Emergency Roundtable: Expectations

Photo via Garrett Heath @ Flickr

meestahrogers: I think we need another round table to discuss what happened yesterday with Hocutt’s news conference, if you guys are up for it

michael: You bet, man. We probably have a lot to throw around.

seth: Alright, let’s get this party started. General impressions from Sunday’s press conference where Kirby Hocutt affirmed that Kliff Kingsbury would be back, but that some of the offensive duties would be shifted during the week so he could focus on the defense and special teams.

michael: I was pleased, and most of what Hocutt said are all things I expected to hear. It will be interesting to see how Kingsbury’s renewed focus on the defense will look, but odds are we’ll never really know given how closed-off he keeps things like that from the media. I still expect there to be some sort of offseason hire, but it appears that Hocutt has given him full autonomy of that. I also get the feeling like most of you have that this is his make-or-break year coming up.

Hocutt being adamant about Kingsbury calling plays during games was interesting. He made a point to say that, and he also mentioned how an OC could help with running practices during the week. I guess it’s going to be time for Morris to step up a bit more.

meestahrogers: I was disappointed in what Hocutt said. I can be patient with giving Kingsbury more time, especially with some promising changes to the staff. What Hocutt laid out feels like moves and steps in the wrong direction. Leaving Kingsbury as play caller is a mistake. Having him be more involved in the defense is a mistake, especially if he’s retaining the play calling duties. Hocutt seems to think that since Kingsbury knows how to create offensive game plans that he somehow can turn things around on defense. It makes absolutely no sense to me what Hocutt laid out on Sunday. None of those changes point to things getting better, but in fact to me it looks like it can only hurt things.

Hocutt said he doesn’t plan on being in this situation again, so I might be reading too much into it, but it sounds like if Kingsbury misses a bowl game again he’s gone. I think the threshold should be higher than just a bowl game, but what do you guys think he needs to do next year to stay?

seth: I think the most important thing about all of this is that I don’t think that these are necessarily edicts from Hocutt about what’s going to happen, I think this is what Kingsbury has told Hocutt he’s willing to do to change things up a bit. Hocutt has been fairly hands-off in terms of telling what his head coaches can or cannot do in terms of assistant coaches, or coordinators or recruits. So, for me, I think it’s all Kingsbury and how he’s going to make an effort to allow someone to be more involved for game-week implementation and then he’s going to be more present with the defense. I don’t think he’s going to be calling plays for the defense, but I tend to get the feeling that being in charge of the offense was Kingsbury’s full-time job and Gibbs full-time job was the defense and not once did they meet in a Venn diagram sort of way. They were completely separate. Now, I think Kingsbury is proposing to be more present in the sense that during the week, he’s going to be a walk-around head coach and actually be involved with some of these defensive and special teams players.

I think he all but checked out in regards to the defense and special teams other than what he saw when they went up against each other. I don’t think Kingsbury is going to be drawing up game plans, but he’s going to be part of the entire team because I don’t think he’s been present really at all.

And I don’t have a problem with him continuing to call plays, it’s what he does and there are a ton of coaches that do that and are successful (there are plenty that do not).

Overall, yes, I think this is it for Kingsbury, he’s got one last shot at 2017 and I think 8 wins are the minimum for me.

michael: It would be 7 wins for me, but I know that 8 is the more realistic number in terms of overall fan approval. I would imagine that Hocutt is thinking that as well. Kingsbury really has a lot to prove in 2017 to the school and the fan base. Seven is also the number of years I gave him back in 2012, so I still wouldn’t be ready for him to be fired, but I could at least wrap my head around it.

So, if Tech ends up winning 7 games in 2017 during the regular season then goes on to lose a bowl game, you both feel that he should be fired?

briandc: Sorry, late to the party. My number one question is this: why was that press conference almost an hour? Aside from that, I don’t think anything too remarkable came out of it, save Kirby confirming that Kliff will be back. Seth, I think the Venn diagram analogy was pretty spot on. It’s like we had two cells operating completely independently but under the same banner. One of the things Kliff has to do is just let go and trust the people he hired, particularly on offense, to have his back and help him prepare. He can’t do it all on his own. And, by being that “walk-around” coach, show that he doesn’t have a preference; they’re all his players. I know that sounds like feelingsball and I have no basis for the conjecture that the defense feels like it’s second fiddle, but it feels like it could be subconscious thing (#SportsPsychologist).

As for the wins, I’m still at that 8-4 threshold. HOWEVER, I will say 7 would potentially be ok if there’s a marked improvement on defense. As has been stated, the last few losses were by a combined total of 16 points. We were competitive this year, but it gets lost in just how bad the defense was. And when the defense was good, the offense would completely lay an egg. We are in desperate need of consistency and having both offense & defense in lock-step. Which I think dovetails well with what I stated about nobody feeling like they’re second fiddle. Tech football has been the significant other that lets you down in all of these little ways and makes you feel terrible, but then every now and then they make this amazing romantic gesture that makes you forget about all the crappy stuff. They have to break the cycle.

Ed. Note by Seth: I never did answer Michael’s question, which is a good question, and for me, I think Kingsbury keeps his job with 7 wins, but I have an expectation of 8 wins.


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