Prologue: It’s been about 72 hours since Iowa State defeated Texas Tech 31-13, and over that time, I have noticed a level of self-loathing, indifference and defeatist mentality emanating from a seemingly large, but most of all, vocal portion of the fan base. What has seemed common place with Texas Tech for as long as I can remember, the fan base seems to have no real direction when it comes to the state of the football program other than things need to change after every loss. Perhaps it’s a hangover from the one decade of consistent success Tech had under Leach that we now cannot be bothered to take seriously any team which we deem beneath us (especially during the Leach era), much less lose to them.
Fans are rightly frustrated by Tech’s 4-3 record this year. Not because we are under performing, but because there is a point to be made that Tech has made such improvement on defense that Tech could be undefeated. In that vein, Tech has thus far outperformed many’s expectations of this season that looking at two 4th quarter losses while tied or leading, and one turnover prone game (when if we hadn’t lost the other two may have been riding a wave of momentum to beat Iowa State) has made fans angry with themselves for even allowing hope to enter their minds. So instead of looking objectively at this season and all the improvements made by the team and coaching staff, and instead of staying angry at themselves, they have been trolling anyone who doesn’t shout, “FIRE KINGSBURY” at the top of their social media accounts.
Once again, the mailbag is overflowing. Not just with questions about kickers, Kingsbury’s hotseat, and the like, but of fans shouting down others with snarky, borderline trolling responses to fans actually looking for answers with some other response than, “burn it down.” So if you expect to get a hate filled answer to your question, you’re in the wrong spot. Criticism and credit will be given out as required, but overreaction has no home with me. Let’s get it...
First of all, I don’t believe in “karma”. Second of all, I love Mike Leach. I too wish he’d had not been fired. But, the fact of the matter is, things would have continued about the same as it had during his 10 years at Tech. A bunch of 8 and 9 win seasons, with a 7 sprinkled in here and there, and maybe 1 Big 12 championship. That last one is a big if too. Sure it looks great now, just like most exes, but fans were at a tipping point with Leach back in 2009. A lot of them were unhappy he aired his displeasure over contracts to ESPN and every news outlet that would have him on for leverage. A lot of them were unhappy even before that, that he hadn’t been able to seal the deal in Norman in 2008 (especially with how that game went). Still some others had issues in how he interacted with the media. Beloved now, in retrospect and in the changing times, but back then, many fans were frustrated with his short, honest, and seemingly condescending answers during halftime and post-game interviews.
With all that being said, the relationship between Tech fans and Mike Leach would have soured as do many relationships that go on for a long time. We tend to focus on all their faults and ignore their virtues.
You make a really good point. The game in question was 2006 when Tech scored just 3 points in a 12-3 defeat. Neither team scored a TD and Tech was held to just 242 yards of total offense. It then came to a head a few weeks later as Tech played #23 Missouri at home. Two interceptions by Harrell were returned for TDs and two fumbles by Harrell led to TDs for a total of 28 points off of Graham Harrell turnovers in a 38-21 loss. That was the infamous “Chris Todd” game and booed Graham Harrell when he came back onto the field after being replaced by Todd for one series. Harrell had a choice finger for the crowd during that game.
Though the analogy isn’t exactly similar as Harrell was a RS-So and Shimonek is a 5th year senior, but it does put into context the struggle of why winning in college football is so difficult. Changing rosters every year due to graduation, injury retirements, transfers and NFL draft declarations. Fans would like it to be static like we see NFL rosters built around a stalwart core of players, but it’s an ever fluid one that on any day can have trouble executing.
Thing to note, as I posted on Twitter earlier this week, that 2006 team was also 4-3 and went on to win 8 games that year.
You’re right about one thing, there is no patience left in the Tech fan base, or in humanity anymore. The rise of the internet and instant gratification as seen to put an end to that ever fleeting commodity. Interesting how much patience was shown Spike Dykes, beloved West Texan and for all intents and purposes, the all-time leader in wins at Texas Tech (seeing how Mike Leach is never coming back to be honored no matter how many decades go by). Spike Dykes through 4 years as head coach had the same number of wins as Kliff Kingsbury, 24. Spike Dykes led Tech to just two bowl games in his first 7 seasons and won the SWC Championship in his 8th year while going 6-6 in the process. He also got a 10 year contract extension after a 4-7 campaign in 1990.
I think Kingsbury is the guy for the job. He’ll never leave, unless he’s fired. It doesn’t matter what other program comes or how many millions they throw at him, he’ll retire as Texas Tech’s head coach 25 years from now if given the chance. Now that’s assuming he starts having Leach-like, 7-8-9 win seasons, but Kingsbury has show plenty of improvement in every area he was told needed to improve.
