Good stuff from yesterday's presser (PDF) where we had HC Kliff Kingsbury, TE Jace Amaro and DE Branden Jackson. At the end of Kingsbury's interview he's asked about DE Dartwan Bush and SS J.J. Gaines and he didn't have any updates.
Let's go to the quotes, where Kingsbury, I think for the first time all year, said that all quarterbacks were healthy, and he didn't mention any hesitation really with QB Michael Brewer and his status and said that he was ready to go and was still checking on QB Baker Mayfield.
Q. Could you update us on the status of all three of your quarterbacks?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, Baker, we'll get him over here today and see how he feels. Davis is good and Mike's good. So we'll see if we have all three available this week. We should know by the end of the week.
I do like it when the reporters talk about the upcoming opponent and here's what Kingsbury said about the defense.
Q. What are some of the things West Virginia does well on defense?
COACH KINGSBURY: The biggest deal, you watch the film, is how multiple they are. They're playing with a lot of confidence. I know they had a rough night in Waco, but aside from that, they've played really good defense. They've turned people over, lots of negative plays wreaking havoc. You never know where they're going to lineup. Week-in and week-out they look like a completely different team as far as games go. That obviously is a challenge for a young quarterback.
So how about this, Kingsbury said that he's already made changes on some of the special teams units. There is also a follow-up question that asks about Kramer Fyfe, who hasn't been available, I guess for a few weeks. I guess I thought that Ryan Bustin just took his job, but he might be injured. Anyone have any info?
Q. The bump in the road for special teams, did you kind of reiterate how important that aspect is to the players?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we've touched on that, and made some changes in personnel there, and to still be able to win that game and play that battle in one phase is a credit to our team. To have it happen right at the mid-way point where we can we assess and reevaluate, I think it couldn't have come at a better time. So hopefully we'll get that fixed this week
Kingsbury was also asked about the offensive line and said that the a big part of the improved running game is that the offensive line is getting in shape.
Q. Could you kind of talk about the three running backs that were 80 yards? Kind of seemed to get the mojo going with the running game?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, our O-line, like I said earlier, they played really well. Their conditioning showed up later in the game when we had to have those yards and had to seal the game, which was fun to see that game-winning drive there at the end. Then those backs, as I said all along, they'll make the plays if we can give them a little bit of daylight and we did that.
I was going to ask SARR later in the week whether or not he thought the bye week mattered all that much, and apparently I don't need to do this anymore.
Q. Do you feel like West Virginia has a little bit more of an advantage being that they had a bye week last week?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't. I've never been a big proponent of bye weeks besides to get healthy. I think when get rolling, it's good to keep that going, keep the routine and keep practice going. I don't think that will play either way.
On to the players, where Amaro is asked about going over the middle, but gets into the idea as that with everyone getting going, there are going to be pressure points where it's going to be a tough cover for everyone.
Q. Do you pride yourself in being able to go over the middle and constantly take nine grabs? It seems like you get hit every catch you make?
JACE AMARO: I know that I'm going to get hit a lot. I know there are a lot of defenders around me, usually every time I catch the ball. I know that's the way it's going to be until they start throwing -- I'm glad that Jakeem had a really great game in the first half and Eric is starting to pick it up again. Then once the running game gets going, I think they're going to have to put me one-on-one at some point and they did last week against Iowa State. I almost took it 40 yards for the first time we had a man to man. That's just kind of the way it is and I know that's the way it's going to be.
Amaro is also asked about how the team was complacent this past week and that the seniors need to lead the team, need to emphasize special teams because, and this is a correct thought, it can completely flip a game that you think you are supposed to win. Just ask Oklahoma.
Q. What do you think the key is to keep your guys responding well to success and not getting complacent?
JACE AMARO: I think we got kind of complacent this past week. It was probably the worst game we played as a team against Iowa State on all three sides of the ball. I think especially special teams, we just have to make sure that the seniors, me and Kenny, and all the guys expected as starters, make sure the young guys emphasize the team. Because that could cost us a game. If we were playing OU or Texas or anything like that, they're going to be on great on special teams. We have to make sure everyone's intact every single day and all the meetings and outside in practice and stuff like that.
