With spring practice underway, I thought it be a good time to paint as lovely a picture as possible, so here are five positive things about the offense thus far this spring.
1. Ownership of the Run Game. We’ll talk in a bit about head coach Kliff Kingsbury stepping back a bit as the guy that just spends time with the offense, but as part of that transition, Kingsbury has seemingly done something pretty interesting, which is to not just dump more things on offensive coordinator Eric Morris, but share some of that responsibility associate head coach Jabbar Juluke and offensive line coach Brandon Jones.
It seems as Juluke and Jones have taken ownership of the run game, which is maybe something that they needed to do, but I kinda like guys that step up and take some responsibility and try to fix a problem. That seems to be the case with Jones and Juluke. This is from one of my non-transcripts of Juluke talking about how he and Jones are working together to simplify things for the offense:
working with coach Brandon Jones, we’ll clean up some things in the run game, he’s one of the best I’ve been with, I think with some rules and regulations in hitting landmarks, we’re going to improve immediately, he’s doing a good job of keeping it simple, for myself and allows me to teach it to the kids as well, not just in the run game but in pass protection as well, he and I have a good relationship off the field as well
Statistically, Texas Tech’s advanced stats rushing profile wasn’t great and California’s advanced stats rushing profile was better by pretty much every metric.
*The red box signifies a superior statistic.
2. Don’t Flinch. This is probably just me and my wishful thinking, but it sure does seem like Nic Shimonek isn’t afraid of the moment. It’s situations like this when people get an opportunity and they don’t shrink or fade from the spotlight. Shimonek appears to have been preparing for this since he arrived at Texas Tech (via non-transcript):
I’ve been preparing for this for two to three years now, but now I have more leadership role, leading these guys in the film room, weight room, looking forward to Saturday, been preparing for this for a long time, just want to see everything come to fruition
Shimonek’s motto is “don’t flinch” and he uses it on hashtags and the football team has adopted it. I thought about putting it on a t-shirt but I wasn’t sure about that. Don’t flinch is really sorta perfect in regards to Shimonek.
Don’t flinch when the opportunity arises.
Don’t flinch at opportunity.
Don’t flinch at the pressure to be a leader.
Don’t flinch at a defensive end barreling down when you need to complete third and six.
This is what Shimonek has waited for since he graduated from high school.
3. We’re In This Together. There’s one thing that we don’t see and maybe that’s by design, is a lot of Kingsbury actually working with and fraternizing with the players. We hardly ever get to see the human side of head coach Kliff Kingsbury. His press conferences are relatively mundane without a ton of information. But when we catch glimpses of Kingsbury being around his players and being part of the team, it’s something that I think is pretty fun to watch.
That’s exactly what we saw when Texas Tech put out their first video on earning back the Double T:
“That’s the feeling around here. We’re tired of not wearing the Double T & being disappointed about last year.” #EarnTheDoubleT, Episode 1. pic.twitter.com/zD0DZpZmL4
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) March 2, 2017
Kingsbury really doesn’t like to show the human aspect of his personality and it’s something that I almost always pick up on when it does happen.
It wasn’t the moment at 1:25 or so. It was the moments at 2:20.
There’s no grand thing here. No bold proclomation with this other than the fact that Kingsbury isn’t the general that doesn’t fraternize with his soldiers. I never presumed that he wasn’t so it’s confirmation more than anything else.
4. More of Kingsbury to Go Around. We’ll find out soon enough if Eric Morris being the offensive coordinator for the spring and game weeks will be effective. It appears that Kingsbury will continue to call plays and I’m sure that he’s coaching the quarterbacks too, but Kingsbury is fulfilling his promise to be more of a walk-around head coach, spending time with the defense not just on the field, but in the film room and simply being present.
Morris confirmed that he’ll be in the box during games as he and Kingsbury work well in that scenario and they feel that this has worked.
I think we’ve somewhat debated Morris’ role with the offense, especially because Kingsbury has simply never wanted to cede any control of the offense, but with this move, we have a better understanding of what Morris is being asked to do as offensive coordinator. It appears that Morris truly is in charge of the offense during the week, during the spring and Kingsbury is in charge of play-calling. Morris has seemingly been a guy that’s been “blamed” for offensive woes and I’ve never thought that criticism was fair, especially considering that Kingsbury was, admittedly, in charge of the offense. Morris was responsible of conveying to Kingsbury of things he sees from the box, which I’m guessing he did and it’s up to Kingsbury to call the plays to make those observations effective. The offense wasn’t good enough last year, Kingsbury has said it was inconsistent and with outcomes like Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU, the offense could stand to use improvement.
5. Juluke Wanted to be Back. It’s funny how these things work, but last year Kingsbury hired Jabbar Juluke to be the running back coach. After a month or two Juluke was then offered the running backs position at LSU, his dream school under Les Miles. With Miles being terminated mid-year, LSU’s head coach Ed Orgeron reassigned Juluke in some capacity.
I know we discussed Juluke’s sudden departure from Texas Tech with a better job for him and it was easy to think that Juluke’s leaving spoke more about the Texas Tech program than anything else. When Juluke spoke last week he said that he was the one that called Kingsbury and he was the one that said that he wanted to be back at Texas Tech. The only question for Kingsbury was if Juluke was sure and he said that if Juluke was sure, then Kingsbury wanted him to be back. It was a very easy conversation for Juluke. It’s always tough to know how these break-ups happen, but it appears that the break-up that happened a year ago was exactly what we thought and now with Juluke opening up and letting us know that he initiated the contact with Kingsbury and let him know that he wanted to be at Texas Tech.