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Matador Mailbag: Where to go from here

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Another 4th qtr collapse has everyone asking questions

Nikopoia

Prologue: I thought we had it. I felt good about Clayton Hatfield returning and that it would help Kingsbury in his red zone playcalling, but even with all the flashes of good, Bill Snyder’s team once again hung around and won in the end. It’s not that I no longer believe that Kingsbury is the right coach for Texas Tech going forward, it’s that I’m wondering if at this level of fan ambivalence will Tech just decide to move on to get everyone on the same page?

The story of Kliff Kingsbury becoming head coach at Texas Tech is rooted back in 2008 and the upcoming contract negotiations with Mike Leach. Not to reopen old wounds, but A led to B and subsequently C. 5 years in and Texas Tech is still struggling to find the footing it once had in the 2000s. Kingsbury and company at times look engaged and at others, defeated. No time more apparent than after yet another missed field goal in front a sparse crowd.

I’ve been criticized for calling out fans who have packed up their toys and gone home no longer willing to publicly support this team in anything more than a half measured hope, but now is not the time to abandon this team. Nothing assured a close game against Kansas State more than a light crowd not making the Jones a hostile environment to play in. With one home game left, Texas Tech fans should sell out the Jones and make senior day a special one with a potential upset of a Top 10 TCU team.
If we want to talk Kingsbury’s departure... let’s save that for after the season is over.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kliff is a little gun shy being under the microscope. If he had pushed the ball down field, and ended up throwing a pick 6 or a interception leading to a FG that would have ended it in regulation, people would be asking why he didn’t run out the clock and play for OT. The entire final drive was dependent on the first play draw. If it had broke for 10 yards, he might have pushed it. It went no where and he decided that he liked his chances better in OT than possibly forcing a bad situation and walking into a defeat. Agree or disagree, it didn’t work out. If it had, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

This is a common criticism of Kingsbury. For whatever reason, fans think coaches should be in player’s faces to motivate them or discipline them and truth is there are a lot of coaching styles and all of them successful. Mike Leach never got in players faces during games, only in practices or in the locker room. To my knowledge Bill Snyder has never raised his voice in his entire career. He just stands there.

As for a new quarterback, Kingsbury would have a hard time justifying sitting a 5th year senior who is in the Top 10 nationally in most passing categories. As of now he’s on the same pace (in some categories better) as Patrick Mahomes in 2015. Shimonek has a 69% completetion percentage, for 3068 yards, 26 TDs and 7 Ints. Not bad at all in my opinion. To be fair, he has struggled in the 4th quarter of games, but it doesn’t warrant benching him for an unproven JUCO transfer and a redshirt freshman who just got back on campus after being suspended (expelled) from the university for an entire year due to Title IX allegations (rape).

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Penalties are a funny thing. Some are ticky-tack and some are legitimate. No matter what is called on the field, I look more at was the penalty based on a lack of technique, heat of the play, or lack of discipline? The pass-interference call on Justus Parker was ticky-tack. I’m not going to bench him if I’m Kingsbury on what I think is a poor call. Kolin Hill’s, roughing the passer penalty/targeting is a flat lack of discipline and guaranteed would have been addressed even if he hadn’t been ejected. Maybe not right then and there, but in practice next week with starting in jeopardy.

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Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Good observation. I think Kingsbury has lost the fearlessness he had in 2013. He’s still the best playcaller in Texas Tech history, but he’s much more cautious. Which, believe it or not, has a lot to do with his job status. It’s almost inescapable to start playing not to lose when you have a lead late in games, which is what we see. Now granted, some plays are there that just aren’t executed, but he definitely no longer has the “fortune favors the bold” mentality.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

It’s closer to $7 million than $6. The problem Tech is running into is that if they do choose to part ways with Kingsbury, they most likely won’t get their first choice, no matter what they say at the new coach’s introduction presser. Kingsbury was Tech’s first choice in 2013. He was seen as a way to unite a fractured fan base and even through the growing pains, would be Tech’s head coach for decades to come.

Right now, several bigger power 5 programs are going to have head coaching vacancies which will be more attractive to potential targets than Texas Tech is. Most coordinators do not have buyout clauses if they leave for head coaching position, but most head coaches at smaller programs do. More than likely, coaches who are ready to make the jump to head coach at a program, that Tech wants, will be wanting the bigger programs like Florida over Texas Tech. Which leaves Tech in an unfortunate position. Do you take a coordinator and another first time head coach to replace Kingsbury? Or do you poach a head coach from a group of 5 school? If it’s someone like Sonny Cumbie, you’re getting basically Kliff Kingsbury 2.0 with no measurable increase in quality... just back to 2013. If you poach a coach like Chad Morris, who many have on a list of possiblities... Chad Morris just signed an extension through 2023. So you have to pay Kingsbury $7 million, whatever Chad Morris’ buyout is to SMU and then pay Morris an annual salary. And before we get into the “oh Tech has the money” claim, let me remind everyone that Texas Tech is a public university and the admin and regents didn’t think Mike Leach was worth $2 million/year.