On to Jackson, and I think this is the first week that we've had someone other than Kerry Hyder. Jackson is asked about what the key for the defense has been this year.
Q. Branden, could you talk about how defense has been steady this season? You really performed well. What is the key to the defense playing so well this season?
BRANDEN JACKSON: The key to us playing well this season is just being relentless and kind of wanting to show to the world that Tech isn't just an offensive school. There is another side of the ball who actually plays just as hard as our offense is. When you hear about Tech, you hear about how explosive our offense is, but our D has to be just as good. It helps. We've grown. We've gotten better due to the players that we're playing against. Now it's all been put together at the same time, and it's looking pretty good. It turned out so well.
Jackson is from Pennsylvania and said that West Virginia was one of his favorite teams growing up and here's what Jackson said about the crowd after attending a few games individually, not on an official visit.
Q. So you can tell your guys and your teammates what to expect?
BRANDEN JACKSON: I told them they're going to smell beer from the time we get off the plane to the time we hit the stadium. The fans are going to be loud; they're going to be rude; they're going to be crazy. But it's going to make for a great atmosphere. I think they've got one of the best days of playing on the road. It's going to be a testament to our team. It's really going to test us.
Jackson is also asked about the senior leadership with the team.
Q. Coach kind of talked about the senior leadership and handling road trips like business trips each time. How have you seen that improve from last year and who has been that senior leader for you guys?
BRANDEN JACKSON: Last year we had great leaders last year. I would never take away from anything that we had from the team last year. But this year with the senior leadership, we've got guys like Kerry and Terrance, and guys that have been here five years and Eric Ward, guys that had opportunities to leave last year and decided to come back to win the Big 12 Championship. We all understand the sacrifice they made by choosing to come back for a fifth year. It's like all the younger guys look up to these guys. The seniors that are here are people that helped us find a way to holding all and things like that. It's more they're doing great by leading and leading by example. Also we always are looking up to them and looking to take their place. We take everything they say to heart
And I am going to end with this, which is really good. Its the idea of balancing having fun and knowing that the team is there to do work and I thought the stuff about WR Eric Ward was just fantastic.
Q. What are some of the things they're saying to make sure you guys are staying focused with the road trip? What are some of the words coming out of their mouths and yours as well?
BRANDEN JACKSON: We have people like Kerry saying business is business, fun is fun. We know we're allowed to have fun. It's a game; you've got to laugh, you've got to smile, but when with we go on the road, it's all about business. You have to have a different mental focus and be prepared. You have people like Eric Ward preaching about one day feeding your family. What's it mean to you to play football? And keeping that in the back of our heads. It's kind of a slogan that's going around the team now. What is your why? And that's something that's preached at every road game. This is your why. What means the most to you and why you play the game? Make sure you keep that in the back of your head when we go on the road.
I just love Ward, I think that's terrific. Why are you doing what you're doing. Just fantastic. Let's end with some of yesterday's links and videos from the presser.
- Congrats to QB Davis Webb for winning the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week!
- A couple of West Virginia links, including the HC Dana Holorsen getting back to the task at hand. DC Keith Patterson is ready for the defense to get back on track. And West Virginia is has a shot at revenge (the headline is not really accurate, there are lots of quotes from Holgorsen talking about Kingsbury and not really anything about revenge).
- Crystal Ball Run has five new coaches that are making an impact, including Kingsbury.
- From the FWST, where Texas Tech is featured as a team climbing up the polls and talks about how Texas Tech has done this year.
- The KC Star has some mid-season superlatives, including good things to say about Texas Tech and Kingsbury, Hyder and the freshmen quarterbacks.
- ESPN also has their mid-season report.
Again, good stuff from the co-coordinators, Matt Wallerstedt and Sonny Cumbie. I think that Wallerstedt is really looking forward to being able to put in his entire defensive package and is excited to be able to do that in the spring. Scratching the surface.