I'm done thinking about the cluster that we saw on Saturday versus TCU. This week, Tech is hosting the Longhorns, at home, at night, on Halloween weekend.
First up are a barrage of questions regarding Webb's status, and again we get the pretty standard response from Kingsbury. He hasn't seen Webb prior to the press conference so he doesn't know for sure, but he has spoken with the trainers. Apparently, Webb has been in the facility for rehab on his ankle and everybody thinks he's day-to-day. Aren't we all. Having said that, it was an ankle and it's apparently not broken, so there is a threshold of Webb being the starter on Saturday.
Q. Is there a threshold of his ability to move around that you know already that will mean he won't play?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yes. He's got to be able to protect himself and move around and escape the rush, and if he's not able to do that, then we'll go with Patrick.
Interesting point to note was the absolute terrible showing from the offense last year in Austin, namely giving up 9 sacks. I'm not entirely sure where to lay that blame, but it's still something to be considering when you've got a QB that may have mobility issues. He has shown he can get the ball out quickly to avoid sacks, HOWEVER, that's where he starts to force the issue and costly mistakes show up. But the next option is a true freshman with not a lot of game experience, so...
Until the decision is made on Webb, it looks like they're preparing Mahomes to be the starter; better to prep Mahomes to start then Webb takes the field Saturday, then prepare Webb to start and Mahomes take the field.
Q. Will you make a decision pretty early in the week so if it is Patrick he'll have as much time as possible?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: We'll just try to up his reps and see. But other than that, you know, either one of those guys will be ready to go.
And here's where it gets interesting in game preparations, in that the game plan and pay calling will be different with those two QBs based on their skill set and comfort with the playbook. I thought they may have said something contrary to that in a previous press conference, but this makes sense.
Q. Going back to Mahomes, what are his strengths?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think Pat does a good job. He's an accurate passer and does a good job extending plays with his feet. I think that's something he really excelled at in high school and has continued to do that in our system.
Q. If there is a situation for Mahomes to have to be the starting quarterback this week or in coming weeks, are you confident in his ability to lead the team?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I am. I am. We played with two true freshmen last year, and so he's done a good job working, and we've talked about him needing to be prepared each and every week because he was the backup from day one. I'm very happy with his progress, and I feel like he'll do a good job if he's called upon.
He's asked a little later on about how he feels the secondary has been holding up and he said it's been a baptism by fire, but that he's proud of the way they've been holding up. He praised the TCU receivers, as he should, and said they're just going to have to keep coming along.
Q. What's the mood amongst the players? I heard on the conference call this morning you said they were pretty embarrassed. How difficult will it be to get them back up?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I don't think it will. I mean, having this opponent come into their house helps. You know, we've moved forward. There won't be much discussion about this past game because I just feel like the best thing right now is for us to move forward and focus on Texas.
It's never good to dwell on the past, especially when things didn't go very well. The team is supposed to be moving on thinking too much about what happened in Fort Worth won't help this team prepare to host the Longhorns. Because, you know, if Tech beats Texas this weekend, the season has been salvaged!
Something interesting I noticed there towards the end of his time at the podium was he asked if he had reached out to or been contacted by previous coaches and/or mentors about this season or the game. Somebody must be reading VTM.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I talked to a bunch of guys, a bunch of friends in the profession, even guys on this campus throughout the year. Just kind of part of the coaching fraternity.
He's asked a couple of questions about how he and the team felt about losing to TCU like they did and he said it was difficult, but they're getting past it to prepare for Texas.
But then he was asked about why he thought the offense would sometimes come out strong and then fade.
Q. What do you think it is as far as you guys start fast but just don't finish strong? What is it that maybe is hindering that at this point?
JARED KASTER: You know, everything. You can take little pieces of it. If it's mental, if guys aren't doing the right things, little things right, if it's assignment-wise, if it's the momentum shift. I mean, there's so many possibilities that can go into it. But I think when you score and you go back off, you can't accept the fact that, oh, we just scored, and lay down. You've got to keep on their throat, you've got to keep pushing and keep pushing. I think that's something we can work on as an offense
Not that this is anything earth-shattering, just that he agrees that things tend to snowball. And when one thing goes bad, more things tend to go badly. This team just needs to be able to persevere the adverse times in a game, much like in basketball being able to withstand an opponent's run, to be able to stop theirs and come back and put one of your own together. I just don't think this team is there, mentally, to fight back after things start to snowball.
