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The 2OT: Can Kingsbury still bring success to Texas Tech?

Kingsbury has what it takes to be successful, but is it too late for him to turn the ship around?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The thought

Because the baseball team is on their finals break and there’s nothing interesting going on, Red Raider fans have turned the conversation to the one topic more divisive than the 2016 presidential election, Texas Tech football.

The divide between fan opinion is greater than ever before as we head into the 2018 season. Some fans are sure that this will be the breakout season for Kliff Kingsbury. Others are optimistic that we’re looking at another losing season and “then we can finally get a new coach.”

So does Kingsbury have what it takes to turn the ship around?

The take

It’s no secret that Kliff is on the hotseat going into the season. The former Red Raider quarterback is 30-33 as the head coach of his alma mater and hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2013 Holiday Bowl. Even some of the most optimistic fans are starting to lose faith in the young coach.

Back in december 2012 when Tuberville was on the hotseat, Kingsbury was the name that most fans brought up when talking about who to hire next. I liked Kingsbury but wasn’t comfortable with his lack of experience. I chimed into the local sports station that “I’m not against the idea of Kingsbury as a head coach and in fact I think he would be very successful, but fans should be prepared for a rough first few seasons as he works out the bugs”. So far I’ve been spot on with that sentiment.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Kingsbury’s first five seasons as head coach have been hard, not just because of the losing seasons, but because those season’s have been so painfully close to winning that it seems like Texas Tech Football just isn’t capable of competing in a power five conference. The other half of my comment however, was that at some point, Kingsbury was going to become very successful as a head coach, either at Texas Tech or somewhere else.

The growing pains have been harder than I think most were expecting. The most damaging mistake, in my opinion, was hiring Matt Wallerstedt as the defense coordinator in 2013. Prior to being fired midway through the 2014 season, Wallerstedt managed to undo much of the progress that Art Kaufmann had made in the 2012 season and cost Kingsbury an opportunity to take advantage of arguably the best quarterback to play at Texas Tech. The lackluster seasons have taken a toll on recruiting which ultimately affects the product on the field. To say the least, Kingsbury has dug himself into a hole.

This is why I think it is so important for a young coach to be a head coach at places like The University of the Incarnate Word or even on the high school level before jumping to a power five program. It allows a young coach to work out the kinks without the pressure that a major program brings. When Kingsbury was brought in it was done with the idea that Kingsbury could learn on the job and if there were growing pains, then that would be considered an investment towards a better future.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Kingsbury is in a hole, but I believe he will dig himself out. This will be a critical season as potential recruits will be deciding whether or not to commit to a program who may or may not have it’s head coach when they arrive on campus. If Kingsbury can’t break the seven win glass ceiling this year, it will only get harder as the recruiting classes become less and less talented. This year however, Kingsbury brings his most talented defense since the 2012 season and returns his entire offensive line. The biggest question mark is in the quarterback position, but Kingsbury didn’t earn the quarterback whisperer nickname by chance. Despite the problems at quarterback last season, Kingsbury is still the best quarterback coach in college football.

Kingsbury has everything he needs to be successful. In a few months, we will find out if it’s enough.


Will Kingsbury turn the ship around?

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