The gang is back to discuss the Iowa State game, what the Baylor game will mean and we’re all sports-sad.
seth: Well guys, Saturday afternoon did not go according to plan. I think as a staff, we’re somewhat split on where this thing is headed. I think Spencer and I are for cutting ties while Michael and Brian are for keeping Kingsbury for one more year. Is this about right?
michael: Speaking for myself, yes. Kingsbury’s latest loss is one of the worst in recent memory. All season, I’ve been concerned about losing in Ames, but I couldn’t have predicted the blowout we suffered through on Saturday. In my head, people are looking for an immediate fix. Changing head coaches right now would not provide that, and the same folks who claimed they would be okay with 6-6 next year would be pulling their hair out when it inevitably happens under a new staff. Kingsbury needs more time and some new, more experienced folks around him.
In the same breath, I can fully understand why people are ready to let him go. The records speak for themselves and are, mostly, terrible if not related directly to offensive output. Like I said a few weeks back, I can’t really explain it, but I believe in the guy and I want him here.
seth: You’re not alone. My brother-in-law believes in him and has strong feelings about cutting bait with one of our own. It bothers him to no end to do that to Kingsbury. There’s a real sense of loyalty there for sure.
briandc: I’m pretty much with Michael. I think it’s been mentioned on the site before, but 2017 was always the year that was kind of circled for Tech to do something special if Pat comes back for his senior year. We’re not losing a ton of seniors this year, there’s some really good youth on the team, it just needs to come together. And that’s personally where I see the biggest crack forming: lack of consistency. Why I still support Kliff is because I know he’s trying to do every damned thing he can to figure out what that missing piece is. If they can’t figure out that secret ingredient next year, then I think we definitively have an answer.
Also, our receivers need to go play catch in a meat locker or something. When the ball actually got to them they would develop brick hands
seth: What would be a real turnaround for you? What’s the minimum number of games Texas Tech needs to win?
michael: At this point, I would say 7 games is realistic.
seth: So that’s minimum for him to keep his job?
briandc: It’s going to be tough, but it needs to be 8; 7 if there’s a big time upset in the Jones. We have ASU & UH in non-conference. We need to break Todd Graham in half in Lubbock, and UH will be without Greg Ward at QB, but with Catalon & Ed Oliver to exploit our weaknesses from this past season. If we can withstand that test, that will have me feeling good. But we have to prove we can beat the teams we haven’t beaten in forever or have bad luck with. An Oklahoma State win in particular would be nice, but even beating Kansas State needs to happen
meestahrogers: Yes, I think I’ve seen enough to feel comfortable with cutting ties. We’re seeing a regression instead of progress. Attrition has always been an issue with Kingsbury, so while we like to point towards players progressing, there’s a higher than normal likelihood those we could be counting on wouldn’t be here anyways. Also, what are we pointing to in terms of player development and progression? What makes us think these same players are going to get better?
(Sorry, that’s for before we shifted to minimum win totals)
As for next year, I don’t know if there’s a win limit he needs to reach to stay. There are trends that definitely need to be addressed, such as who in the Big 12 he beats. Being 4-0 against Kansas isn’t that spectacular when you’re like 10-30 against the rest of the conference
seth: So @meestahrogers was it the performance at Iowa State that put you over the top or is the the entire body of work that’s got you to where you are?
meestahrogers: The performance at Iowa State was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. There have been times where we felt this team was making baby steps in the right direction only then to make leaps and bounds backwards. What happened in Ames is unacceptable (Kingsbury himself said so). I think those of us that think Kingsbury should go feel like we’ve seen enough of his performance to know things aren’t changing. Those that want to give Kingsbury more time think he’s still overcoming the roster issues he inherited and learning the ropes as a head coach
seth: Oh, and now, looking back at all of the things happening last week, maybe the Iowa State loss should have been more predictable. I for sure thought this team would block out the noise.
briandc: Doing the Big 12 previews this past season, I knew Iowa State was going to unleash on somebody. Did I think it was going to be 66 points on us? Not at all
I don’t think he’s overcoming roster issues as much from the former regime as from coordinator attrition, but I definitely do think he’s still learning the nuances of being HC
meestahrogers: I’m sure this isn’t a unique opinion, but it wasn’t that Iowa State beat Tech, but the manner in which they did.
