Ten Things: Kansas State 42, Texas Tech 35

Over 2,000 words and ten big thoughts on Texas Tech’s 42-35 loss to Kansas State.

1. No Answers. This is me that doesn’t have any answers. Well, I think I know, but admitting it is incredibly difficult. Let’s get this out of the way first.

I absolutely admire Kliff Kingsbury. He is everything that I wanted in a head coach for Texas Tech. He is fiercely loyal. He is driven. he is a hard worker. He cares about creating a program that has a bit of discipline. I don’t think he tolerates bad player conduct. I think he absolutely gives a shit.

Kingsbury has also just struggled to put it all together. This year, things were legitimately different, but they were probably 3 years too late. Terrible hires to start his career for assistant coaches and not enough interest in the defense until it seemed like it was too late. Adjustments just didn’t happen soon enough.

I mentioned last week that the stands would tell you a lot about the state of the program. The announced attendance was 46,631 and that’s probably incredibly generous. I was tweeted this photograph 5 minutes before the game.

I’d love to tell you that this isn’t a problem, but it is a problem, it’s a problem for Hocutt because without those fans buying those season tickets and filling those seats then there’s less money for the entire athletic budget. It’s a tricky situation because Texas Tech isn’t flush with money. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but if Kingsbury was terminated someone is going to have to pony up the money to pay the buyout. It isn’t coming out of the budget because there’s not enough money there. The rumor last year was that the buyout was there, but is was the old group of fans that thought the next best option was to hire Art Briles. The problem with this scenario is that they are going to want a say in terms of who is hired. That creates issues because who they want and who you want are probably two different things.

If Kingsbury is retained, then Hocutt risks losing a dwindling fanbase and creating the sense that less than mediocre is acceptable in terms of production on the field. This is a real risk, one that is happening from selling season tickets this past summer and the less than stellar at home attendance for two straight games, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Make no mistake, Kingsbury is absolutely a class act, but it’s okay to want both things, to want a guy that you can be proud of and a winning program. These two things shouldn’t be mutually exclusive and they don’t have to be.

2. 0:42. So many things that I was pretty sure would happen. I thought Kingsbury would let if fly for no other reason than it’s one more shot that he could win the damn game once and for all. 0:42 with only 1 timeout isn’t a ton of time, but burning two of those timeouts leading up to getting the ball back is problematic in itself. Kingsbury said after the game that they thought about it, but too many ba things could happen and they wanted to play for overtime.

Yeah, you know, 42 seconds left and only one timeout and really weren’t feeling confident in our kicking game at all. After talking to our special teams coach and where we were at going that way, we didn’t feel like even an attempt. There was more negative that could have happened.

Yeah, we felt like with, like I said, with only one timeout and the way we had been kicking the ball, let’s get to overtime and have our senior quarterback go against theirs and try to win it there.

Yeah, we just didn’t feel like it was — we were very confident going that way. We felt like the other way, with the wind, we felt a little bit better. We thought, you know, like I said, our offense is playing good. We have a senior quarterback. They have a true freshman, let’s go to over time and try to go score for score and felt like we had a better chance to do that.

3. Kingsbury Has Lost His Mojo. Just reading those quotes makes you think about where Kingsbury is mentally, the fact that he as a coach felt like they were not confident going in a particular direction. Red Raiders aren’t supposed to be afraid of the wind. That’s our thing. And here’s Kingsbury deferring because of a lack of confidence and wanting to go the other way with the wind.

We’ve had conversations about the wind before and they weren’t fun in any way shape or form. We like to argue about uniforms, but not the wind. In fact, there were folks who felt that the indoor practice facility would potentially create a team that can’t play in the elements. Those elements are our friends, the sun, the wind and being able to pay through them.

4. Kingsbury Isn’t Going to Say The Right Thing. This has been a thing that’s happened recently. You guys getting mad because he takes credit for the bad things and after a loss not really having the answers. Guess what? That’s pretty normal.

“If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes real good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games.”
–Bear Bryant

I wish the rest of that quote was as easy as Bryant says that it is, but Kingsbury is doing the correct thing in that he’s taking the blame for all of the bad things. The last coach frequently was pretty open about throwing his players under the bus and Kingsbury has never done that. To his detriment, Kingsbury has taken all of the blame. Any other way and you lose the team.

5. Fade. And here we are, one last play. 4th and goal and rather than a slant or a dig or something, Shimonek throws a fade pass out of the back of the endzone with no chance of being caught by any Texas Tech receiver. That’s some high class symbolism or something like that. I was hoping for some creativity or something that we’ve never seen. Be bold. Be brave. There’s got to be something in that playbook to score a touchdown, not just that damn fade.

