Well, now that we've got that 7th loss out of the way, we can focus on improving, recruiting in the long offseason and play the hypothetical game with who plays quarterback.
First up he is asked about the quarterback situation, and he answers it pretty much how I was expecting. I wasn't expecting much info about who would be named the starter and why and all that, but his reasoning behind keeping Davis Webb on the sideline.
Q. Is he (Mahomes) taking over the spot for the last two weeks?
COACH KINGSBURY: I'm not sure. We'll have practice this week and see how it goes and name a starter at kickoff.
Q. The reason for Pat to start on Saturday was that primarily because Davis's ankle isn't healing (No microphone)?
COACH KINGSBURY: More Davis not being as mobile as I thought he'd need to be against that pass rush and that defensive line. He hasn't been a hundred percent since that high-ankle sprain. It's really affected his mobility, and that was the main reasoning to get Pat out there. I knew he could move around a little bit better and escape and make some plays.
Q. So if Davis is a hundred percent even if he doesn't practice, do you plan to start him Saturday?
COACH KINGSBURY: We'll see how the week goes. I won't name a starter until kickoff.
Obviously, Mahomes had to use his feet to make plays on Saturday. And anybody watching the broadcast (I watched it last night) heard Matt Millen gush about Mahomes' ability on the ground and how that opened things up. Being able to run as a QB is great, but the way it opens up the passing game is where it really pays off. You saw on multiple times on Saturday that when Mahomes started to move in the pocket, step up, roll out, that the defense would react and start converging to stop Mahomes from running. And that's when he hit the long ball over the top, or how he found Jakeem Grant wide open in the endzone.
Now, there were times when Mahomes started moving where my heart stopped as he was doing a pretty good Baker Mayfield impersonation with his ball security, but that accuracy while on the move! One other thing before I move on, and it's another thing Millen touched on in the broadcast. There were some bone headed throws in the game, but when you started to analyze them, you realized that Mahomes threw it in the dirt to avoid risking turning the ball over. Sure, he probably could have completed that screen pass to Cameron Batson, but with the pressure in his face and him falling/leaning back to avoid the hit, he very easily could have floated that pass that would have surely resulted in a pick 6. I was just really impressed with most of the decisions he made throughout the game.
Q. Where do you see the quarterback competition as you go into spring?
COACH KINGSBURY: I see it being a good one. You bring in Jarrett Stidham, and you get Pat and Davis and Nic Shimonek here who sat out this year as a red-shirt transfer from Iowa and then Vin Testaverde. So it will be a bunch of guys, which is a good change from where it was last year. We'll finally get some depth at that position and it should be a good competition.
Q. Does Davis still have seniority based on experience or would you say it's wide open?
COACH KINGSBURY: I'd say it's wide open at this point. Yeah, I'd say anytime you have a record of 3-7, you have to reevaluate some things. Going into the spring, it will be an open competition.
First off, I had completely forgotten about the Shimonek transfer. The more I think about it, the more I realize that for Stidham to play next year, he's going to have to be the next coming of...some other extremely talented QB (sorry, I couldn't really think of a valid option here). With Webb, Mahomes and Testaverde all having game experience, plus the addition of Shimonek, I think the chances are very good Stidham gets to redshirt and retain that extra year of eligibility (/knocks on wood).
And then he was asked about Mahomes working with both the baseball and football teams, and Kingsbury just said that they would work with Tadlock to make sure he's helping the baseball team the way they need him, and pointed to Jameis Winston as an example of a player being successful at both.
And I guess like us fans, the media were ready to focus on the offseason. There were only two questions asked about Iowa State. And it was basically just about going into a tough environment and stopping another mobile QB.
Then he was asked about Mike Smith's position with the team and how the hiring of the next defensive coordinator would be handled.
Q. Do you have a stance for what Mike Smith's role will be (No microphone)?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't. Right now we're just focusing on these last two. As soon as the season is over, we'll have a lot of time to evaluate that without any bowl prep and we'll take it from there.
Q. Did you sit down with him when he took over and said these are the goals and this is what I expect?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we had a good conversation. I knew the tough situation he was thrust into, and I wanted him to know it's just about doing your best with what we've got and where you're at. He's done a great job of stepping up his leadership role and getting those kids to play hard. He's done the best job he can.
Q. Do you have any idea when you'll decide on a defensive coordinator, when he becomes full-time or if you'll go after somebody else?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't. I'm sure very soon after the season we'll try to get it sorted out because you have recruiting coming up in January. But I don't have a timetable right now.
Q. Do you think it could affect recruiting defensive players?
COACH KINGSBURY: I'm not sure. I think players know coaches come and go, so they have to fall in love with the school for the right reasons, so I couldn't say either way on that.
Q. If you were to hire another defensive coordinator, do you know where you'll look for another position coach?
COACH KINGSBURY: I probably have a pretty good idea. As this thing goes, you focus on what you've got to accomplish, but you start collecting ideas as well.
