week.
Tony Morales, he’s a kid that’s getting a little bit better every single week. Same thing, Baylen is getting a little bit better each and every week. We’ve got to protect, keep Pat upright and keep those guys off balance with some play calls.
10. The only player from the ASAPSports is Micah Awe, who is asked about stopping opposing offenses:
Q. Coach Gibbs talked about guys being out of position. Is that a combination of maybe not knowing the defense as well as they should, knowing where they need to be, or just running themselves out of position? What do you chalk that up to?
MICAH AWE: I think a lot of it is just experience, being out there. A lot of the guys who play haven’t really been on the big stage like that and been calm with it. Playing OU, you know, OU has their history, but they’re still a Big 12 team. Got to go out there and do what we’ve been doing all week in practice. I think we’ve just got to step up and step up our mentality because I think our mentality right now is just to just do your job, but sometimes you’ve just got to be aggressive because you’re going to make mistakes. There’s not a single person in football history that has went 100 snaps with no mistakes. I guarantee that, and I don’t even know the history. The best thing to do is just to be aggressive and make things happen within your own scheme; make things happen within your own ability.