6. 00 Personnel. This was an absolute disaster and Kingsbury should know this. 00 Personnel is when a team runs with no tight end and no running back and it is the absolute worst thing that Kingsbury can do to Shimonek because it offers no protection by the running back. Last year, I’d guess that Kingsbury could run 00 personnel without any qualms because Mahomes could escape from most things. Texas Tech ran 00 personnel (all passes obviously) and they were disasters on each time they ran it. Kansas State then blitzed because they know that Shimonek would faulter under pressure and each play it was terrible. The only time it worked was in the second half where it was a called draw and Shimonek ran for 9 yards or so. On the five plays in the first half, I think 00 personnel produced 1 completion for 5 yards. Kingsbury obviously adjusted, but at this point of the season he should know better. Maybe he wants to know how the opposing defense is going to play that 00 personnel, but running out that formation is all but a guarantee that the opposing defense is going to blitz and Shimonek is not going to complete the pass.

7. Offensive Thoughts. I’ll just some of these thoughts out of the way here . . . I thought this is probably what T.J. Vasher is in practice, can be spectacular and can also drop a lot of passes. He’ll need to work on consistency, but he can be great . . . Generally speaking, Shimonek had a really good day statistically, over 400 yards passing and 11.9 yards per attempt are terrific numbers. The pick-six is obviously the thing that sticks with lots of folks, but he looked much better . . . Tre King continues to be a gift from the gods because without him Texas Tech would be sunk. He only ran for 71 yards on 16 carries, but his carries are just so much different than Stockton’s in that Stockton really is a boom or bust for of player, while King won’t be spectacular, he’ll move the chains . . . This was Dylan Cantrell’s best game this year. He was fantastic, catching 8 for 99 and a touchdown . . . Same thing for Keke Coutee, an absolute stud of a game for him, 12 catches for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns . . . Paul Stawarz had 2 penalties and I think he was the only lineman to have a penalty and the hands to the face resulted in a 2/27 that they ended up having to punt before the end of the half. . . Texas Tech was 1 of 3 in the red zone, missing a field goal to essentially ice the game . . . third down was definitely improved, converting 61% . . .

8. Defensive Thoughts. The hit by Kolin Hill was just terrible, not even a close play for me and a play I just hate to seeing football at all. Just made me sick . . . The Broderick Washington hit was one that didn’t really offend me, possibly the right call with the penalty, but definitely not one where I thought he deserved to be ejected . . . Texas Tech limited K-State to 145 yards rushing on 36 carries and the run defense continues to be really good, even when playing running teams . . . The pass defense though continues to be a real problem, sitting back in that zone with huge holes is apparently just easy picking for quarterbacks who typically have problems completing passes for a high percentage. Kansas State completed 64% of their passes and had over 16 yards per pass attempt. They weren’t just completing passes, they were completing bombs . . . I think the defense really missed not having Jordyn Brooks play, playing true freshman Riko Jeffers. I don’t know that the outcome would have been different with Brooks, but he is the defense’s best player . . . Eli Howard is a joy to watch defensively as is Mych Thomas . . . Vaughnte Dorsey is very good at supporting the run and I think he’d prefer to do that. He’ll absolutely throw his body in there with lack of regard of what happens to it . . . Tony Jones continues to make plays off the edge and you wonder why he didn’t get many snaps the last few games. He finished with 3 tackles for a loss . . . The defense allowed K-State to convert 55% of their third downs, which was about 20 percentage points higher than their yearly average of 32% . . .

9. Coaching Thoughts. I’m of the camp that it’s time to let this thing go. None of this makes me happy and it’s actually quite depressing, but the writing is all but on the wall. I thought before the game that Kingsbury was coaching for his job, but as hard as he’s working, it’s just not working out for him. I think someone mentioned last week to have some polls and things like that on options, and I might do more things in the comments than actual posts. I hate to speculate about these sorts of things, it’s tough enough all the way around and to really earnestly consider coaching candidates seems like in bad taste. So, we might have more straw polls in the comments of a Morning Stake like we did last week with Les Miles.

The main reason I feel this way is that I don’t want to make this look like I’m dancing on someone’s grave. I think that’s a bad look for me as a guy that runs a blog. At the end of the day, I still love Texas Tech and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kingsbury. You can bet your rear that if Kingsbury is let go, then I’ll be on top of things, but for now, I think us discussing these sorts of things in comments is just great, but I won’t run “Coaching Candidates” posts until it’s official.

10. He that can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.

Strength coach Rusty Whitt tweeted this last night around 11 o’clock. It’s pretty fitting given everything. Fitting that Whit posted it and fitting that he received the quote from his fortune cookie.

Yes, things aren’t great. That’s an understatement. But I’d suggest that you endure as well.


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