An improved run defense, ranked 32nd going into the Iowa State game and one of the best turnover margins now at +7 (down from +9 last week). The offense has struggled in the red zone. No one can dispute that. They are woeful. It definitely needs to improve, but Kliff Kingsbury is one of the best play callers, statistically, Texas Tech has ever had... including Mike Leach. Before Iowa State, most fans still thought that Tech’s offense was struggling and not up to par. To show how spoiled we have gotten under Kliff Kingsbury and his QBs of Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes, going into the Iowa State game Tech was ranked #7 in total offense and 4th in scoring offense. After a down game last week... Tech is still #7 in total offense and 13th in scoring.
As someone once told me about having struggles in your life (changed for sports), “we aren’t having a bad season, we had a bad 5 quarters”.
This comment is pretty balanced and I give you credit. I too think Tech is poised for something great and soon. Where we might differ is on the coach. I think Kliff is the coach we need and he’s done a great job in representing Texas Tech to the nation.
On the other side, I’m not sure what you, me or anyone else has to be embarrassed about when it comes to Texas Tech Athletics? Is it losing to Iowa State? A team that beat Oklahoma in Norman and is ranked this week? Is it losing late to a West Virginia team in Morgantown who was ranked the week before and the week after us and played a Top 10 TCU team to the final seconds in Fort Worth?
I think we as a fan base need a large dose of perspective if we deem the worth or value of our alma mater by how good our football team is or who we beat that year. Instead we should be asking ourselves, how is our admin and coaching staff conducting themselves and the football team? Are they in any recruiting scandals? Sex, rape or violence against women scandals? In the past, we have dealt with these, but Kingsbury and company have done an incredible job in making sure everything is handled to the highest degree and in accordance with our values as a university. Many have been dismissed from the program for their actions and misconduct. Some have worked their way back to the university such as Dakota Allen and Jett Duffey. Some have left of their own accord after being suspended in house for violations of academics or other team rules.
In a world where Charlie Strong was on the hot seat in Texas before every coaching a down of football, for dismissing 20+ players from the team and instilling culture in that program, I’d rather be proud of my program and lose than be like Baylor was under Art Briles.
Shimonek is putting up decent numbers, the Iowa State game not withstanding. He’s our quarterback until Tech is either 4-6 or 4-7. The truth of it is, is McClane Carter wasn’t overly impressive in spring ball or fall camp and Jett Duffey just got back on campus in late August after being suspended from the team and the university the previous year.
Neither are a viable option other than to just have someone different, which is basically all fans want. Because the backup and the next coach have to be better than what we have right?
It’s an interesting thought. However, in the world of coaching it’s not going to happen. Once you are in charge you don’t relinquish command to be mentored. You either ride it out and allow him to grow on his own or you make a full change and Kingsbury is gone.
I don’t think the job is too big for him. He’s had to deal with a lot behind the scenes that most of us are unaware of. From trying to fix the disaster the program was left in by Tuberville, to firing his defensive coordinator mid-season because of alcohol or substance use, to finally getting some consistency as DC and the right position coaches in place. If you remember, 2016 saw a wholesale change in coaching staff. Mike Jenks left to be head coach at Bowling Green. Mike Smith, Trey Haverty and Kevin Curtis were let go only to have some of their replacements, who weren’t the first coach of Kingsbury, come in for just one year and leave. To now, he’s got the RB coach he originally wanted to replace Mike Jenks in Jabbar Juluke (chose LSU over Tech in 2016), as well as building a culture with Rusty Whitt as strength and conditioning coach, and Brandon Jones as O-Line coach. He’s improved the defense and done everything that has been asked of him after last season. If we some how thought the offense wouldn’t skip a single beat after Mahomes declared, that’s on us. To be 4-3 at this point is good, just slightly disappointing when could be 6-1.
Statistically, he’s the best play caller Tech has ever had. And if you had watched the film from the OU game, you knew Tech had to establish the run early to force Iowa State to bring in another defender to the box to open up the passing game. Rushing 3 and dropping 8 is how they beat Oklahoma. Mayfield had no where to throw the ball and completely shut down Lincoln Riley’s offense. It’s not the first time it’s happened either. Here is a list of offensive coaches Iowa State has shut down this year... Kliff Kingsbury, Tom Herman, Lincoln Riley, Doug Meacham. Not a bad list of offensive minds, so let’s not act like this was a horrendous job of playcalling but Kliff.
Now the argument can be made about how long he stayed with the run when it wasn’t working early on. We can have a discussion about that. But, if he had abandoned the run too early and wasn’t able to pass it, fans would have been angry (like they were in the 4th quarter against WVU) that he didn’t stick with the run more.
Everything is second guessed when it doesn’t work. No one bats an eye when it does.
