Coach Speak: Texas Tech vs. Kansas State

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas State Bill Snyder answer questions from the media during Monday's weekly Big 12 teleconference.

Kliff Kingsbury
How did you feel like it went with Mike (Smith) on Thursday?
Kingsbury: I thought he did a good job. I thought he put our players in position to make plays, we didn't always make them and their guys did, which is a credit to them. I thought he brought a good energy and was enthusiastic. The D gave us the ball back a bunch of times in the first half to get a lead and really get things rolling and offensively we just didn't do it. So I was proud of the defense's effort.

I know the start to the season has been a little bit different than last year when you won seven straight games. As a coach how different is it when you start one season like that and another 2-2?
Kingsbury: Each season is a different challenge and a different group and a different team, so we haven't played as well as we would have liked so far this year, but that's football and as a coaching staff we have to do a better job of getting our players ready and getting our players coached up, so we're excited about the remaining schedule. We know it's just going to get tougher, but I think if we clean some things up we have a chance to be a pretty good football team.

Is there anything specific you think your defense needs to focus on against Kansas State's offense?
Kingsbury: No, you'd like to focus on the run game, they do that so well, but their quarterback is playing at such a high level and they have one of the best receivers in the country out there in Lockett, so you can't do that. They can hurt you in any way. They are so well coached. They don't make mistakes, they don't hurt themselves and so as a defense we're going to have to be very sound and get lined up and play our responsibilities.

Kansas State really runs that pop pass off the zone read and that seems to kind of be the next step in sort of the option football. How tough is that to defend when a team runs it and especially when they run it as well as Kansas State does?
Kingsbury: It's very difficult. You give that quarterback that many options-he can run it, throw it, keep it, hand it off-all those things in the option and then you get a guy who cn execute on a high level like he is, then blocking the right people like Kansas State does it's almost indefensible. So as a defensive player you have to be very sound, you have to be great with your eyes, if they do complete it get them down and make the tackle.

I know penalties have hurt Texas Tech this season. Is there anything you've maybe focused on and worked with your team to get those down?
Kingsbury: We've tried pretty much everything, so we'll try another thing this week and see if we can improve. Some of them are effort penalties and some they're just not being disciplined in their fundamentals and techniques. That's on us as coaches to get that coached up and straightened out, but if that doesn't improve you're not going to have a chance to win many games in this league.

I know you have said you have tried everything, but when does it come to a point when it becomes almost too much of a big deal and players are worried about it too much? Is it one of those things where you look at it and say we really have tried everything, I mean how frustrating is it to have tried that much and so far it hasn't worked yet?
Kingsbury: It's been frustrating because I do think the effort is there, we're playing these games with winning effort, but when you have that many penalties you're just always moving back or you're allowing drives to continue and just hurting yourself. I'm frustrated for our players, as a coaching staff, like I said, it falls on us to get that straightened out whteher it be personnel changes or better coaching technique. That's something we have to figure out and that's nobody's fault but our as coaches.

What's the latest on Davis Webb's health?
Kingsbury: He's basically day-to-day. We'll go out there today and see what he can do and how he feels, but I haven't seen him today and we'll know if he can throw and play later on this week.

Talk a little bit about Patrick and what type of quarterback is he and what did you see through the recruiting process, now that he's there what do you like about him and where does he need to grow?
Kingsbury: Very athletic. Had tremendous numbers in high school. Can extend plays very well. Keeps his eyes down field. All fall camp when we'd give him reps he did a great job of moving the football. He's young so it's not always pretty, but he just has a knack for making plays. It's exciting. I think he has to grow up quick, it was moving pretty fast for him last Thursday, but I thought he handled himslf fairly well. He went down and got us a touchdown, which was encouraging. But, tremendous athlete, young, still learning, but we have lots of faith in him if he needs to go in that he can get the job done.

Bill Snyder
Are you preparing for both Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes?
Snyder: I think you have to, don't you? I'm not in the position to rule either one of them out. You have to prepare for both of them and that's kind of our intent.

It seems like Mahomes might be more of a read-option and Webb is more of that guy trying to throw 50, 60 times a game. So it seems like you are preparing for two different offenses, not just two different quarterbacks.
Snyder: Well, I think there could be a little more of an emphasis with one than the other, but there's a substantial amount of offense with their package every year. Regardless of who's back there you have to prepare for all of it. I mean, I understand what you're saying, but I always try and prepare for everything that exists in the playbook.

I wonder if you ever got an answer that satisfied you on inadvertent whistle review on the blocked punt and if you did get an answer, did that either satisfy you or dissatisfy you with the answer?
Snyder: Well, the response that (I got) was an inadvertent whistle caused them to stop play and there was uncertainty in their minds with regards to whether the individual that possessed the ball would or would not have made a first down and therefore they had to replay the play. So, that was how it was described to me. I can't argue with it. If it's a rule, it's a rule.

I guess you can't assume that he would have gotten tackled, I guess that's what they are saying.
Snyder: Correct.

Any thoughts of the removal of Charlie Weis in the early stage of the season?
Snyder: Well, I can't speak to it, because I don't know, I'm not ingrained into that program and very few are. You just trust that they do what they have to do. That's unfortunate and I'm sure everybody feels bad about it, but that's their program and as I said they know far more about it than I do.

How do you see your running back competition coming along and what does each guy bring to the table?
Snyder: Nobody has pulled away from the other, so-to-speak. Both of them are playing well. I'm not unhappy with either on of them. Charles probably gets more by way of statistics, but not by very much at all. We'll continue to play them as we have been and go from there. As far as making a decision as to who is that one guy, as I said nobody has put themselves ahead.

What do you see from Texas Tech this year and what are your thoughts on that team?
Snyder: Well, kind of like any ballgame, you're going to meet a very viable opponent any day. Texas Tech has always been a very dangerous football team and has the capacity to put the ball in the end zone virtually at any place on the field. I see improvement taking place on both sides of the ball. They have a physical front that even though numbers have not been good, they've proven that they can defend against the run, at least in my eyes that's the case. Obviously, offensively, they're always going to be right up there with the top of the conference in throwing the ball around. You get lulled to sleep thinking that they are strictly a passing team but they run the ball a third of the time and they're pretty effective with it as well. You have to defend against the entire package, and then the uncertainty about who might line up and take the initial snaps in the ballgame at quarterback puts you in a position to, which we would've anyway, prepare for somewhat two different styles of play.

Tyler Lockett was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week. In the past you used him occasionally on punt returns, this what went in to the thinking of using him on a full-time basis and on kick off returns?
Snyder: Well, he keeps himself well conditioned and the continued improvement that he's made as a punt returner allowed us to put him there and trust in his capabilities. Obviously, he's not bad at it.

I noticed you played a couple guys who hadn't seen the field this year there in the fourth quarter against Texas-El Paso. What was the thinking behind getting them on the field rather than keeping them on the sidelines and keeping the redshirts?
Snyder: Because It's time to play and when guys have made a certain amount of progress, and this was indeed the case, then it was import to get them on the field so they are prepared for the remainder of the season. You have to take care of depth. That's always a concern in the conference, you got a lot of football left and if you don't have quality people in backup roles you run some serious risk somewhere down the road. And they deserve to be on the field. They have enhanced their performance enough that it was time.

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