As expected, Coach Kingsbury didn't divulge a lot of information. Looking at the other coaches interviewed today, most of them didn't give away much either. For the second straight year, Coach Kingsbury didn't start with an opening statement. I believe he is the only coach to do so. That tactic may have backfired though, because he was immediately asked about former Tech quarterback, Baker Mayfield. Coach Kingsbury wished Baker luck in every game except one.
He reiterated the same things about Gibbs he has been saying since hiring him. Gibbs is professional, relatable to players and holds them accountable. He said the defense has gone through an entire overhaul. No surprise there, as that happens with almost every coordinator change.
He was asked about the quarterback position. He spoke about eliminating negative plays and the decision of whether to start Mahomes or Webb hinging on that. He wants a QB who can extend plays with his feet. He said they "saw great progress this spring," in regards to eliminating turnovers and that he wants to name a starter early in fall camp which aligns with his statements from the spring. He also said they would make a change at the position if things don't got well early on but he wouldn't use a quick hook either.
When asked about red zone problems, he answered "We got to get to the red zone first." Funny, yes and also an indictment of his offense. I don't think scoring was the biggest problem. They put up a lot of points, but would have put up a bunch more if they had been more efficient in the red zone. Later on in the presser he said what I talked about in this article a month ago "We've always been able to get yards, but turnovers have killed us and not being efficient in the red zone."
Coach Kingsbury felt the receivers came on towards the end of last season and had a great spring. He specifically mentioned Cantrell, Lauderdale, Grant, Davis and Saddler. Worth noting too that he said he expects the incoming freshman receivers to come in and push the veterans.
My favorite part of Coach Kingsbury's presser was when he said the trend now in recruiting needs to be more in-state players. I like the idea of that. Coach Curtis is a solid recruiter, but he is fighting an uphill battle when recruiting in Louisiana. There are more than enough high school kids in Texas to build a winning program at Tech. I felt like the Tyron Johnson recruitment from last year was a huge waste of resources. I know others disagree, but when we fewer financial resources than schools like UT and OU, we have to be smarter with our money.
My least favorite part of the presser was Coach Kingsbury saying the team wasn't ready for the physicality of Arkansas last year. I feel like that is what Coach Bielema's teams are known for, but I guess maybe it is different when you actually step on the field. All I heard when Coach Kingsbury said that was "unprepared."
Coach Kingsbury said of Mike Mitchell, "He's one of the most impressive players I've seen. He's just got to get back to playing the game and that many reps. Once he gets our system down and gets back in game shape we'll see something out of him." I read that as, don't expect too much out of him early in the season. In other words, temper your expectations because he hasn't played in a live football game in two years. Again, this aligns with what he said in the spring about Mitchell.
I will post some more thoughts in the Raider Read tomorrow morning.