We get week two of Kliff Kingsbury’s press conference. For some reason, I thought these were always on Mondays and they’ve been moved to Tuesdays, so I may shuffle around some “content” so that the only thing post on Tuesday is not just your Morning Stake. We’ll see.
The first topic of discussion was the status of McLane Carter, who did some light work yesterday, but then the focus turned to Alan Bowman. Kingsbury said that Carter could pretty much go without much practice and I wholeheartedly believe that. As an aside, I don’t know if the outcome is much different against Ole Miss, but I thought Carter looked sharp in his limited time. I don’t know how mobile he will be and how that will limit him, but I thought he played well and he knew where to go.
In any event, Kingsbury said that he would split the reps between Bowman and Jetty Duffey this week. Kingsbury discussed how Bowman did:
Q. How do you feel like he played overall?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: In that spot, not getting a ton of reps throughout the week, I thought he handled himself well. I told him protect the football and make good decisions, make quick decisions. He really didn’t take any sacks. He got the ball out of his hand. He threw the ball away some, and we were in position to score a few more times than we didn’t. So I thought for his first outing, the poise and the leadership all showed up, and so he’s just going to get better and better. But he did some nice things, some things we’d like to get better at, but that’s why you keep practicing.
Q. What do you think his ceiling is as a player?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I mean, we’ll see. He’s very smart. He’s had a comfort level in our system since he got here because of what he played in in high school. He started four years, started as a freshman in a 5A school. You get that many reps, you’ve been the guy for that long, there’s some carryover into college, I think, so his preparedness, the way he studies, the way he practices, it’s going to give him a chance to be a pretty good player pretty quickly.
Since we’re talking quarterbacks, someone asked a very lengthy question about why Jett Duffey didn’t get the call and Kingsbury confirmed that it is turnovers, which is something we heard about during the preseason camp:
Q. Following up on Duffey and a lot of people have asked, and we’ve seen of course he was away from the program for an extended period of time and then missed the week again in the spring, and when we saw spring scrimmages, he committed some pretty big ball security errors that would have been costly in games. Are there additional facets that he needs to work on, or what would you say it is that he needs to do better to put himself in a position where he was the guy going in on Saturday instead of Alan?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, that’s a very good question. I think the ball security is something that he’s got to get better at. He’s got a very strong arm. He’s very talented, and so he’ll take some risks. But he’s got to know when to fold ’em, know when to throw it away, and just an overall understanding of our system. Installing a game plan, studying it, preparing to be the starter each and every week, I think those are things as a young player he’s got to continue to develop on. Now, do we feel comfortable with him going in a game? Yeah, he can make plays, he can do some stuff. But at that point with the way the game was going, like I said, I made a call to go with Bowman.
Kingsbury commented that Lonzell Gilmore and Jah’Shawn Johnson are progressing, that Gilmore would progress over the next few weeks and that Johnson needs to be full speed and that he’s close to returning. Probably makes sense to work Gilmore back in, maybe work off any rust, and with Johnson, keep him out until he’s fully healthy.
Kingsbury was asked about the mental errors on the defensive and said the team just has to be more aware of what the officials were calling:
Q. A moment ago you talked about fixing errors; how do you toe the line between especially on the defensive side of the ball, those guys being aggressive but also being disciplined at the same time?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I mean, you’ve just got to talk about it, show film from around the country of other instances, and make it known, hey, this is the call. If it’s a bang-bang play, quarterback sliding and you were sliding at the same time, they’re going to throw that flag, and we’ve got to avoid that. We’ve got to avoid the helmet-to-helmet, which was called a ton throughout the country this weekend, and just becoming aware of it and taking it out of our game. That’s the only answer.
And Kingsbury said that the team was embarrassed and frustrated with the effort from the game (although Kingsbury said that the team continued to play hard and I think that’s right) and that they worked on this on Sunday:
Q. How do you mentally prepare your guys to put Saturday behind them, get ready for this upcoming Saturday? It’s the home opener here at the Jones versus Lamar.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think it’s easy with this group. I’ve said it after the game, they’re embarrassed and frustrated with the effort we put out there, and it wasn’t from effort but from mental mistakes and errors and getting behind that quickly. That’s not who we think we are or want to be, and so I think this was a good week for us to — you experience that game 1, you get exposed on some things, you can get back to business really quickly and moving forward know what you have to correct, and they’ve done that. Had a really good day today, had a good day Sunday, a focused practice, deciding to play more disciplined and eliminate a bunch of those errors.
Kingsbury also said, and this may come as a surprise for some of you, that both punters will get reps and see who does better, but acknowledged that Texas Tech could not have the same inconsistent effort:
Q. From a punting standpoint, you had some struggles on Saturday; are you considering making any adjustments there or any changes there?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, we’ll see. Didn’t like — you can’t have an 11-yard punt. You’ve got a chance to pin those guys. Don’t like how that’s become basically a deal that shows up way more often than it should. We’ll see this week. We’re going to get both guys reps and kind of see who does better. But we can’t have that type of inconsistency on a weekly basis there punting.
Q. You guys have had two practices since the game; what kind of mindset have you seen from both of those two practices individually? I imagine Sunday was a little more of coming back after the loss and today was getting focused and back to work, but can you describe those differences?
PAUL STAWARZ: I think just the maturity this team has and the — like I said earlier, a lot of people are taking responsibility on them personally instead of pointing the finger. It’s easy to do that, and we’ve seen that in the locker room, in teams past. This being my senior season, this is kind of my fourth run at it, and seeing how this team has handled this, I think it’s very promising going forward.
Q. From a defensive line perspective, how tough is that to know that y’all kind of wanted to stop the run and you weren’t able to that game?
KOLIN HILL: Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the things that we went into the game trying to do is definitely stop the run, and it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to execute that. It’s just little things like being out of our gaps and stuff like that that made those big gashes, and that’s what we can’t do.