Yesterday, the Big 12 head their annual Media Days where head coaches and a few players from each team meet with the press to discuss the upcoming football season. Yesterday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury, LB Sam Eguavoen, LB/RB Kenny Williams and WR Bradley Marquez all spoke to the media in various forms and fashion. We'll get to as much we can. You can find the quotes from Kingsbury's press conference here (pdf) and Texas Tech has a blog post about it on their site.
Top 5 From Texas Tech's Media Days
1. Consistency on Defense. One of the big things that we have discussed is the idea that we hope that a more consistent defense will result in a better defense. The idea of having a defensive coordinator who has been at Texas Tech for more than two years will be beneficial for the program, especially one like Matt Wallerstedt, who brings excitement and energy to the program.
That's big for them, two years having the same defensive staff in place with the same terminology. I can tell this spring they weren't thinking as much. They were actually flying around with the football. I think we've made some additions. Some of those junior college D-linemen will really help the front. Excited to see their progress. I expect that group to be much improved from a year ago.
2. How to be Better. There was no doubt that the vibe was that Texas Tech head coach seemed to be incredibly focused and I think that this is really the part of Kingsbury that no one gets to see, which is ht eidea that Kingsbury really does care about coaching and getting to business more than anything else. The highlights, or course, are a dance-off and things like that, but Kingsbury knows that if you, as a head coach, are not getting better, then he's not doing his job. It's about the consistency in the day-to-day activities:
Yeah, I think consistency as a program and particularly for myself, each and every day making sure you're bringing the same energy, the same positive message, and you gotta provide the stability especially when things aren't going well. And year one I probably didn't do a great job of that, and hopefully we learned from that and can build. I think our team learned how to handle adversity. If you continue to work, continue to stress doing things the right way, then in the end you're going to have success. And we had that success in that Bowl game.
3. Stability at Quarterback. it sound strange to have stability at position of one with only two players total at that position doesn't seem all that stable, but that does appear to be the case. Especially after last year where things seemed out of sorts up until the last game of the year. Kingsbury said that he is excited to see the improvement for incumbent starter Davis Webb:
I've been excited for Davis, to watch the progress he had. Having not been named a starter, he never pouted, never shut it down, just kept working. He knew he would get his chance. When he did, he made the most of it. Statistically as a true freshman he had a pretty amazing year. Just have to cut down on the turnovers. And that's something that he really did a good job of in the spring. I'm excited to watch him play this year. He's one of the hardest working quarterbacks I've ever been around. He's earned everything he's gotten. I'm excited to watch him take that next step and be a leader of our football team
The other scholarship quarterback on roster, Patrick Mahomes, will be expected to be ready:
He's got to be ready to play. We only have Davis and him on scholarship as far as quarterbacks go. But he's a tremendous athlete. Still raw, still learning the position, a guy who was a three sport star in high school. Never focused on quarterback, but tremendous upside play-making ability. And a guy that can really extend plays, which is good as a true freshman because half the time they don't know what they're doing so that comes into play. And he'll be able to move the football if he has to go in and take some snaps.
I think I may be in the minority about Mahomes. I think he's going to be a pretty good quarterback and I think he'll stay there and it could be really exciting. Mahomes brings a skillset that we just haven't seen at the quarterback spot in a really long time. A true playmaker in the truest sense of the word, especially with his feet.
4. Throwbacks. Kingsbury said that in the game against Arkansas, that Texas Tech would wear throwback uniforms, similar to what Zach Thomas wore in the 1992 through 1995 era:
Kingsbury said the uniforms would be from the "Zach Thomas era."
Thomas played for the Red Raiders from 1992-95, earning All-American honors as a junior and senior. He will be inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame this fall.
"It will be a good look," Kingsbury said Monday on the first afternoon of Big 12 Conference media days. "They got kind of a new spin on them, but it's a traditional throwback look."
In addition to that, Casey Cowan tweeted that might expect some silver pants and that this would be the look to expect:
5. Clark to Guard, Robertson to Tackle. We've know that this was all to be somewhat expected after signing day, but apparently, this is pretty much a done deal now as Le'Raven Clark is moving to guard and JUCO transfer Dominique Robertson is playing at left tackle:
"It's pretty set in stone," Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday during Big 12 media days. "Unless something happens before camp, that's how it'll start out. Dom's looked good. There'll be a learning curve with him learning the offense, but he's looked good. He's got the size, and I know Le'Raven feels very comfortable moving inside."
I'm fine with this move and something that I've been thinking about for quite some time is the idea that if this is going to happen, Clark needs to be more mobile, and I hope that we can look forward to Clark pulling along the line of scrimmage, and have been dreaming about possible Power-O plays out of the spread ever since we knew that Kingsbury visited Chip Kelly in the offseason.
Quotable. The DMN has done a great job of compiling actual player quotes, which is great because there really wasn't any sort of central place where there were some quotes from the players.
Here's Sam Eguavoen:
On a word that would describe the defense ahead of the season:
"I would think of violence. Violence, that would be a pretty good word for this season. We're starting a new thing where we want 11 hats on every ball-carrier every play. Everybody's running to the ball. That's just what we're going to do this season."
And Bradley Marquez:
On stepping into Jace Amaro's role as inside receiver:
"I think excited for the challenge it will be it. It's going to be tough to replace a player like that. He was a great player for Texas Tech. All I can do is go out there and be me. I can't be Jace Amaro because we're two completely different players, and I have to play to my strengths. I just feel with my speed I can add a different dimension that maybe he wasn't able to have."
Make sure and read the whole thing.
The Hunter. The DMN writes about how Kenny Williams is making the switch from offense (although he still will play there) to defense at linebacker:
Kingsbury said he knew Williams could handle the mental challenges of switching sides and during the spring noticed his closing speed to the ball.
"I wanted to make sure he knew what he was getting himself into," Kingsbury said. "We had a need at defense, and he wanted to fill it and he's done a great job doing it."
Williams said the biggest adaptation has been adjusting to the calls and knowing the playbook.
"You know what a running back is thinking," Williams said. "Once you know that, you kind of have the upper hand."
Shutting Up Baylor. Via FoxSports, Sam Eguavoen says that he's looking forward to shutting up Baylor this year, which is really just a small soundbite to a much larger bit of very confident talk (Eguavoen has never lacked for confidence) from the linebacker:
"We're going to be way more smarter this year, more violent, more speed and get nasty out there," he said. "We're not going to be tired this season.
"There's always going to be that one defense in the Big 12 that everyone knows of, and I promise you that it will be Texas Tech this year. Whether if it's that we're known for trash-talking, most-disciplined, or least penalties. We're going to be known this season."
Miscellaneous. Aside from Peyton Williams and Jeremy Renolds no longer being with the team, we also learn that 2014 signee, Connor Wilson, will not play football again, but will attend Texas Tech. Texas Tech will honor his scholarship, although he will not count against the 85 man roster limit . . . Kingsbury said that he would do some additional things with Nigel Bethel, II "in house" after he arrives in a few weeks . . . Tevin Madison and Justin Stockton impressed Eguavoen and Marquez . . . Williams says that Davis Webb can't dance . . . Kingsbury talks defensive line depth and running backs with Scout . . . David Ubben has his best and worst from day 1 and Kingsbury makes part of the "worst" list . . . Burnt Orange Nation on Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the radical change he sees for college football . . . Bowlsby also talked how cheating pays (via FoxSports and FWST) . . . Kingsbury said that he expects LB Kahlee Woods to find a role this year . . . Kingsbury said that he wants to improve player benefits but doesn't think that just handing over a wad of cash is the right step . . .