Kliff Kingsbury Press Conference: A Cynical Analysis

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Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury met with the media to address his team’s performance against West Virginia and preview what he expects from Kansas State this weekend.

Wreck ‘Em Red provides you with some quotes from the press conference along with our own analysis in which we say what we wish Kingsbury would just come out and say.

Q: You’ve talked about executions in certain situations during games and how that’s really been lacking. Do you see that in practice and if you do, what do you see as the impediment to seeing it carry over into games?

KK: I think a lot of it is nerves…being fearful of failing… if you have five drops offensively… and then defensively you know some missed tackles, some missed assignments not triggering; it’s just something we have to get better at and play ourselves out of.

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WER Analysis: Execution is a trait of experienced players and teams. Seniors that have been through the Big 12 wars and know what to expect when playing on the road are less likely to drop passes or miss assignments.

Though this is not an excuse and no one wants to hear this, the lack of depth and overall talent on this team causes Kingsbury and staff to put players on the field that simply should not be out there. Guys like outside receivers Keke Coutee and Tony Brown are still trying to find Holden Hall on campus much less the end zone in Morgantown.

Unfortunately, the experienced defensive players on this team often play like the Olate dogs.

Q: How do you fix the toughness situation [on this team]?

KK: (Looks down. Shakes his head. Draws in a deep breath.) Just keep working at it, you know? I don’t have any answers to that one. Um, like I said (West Virginia) was a tough team and they took it to us…

WER Analysis: I’ll go ahead and say what Kingsbury couldn’t say. The way you get tougher is to get tougher players. There are not enough physically or mentally tough players on this roster yet.

When a team goes through the amount of coaching turnover that Texas Tech’s seniors have, especially on the defense, you are going to end up with mentally weak players. Inconsistency is a crazy-maker. Plus, the culture of losing has made the current group of players mentally weak.

Kingsbury noted that a number of times last season his players seemed to be expecting the catastrophic moment.

This group of players (mostly on the defense) has come to accept that they are going to be dominated week after week and that lack of toughness can’t be fixed in the next two weeks.

It isn’t like Kingsbury is a father with boxing gloves in the back yard trying to teach a 7-year-old how to stand up to a bully. Colby Whitlock, Zach Thomas, nor Monte Reagor had to be taught how to be tough once they got to Texas Tech. They simply arrived as tough players.

The days of Bear Bryant and the Junction Boys doing log rolls in a dirt field full of goat heads and maggots are long gone. To get tougher as a team it will take new players with better attitude (11 more Breiden Fehokos would help) and a more stable coaching environment.

Q: Anything the coaching staff can do to cut down on the number of personal fouls?

KK: We’re working on it. We have a punishment in place. When you have a senior team captain do it in that situation it’s out of the ordinary and something that obviously needs to be addressed.

WER Analysis: Personal fouls are simply stupid plays made by players that are not emotionally strong enough to keep their calm. In the last few weeks three senior captains, center Jared Kaster, linebacker Micah Awe and defensive end Branden Jackson have all committed personal foul penalties that were obvious and unnecessary.

Do you see a correlation between the way the team captains have been acting and the direction this season has progressed? While all three of these players are outstanding people by all accounts, they simply must be smarter than that on the field.

Penalties imposed after a game only do so much good. It is like punishing a dog for peeing in the house a day after he did it.

What the team needs are captains and team leaders who will not stand for those types of actions and who will address them immediately to make sure the offending player knows that his actions are not acceptable.

When a peer rubs your nose in the puddle of urine you just left on the floor and whips your tail, it sends a much stronger message than when a coach says “Bad boy!” 24 hours later and makes you go outside to run some stairs.

Q: What do you see from Kansas State that concerns you?

KK: Yeah, the last two years we’ve played them we’ve just turned the ball over a bunch. They are a defense… they’re not going to miss the line, they are going to be where they ought to be and make you beat them…If you are not ready they will embarrass you…

WER Analysis: What Kingsbury is saying is that Kansas State’s players do exactly what he wishes his players would do. They actually know the system and execute it.

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On Saturday, count the number of times you see the Kansas State defensive players looking around at each other in confusion with their palms up right before the snap. Then see how many times that happens to Texas Tech’s defense.

The talent on the Kansas State defense has never been great. The Wildcat defense is no more talented than is the Texas Tech defense.

The difference is that they know the system as well as they know their girlfriends’ lips and they actually do what their coaches tell them to do. It’s a crazy idea but it seems to work for them. At Tech, we’ll just keep doing things our way.