Nothing. His whole offense is centered around the Air Raid. Here is where Tech’s passing offense have ranked nationally since Kingsbury took over:
I’m not sure how he’s “destroyed” our offense. I think that comment has no merit whatsoever. Statistics don’t like. I will say if there is one area offensively that has taken a step back this year it’s red zone scoring. Which is awful.
You’re not the only one who thinks he should take a demotion to offensive coordinator while Tech brings in another head coach with more experience. But frankly, the sheer number of people suggesting that shows a great lack of knowledge about the coaching and positions of power. He’ll never take a back seat to anyone at Texas Tech. No one has ever, outside of Dave Campo, has said, “yeah I’ll stay on as OC while someone else comes in to be HC”. If he goes, he’s gone. He’ll be a head coach of a Mountain West school and have great success most likely.
As far as kickers go.. we have one and he’s hurt. The ones being used right now, are a kickoff specialist (Barden) and a true freshman who is a preferred walk-on and Tech thought they’d have a few years to develop behind Hatfield. No team stock piles kickers in case their number one pulls a groin.
Valid observations. I wouldn’t say it’s as much about what is Tech not doing as much as what have defenses started doing. Not to mention, we’ve gone up against some good defenses so far. West Virginia is fairly capable in that department despite a down year their year statistically. Houston was really good... that was more of red zone issues than anything else. And Iowa State has shut down 4 really good offensive minds in Kingsbury, Riley, Herman and Meacham this year.
Also they had 3 deep safeties the majority of the game. Tech knew coming in they had to establish the run against a 3 man front, 5 man box and force them to stop dropping 8. It’s one of the reasons why when Tech did abandon the run, every pass was contested and thrown into a tight window. We weren’t able to get guys in space like we are used to and that was the major difference.
We also need to lose the complacency of viewing teams in a certain light. Kansas not 10 years ago was winning a BCS bowl. They obviously had a decline after their “Mike Leach”, Mark Mangino was fired for wrongful conduct as well. Oklahoma and Texas were bottom dwellers in the 1990s. Tech wasn’t much better until the Leach era. We also saw that becoming a power cost Baylor its figurative soul.
Here’s the thing about replacing Kliff Kingsbury. Let’s say money isn’t an problem with buying him out. You still pay him close to $7m to not coach for you. Regardless of what the pros and big time schools do and what we think is feasible, this is an atrocious waste of money. But, for the sake of this hypothetical, let’s say Tech buys him out.
First things first, you have to have someone in mind and you have to believe you can get him. It can’t be a “we didn’t get our first coach and ended up with whoever was left over” type of thing and he has to be substantially better than Kingsbury. Second, they have to want to come to Lubbock. Third, they have to be in Tech’s price range of $3-4m. And finally, you have to find someone who won’t leave in three years for a better program.
Chad Morris, Sonny Cumbie and Sonny Dykes do not meet the first criteria of being substantially better than Kingsbury. All are offensive guys who have limited experience or limited success.
I know you’re joking about Saban and Meyer, because even if they wanted to come to Tech we don’t have the money to pay them $9-11m+ a year. Think I’m joking? Saban is being paid $11.25m for the 2017 year. Urban Meyer is $6m and that’s going to jump big time when it’s time to renew his contract. Harbaugh at Michigan is making $9m.
This is the same Texas Tech University that struggled to find a reason as to why Mike Leach was worth $2m per year in 2009. They are paying Kingsbury $3.3m and he’s the 30th highest paid coach in college football.
I can’t think of a coaching candidate that meets all the criteria I posted earlier. Yes maybe you make a splash with a coach who isn’t coaching right now, like Les Miles. But even if he meets all the criteria, who in their right mind thinks Les will stay in Lubbock once a bigger program comes calling? The fact of the matter is, the current landscape of college football sees Texas Tech as a stepping stone to a bigger program. I know a lot of fans are ok with non-guaranteed marginally improved success if it means rotating coaches every 3 to 4 years. I am not.
Every spread/Air Raid system uses screens as it’s running game. And Shimonek is actually averaging more yards per attempt than most of Tech’s QBs going back all the way to the Leach days. I don’t know what you weren’t seeing with Mahomes, but a lot of his throws were screens too. You remember this...
Granted it’s technically 2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, but it’s a play that Tech as run every year under Kingsbury and it’s considered to be a screen. I think it’s actually a variation of the play Iowa State intercepted for a TD last week.
Seth Littrell might be interesting, but again, neither him or Morris is a significant upgrade (or an upgrade at all) over Kingsbury. It’s just someone different. It’s the old Tech fan mentality of “anyone has to be better than what we have”.
I would agree with that. Offensive line and running backs. The two fumbles were what really decided this game. That’s on the players.