Kaster is then asked about preparing for Texas and you get a lot of "canned" responses, or at least a lot of what you would expect a player preparing to face Texas to say. Things like, "they're talented," "they're a big football school," "a team isn't as bad as their record," those types of things. I get the feeling that Kaster is very careful about what he says in press conferences, which is a good thing, but you tend to get some generic responses. But he was asked about the game in 2008.
Q. Did you watch the game in '08?
JARED KASTER: I did. I was pretty young back in '08, but I did watch that game, and it was fun seeing everybody, them pull that game off. I was too young to think about going somewhere to play football. I had it in my mind I always wanted to play college football, but I kind of put Tech -- who's Texas Tech, you know. But yeah, it was a fun game, that's for sure.
As a true junior, being probably 20 right now, he would have been 14 and in the 9th grade when that game was played. Not growing up a fan of college football myself, I can tell you I wasn't watching a lot of football other than the Cowboys when I was in high school.
He's then asked about Webb's health and he doesn't reveal anything. Again, either from preparing to get these questions or not really knowing, we're not going to get any info until it's time to release it. And then we'll see it on twitter from the usual suspects.
But something else I found interesting from this press conference was him being asked what it's like to prepare to play in front of another QB, communication-wise and then one that may be scrambling (when I played OL, I was always in front of a pocket passer, so I didn't have any experience blocking for a running QB).
Q. What's the communication level between the offensive line and Patrick if Patrick is the guy that's going to start and how do you game plan to protect him?
JARED KASTER: We take it just every week, no matter who's back there. I think Coach Kingsbury does a good job of getting everybody ready, so whoever it is, I don't know. I mean, whatever the decision is, I don't know. I just worry about the guys to the left or the right of me.
Q. Does it make it difficult for you guys as an offensive line when you have a quarterback that will move around a little bit but you never really know where he is back there? Does it make it more difficult to block the guys up front?
JARED KASTER: No, not really. That's just our effort, trying to finish a block. You don't really think about that. If you finish your block to the point where he's not going to be anywhere near the quarterback, then you don't have to worry about that.
I guess I never really thought about it very much, or at least that way, that if you take care of your block, no matter who is behind you, there's not going to be a difference if the QB is more mobile or not.
And finally before we move on to Fehoko's portion, Kaster is asked specifically about the strength of the Texas defense up front on the defensive line.
Q. Your offensive line against their defensive line would appear to be strength on strength. What does their defensive line do to stand out?
JARED KASTER: Their effort. I think that the guys that they have in there right now, I think they're playing for the team. They want the team to do good. They always come out and play us hard. They gave us trouble last year, that's for sure, and going back and watching that game, it was tough.
We want to try to limit that as much as possible this game, but they're very solid up front. They've got a bunch of D-tackles and D-ends. But it'll be another challenge for us, that's for sure
Fehoko is asked a similar set of questions to open his time at the podium as Kaster about getting over TCU and whatnot. Same kind of answers. You can go back and read the full transcript if you'd like, but we're already around 2,000 words and I'm trying to get you the good stuff. Like this
Q. When the defense was getting stops on Saturday there would be some kind of a weird thing, whether it be roughing at punter or a mishandled kick return. What were you saying to each other? What was said when they kept getting the ball in those weird circumstances?
V.J. FEHOKO: You know, we were just telling each other keep fighting. It was unfortunate, but that's football. Things are not always going to go your way. They had that pass interference call on their fake punt, which a lot of us thought was questionable, but sometimes you'll get calls like that. You really can't let that drag you down the rest of the game, you've got to keep fighting. I thought as a defense we could have performed better. I don't think it was our best game all season. Technical errors, missed tackles. But still,that's no excuse. And a team like TCU who's No. 10 going into the game, you've kind of got to capitalize on every single thing. They get something like that, and as you can see, once their offense got rolling, they got rolling.
That's probably my favorite answer from doing these posts all year and I don't know why. Maybe because I was reading more into the question than what was there ("weird" things happening, I added in the offense going three and out or turning it over quickly). In an instance where he could have voiced his frustration with any number of things, you get this leveled response. You've just got to respect Fehoko here for his attitude and leadership. I said earlier that I don't think this team has the attitude of being able to overcome "weird" things, when things start snowballing, but I think Fehoko does. And it's too bad that this is his only year playing for Tech because I think that attitude could go a long way with this team over time.
If you want to read the full transcript, you can find it here.