seth: It appears that his biggest mistake was hiring his friends to start with. He had to make an outstanding hire initially and he just didn’t know enough people. I’m guessing that his assistant coach budget is woefully small doesn’t help that circle.
meestahrogers: Iowa State isn’t a 56 point better team than Tech. They don’t have a roster chock full of blue chippers. What we saw was a direct correlation to coaching
And yes, Seth, the assistant coach salary pool HAS to change if there’s any hope at bringing in talented coaches in the future
michael: Although I find myself nodding with you both on Kingsbury’s faults, I keep coming back to his desire to win here and be successful. He is very invested in the job and hasn’t checked out nor is he looking for an easy exit. He cares deeply that his team was pummeled by a 2-win team, but caring doesn’t transfer to wins.
It was suggested in a comment here on STP that Kingsbury should, essentially, take a page out of Tim Duncan’s book and forgo a chunk of next year’s salary in order to put more money in the pot. Is this something that is feasible a) legally or b) in the coaching world in general? It sounded like an interesting concept, but I’m not sure how it would work with a contract already in place.
seth: For Kingsbury to do that, it would have to come from his end as he’s the only one that can renegotiate his salary. It would be unprecedented, but it would have to come from him.
This may be my own internal things that bother me, but the financial situation I wrote about today (Monday) does that aspect make this situation tougher, the fact that this team really needs to start winning now or potentially be left behind?
michael: Definitely, especially if a coach is made aware of the situation. He already has enough pressure as it is, but it’s not overstating it to say that the future of the athletics program depends on the success of the football team over the next several seasons.
This is where I get a bit more worried about changing coaches right now. The case could be made that sooner is better than later with so much at stake, but there’s just no guarantee either way. I feel letting Kingsbury go now could potentially result in another coaching change in 2021 or so. We could be looking at two coaching changes during this crucial time instead of one (or zero). (edited)
seth: We hit 397 comments, so this is obviously a topic that is important to everyone.
Now that we have some hindsight, is there anything that you would have done differently that you think would have resulted in a win or two? Personnel, coaching or other?
briandc: The first thing that comes to mind is sitting Pat for at least a game after his injury. I respect the fight and how much he tries, but there were definite times when he was a liability immediately after the injury. Coaching wise. . . I don’t know what you do. I thought we completely forgot about short/intermediate routes there for awhile, but is that play calling or player? And I’ve been beating the same drum as Travis since last season: defer the damn kickoff
meestahrogers: Brian, on the kickoff issue, I can see where Kingsbury wants to get the ball first, score, set the tone. Having said that, we haven’t seen an opening drive score in a while. My biggest issue is if you’re going to take the ball first, do everything you can to have the last meaningful drive before halftime (ideally scoring as time expires).
Other changes I would make would have also to have sat Mahomes after his injury when he obviously was ineffective. And other than that, I don’t think there were really any options personnel wise to make a difference, despite my consternation at DJPB and Justis Nelson being this team’s starting CBs
briandc: I understand the setting the tone theory, but goodness have we been bad about that this season. But even when we have scored on that opening drive, I’m not sure what tone that sets because at some point everything goes flat. And I’m with you on the personnel. Who do you put in in place of certain players? Roster attrition means the horses aren’t there. Aside from flashes by Coleman, the secondary has been woeful
seth: I think the defensive end spots are completely mismanaged. I don’t get the plan there at all. (edited)
seth: Last question of the week. Does the result on Friday, whatever that is, change your mind moving forward?
briandc: A win against Baylor makes my offseason post plans for the site much less dark, if I had to guess. However, I’m pretty much in “fool me once” territory after this past season. I’m still Camp Kingsbury, but we have a long road to walk regardless of who’s coaching next season
michael: It won’t. Kingsbury is my guy, and I want him here next year. That said, losing to a down-and-out Baylor team would be a very tough pill to swallow for the pro-Kingsbury crowd. He needs this win. It could calm some (let me stress “some” after reading STP comments this week) of the firing talk down before a long, ominous offseason.
meestahrogers: No, the result on Friday really wouldn’t sway me. There is really no upside to beating Baylor for me. It’s kind of the attitude of facing a good FCS team (I’m not calling them FCS). If you beat them, you were kind of expected to because of all that they’re going through. If you lose a close game, people will make the comparison of how you struggled against a team like Baylor who know they’re whole program is about to be turned upside down. Being blown out a la ISU further solidifies my opinion