When he was named Head Coach at Tech he had everyone on campus gathered at memorial circle memorial circle for a spur of the moment pep-rally that went well into that chilly December night. Quite possibly one of the best post-Christmas presents ever.
Going into his first season as Head Coach, he brought an energy level that was unsustainable as the head of a major football program. He was very much still an offensive coordinator. But the energy he did bring was infectious. He inspired the team and the fan base to the tune of a 7-0 start and the mantra of "Fortune Favors the Bold".
You've been hearing that phrase a lot out of VTM this week. Why? Because this game, against West Virginia in 2013, is where we first heard it on the sideline.
It was just before this play that it happened. On a 3rd and 6 at the West Virginia, Kliff calls a 3-Deep route and Davis Webb would connect with Jordan Davis for 1st and goal at the WVU 4. With 1:06 left in the game, this happened. Take a look at Kingsbury's reaction.
We saw him get fired up after a touchdown before...
This was different. He was cocky. He made it look easy. He had all the answers. And every button he pushed worked. The rest of the season seemed to humble Kingsbury just a tad. And as we know, that level of energy is hard to sustain and you could see it as that season wore on.
In 2014, nothing went right. The weight of a university on his shoulders and at a complete loss for answers amidst a 4-8 season, had us seeing Kingsbury use the word, "embarrassing" multiple times in describing his team's play.
I went back and looked at the last drive against West Virginia last year. Knowing I was upset with the punt with a 4th and 3 with a minute left and the ball in plus territory. I wondered where the "Fortune Favors the Bold" mentality went?
On the play before, 3rd and 3, Kingsbury calls the perfect play. West Virginia sells out on the blitz and all the receivers were running inside slants. DJ Polite-Bray has one-on-one on the near side of the field, has a step and Webb's throw is just a bit high. If he connects, with no safety help over top, DJ probably runs it in for the score. However, a frustrated Kingsbury decides to punt.
In the heat of the moment and in likewise moments since, he has seemed to play it more conservative at a make or break moment than in early 2013. Part of it is lack of execution by the team, the other is his maturation from an OC to a HC.
The week before the Arkansas game this year he was quoted as saying, "the goal is to score", in reference to a question about not scoring as fast as you can to bleed clock. He flipped the script and did just that in the 4th quarter in Fayetteville. It worked. In other cases though, like last week against OSU, some of the play calling was perplexing as it seemed, on the surface, that Kingsbury was again playing it conservative. The last drive against TCU earlier in the year has equally puzzled fans. So what is the solution? Kingsbury needs to remember what makes him great.
What makes him great are his instincts. The mindset that pushes the envelope, that defies conventional wisdom, and the knowledge that our offense is a dangerous, dangerous animal... let it loose.
Forget the percentages. Play from your gut. Shoot from the hip and get back to the guy that knows when the game is on the line, you can't stop our offense on 4 straight plays.
We love Kliff Kingsbury. He's going to do big things for his alma mater. So if I could tell Coach Kingsbury one thing, with the season at a tipping point, its to remember...
Special thanks to @TTUedits and good luck to all who have a chance to win one of his awesome posters!
Let's get it!