Seth: Before we get to the Kansas game, let’s get to what you mentioned last week, which was that you were interested to see if Kliff Kingsbury makes any adjustments on his side of the ball to help out David Gibbs, that you’ve heard rumblings that Kingsbury is too stubborn when it comes to how he wants to run things (seriously, this made me think of Leach because I was always under the impression that he pretty much thought his job was to score, regardless of how you get there). Let’s start there and ask you what you’ve heard and whether or not you think he needs to make adjustments.
Travis: Yeah, it was just some things I saw on Twitter and other places where folks were wondering whether or not slowing the pace slightly on offense might help the defense. The funny thing about Shimonek’s play last Thursday was that he seemed to stay inside the offense at all times which allowed everyone else to click around him. I’m in a group text with some of the guys around here, and one of them (TTUVault) had a great observation. He said the Mahomes always starts off damn near perfect, but then he starts pushing too hard when things start to bog down, or when the other team scores. Kingsbury has been adamant about him staying within the system, and maybe Nic’s performance is living proof as to why. Speaking of Pat, have you heard anything else on his injury? I’ve heard the gamut- from he’s playing this week to he’s out at least 6 weeks.
Seth: I’ve heard that they maybe hope to have him ready by the Oklahoma game. That appears to be what’s swirling around, which would mean that Shimonek would start against Kansas State and West Virginia next week. Nic has so totally got this. Not even worried about it.
And to jump on TTUVault’s comment, I mentioned this on a podcast I did with Bring on the Cats on Monday night, which is that Kingsbury wants a quarterback robot. The kind that doesn’t have feelings or gets emotionally involved (which is totally not Mahomes) and sees the play and makes the play. See the play, make the play. But, on the other hand, that’s what makes Mahomes so special is that he’s like a point guard that can see the entire court and see things that Kingsbury probably doesn’t want him to throw. So I think that’s this constant battle between the robotic Mahomes and the free-wheeling Mahomes that Kingsbury is fighting.
This week you touched on the presidential race in your weekly fictional series. As everyone knows, the rules at STP are that we don’t discuss politics, the thought being that we’ve created this safe-haven from politics and religion and other divisive topics, but the only actual divisive topic allowed is Texas Tech football. I’ve been quiet about my own personal politics. I figure that most of you don’t care who I vote for in the upcoming election. Without getting real specific, I can say that this current climate is tough, it’s tough to sometimes keep my mouth closed (or my fingers from typing) and I think regardless of political affiliation, it feels like an incredibly pivotal election year. Heck, even for my business as an estate planner, it could be the craziest end of year for me professionally that I’ve had in 12 years of practicing law.
My question is more or less about you and how this election process has taken a toll on you personally. It just seems like this cycle has worn you down in a way that is very different from the SARR that I knew four or five years ago. And for those of the audience that don’t know, you do write for a political site and politics is a passion for you, this isn’t some passing fancy (no pun intended as we previously discussed Mahomes). This question isn’t necessarily about your vote either, but whether or not the current political climate has changed you and if so, has it been for the better?
Travis: It has changed me, but I think in the long run it will have been for the better.
I’ve been contributing and volunteering during this time of year for political campaigns for over 20 years. Phone banks, knocking on doors, raising money, you name it, I’ve done it.
So when I say it’s changed me, that comes with a huge emptiness inside at the same time. I don’t have a “side,” anymore, and I have a huge feeling of disappointment for so many of those that I’ve long admired, that I feel like have let me down.
But this current climate has forced/allowed me to take a step back and reconsider some of previously held views. Not my beliefs, or my core conservatism, but just the way I look at things.
I don’t listen to talk radio anymore and stopped watching Fox. And I tend to stay away from the harshest views on either side. It’s almost as if the hard edge has been removed and some of these people that I’ve looked at as adversaries for so many years are no longer that. It goes beyond politics I guess. I’d rather not judge a person based on their political affiliation, but rather how they treat me and I treat them. I think that’s also what makes STP so successful, that opportunity to focus on what makes us similar rather than how we differ.
There’s also a large amount of guilt involved. I’ve voted in every election since 1992 (when I was 18) so I feel like in many ways I’m neglecting my responsibilities this year. But I just can’t do it. I can’t vote for either of them.
I just want to thank you for allowing me to talk about this and I think it’s interesting that you’ve noticed a change in my “persona,” over the years. Pretty perceptive, so thank you.
But back to the important things. Because of the Mahomes injury and that the opponent was Kansas, I think the Tech defensive performance was a bit overlooked last week. But when you dig into the stats (and watch the other Big 12 schools get lit up) it makes you wonder. Is there something to build on? Can the defense be serviceable during conference play?
Seth: It really has been interesting to see you change a bit, not a bad change, but it is different. It’s amazing how events in our lives change our perceptions. Regardless of politics, my perception has changed as a result of having children and those children being a different color than me. My worldview has changed significantly and I keep up with those things that happen where my boys are from (for example, check the news about what’s happening in sweet Ethiopia . . . it’s not good and my heart breaks for those beautiful people).
But as you say, back to Texas Tech. I’m still not convinced that the defense is serviceable and we may not know the answer to that until after the West Virginia game. Kansas State and West Virginia aren’t the offensive juggernauts that the rest of the conference appears to be and so we may not really know where the defense stands for the next two weeks. With that being said, there is also the thought that if these two offenses pile up yards then that could be a really bad sign.
If Shimonek does start (and I think he will), how do you think he’ll do in handling the Fighting Bill Snyders?
Travis: I think Nic will be fine. I don’t think he’ll be as lights out as he was against Kansas, but I think he’ll prove to be a valuable backup. 350 yards, 3 touchdowns. Tech won’t score 50, but hopefully they’ll score at least 1 more than the wizard’s henchmen.