Kingsbury gave a rough outline of what to expect in terms of the structure of the "game".
First off, warmups start at 10:30 and kickoff is set for 11 a.m. When asked if Saturday would be a scrimmage with real-game conditions or a glorified practice, Kingsbury said a scrimmage like last season at the Jones. In fact, Kingsbury said he would like to get in 120 or so plays as they did a year ago.
Coach added he will have the No. 1 offense go against the No. 1 defense and the 2's vs. the 2's a lot as well
Low Key and Humble
There is no disputing there is a lot less hype surrounding this spring than the year before. I can't speak to the year before that because I wasn't here, but there have been no Youtube videos of dance offs, no water bucket challenges with Kingsbury challenging Beyonce and no pictures of ice cream trucks driving on the practice field.
All of the above may still be happening, but the Red Raiders sure aren't announcing it publicly. They're also not granting a lot of media access.
I asked Kingsbury point blank today why this spring has been so low key, if it has been a conscious decision on his part and if so, why? His response:
"I think we're just laying low right now. Yeah, when you go 4-8 you need to know when to lay low, so we're grinding, we're working hard at it and our team has done a good job of kind of keeping our mouths shut and just working hard and getting where we need to get."
I don't know the way it looks in type, but in person Kingsbury came off as sincere. For sure.
Kingsbury said the main thing he wants to see Saturday is his team play a clean game, with less mental mistakes and penalties which have plagued the Red Raiders the past two seasons. I followed up with a question asking if he has seen any improvement in that area so far this spring and this is what he said:
"I have seen more of an emphasis, I think as a team just taking more pride in it. We can't just be coaches yelling all the time, they have to own it and if they want a successful season they'll get it figured out, because that's what's been killing us the last couple years and you know coaches can scream and yell all they want, but at some point as a team you have take ownership and get it done."
I followed that up by asking if there was anything the players were doing to take ownership, anything particular he could point to.
"No, it's just growing up I think, getting adjusted to what we're doing, what we are as a staff and schematically. And then just becoming better players, you know?"
Outlaw, Fehoko and the Defensive Line
Perhaps what caught my attention more than anything was Kingsbury's comment when asked which player or players have helped themselves the most this spring. Coach didn't hesitate to say sophomore defensive lineman Josh Outlaw is looking good at defensive tackle, which should be music to Texas Tech fans' ears.
"One that's jumped out on the defensive line is Josh Outlaw, who we moved over there. I think coach [Mike] Smith has done a tremendous job getting him caught up with the scheme pretty quickly. He's really flashed. He's a bigger body than what we have had, very athletic and you put him and Breiden [Fehoko] together up there you have two big, strong, young guys that we can build with. So that's been exciting to see."
It's not just Outlaw and Fehoko, the whole defensive line has received praise this spring, including from safety Keenon Ward on Wednesday.
"I feel like they, as a whole, have had the best spring," Ward said. "It's a complete turn around from last year. They're aggressive, they're getting off the ball, they're blocking passes. It's fun to watch and I'm just thankful to play behind them this year, I am very confident in our defensive line."
Mahomes Looking Sharp
Kingsbury, Reginald Davis and Keenon Ward were each asked Wednesday what they thought about quarterback Patrick Mahomes' development and if he's showing any improvement in practice. The following are a series of quotes from each on the subject
"Now the whole playbook is open and I feel comfortable calling anything," Kingsbury said. "He's come a long way. I've been really proud how he's handled this spring, because it's a tough load all day, everyday with study hall and baseball and football. You'd never know it, he comes over with a smile on his face and works his butt off. It's exciting to see someone who can handle all that."
"(He's improved ) A lot. He's a whole different cat," receiver Reginald Davis said. "He scrambles around, throws the ball, everybody open, he can throw it deep, he can do it all."
"It's pretty cool, because he can turn a busted play into a touchdown," Davis said. "It's always good to have someone that can scramble."
"Pat's getting better everyday," safety Keenon Ward said. "You can see it. He seems a lot more confident, he seems like he knows the offense better than he ever has. I like going against him, he makes the defense better. I mean, that's what we need."
The junior receiver continues to impress as Kingsbury once again pointed him out as a guy who is making plays this spring. Safety Keenon Ward added he has never seen Davis play as good as he is this spring and is excited to see what he'll add to the team this fall.
Davis, of course struggled in 2014 and eventually lost his starting job, which he admitted was painful, but he said he has used that disappointment to fuel his work ethic this offseason.
"It was very emotional to go from playing in the game to sitting on the sidelines, but I handled it well, I just watched Bradley [Marquez] everyday, seeing how he did to do better things in the games, so I just copied him basically."
Davis added he has learned to not take football for granted and to give it all every play.
"I just realized I need to step up and help my team get some wins so I give my all every time I go out to practice now."
Keenon Ward Unplugged
I really enjoyed Ward's interview session and found it informative. Ward also looks jacked, I don't know how much heavier he is, but he has added some significant muscle to his frame.
Click below to hear Ward's complete, unedited audio interview session from Wednesday.