That was the same argument used when Leach was here. Fans thought that, boosters thought that and ultimately they got their man in Tommy Tuberville. A defensive minded, “balanced” coach who wanted to run the ball. It didn’t turn out so well.
That’s definitely your prerogative. I myself will not go to another Tech game if he IS fired before his contract is up. I’ll pull my money from the university as well... the little that it is.
Didn’t we have an experienced coach who took his teams and competed not just in the SEC but in the national title picture? We did. His conference record here at Tech was 9-17. It’s more complex than just swapping out coaches.
Stop being millennials haha. It’s not just at Texas Tech. It’s every fan base in every program and in every pro sport. As soon as adversity hits, “fire everyone”. People never seemed to get this riled up about sports. People sure didn’t when Spike Dykes was here. He was basically where Kingsbury is now, but he was beloved.
I think it’s an ego thing. It’s no longer for love and support of the university. If it was, every home game would be sold out regardless of the record. But now, any loss will make fans give up. It may be rooted in the thinking that they know so much more than the coaches do. Even though if given the chance to sit down with Kingsbury, he’d probably run circles around them with his knowledge of football. If Tech loses to Oklahoma on Saturday and is 4-4, I would expect the stadium to be empty the following home game against Kansas State. But my hope would be that with a 4-4 record, and 4 games to go, that Tech fans would rally around their team, sell out the Jones and stay the whole game. When you only get 6 home games a year... all the games are big.
Biggest thing... I think fans need perspective and a life. (Says the guy who writes for a sports blog who call him delusional for his opinions haha)
Remember this? Where does Tech gets wins to salvage this season? And, as Bob Hope would say about Kingsbury, “Does he see Christmas” as HC? pic.twitter.com/yREtL3DY3u— Rico (@TX_Linx) October 22, 2017
What will really happen to KK if we lose out?Or get one more win?Two wins isn’t likely.And,the Scott Jordan curse needs to end. 50yd@jones— VivaThe Dumpsterfire (@vivathedumpster) October 22, 2017
I’d like to see Kingsbury finish out his contract and then evaluate from there, regardless of his record. But in reality, if he loses out he’s gone. And I thought I buried Scott on the 10 yard line (hence the red zone issues, I guess), but it is The Walking Dead season.
I’m so frustrated I really don’t know where to start— John Looney (@TexRaider52) October 22, 2017
Start with a Tom Collins. It’s Gin, simple syrup, lime juice and club soda. It’s refreshing and will put some objectivity in your mind. And don’t forget... if you think you’re frustrated, how do you think Kingsbury, and the team feel? No one feels more frustrated than they do.
Has coaching staff lost confidence in offense ability to go vertical with air game ? Sure seems that way... last 6 qtrs have been BAD— William (@redraderwill87) October 22, 2017
Yes and no. Statistically, the last two years have been the most Tech has tried to push the ball down the field in the modern era (believe it or not). But as to the last 5 quarters, West Virginia went with a prevent style defense that took away a lot of what Tech was trying to do and was able to do earlier in the game. With Iowa State, they had 3 safeties deep and were dropping 8. Hence the run calls. We just didn’t establish the run against a 5 man box... and the 2 fumbles didn’t help either.
KSU, Texas, & even Baylor all looked relatively tough yesterday...is it possible that we miss a bowl? If so, does Kliff get 1 more year?— Cooper Burnett (@cooptr34) October 22, 2017
If we lose out and miss a bowl, I think he’s gone. It pains me to say it, but that was the basic understanding we had coming into the year. And if that happens it’s 100% on the players. Kingsbury has done everything required to keep his job as spelled out by Kirby Hocutt last December.
Final win/loss prediction right now?— Bobby Odom (@Upodom_bob) October 22, 2017
I still think 8-4 is a definite possibility. After the loss to WVU though, I feel more confident in 7-5.
Epilogue: We need to rally around this team. It’s bad enough for drunken frat boys to be complaining and trolling official university media outlets, but when you start seeing players sending out tweets about how “Texas Tech vs Everybody” might as well include the fans now.. that’s a problem.
Texas Tech has a better chance to beat Oklahoma this weekend than they did Iowa State this past weekend in my opinion. They just match up better. Play similar styles. Not to mention, Oklahoma has looked woefully mediocre the past 4 games despite being able to survive 3 of them. Lincoln Riley is in the same boat Kingsbury was in in 2013... no reason to think that as good as Riley is Kingsbury can’t go and upset OU in Norman. And even if they don’t, fans need to sell out the Jones the following weekend against Kansas State. With 4 games left at that point, Tech needs the energy from the fans no matter who the opponent is.
Thanks for all your questions. Got to as many as I could. Be sure to look for the podcast previewing Oklahoma on Friday. Look for the mail call for next week’s mailbag on Sunday.
Until then... Wreck’em!