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Kliff Kingsbury Instills Personal Responsibility

Kliff Kingsbury has had a message of personal responsibility since he arrived at Texas Tech and the message is getting through.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We actually have a couple of things there, the first article is a really terrific look from the LAJ at how head coach Kliff Kingsbury had to come in after being hired at Texas Tech and establish a set of rules and demand of the players some personal responsibility for their actions and the second article is from the DMN and has to do with the seemingly never-ending discussion about the student-athletes receiving additional benefits.

The LAJ article is terrific for me because it gives you a sense of comparison given the situation in Austin right now, but maybe Texas Tech just didn't have as many things that needed to be fixed as the Longhorns do.  This is one of those things where no matter the situation, a coach is going to get rid of players and players are going to leave on their own. It just happens and it happens pretty much no matter who was the coach before and who is the coach coming it.  It happens.

Aside from that, you get a really nice view into the program, thanks to DE Branden Jackson discussing how Kingsbury does demand respect, despite Kingsbury's more popular public persona of "good-looking head coach with no coaching ability".  Jackson details that players tried to push the envelope when Kingsbury first arrived:

"From day one, coach Kingsbury, for as cool as he is and as laid back as he is, there's just a point you don't cross," the Red Raiders defensive end said. "We've had people on the team kind of jiggle around with the line and try to test the waters, and we all found out real quick what happens.

"People have been removed from the team, removed from practice, suspended from practice. People miss the bowl game. All for not doing what's expected of us. Now the team is, what coach Kingsbury says, goes. No one questions that. It's pretty good now."

Jackson goes on to talk a bit about how players were misbehaving in class or holding themselves appropriately off the field and he has gotten their attention with 5 a.m. workouts when players skip class:

"When you have people like (linebacker) Micah (Awe) studying to be an engineer, he has to get up at 5 a.m. to work out for someone else who missed class, it's frustrating," Jackson said. "It brings on peer pressure and everyone being accountable.

"Now we've got people in leadership roles and players making sure everyone goes to class. There's people in each group, each position, making sure everyone in their group is going to class."

And another set of 5 a.m. workouts this summer for not cleaning up the locker room, which, if I had to guess is more about the guys having an expectation that someone else should not be cleaning up your mess.  You take care responsibility for your own things.

The DMN article makes me chuckle some because you have a juxtaposition between two schools of thought, between LB/RB Kenny Williams and Kingsbury preaching a little self-control when it comes to the stipend that the players receive (this is not to say that the players should or should not receive more, that's another discussion) and Baylor DE Shawn Oakman.  Just for background purposes, Oakman was dismissed from Penn St. for violation of team rules, for stealing a hoagie.  This seems like a very minor offense in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider the Nigel Bethel/Amber Battle situation and even the situation from two years ago with Kenny Williams and Jace Amaro and being out drinking with someone else's credit card.

In the DMN article has this passage with Oakman, who said that he stole the hoagie because he was hungry:

Oakman said he knows players in the meantime who not only don't get extra cash from their families but also send part of their stipends home to help out because "you're the man of the house."

Oakman is a Pennsylvania native who transferred to Baylor after being dismissed from Penn State - reportedly in part because of an incident after he ran out of money on his school meal card and tried to steal a hoagie. When he arrived in Waco, he soon headed to a tattoo parlor and got "BU" inked above his wrist and another mark to show his gratitude for a second chance on the other side of his forearm.

"Most of us athletes don't have the means or the funds to eat every night," he said. "Being able to have those options, you need that. That's exactly why I was hungry and had to do what I had to do. It should never be like that."

As mentioned above, what Oakman did at Penn St. seems really minor, but this:  Oakman is hungry, he steals a hoagie, but then he arrives at Baylor and uses that stipend money or some money, of which there is not enough to even eat, and gets a tattoo.  It isn't just Oakman though, there are other players that have said the same thing.  I'm not dismissing the player's claims, just find the quoted material to be a bit ironic.

Then, we have Williams and Kingsbury discuss the idea that things can be tight, but if the student-athletes budget their money, it can be a little lean, but it is about budgeting more than anything:

Texas Tech linebacker Kenny Williams said what athletes already receive shouldn't be dismissed, but athletes will now be able to save money they used to spend on food.

"I haven't gone to bed starving or anything," he said. "But it gets slim sometimes. ... Guys do have to man up and understand that and don't blow money on unnecessary things."

Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury also played at Tech from 1998-2002.

"I never saw it as ... and I didn't see many of my teammates see it as a struggle," Kingsbury said. "It's just how you manage your money, really and truly. But I'm all for giving athletes as much as they can handle as long as they're using it the right way."

Again, the discussion about whether or not the players have enough is certainly something to discuss, or whether or not the NCAA has profited off of players, yet don't give them a sufficient stipend.  I think that bridge has been crossed and athletic directors do want to give the players an increased stipend.

The two articles combined, just sort of hit me this morning.  The courts are going to determine whether or not the players deserve more, despite any concerns otherwise, but I thought the two articles combined to show that maybe Kingsbury's message is coming in loud and clear.  We're talking about personal responsibility more than anything else and that can be a very tough thing to teach teenagers.  And this also isn't to say that Texas Tech players will be completely without fault or incident.  That will happen at every college program.