Hocutt Talks Kingsbury. The LAJ's Don Williams spoke with athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who said that he was disappointed in the current season, but just as optimistic about the future as he was at the start of the season. Hocutt said that continuity is the key, and he also brings up the lack of defensive line depth (this sounds like a familiar complaint):
"We need that continuity," Hocutt said, "and I think the lack of continuity shows."
In the 2010, 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes, which Hocutt singled out, Tech signed 20 defensive linemen, of which only four remain on the roster. (Five others completed their eligibility at Tech, four as junior-college transfers and the other, Dartwan Bush, by not redshirting.)
In 2011, Tech signed 25 high school prospects, only 12 still with the team.
"Those are young men who would be redshirt juniors or seniors," Hocutt said. "We've had so much transition and change, and that's evident today in the youth of this program.
"Kliff is a leader. Kliff is a winner. Kliff has a plan. We're going to be just fine in the long run, but I think anybody associated with Texas Tech football would say ‘disappointed' as to how we feel about the 2014 season."
That last part is really encouraging, the fact that Hocutt is intimately knowledgeable about the state of the roster. Heck, we've talked about how the lack of defensive line depth caused Kingsbury to pull in four JUCO defensive linemen in the 2014 class because there just weren't any players to really form a two-deep. And the last sentence is how I feel about Kingsbury, even now, that I wholeheartedly trust Kingsbury. If I'm wrong, I'll be content to be heartbroken and figure something else out.
Hocutt is also asked about the turnovers, something that is a definite concern all the way around, but Hocutt says that Kingsbury is frustrated with the penalties, but Kingsbury continues to preach the same and consistent message:
"Nobody's more frustrated with those categories than coach Kingsbury is or I know the young men and assistant coaches on this staff are," Hocutt said, "but those are two areas we have to get better at - have to become more disciplined to get where we want to go. Kliff and I continue to talk about those things, and he recognizes it and continues to address it."
Hocutt played for a coach, Kansas State's Bill Snyder, who has a reputation for fielding teams that seldom beat themselves with turnovers and penalties. That can be overstated. Just last season, the Wildcats were 51st in fewest penalty yards per game and 61st in turnover margin.
Still, it hasn't kept them from winning.
"Again, I want to come back to continuity and stability," Hocutt said. "K-State, under the leadership of Bill Snyder, didn't get to where it is today overnight. He's been saying the exact same things, teaching the same things, for 20 years. It's happened over a period of time.
This is how I've felt for a long while now, since it appeared that there was going to be significant losses through the season and it became clear that this year's team wasn't going to be as good as initially expected. It's why I'm not demanding that anyone be fired or terminated or that we yell to say that this or that isn't acceptable. I think we all have higher expectations that the current state of the team, I'm sure that Kingsbury has higher expectations than all of us, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, sometimes good coaches have bad seasons.
I'm also really encouraged that Hocutt is preaching consistency and continuity and stability. Those are all of my favorite words when there has been so much turnover with Texas Tech football, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. More than anything, we're talking about being patient and it isn't easy, but I know that Hocutt can be patient and demand results all at the same time.
Miscellaneous. Oh hey! Lin Elliott was inducted into the Waco ISD Athletic Hall of Fame and Spike Dykes inducted him (photo is there). Congrats!