Having read through the transcript of the press conference yesterday and seeing just how many "(no microphone)"s there were, I've got to think Don Williams was quite active in his questioning yesterday. If you haven't heard this man talk, there's a reason for that. As many interviews I've either been a part of or transcribed or written articles/posts off of when he was there, I can't even begin to tell you how annoyed I get when he asks a question. You just don't hear anything and you've got to think he's doing this on purpose. /rant
You can read the full transcript here.
Throughout the presser, he is asked a couple of different times regarding Webb's health and we hear that his foot/ankle is fine, despite him being in a cast over the weekend. Kingsbury said the cast was precautionary, so do with that what you will.
One of the bigger concerns coming away from the West Virginia game would be how this team bounces back if we are expecting them to salvage the season.
Q. Talk about the mood. I mean it's a horrible way to lose a game, last second field goal. Is it going to be tough to get them back up?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I don't think so. It's a pretty resilient group. We got to play a great homecoming game against Kansas, that's playing pretty well. They better be motivated and from what I can tell, they are.
And this team is going to have to be resilient if they hope to flip the script on somebody this season. If this team were to beat the same conference teams they did last year, considering they lost to Arkansas, would factor into a 6-6 season. As you know though, Tech beat West Virginia last season, so is already on the back side of that. To salvage this season and make it to a December bowl game, they need to win four out of the next six against Kansas, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Iowa State.
The coaching staff is still trying to find the mix of receivers they like and feel is the most productive.
Q. Where do you feel things are with the receivers. Are you going to shuffle things around?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: We'll keep moving them around until we find the answer. Really impressed with how hard Brad played. He's the one constant that each and every week you know what you're going to get blocking, catching the ball, running great routes, playing 80, 90 snaps a game. So, really pleased with him. Proud of the way he's performed. And those other guys just got to keep coming.
Unfortunately, I think West Virginia highlighted how even a closely matched team can beat Tech. Load the box and play tight man coverage. We're hearing Kansas has good linebackers and secondary, we know TCU, OU, Texas and Baylor have the horses for that and Iowa State has always played Tech tough. In my mind, I think Kingsbury and Morris have to work on more man coverage-beating plays because we know how teams will defend Tech going forward. Without a true tight end or legitimate fullbacks, I think Tech is going to have to be successful through the air first to back the defenses off before they can be successful on the ground.
Q. You said you weren't really pleased with the man coverage, especially lately. So going into the next game what do you think they can do different?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Well, I think they came down and got in our face and we didn't respond to it. That's something we got to work at and get better at.
Q. The team not been doing that as much in the past or what made them successful?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I would say they hadn't shown it as much. I think with the success DeAndre had, and Justin having that big run, they just said you're going to have to run by us, and we didn't go a good job of it there late in the game
As some of us noticed, Kenny Williams has seen a decreasing role in the raider position since Mike Smith took over. Kingsbury confirms that and mentions that while he will still be an option on defense, he's going to be worked back into the offense, to "specialize" in offense. Maybe this means they're working on getting him into a blocking role, a bruising runner in short yardage. We'll see.
Q. What's the status on Kenny Williams?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Like I said earlier, he'll be specializing on offense, but if we need him on defense, he can do that, as well.
Q. (No microphone.)
KLIFF KINGSBURY: After talking to him and looking at things, to that point we felt like it was best for him and best for us as a team, to get him back and use him in some different roles. Once we get him more comfortable, more reps, then you'll see an expanded role with him over there.
And finally, he is asked about facing Kansas this week.
Q. What's your big concern about Kansas? Other than you said they're playing better?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I just think they have some momentum. I know they haven't won some of these games, but they have played very well on tape.
Defensively, it's a good veteran group. The linebacker 31 is a great player, Shepherd, I think is one of the better corners in the league and Reynolds has four sacks and is very disruptive. So, it's a challenge on that side of the ball.
Offensively, they have some skill. Avery is a great rusher. They have a wide out that's very dangerous. You saw what they did last week. They had that game right at the wire and we're going to need to play our best.
Kingsbury was asked about if he limited Webb's ability to check the play at the line and he said no. And here Davis says he actually changed the play more than he has in any other game. Obviously Kingsbury is comfortable letting Webb make changes at the line.
Q. That first half you guys had really good balance, rhythm looked really good in the offense, then the last four drives, three out of the four ended in punts. How do you think you guys sustain that rhythm and that balance through four quarters versus Kansas this week?
DAVIS WEBB: That's something that we're just not used to doing the past couple games. We have been down by so many. Going in this game, we had a chance to run the ball a lot. And this game, I checked a lot more plays than I usually do. I think that's why we had more rhythm in the first half.
The second half kind of got away from that. Just got to keep with the game plan and keep doing what I'm supposed to do. We got to finish games from now on.
