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Matador Mailbag: Happy Kliffsgiving

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Kliff returning for at least 2018 gives us reason to celebrate

Nikopoia

Prologue: First of all I want to thank those of you who wrote in last week and took the time to mention to boss that there was no mailbag or podcasts last week. Felt like a standing coffee date and a concerned friend when the other didn’t show unexpectedly. But anyway, now that I, and my family, are feeling better and back in the swing of things we can get back to all the goodness of the mailbag. A lot has happened since the last one, Tech beat Texas, basketball is ranked, Hocutt stated Kingsbury is coming back... I really don’t know where to start other than to state how thankful I am that Tech isn’t going through the mess that Tennessee is going through right now.

Some things in life are always easier in our minds than in reality. Our minds tend to boil evidence down into it’s simplest forms for ease of computing and decision making, rarely taking into account the entire picture or the complexity of a given situation. Since the 4th quarter collapse at West Virginia my most asked question has been about Kingsbury’s job status, with many thinking the right and easy thing to do is to part ways and get an established coach who can change the culture at Tech and get Tech competing, regularly, for conference championships. But in seeing Tennessee, a historical power, struggle and fail in their search (now on their 3rd choice) and the rest of the country waiting for the dominoes to fall into place, I think we can all agree that it is a good thing Tech is spared from this car crash and that Tech would have ended up with a head coach who wasn’t their first choice.

Hocutt and Kingsbury talk weekly as it is, so any talk after the season would be mainly a recap of progress, failings and where to go from here. At this point, I would expect for Kingsbury to coach out his contract, barring a losing season next year.

There was some talk last year of bringing in someone like Phil Longo to take over play calling and be co-offensive coordinator with Eric Morris, but when Longo decided to go to Ole Miss instead, Kingsbury kept those duties. As good as I think Kingsbury is at calling plays (I think it’s a real strength of his), he maybe too close to it now and needs a fresh pair of eyes on it. The same could be said of Eric Morris. At times, it seems to us fans that they might be trying to be a little too clever in some situations. Much like Tom Herman was running a double reverse from inside the 5 yard line and ultimately throwing an incomplete pass. Beautiful play design, but obviously too clever when traditional, win in the trenches, football was required.

I think the overall staff will stay intact. If there is a change made, look for a high profile, up and comer, from a group of 5 team to come in and be co-offensive coordinator and call plays.

If “big moment getting to him” is complex coverages and pressures being brought against him while he’s taking a snap from his own end zone, then yes. In the 2nd and 3rd quarter, even when he was in the pocket, previous pressures had him throwing off his back foot and the ball tended to float on him. I think we have been brain washed with Patrick Mahomes arm strength and some of the throws he was able to get away with. One NFL scout said Mahomes may have the strongest arm he’s ever seen in the NFL. That would include the likes of Brett Favre among others. Most quarterbacks don’t have nor do they need that type of arm. They just need to set their feet and get into their throws.

Give him another year with Coach Whitt and Kingsbury and next season he’ll look more like the 1st quarter player we saw against Texas.

To be honest, I am not aware of any as of yet. There is a big name JUCO DE who his visiting this weekend and with the early enrollee signing day on December 20th, we should get that info very soon.

But I would say to look at all the previous signees from last year who were redshirted this year. They are the ones most likely to make an impact in the upcoming season. Though with 19 starters returning next year (barring early declarations or transfers) the majority of those redshirts will be providing depth.

There have been rumors of a certain quarterback from Michigan transferring in, but I think if that happens and he gets the starting job, their might be a fallout behind him. I’m still really big on McClane Carter. I think he showed us in the 1st quarter what he can be, 11-15 for 174 yards. Yes, the next two quarters were dismal, but a lot of that was more to do with being backed up in their own endzone multiple times which restricted the playbook and allowed Texas to bring more pressure.

Tech does have a 3 star QB coming in next year in Alan Bowman who has looked really good and you can immediately see why Tech went after him. I know everyone wants to see Duffey, but I’m not sold on him yet... on or off the field.

At this point, I think there is a good chance Kingsbury might coach out his contract. This upcoming season is a prime one for Texas Tech. With home games against WVU, OU, and Texas, two of whom will have new quarterbacks... I think Tech has a realistic shot to get back to 3rd or 4th in the conference with 8 or 9 wins. And though fan pressure continues to grow, after this year, I think Kingsbury is past his own pressure with his job. He had to make changes to how he coaches, he brought in several new JUCO players on defense and needed them to perform right away and he lost his starting QB to the NFL. Everything pointed to this season being a failure and outside of the Win/Loss column, it was far from it.

I know everyone wants A&M, but give me Oregon in the Cactus Bowl. I think that game would be the most fun.

Mail call! Send us all your pressing questions after Texas Tech's win over Texas, Kingsbury and bowl projections.

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Monday, November 27, 2017

Every coach is different in how they approach that. Leach wanted big hulking lineman who didn’t have to move much. Kingsbury seems to want big, but more athletic lineman who can pull and get out for screens. Gone are the days of Brandon Carter and his 370 pound frame. But Tech’s offensive line is nothing to sneeze at. LT - Travis Bruffy (So) 6’5 305, LG - Madison Akamonu (So) 6’5 320, C - Paul Stawarz (Jr) 6’6 295, RG - Jack Anderson (Fr) 6’5 320, RT - Terence Steele (So) 6’6 320.

They are going to be even better next year. Coupled with the other two really touted offensive lineman who were redshirted Will Farrar and Dawson Deaton, Kingsbury is doing a good job of getting talented lineman in the program.

Mail call! Send us all your pressing questions after Texas Tech's win over Texas, Kingsbury and bowl projections.

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Monday, November 27, 2017

Depends on who you talk to, but mainly because Eric Morris doesn’t call plays.

As far as taunting goes, I think it was the correctly call and to your point, it should be called more consistently across the board. Taunting either is or it isn’t and ultimately it’s up to the referee to determine that. Back in the day, Mych Thomas’ finger wave would be taunting. The real question is, if he had done “Guns Up” after the score would THAT have been taunting?

Mail call! Send us all your pressing questions after Texas Tech's win over Texas, Kingsbury and bowl projections.

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Monday, November 27, 2017

Hard to say, but I’d imagine quite a bit. It’s more complex than a lot of people would like to admit and with so many programs looking for head coaches, and with how hungry this fan base is to win, you better hit a homerun. You don’t want to be stuck with someone who isn’t your first choice and may not be as good as Kingsbury... just different. Look at Tennessee. National power who is down, but they are now on their third choice for head coach after Schiano debacle and Gundy turning down a $7mil/year for 6 years deal.


Thanks everyone for your questions!