Recapping the Presser: ASU – La. Tech

I’m always more interested in the responses after a loss than a win, especially if the win is somewhat expected or a blowout. This week, we have transcripts of Coach Kingsbury, QB Patrick Mahomes, and transfer LB Luke Stice. Kingsbury Video here; players video here.

Coach Kingsbury

First up, Coach is asked about his initial takeaways from the game, and he said it all came down to who executed better.

Missed opportunities, both sides of the ball, went back and forth for a while and we had a chance on offense to score more points and defense had a chance to get ’em down and get some stops and create some stuff, and we didn’t make the plays we needed to. A lot of that has to do with them and their execution.

I would agree, that I don’t think Arizona State possessed, hands down, the better and more talented team. There were opportunities early in the game where the defense was making stops, and then later in the game where the offense was frustrated a little bit. So I think the teams were pretty fairly evenly matched.

A natural follow up to that was about the defense, especially as the Tech defense was part of yet another record-breaking performance from an opponent.

We’re disappointed in how we played defensively, but I believe in those guys. I believe in Coach Gibbs. After you watch the film there were times we had positive people in positions and didn’t make plays, so we gotta keep growing and keep playing together and go from there. Not anything that’s broke. We gotta improve it, no question. But we just gotta get-going the right direction.

He’s asked about his input in the defense and if games like this ever make him feel like he should be more involved, which he dismissed, saying he feels like he knows pretty well what they’re doing and he has complete trust in them and the system they’re running. He’s also asked a few questions about tackling and Kingsbury clears up that they have practiced tackling a lot more this season, but will not be doing live tackling drills during the season, at least on the veteran players, but that when faced with talented and sizeable backs and players as the ASU RBs were that it’s going to take more than one defender at the ball to bring them down.

No, we gotta get more people to the ball. Some of the backs are big guys and couple times we had safeties or DBs there to make the plays and got overpowered. Need more bodies trying to get those guys down.

When you score 55 points, you should feel pretty good about your chances of winning the ball game. Kingsbury said this week that he would like to think that 55 points is enough, but playing in this league, there are going to be some high scoring games (I took this as a deflection away from poor defensive play).

You like it to be. But y’all watch the Big XII every weekend and there is one of those a week in our conference that you go back and forth and it ends up 56-52 or 65-60 and that’s playin’ the game, and we got in one of those games and as a team we gotta be able to find a way to win that game.

Enough about the ASU loss. Kingsbury is directed towards initial impressions about the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech.

I think as an overall team, just the success they had last year. They went into Arkansas and had a chance to win that game right at the end, played at Mississippi State last year, played in their championship game last year. So he’s developed a good culture there, even when he was at East Carolina they would play anybody anywhere and they will come in here confident and expect to win the game. They’re a very good football team.

Q. What sticks out to you, guys on defense, what sticks out on them?
All of them, really. They swarm to the football. They will change up looks pretty much week-to-week, and they play hard. They’re aggressive they’re well coached and don’t make many mistakes.

Finally, he talks about the progression of the offense, from where he called them soft last week, to his impression of their play this week.

I thought we were better. We were more physical. We still weren’t able to run the ball on a couple of times, we had very light boxes, and you would like to hand it off and get some yards and we weren’t. It’s still a work in progress, but I thought protectionwise they held up against a defensive line fairly well.

Q. How about the receivers, the blocking with them, how did they play?
They blocked well, definitely stepped up their blocking, route, technique, depths, I thought, got sloppy particularly toward the end of the game. But we asked them to have a much higher sense of urgency in the blocking and they did.

Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes is asked about how he responded to the loss, what he told the team and how they are going to move forward. Very professional answer. You can definitely see Kingsbury’s influence on his media presence here.

I told the team after the game, we did lose the game and it’s disappointing, but we went out. We still have the things that we want in front of us. We can still get and it’s something — the Big XII will be tough, a lot of good teams, but we can go out there and win games if we want to.

He’s asked about the offensive lull in the second half and what happened. Mahomes says guys got away from executing the regular plays and that it came back to execution (just like Kingsbury said).

On the field we were definitely executing our game plan. We didn’t necessarily run a lot of trick plays or anything like that. We executed our normal plays and they were scoring. We were hitting check downs, making big plays out of checked downs, and we need to carry that throughout the game. We can’t have those stalls where we turn the ball over and stuff like that. So really executing the playbook is what was effective.

The media move on quickly to the La Tech game and ask what Mahomes has seen so far from the Bulldogs.

They’re a confident group and those guys are really confident and think they can win a football game. So we have to put our minds in the right place and compete and hopefully we can come out with a win at home.

Q. Seeing that they played Arkansas to a 1-point game, does that come up on your radar as a team not to mess around with at all?
Most definitely. They’re confident, coming in here expecting to win a football game. They’re not going to come in here and lay down. They’re going to come out here and it’s going be a dog fight to win a good football game against a good football team.

Finally, he’s asked to comment on the emergence of Cameron Batson, a guy we all think is going to shine with the opportunity provided with Jakeem Grant’s departure to the NFL.

We talked about it all off-season. He came in and took that spot and took the ownership of playing in behind Jakeem who was a big producer the year before and you can see it on the field he’s going out there playing confident and making big plays happen and making big catches. It’s something that he worked on all off-season and he took his game to the next level and it’s showing on the field.

Luke Stice

I believe this is the first time we’ve heard from Stice, at least as far as I can remember. Luke is asked about gap integrity and how disciplined the defenders were up front.

I feel like for the most part we’re fundamentally sound. We will break it down this afternoon. We broke it down this morning with the position coach, but we gotta do better on picking each other up if some guy doesn’t do what they need to do. There need to be ten guys flying to the ball, which we are, but we got to continue to improve each week. 

I posted something on Twitter during the game about how the 10-point deficit felt much larger because we as Tech fans were seeing the eventual collapse on the horizon, and Stice is asked about this very thing, although he wasn’t a part of teams in the past where this happened.

We got hit in the mouth Saturday. We take full responsibility for that, but one thing you’ve got to be able to do in this game of football as well as in life is respond to adversity. That’s one thing we’ve trained for since Coach Whitt has been here last January that’s taken place and when times get tough, when you are faced with adversity, you’ve got to revert back to your training, what we’ve been instilled in here at Texas Tech, and something we take pride in and here is a perfect opportunity for us to get hit in the mouth early in the season and see what this team is all about and looking forward to responding next week.

Luke is asked about momentum during the game and how things can get rolling in either direction, how to ride that wave or fight off if the other team is rolling.

I think you just said the word, the momentum. We gotta do a good job of getting momentum early especially on the road and if we feel the momentum slip back. We gotta do a job of somebody stepping up and take charge and getting the momentum back on our side and do whatever we need to do when faced with that adversity to respond to it, and continuing moving forward and cut our losses, if you will, and look forward to moving better throughout the stretch of the rest of the game.

He’s asked specifically about the fourth quarter and how to deal with those kinds of environments where things are getting a little out of hand and how to stay engaged and involved.

That’s a tough deal especially on the road and we gotta do — we gotta keep fighting and respond. There is no secret formula. There is no magic play Coach Gibbs can call other than going out and competing and that’s what we need to do moving forward.

As Brian posted yesterday morning, we are glad to be back in Lubbock and getting the team back home and in front of the home crowd. I was fairly negative during the game on Saturday and I’m not sure what to do or say or anything to point to in terms of improvement, but getting the team back on the right track at home will go a long way to help any unnecessarily premature talk about Kingsbury and/or Gibbs on the hot seat.

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