Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury held his weekly press conference to discuss Kansas State and the state of his team as well as some injury updates.
First, Kingsbury is asked about the Kansas State defense and their quarterbacks.
Q. Kliff, when you look at this Kansas State defense, what is the strength of their defense?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think it’s just how hard they play as a unit. As a group, Coach Hayes has always done a phenomenal job schematically, with technique, with fundamentals. They make you earn every inch you get. That’s been the challenge. They turn people over. They’re one of the top in the country in turnover margin. They’re where they’re supposed to be, they’re playing hard and pursuing the football. As a group, that’s what stands out to you.
Q. As you watch them play, are they similar types of quarterbacks?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, they both run the offense efficiently. Both good runners, both can make the passes. But not much seems to change whoever they put in there. Last week when they got their third-team quarterback, they still ran the offense efficiently. That’s a credit to their coaching staff and to those guys being ready. Whoever they put behind center seems to be able to make plays for them.
Also discussed is the improving play of freshman left guard Jack Anderson.
Q. Over the last weeks, how does it seem like Anderson has really developed?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think just growing up and being a true freshman, getting thrown in there, you’re always going to have growing pains. But I think he’s more comfortable. He understands our system. Understands the techniques and fundamentals to play at this level. You can’t just overpower people every snap. All of that is coming along, but he’s definitely made big strides.
Also, an interesting exchange about how T.J. Vasher has matured off the field, and Kingsbury gives credit to Emmett Jones.
Q. Besides being obviously the physical skills that you want, what else have you seen in him over the last year that you feel like he’s an asset?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think maturity has come a long way since he’s first gotten here, and then just his love of the game. He’s a guy that shows up every day smiling, whether he’s playing, getting the football, not getting the football. He’s into it, he’s happy, he’s working at his craft. That goes a long way with his coaches when you have a guy like that. Regardless if the ball’s coming his way or not, he’s working hard, he’s into it, and he’s trying to get better.
Q. How did you all go about the maturity issue? Because I remember last year, six weeks into the season you’re talking about how he needed to grow up, so to speak. How did you all go about that?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, just as you grow up, you grow up. But Coach Jones has done a nice job with him, being a mentor and talking through some things. I think T.J.’s a guy when he wasn’t playing, he was red-shirting. That was tough for him. It was probably the first time since he was about 4 years old that he was a starter and wasn’t playing. So he had to go through that, but he’s really come a long way.
Kingsbury is asked about Shimonek and his struggles getting sacked as well as discussing getting in rhythm.
Q. Seems like one of the times when your offense is struggling, Nic’s throwing out to the right on a pass attempt. He ends up throwing it away or getting caught. Is he doing that too much? Is he stepping up in the pocket? Is that something you’re working on with him rolling out to the right? What is the process?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think it’s just continuing to get comfortable. The more games he plays, the better he’s going to get. There are times where we’d like him to stay in there more but he’s getting out and trying to make a play. So there is that happy medium, knowing the battle is over.
We can’t take some of those sacks that we’re taking, no question. We’ve got to stay out of those second and third and longs, and we’ll continue to work on that, and harp on that. I expect him to play his best these last four weeks.
Q. Does Nic excel better when you’re on rhythm? When it’s not necessarily two, three, or four, he kind of knows where he’s going as soon as he gets up to the line?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I’m not sure he excels. He’s a very talented, accurate thrower of the football. Like I’ve said all long. He’s now started eight games in his college football career. That comfort level of consistently being in those situations, being in those moments, being in adverse situations and still being able to keep your technique, your fundamentals, your mechanics together when the live bullets are flying is not perfect. That’s something we’ll continue to get better at as the season goes on.
And lastly, Adrian Frye is the guy giving the offense the most trouble as a scout team player.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, one that jumps out is Adrian Frye. Who is a corner back for us. He does a nice job practices hard, loves the game. So that’s who I get to see most of the time when I’m with the offense. He’s done a good job and has a bright future.
And in terms of updates, Nick McCann is a guy that the’ll check on Thursday, that there’s a chance that Clayton Hatfield plays this week, Mason Reed is still out and we’ll have to wait and see with Justin Stockton this week. The other players up for the press conference was Nic Shimonek and Paul Stawarz.