Kliff Kingsbury owns one of the great poker faces. Rarely does he show any emotion.
He always accentuates the positive and never subjects his players to public criticism. These are features that make him a players' coach. But in his press conference following Tech's 33-7 win over Texas State, Kingsbury couldn't completely conceal his concern with the offense's performance.
When asked about the play of his quarterbacks, Kingsbury didn't paper over the obvious. He stated, flat out, that while Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb made a couple of good plays, they made several bad plays as well. Kingsbury also said that Tech "has a lot of improving to do at that position." Coming from Kingsbury, that is stinging criticism.
He was no more pleased with the running game despite the fact that it was quite a bit more productive against TSU than it was against TCU. Kingsbury stated that he was not satisfied with the running game, and revealed that the Red Raiders sometimes had numbers—more blockers than there were defenders—yet were unable to make decent yardage.
One gets the sense that Kingsbury's patience with the offense's relative lack of productivity is wearing thin. And if this trend continues much longer, his poker face may just wear off.
Wondering about Ward
Despite the stupendous one-handed touchdown grab, Eric Ward just does not look like the same receiver we saw last year. His hands are as great as ever, but he simply is not getting separation from cornerbacks. Again and again Davis Webb looked to him on flies, and each and every time he was covered like a carp in a pressure cooker.
Has Ward lost a couple of steps? Is he still a bit rusty after not playing at all in spring practice? Or is the new offense somehow less suited to his skills than the old?
Whatever the explanation, Ward just isn't showing the customary explosiveness that made him such a dangerous receiver last season. Recovering that explosiveness would be a huge help to a couple of your quarterbacks who really need it.
Sunk without Amaro
Fortunately for Tech's offense, Jace Amaro has stepped up where Ward has declined. At this point he is the fuel that keeps this offense functioning. Without his clutch catches over the middle, which frequently net Tech a new set of downs, the Red Raider offense would be in terrible shape right now. For that reason, he is the team's offensive MVP four games into the season.
Tech set a new home attendance record with 60,997 folks in the stands. I have many problems with Tech's game-day atmosphere, but when you're drawing that kind of a crowd for Texas State, you're obviously doing something right. And a crowd of that size for an opponent such as TSU makes clear that Jones Stadium will need another sizeable expansion very soon. If you can draw 61K for Texas State, you can draw 70K for the University of Texas. And the Tech athletic department cannot afford to let slip nine thousand more tickets sold for the big-name opponents.
Kingsbury Can't Hide Disappointment
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