Right now, regardless of what happens in the last 3 games, it’s becoming 50/50 on whether Kingsbury will be here in 2018, just because of how thin the market will be.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

This is a “This is the house that Jack built” type of question. If Hatfield doesn’t miss the FG, if the defense doesn’t let Kansas State score, if Tech stops KSU from converting the 2-point conversion, all of this is moot. He used 2 timeouts to try and match up on what Kansas State was doing knowing if they didn’t get it the game is over. If he knows that Kansas State is going to get the conversion anyway, he might save those timeouts and have 3 timeouts and :42 and maybe tries to go score. But he wasn’t thinking that, he was trying to win the game in that moment.

Yes the players were upset, but Kingsbury wanted to take his chances in OT and if it had worked, no one is talking about it. He’ll never say he regrets it, but you have to think knowing how it turned out, that he’d do it differently given the chance.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

For me it all started on 1st down and 10 with 0:01 left in the 3rd quarter in Morgantown. Coming off a defensive turnover and up 35-24, Kingsbury tries to go for the kill and throws a pass that nets 1 yard, if that. I would have perferred a run there with the way King and Stockton were running in previous drives... gain 4 or 5 and open the 4th with a 2nd and 5 or so. Instead... we open on 2nd and 9. The next play is a run that gets stuffed. 3rd down is a pass incomplete and now West Virginia has the momentum by forcing a punt when Tech started in plus territory and we know how that went. Half the fans want to go for the kill, half want to manage the clock and shorten the game. This time he kept going for the kill and it didn’t work.

The following week they ran into the buzzsaw that is Iowa State. No surprise here really knowing they beat two Top 5 teams in the span of a month. Had the game plan been executed early and we didn’t fumble twice back to back... who knows. But Iowa State is good and they showed it.

Then Oklahoma... no one expected a win in this game early in the season. Hung tough early... faded to the Sooner run game in the 2nd.

Then we know how Kansas State went.

I still think if we stick with the run game in the 4th and work clock and don’t have so many 3 and outs vs West Virginia... we win that game. Even if everything plays out the same we’re 5-4. If Hatfield makes that kick... we could be 6-3. But as we know... shoulda, woulda, coulda... almost only counts in horseshoes and... if wishes were horses.

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Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Are you saying if he is fired he’d rescind his buyout in his contract and just walk away not penalizing Tech for firing him? I’m not sure why he’d do that knowing that the only place he wants to be is at Texas Tech. If that buyout keeps him at Tech it’s doing what its supposed to.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

He doesn’t ignore that side of the field. He has on multiple occasions in games rolled to his left. The problem is physics. Being right-handed, he’d have to throw against his body, if he is unable to set his feet causing a decrease in velocity and accuracy. By rolling right, it’s a much easier throw for him to make with more power and accuracy.
We saw Mahomes have success at it, but he has arguably the strongest arm in the NFL since Brett Favre. 99% of people can’t do that.

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Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Absolutely. Going to be tough replacing some awesome talent we have lost to the MLB draft, but we’ve had some good recruiting classes the last two years so it’ll all come down to how quick can the newbies become major contributors.

It's that time again. Send your mail if you dare

Posted by Viva The Matadors on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Once again, it’s hard for Kingsbury to give up his strength. He’s the best play caller Tech has ever had. Yes, even better than Mike Leach. I didn’t hear many people think that Mike Leach should give up play calling duties whenever Tech had an off game offensively.

I also don’t think he’d like having someone else call the plays in a situation where if it doesn’t work he’s fired. He wants to leave knowing he did everything he could to try and win. Now if he knew he’d be able to play out his contract (2020)... then maybe. Job security will make men give up a lot.

From a fan perspective it’s easy to see this as sending a defeated message to the team. But these guys are family. They’ve been working day in and day out for years together and though they’d be upset about not going for it right then, it shouldn’t have any bearing going into OT. They all believe in and trust each other. Also, if Tech doesn’t use 2 timeouts (Gibbs) on the 2 point conversion, maybe he tries with 3 timeouts instead of one?

Yes. Believe it or not, Texas Tech wants Kingsbury to be the guy for many years to come, but their patience is running out. My criteria for a replacement for Kingsbury are as follows: 1) Be significant upgrade over Kingsbury 2) Willing to come to Lubbock 3) Willing for $3m/yr 4) Stay more than 3 years

Seeing as the 1st criteria is the most difficult to get past... they have to go defense. If they go with an up and coming OC, you’re basically replacing Kingsbury with somone who isn’t as good... just different. You would prefer HC experience, but that means Group of 5 teams... dicey. So I would think 1) Brent Venables 2) Aranda. I’ve yet to hear anyone else who meets criteria #1. And these two meet criteria #2 and #3, but #4 is iffy.


Thanks for all the questions. Looking forward to answering some after the win this weekend vs Baylor. Let’s get it!