I'm not sure how to take his comment on him getting away from checking the play. This just raises a lot of questions for me. Like, why is he checking so much to begin with? Is he seeing something the coaches aren't? Does he think he can call a better game? Is he getting more confident (as if he's ever shown a deficiency here) in his command of the offense? And then what changed in the second half for him to stop doing that? Were the coaches getting on to him for it?
And there's that phrase again, "when we're on, we're on."
Q. Despite the result, do you feel a lot more confidence in your offense after that performance on Saturday?
DAVIS WEBB: We always knew we could be a good offense when we're on, we're on. But we got to be able to finish games. We had a two touchdown lead with six minutes left, and we should be an able to put that one away, but we just didn't do it.
If the offense is so good when it's on, why isn't it on more often? Where's the breakdown there?
Q. As a player going to practice this week, how do you help coach finishing strong, making sure that you guys get that message for Kansas?
DAVIS WEBB: Just got to take every play like it is your last. Just when we're going against the ones every day, treat it like we're playing Kansas this week. Treat it like we're up by 14 or down by 14. If it's a pass play, we're down by 14, we're up by 14, it's a run play.
You got to take every play like it is your last. Don't get too high, too low, keep level headed because you never know what's going to happen.
And maybe it's just me, but does that sound like he's trying to put too much pressure on himself? Maybe this is just his way of preparing. But at least he acknowledges that he's got a great running back to help get this team moving.
Q. Talk about the DeAndre Washington, and his ability to help you kind of take the lift off your shoulders being able to run the ball like that?
DAVIS WEBB: Yeah, going into the game I knew that I had a chance to check a lot of runs this game. I told him that. I said, make sure you get your beauty sleep on Friday night, because you're going to get a lot of carries this game.
He was up for it, did a great job and took a lot of weight off my shoulders. Yeah, I expect him to have another good week this week.
He is also asked about his ankle and he said he re-tweaked it. I'm not sure if this was an injury from earlier in the season and he re-tweaked it in the game against WVU, or if he's saying he's re-tweaked it since the game against WVU, sometime on Saturday night, Sunday or Monday morning. Anyways, the injuries keep piling up for Webb and I'm afraid if he's not careful, he's going to be forced to miss some time.
And back on preparing for teams to try to lock down the receivers in man coverage as the team prepares to face Kansas this weekend.
Q. Knowing that your receivers are going to get a lot of man probably against Kansas, how do you help them, do you change up your game a little bit or change up their game, what do you do to help out for them to be successful?
DAVIS WEBB: I know coach has a great game plan going this week. We got to -- we do one-on-ones every Tuesday and Wednesday and a lot of them are really hovering those receivers, taking it like it's a game day. Because that's what's going to happen, they're going to man up and say hey, beat us. That's a great way to coach defense. That's what I would do a couple years from now. I don't hate on T I think it's very hard to get a quarterback's timing when they press on the line of scrimmage and stuff like that. They're well coached and I know they're a hungry team and they almost shocked the Big-12 conference by beating Oklahoma State. They were really close. So, yeah, as a skilled skill group we got to be ready for those one-on-one matchups.
One of his first questions was to gauge how the team is responding in the locker room to last weekend's loss.
Q. What's the mood overall on the team, pretty discouraged?
V.J. FEHOKO: You know, it's tough. Everybody fought hard and we prepared, we gave it our all, and sometimes the outcome doesn't happen the way you think it is. So, I'm sure some of the guys are a little down, but the best way for this is to get in, focus on KU and focus on getting the win.
This tells us more about the team than Kingsbury saying they're resilient. This at least tells us that there's still some fight in this team, that they don't like losing. And then you hear this, that the team seems to be getting closer and coming together more.
Q. Are losses like Saturday a little tougher to come back from?
V.J. FEHOKO: You know what? I feel the way our team is going right now, we're starting to bond a lot tighter than we have since the beginning of the season, and I feel that we'll only get better. You put on the film from week one from Central Arkansas to now, and it's -- to me, it's like night and day.
We're starting to have guys play for each other. I think we just need a little bit less thoughtless penalties. We had 12 for over a hundred yards, and you eliminate that in a close game like this, and you would be surprised what the outcome would be.
Fehoko mentions a couple of times throughout his time at the podium that this team is needing to clean up the "thoughtless" penalties. He said the team, but the defense in particular, is made up of a lot of young guys and those penalties are starting to get corrected with experience. He also said the penalty issue can be corrected with the players holding themselves accountable, which I think would come with the team starting to come together and play for one another.
And one final note because of the conversation we were having here yesterday about the defense being tired and worn down despite the time of possession being almost equal.
Q. West Virginia ran 96 plays. Did the defense maybe wear down because of all those plays?
V.J. FEHOKO: Well, yeah, you know, the time of possession was similar. So, we were off the field kind of in equal terms with the other team. But, we play against the hurry up every day.
I felt our guys were in shape and were well conditioned. But the things that we could control, we didn't, thoughtless penalties. In a close game like this, that's the difference maker. Of course, making plays at the end of the game when we need to, we need to step up as a defense.