Most of us have had a couple of days now to digest the Sam Houston game. And as you may expect, it wasn't AS bad as we initially thought. Often times, we as fans get emotional about our team, as do coaches, and we tend to focus on all the missed opportunities and assignments, instead of some of the more positive things to take forward. Here is what the Tech coaching staff had to say on Monday.
Right off the bat, Kinsbury's first question is how the film looked. His answer is what you would expect in that it "looked much better" than what he experienced during the game, but he's "still upset with not finishing the game."
With the number of Sam Houston players struggling with the heat, Kingsbury says he was "happy" with the condition his players were in during the game and that he "didn't see a lot of our players cramping."
One of the more pressing issues for the defense in the minds of fans is Pete Robertson's Status for UTEP. Kingsbury addressed the media on the subject saying. "Pete Robertson is day-to-day." The reporter asks if he's injured based on that assesment, Kingsbury repsonds, "It's just day-to-day. Let's leave it at that." This tells me that it's more than a minor thing and the staff really wants to send a message to Robertson even if his presence is missed on defense.
Because of co-starters before Sam Houston, little doubt now who the starting QB is going forward. "Mahomes is the starter for UTEP"
With knowing that it's no longer a battle, or at least an active one, the question of how Davis Webb is dealing with not being the starter came up. "Davis is handling it well. He's disappointed, but I couldn't be happier with how he's handling the situation and mentoring Pat."
Some notable players were missing from the field on Saturday. Some due to injury, others the staff is tight lipped about. The two that were mentioned, Cantrell and Awe, Kingsbury stated "they are both day-to-day as well." There was an inaudible talk about another player or two which he said, "all of those guys are day-to-day". With Kingsbury's lack of transparency with the media on such matters, not sure how many are injured or how many are in Pete Robertson's boat.
After recapping the Sam Houston game a little bit, questions shifted to that of UTEP and any concerns that Kingsbury had over the match-up. In typical coach-speak, Kingsbury says, "they are a very good team. We know that from last year's game where we were lucky to get out of there with a win, late." UTEP's biggest offensive weapon is Aaron Jones. Kingsbury only mentions him, but David Gibbs had more comments on him.
After giving up 671 yards of offense to an FCS team, Kingsbury was asked if he saw any bright spots on defense other than the turnovers? His biggest takeaway from film was how the defense came out after halftime and settled in and didn't break down. This week against UTEP he really wants to see the defense, "Eliminate mental mistakes and tackle in space." Tech fans better get used to the fact that if you want turnovers, there will be breakdowns. We want all things as coaches, but going for a strip as opposed to tackling will allow a runner a few more yards.
On Saturday we saw both Barden and Hatfield take place-kicking duties, but Kingsbury isn't ready to name a go-ahead guy. He seems to want Hatfield and possibly Symmank to get some opportunities as well.
Interesting point in the presser that could be attached to Robertson's status and some other players was the "cost of attendence", stipend athletes get as scholarship players. Apparently several players spent that money on headphones and other items and may have requested or complained about lack of money. Kingsbury's stated, "Our students are not wanting for anything. Let's put it that way." He also went on to say, "We have financial talks with players and do financial planning, but if any of that sticks, I don't know." For the amount of time that this took up in the presser, it'll be interesting to see if anything comes from it with regards to other players statuses with the team. It is also needs to be noted that right before Kingsbury talked on Josh Outlaw's status and said, "He is no longer with this team."
Another interesting note, Kingsbury is against paying players as it was brought up by a reporter.
Right off the bat Gibbs goes into how the defense played. "I'm not sure why we didn't play better. Been doing this a long time. I'm not going to panic... I'll take the blame. Not the player's fault." This is definitely coach speak. Taking the blame, when it's the players job to execute. He said that it was his fault multiple times during the presser.
When asked what adjustments were made after halftime that attributed to the defense's improvement, he said, "We didn't do anything differently schematically. I don't know, half the fans left the stadium after halftime, so maybe it was quieter and they could communicate better."
Being the first game of the season, there always seems to be wrinkles in teams starting a new season, when asked if Sam Houston did anything that surprised him or the defense, Gibbs replied, "No. We practiced every play they ran. Not surprised by anything they did. But it's my fault. The players weren't ready."
We mentioned UTEP running back being their best offensive weapon, Gibbs stated as much and really wasn't sure what do to stop him. "He's elusive and hard to tackle. You're not going to stop him, just need to slow him down." He's also sure that Jones will get the ball 40 times against Tech this week and the defense needs to be sound on their gap assignments and leverage against UTEP's offensive line.
The main takeaways from Morris' presser were penalties and dropped passes. He said the offense left 173 yards on the field between dropped passes, missed blocks and penalties. I'm assuming that doesn't count possible yards after the catch on the dropped passes, but still that's a lot of yards. He also mentioned the offense isn't clicking just yet, but it's really close to being "ultra explosive".
He also ran through freshman who made their debut on Saturday and stated that, "Johnathan Giles is the best freshman we have."
He also talked about Devin Lauderdale being one of the best in the country if he becomes more consistent. He noted that Lauderdale takes a few plays off every now and then and that if he is tired, he needs to get off the field.
Interesting notes from Morris... Tech converted 62% on 3rd downs against Sam Houston. And out of 10 total penalties, 8 were on offense, including 4 false starts.
What are your takeaways from the press conference this week? Also don't forget to send me your questions!