Texas Tech Football Things: The Rise of Zach Kittley

Graduate assistant Zac Kittley has helped groom Nic Shimonek.

 Kliff Kingsbury: Non-transcript.

At this point, you always feel that you got better, kind of the theme was the 10 new guys and how they hopped in, brought some good competition and brought some good depth, made us a good team right off the bat hopefully during the summer they’ll continue to grow.

. . . [Biggest weaknesses this spring] I think you’re always looking for depth on the O-line and D-line, I think we’d like to bring in few more bodies, we have some scholarships set aside and hopefully we’ll bring some in this summer.

. . . [Situation regarding Willie Sykes] he is really focused on his academics, he went through about 8 practices this spring and we felt it was time to focus on academics.

. . . [Progress of Nic Shimionek] He’s made big strides, made strides during the fall, he still has to take care of the ball a little bit better, like the leadership and the decision making, just has to learn to throw the ball away.

. . . [Impact of Spike Dykes on Kingsbury’s career] I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Coach Dykes, overall, it is be good to people, made you feel important. He was a special human, we could call him and he would be there for you.

. . . [Biggest lesson from Dykes] The biggest thing I took from him was that he knew everyone’s name, he treated everyone the same and that went a long ways with the players.

. . . [Progress of quarterbacks] By fall camp, I’ll feel better, McLane, got better, has a good skillset but the mental part has to come along, Xavier is young had some flashes, Payne made strides, but just have to get better and take care of the football.

. . . [How Zach Kittley has helped the quarterbacks] He’s been fantastic, he sat down with Nic and taught him the offense, if I have something to do, I can give the quarterbacks to him, he is pretty irreplacable right now . . . I don’t know about pressure, but has freed up some time, trusting that, he’s really sharp and has a great rapport.

. . . [Where Kittley started] He started at the bottom, met him a few years ago, grinding on film, the past couple of years, his rapport, I like his energy and how he handles those guys, works exclusively with quarterbacks and head special teams and quality control guy.

. . . [Houston Miller being moved inside] We moved him down inside, he’s gained a bunch of weight, I like where he’s headed, have him be one of those inside pieces.

. . . [Nelson Mbanasor going inside and outside] It’s tough on a young guy we’re trying to figure out where the need is at the most, he’s been at the end and inside, he’s really come a long way this spring.

. . . [Best pass rushers] I don’t know, I’ve seen some good things from Lonzell Gilmore, Zach Barnes, Kolin Hill, we’ll keep working, that could be a priority this spring . . .

. . . [Status of running backs] Getting J-Stock [Justin Stockton] and Da’Leon [Ward] banged up, it is down to DeMarcus [Felton] and Caleb [Woodard], everyone knows we didn’t run the ball very well, that’s another position that we’ll be looking to bring a guy in this spring.

. . . [If the team is going to get the double-t back] No change the team gets the double-t back, things have to get tighter before we get that back.

. . . [How long Kittley has been with Kingsbury] I want to say it is going into 4, it’s either 3 or 4, want to say it was 2nd year. Kittley is legendary in what he does, he gets here early and stays late, it’s been a god-send for me that I can leave that room and he’ll take care of it.

. . . [Role of Eric Morris] Eric is more game planning and scripting.

. . . [What Kingsbury is looking for in the last few practices] Want the last practice to be the best ones, would like to see the maturity of the team step-up.

. . . [Players who have impressed this spring] [Lonzell] Gilmore he flashed every practice, I think Travis Bruffey did a good job for a guy that got limited reps last year . .

 LAJ’s Don Williams writes about the rise of offensive graduate assistant Zach Kittley:

“Of all my three boys, he’s the only one that really wanted to coach,” Wes Kittley said. “He’s kind of like me. One thing I always wanted to do was coach, and he’s always been the same way.”

The youngest of the three sons, Zach Kittley went to Tech and spent two years as a student manager for his dad’s track team. When Zach decided he wanted to coach football instead, Wes Kittley told him to go over, volunteer to do anything and learn all he could. That’s how he’d started in coaching at Abilene Christian University.

“I just trusted Sonny Cumbie, too,” Kittley said of the former Tech assistant. “I really felt like he was a great person for him to be under. And Sonny, luckily, took him and kind of took him under his wing. That, to my knowledge, is how it all started.”

 RRS’s Drew Kohnle has some quotes from Brayden Stringer and Jonathan Giles. Here is a bit from Stringer:

…Who were the biggest standouts to you from this spring?

“(Vaughnte) Dorsey for sure. Him coming in, he stood out to everybody honestly. He is just a really explosive player, knows how to play the game, and just leaves it out on the field on every play. On kickoff, on special teams, on any of our defenses, he is just running around, and he just likes to hit stuff. Dorsey for sure stood out to me.”

…Tech brought in a lot of junior college transfers this spring and they’ve been asked to make an immediate impact, how have they done so far?

“I think Oct (Morgan) and Dorsey and Tony (Jones), I think they have all helped the defense in a big way. They are all mature guys and they needed to step in and play a lot in this defense. They have came in and made an impact and have all stepped up for sure. They’ve helped us out a lot for sure, so I think it will be a great thing come the end of the season.”


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