1. Everthing That We Probably Don’t Want to Know.
I don’t know that Kingsbury will admit it like he did last year, but beating Kansas State and Baylor I think are absolutely necessary in order for him to retain his position as the head coach. Anything short of two wins, I think tells us everything that we probably don’t want to know.
I wrote that on Friday before the game in the 7 Point Preview and I feel like it’s more true today than it was when I wrote it. I don’t want this to happen, but it should happen. For me, beating Kansas State, where you were essentially a touchdown favorite, and beating Baylor were a minimum requirement for Kliff Kingsbury retaining his title as Texas Tech’s head coach.
2. So Close. I think there was some statistic about how Kliff Kingsbury was within 1 score in 9 different losses and I suppose that you can look at that in two different ways. It’s just a matter of bad luck. OR, Kingsbury simply can’t finish and that should be an indication about how he is as a head coach than anything else. To not be able to finish games is a statement about who he is. I can’t imagine trying to convince someone to just hold on for one more year as that seems counterintuitive to what seems logical. You have a coach that cannot win close games and you have a coach that cannot come back from a halftime deficit.
At some point, you are what you are. Kliff Kingsbury is 35-39 as the head coach. He has had, up to this point, 2 winning seasons in six opportunities, and he still has the potential to have a winning season this year, I’m really past that point of this season mattering.
3. Quarterback. I get that Kingsbury isn’t responsible for the terrible quarterback play. We all know that Jett Duffey wasn’t his first choice or his second choice. At some point, the excuses have to stop. I stopped telling myself to make excuses years ago, this is what it is and we can only judge the results on the field. Admittedly, I didn’t get to watch the entire game, but I don’t know that I need to know each and every play in order to see the ultimate result. And make no mistake, I think this is just who Duffey is, he always is and probably always will be a very high risk, high reward player and when the rewards don’t pay off, it gets pretty ugly.
4. Your Emotional Investment. If you still think that you need to give Kingsbury one more year to turn it around, I’d argue that your emotional investment in Kingsbury being one of us is clouding your decision about retaining him as a head coach. If you took away the fact that Kingsbury is an alum, this decision would have maybe been made last year. The results are not becoming of what this program should be.
5. Don’t Settle. I tire of the argument that Texas Tech should stick with Kingsbury because you’d most likely not do any better than that’s just horseshit. I podcasted with Grant Thome this week and after we stopped recording, he brought up something that happened last year, which is that we were having this same conversation about whether or not Kingsbury should be retained, this was before the Texas game, and on Twitter Grant suggested Les Miles as a possible replacement. I bristled at the idea because it felt too much like Tuberville. In any event, Grant brought up that Twitter exchange from last year and said that his real reason for making that suggestion wasn’t necessarily to suggest Miles, but to suggest the idea that Texas Tech as a program doesn’t need to settle for mediocre, which was the treadmill that Texas Tech apparently has ended up running on from last year to this year. Knowing where Grant was coming from (this is why I like K-State folks because they recall things from a year ago, explain themselves and essentially tell you that your program should be better than the current record) makes me feel even better about not settling. Texas Tech can and should be better than what they are, you don’t need to resign yourself to 5-7 or 6-6 year-in-and-year-out.
6. This Seemed Inevitable. I take my long runs on Saturday morning and yesterday was an absolutely perfect day. It was a bit cold to start, around 43 degrees when I started running at 7, but I knew that it would warm up quickly and ran a little over 12 miles in t-shirt and shorts. There have been a lot of crap Saturday mornings this fall where you couldn’t run outside because of the rain and the weather so I was excited to be able to run outside and as I settled in, I somewhat had this idea that I’d be writing this 10 Things post as opposed to one where Texas Tech would be winning. I’m not sure what caused me to have this doubt as I was running, but I was sort of writing this post in my head as I’m plodding along. And given the fact that I’m not running and breaking any records, I had plenty of time to consider things. The funny thing was that the thought of writing this post wasn’t upsetting to me and didn’t drive me into depression, I was sort of just resigned to the thought that this was really just the fate of where this program appears to be. Just not able to get over the hump.
7. Anybody But Briles. Briles can suck it and we’ll get into candidates at a later point (if and when Kingsbury is fired), but if you want to hire Art Briles as a coach, a man who was in charge of a program that oversaw multiple women be raped while he turned a blind eye in the name of winning football, then that says more about you than I want to know.
8. Love for Kingsbury Never Waned. This item seems a bit premature, but for the record, my love for Kingsbury, as a coach, as a human being, as how he’s worked his ass off for this program haven’t waned. My appreciation for what he’s tried to do, for the culture that he’s created, one of what I think is accountability and respect doesn’t go unnoticed. This goes back to the idea that you still have to be judged by your overall record. You are what you are.
9. Hocutt’s Decision. Personally, I don’t think there’s much of a decision to be made here. I know that the timing of the whole thing is important to be respectful and get this wrapped up quickly. I do know that Hocutt absolutely loves Kingsbury, what he stands for as a coach, the accountability, all of that. Hocutt will show deference for that I think. I’m not sure what that means, and I’d guess that much of that depends on what Kingsbury wants if and when Hocutt makes the decision. I think that if Hocutt and Kingsbury believe it is best to wait until after the Baylor game or whatever, then so be it. And I’m writing this as if a decision has been made. I’ve got no idea about that. I’m a lowly blogger with a laptop in Kaufman, Texas who just gives a significant amount of my time to an athletic program because it makes me happy. I typically don’t have any insight unless you all email me (stakingtheplains AT gmail DOT com). And I’d remind everyone that Hocutt has absolutely nothing to do with paying Leach. This is an argument that I see on Twitter and this is something that is simply out of his control. There are other people in charge of that decision.
10.a. Short List. Based off of last year, I think there’s most likely a short list and it most likely consists of Seth Littrell, Brent Venables, Dave Aranda, and Jim Leavitt, in no particular order. There are probably others, but that’s probably a pretty good starting point. I think we, Hocutt included, got the Kingsbury hire wrong. Most of us were rejoicing when Tuberville left and the options at the time were Kingsbury and Chad Morris. I didn’t criticize that decision at the time, so I won’t get into revisionist history. I feel like we’re a ways away from figuring options out, but I feel pretty confident that Hocutt will be ready to roll if and when the decision is made. And one other thing, I think part of the reason a decision has to be made is because I think if Kingsbury is retained for one more year, season ticket sales will plummet and I don’t know that this program can afford that sort of precipitous drop in revenue. That’s a total guess on my part, but I could see fans pretty disillusioned not renewing because there’s no other way for fans to express themselves other than with their wallet.
10.b. Right There With You. If you haven’t had a chance to read Keith’s Weekly Awards, you should, and you should also listen to Spencer and Michael from last night as well.