The Morning Stake: September 14th

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 The Ringer’s Sam Fortier profiles Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his attempt to change his ways to spend more time with the defense. It’s an really well written article and the most interesting part to me is how Kingsbury conducted exit interviews and the defensive players said that Kingsbury cared more about the offense than he did the defense and that was a problem:

Supporting Gibbs despite his defense’s statistics, Kingsbury found, wasn’t enough. As Tech’s defenders spoke in their exit interviews, Kingsbury thought, “Wow. They have a point.” He never considered himself a schematic defensive guy, limiting the advice he’d give his defensive coaches to how certain defenses matched up with offenses. But he realized during his players’ exit interviews that he needed to be more present for every player on his team, to say, “Hey, I got your back.”

This season, Kingsbury adjusted his approach by having offensive coordinator Eric Morris script all the practices and, for the first time in Morris’s career, come down out of the box to coach on the sideline. This freed Kingsbury up to do more team-wide.

“Work in progress,” Kingsbury says, when asked to grade himself as a delegator. “At first, you just get here and you’re focused, and you’ve done things the way you’ve done things. Then, as you go on, year to year, you try to get better at delegating and the people you delegate to have a better understanding than they did the year before.”

 A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. writes about receiver Ryan Newsome, who transferred from Texas, who is looking to finally get on the field with Arizona State:

And while the nation is familiar with the Red Raider defense’s inability to stop the run a season ago, Newsome feels things have changed.

“They’re a little different from what I was seeing on film,” he said. “They look more aggressive, less timid. And they have a lot of different guys. These guys can play. I’m sure they’re all thinking that last year is gone and that they have a different team. The defense is going to come out swinging.”

The Red Raiders did that in a 56-10 win over Eastern Washington as the defense forced three turnovers and scored a touchdown on a interception return.

“We just have to be ready to execute and catch the ball,” Newsome said when asked how to be successful against Texas Tech’s defense. “We can’t miss out on opportunities, especially when we can get the ball. Tech will get their and they will execute. We just can’t make mental errors.”

 A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about Madison Akamnonu making the most of a second opportunity to start at left tackle:

His misfortune pressed Akamnonu back into a key role. The 6-5, 320-pound sophomore from Arlington Bowie started the first four games last season at right tackle, got pulled when he struggled in pass protection in the Big 12 opener against Kansas and moved inside. The second half of the season, he started two games at right guard and one at left guard.

“At first, I was kind of upset,” Akamnonu said, “but you have to think about it in a mature mindset. I looked at the film, obviously, and I felt like I wasn’t prepared after I reviewed it. I was grateful that the games I was in, I was in. The games I was out, I was getting mental reps so I just felt like I was getting better every day.”

 RedRaiderSports’ Aaron Dickens writes about Arizona State and their issues with consistency in coordinators as well as having severe depth issues, especially on defense:

“They’re playing 12 guys on defense, total,” Haller said. “I don’t want to say that was a surprise because, coming into the season, I think anyone knew that depth was going to be an issue, particularly on defense. […] They’re starting two corners this year that have never played at this level; one is a junior college transfer, the other was on the track team last year. They have actually performed okay.

“We expected them, at least on third and long, to rotate in a nickelback and they haven’t played any nickel at all this year. Usually, linebackers typically are out there a lot and certain standouts in the secondary and the defensive line, but there really hasn’t been much of a rotation along the defensive line. They first time they subbed in their opener against New Mexico State was early in the fourth quarter and that was because there was a guy injured on the field and he had to come out.”

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