I wanted to include the majority of that back and forth, so apologies for the length.
And I'm not going to jump into the sign stealing situation here, but there was one thing I found interesting that I would love to see flow down to the college game from the NFL.
Q. Do you think it's fair or is there a way to enforce in college football people stealing signs? Obviously in baseball there are things you can do to remedy that, but what do you do in terms of college football, and where has the line crossed in your mind on that subject?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think it happens all the time. I'd like to get the NFL helmet where you can talk to the quarterback in the helmet. I think that would help. But we don't have that yet. So you have to continue to disguise them and come up with different ways to mix it up each and every time.
Kaster is asked a couple of questions about the difference in blocking for a QB like Webb and a QB like Mahomes, and how they're different styles affect the offensive line. We touched on that previously, but Kaster gave a pretty good (read rehearsed) answer about blocking better as a whole regardless of who's back there and he'll be excited for either QB to start because of the preparation Kingsbury puts in.
But then he was asked about what it's going to be like these next two weeks and the way he said it would divide the team, in terms of who's ready to fight and improve and who's ready to quit, which I found intriguing.
Q. Obviously, at this point not being able to go to a bowl game this year, but what is your the message moving forward in these next two games?
JARED KASTER: Get your head down and just to finish strong. You don't want to say, look, this season's over we can't go to a bowl game. That's not how it goes. You still have two more games. It's all about what's in here. It's all about your character. These last two games it's going to show who is in it and who is wanting to just quit and give up. But these two games, it's important to move on into the off-season and just to finish strong.
And finally, he was asked about the holding calls that brought those two touchdowns back.
Q. Talk about the holding calls and the touchdowns on Mahomes, how do you fix that situation?
JARED KASTER: Just don't do it. I mean, you can't let opportunities like that come away. Those two holding penalties weren't called and you're looking at a different ballgame I feel like from our standpoint. But you just can't go down there and get towards the red zone. I mean, we had an offsides penalty on us. It's just mental mistakes like that that you kind of look at the game different if those things wouldn't happen. We've just got to look at it and grow from it.
Being in our team room and our meeting room as an O-line, you have to look and say what could you have done better not to do that? You look at it, you grow, and you learn from it and move on.
Q. How do you all go about actually (Indiscernible)?
JARED KASTER: Well, as your roles and as your job, you finish your guy until the whistle blows. You don't quit blocking. You just keep blocking and keep blocking. You never know really where he's at. I mean, he's a good guy. He can run the ball really well, but you just keep blocking until the whistle blows. You don't give up and you don't quit. If you do that, it gives him a little more opportunity to just make the play continue.
And when he says that if those holding penalties weren't called, I think he was meaning more if they hadn't held, not that those weren't the right calls (although I think one could have been close).
As a senior that won't be playing in a bowl game in his final season, he's asked what that will be like and what message he would want to share with his fellow seniors.
Q. Jackson, obviously it's tough you guys not going to a bowl game. But you being a senior, what message do you want to give to these guys for these final two games here?
JACKSON RICHARDS: For the seniors, it's another opportunity to play college football. Not a lot of people get to do it, and a lot of people would like to do it. So I guess for the seniors, you need to go out and have some fun. Play football. At the end of the day, it is a game. We haven't had the season we wanted to have, but it is a game.Younger guys can hopefully gain some momentum. This is actually two weeks of practice, so like I said, gain some momentum and get rolling for the off-season and have a better year next year.
You just have to appreciate the perspective he brings to the table. It's just a game. And then there was this.
Q. Obviously, the message for the game is totally different from the message this week in practice. How do you get your guys through this week of practice to prepare well for this team?
JACKSON RICHARDS: I don't think our morale is down as much as some people would think it is, honestly. I think we just need to harp on the fact that, like I say, we get to play college football a few more times. Lot of people don't get to do that. We're going to Ames, and it's a really cool environment. I had a great time last time we were there. It's going to be a cold game. It's going to be a blast, and after that, we have Baylor at Cowboy Stadium. If you don't get fired up for that, you don't need to be playing college football.
And then there was this to finish the press conference. Richards is in another senior class that endured the revolving door of defensive coordinators, five DCs in Richards' five years with the program (also three different head coaches, although he only committed to Tech under Leach and never played for him).
Q. As a senior from the defensive side, do you walk away from this program saying that, hey, I made a difference?
JACKSON RICHARDS: Well, I did what I could. I know that I came out and I practiced my hardest every day, and I played my hardest in the games. At the end of the day I feel like that's enough. I definitely had goals coming in that I would say I probably didn't reach, but I'm definitely going to leave this place with no regrets.
We need more Jackson Richards'. At least more guys with attitudes like his. He was moved all around the defensive line, to positions he wasn't best suited for, he didn't perform well in those situations, and yet never complained and never stopped working.