Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Week 9 Practice Report

A compilation of notes and quotes after Monday's press conference and post practice availability with head coach Kliff Kingsbury, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, cornerback Justis Nelson, receiver Jonathan Giles (pictured above), receiver Keke Coutee and offensive lineman Baylen Brown.

The Offense's Performance Against Oklahoma

  • Kingsbury on Mahomes’ toughness: “I think because of the situation with his shoulder and being banged up and how much he's had to push through, and just participating in 100 plays, 88 throws, 12 runs in that shape, it's incredible that he just kept getting up and kept going and kept converting third downs. I think we were at 20 of 25, and he probably converted 18 of them on his own. Yeah, his will to win is second to none.”
  • Mahomes on his decision to play against K-State and WVU: “I mean, to me I was focused on the team and I felt like I need to be out there to lead our team to get wins and we didn't get the wins but I wanted to be out there with my teammates. I mean, I worked so hard this off-season I wanted to give our team the best chance to win, and for me, in my mind, it was me playing, but I know Nick could win the game, but I wanted to be out there and try and win the game.
  • Kingsbury on if the o-line improved with Murphy: “I think so. I think he brought some stability. I thought they were solid all night. There were times here and there that we let some guys through, and Pat had to avoid them, but as the game went on and Murphy got in there, I think their confidence was raised in the second half.”
  • Mahomes on Coutee’s performance: “I think it's just confidence. When you start making plays you can tell his confidence went up and you started wanting to give him the ball, and he started making plays happen, and it's something you can feel when you're around him, and that's what let him take off this season.”
 
What Coutee and Giles Think
  • Giles on the inside receivers killin’ it: “We watched film today and we feel like overall as an inside group we did pretty good. We made some big plays, especially on third down, Keke made a play, Cam made a huge play on third down, Ian, so coach Morris is very proud of the inside receivers.”
  • I asked Giles about what he can teach this team about responding to adversity since he did just that after he fumbled: “It’s just one play. At the end of the day, you still have four quarters to show who you are and prove who you are, especially on national tv. I knew after I fumbled I had to come back harder than before.” He says he talks to other players about this “all the time.”
  • Giles on if Mahomes being more involved in practice helped their performance: “I feel like it did because he got more time to work with us and get the rhythm right. I feel like that did help a little bit our offensive performance.” Giles added that, “after that game I’m pretty sure he is close to 100%”
  • Coutee on what is the secret to the inside receiver being so open: “Y’all know the inside guys are pretty fast we just run. We are just getting open and run fast. That is our job to get open and run fast and that is what we are doing…”
  • Coutee on what it feels like for this offense to almost score on will: “It’s a pretty great feeling. Just to know we have one of the top offenses in the country and know we can score at any time is a pretty great feeling.”
  • Coutee on does he feel like they are going to have to score a lot against TCU: “Most definitely. Two great offenses, both going to throw the ball around, probably going to turn into a shootout again.”
 
The Defense's Performance Against Oklahoma
  • Kingsbury on what the coaching staff needs to do to fix this: “They're back there right now working on every angle we can. If I had an answer for the struggles, I would let you know. If I could answer why we haven't gotten any turnovers, I would fix it but they're working diligently to try to put people in the right places to be successful, and the players have to make plays. It's been a rough couple of weeks, and we'll work hard this week trying to get it fixed.”
  • Kingsbury on what you can do 7 weeks in: “Defensively? Trying new things. At this point with the performance of the last two weeks, I mean, I think it's all up for discussion on that side of the ball. So we're going to try some personnel groupings and try some different things to change it up and breathe some life into it and get a few turnovers.”
  • Nelson on why the gap mistakes, technique failures continue to happen: “I think it comes down to mental toughness, being able to handle the adversity, the pressure. You can try and practice that all you want but there is nothing like a game situation. So guys have to be mentally tougher and we have to try and simulate that as best we can out here.”
  • Nelson on if there is a reason mental toughness is lacking: “I wouldn't say there's a specific reason. I think Coach Whitt and them, they're instilling that in us day in, day out, regardless of what's going on. They're still harping on it, still doing what they're supposed to be doing, and it's going to pay off. I'm very hopeful, very positive in that regard. Guys just have to go out there and do it. I mean, there's no rhyme or reason, there's no quick solution to it, you just have to go out there and play like you're capable of playing and execute and practice hard.
 
Chip on Shoulder Going Into TCU
  • Kingsbury on if he thinks the players want redemption in this one: “I think guys that were there definitely understand that and what it felt like. We have a lot of new guys who weren't there, but I think even the new guys will understand what this game means to Tech fans and to us as a program.”
  • Mahomes: “For me, being there two years ago and just playing a little bit in the game and kinda feeling embarrassed, I guess you would say of how badly we were beat, for sure for me I want to get in there and win a game there, especially for Tech and the university. You don't want to get embarrassed and not respond. These last two years have been two very heartbreaking losses, and you want to get in there and get a win against a very good football team.”
  • Giles: “Yes mam’ there is. We can’t wait just because of last year how things went and then the last time we went down there how bad we played. So we can’t wait to get down there and show them how far we have come.”
  • Justis Nelson: “I wouldn't even say redemption or anything; it's another game. The past is the past. We're just planning on getting better every week.”
 
Preparing for TCU
  • Kingsbury on TCU’s offense: “I just know how good they are. I know Kenny really well. He's a guy who I thought was going to be a star, and he's heading that way. Dynamic receivers, running back one of the best in the conference, good offensive line, Sonny and Meacham do a great job with their scheme and have been really good offensively. The way we've been playing defensively we're going to have to step up, find a way to get some turnovers and make some stops.”
  • Justis Nelson said the coaching staff has implemented different things in practice for the defense, like adding different periods. One specific he gave was that there is, “just a complete run period where the offense is trying to run the ball and defense is stopping the run.” Another point was, “We're adding more effort, everybody has to be in the picture, whenever. Despite if the ball is 50 yards down the field, we want all eleven guys in the picture, so emphasizing stuff like that.”  
  • Baylen Brown said he thinks the more physical practices "really showed up in the game Saturday", offensively at least because they were able to score at will. He said that practice today was just as intense. 
  • Brown on TCU's defense: "We dont' really worry about that [the fact TCU leads the Big 12 in sacks]. We just go out there and play our game and we execute what we do it won't be that bad."
 
Corey Dauphine Transferring 
  • Kingsbury on what went behind Dauphine deciding to transfer: “That's a great question. That's a Corey question, you would have to ask him. I like Corey, I wanted Corey to be here, he knows that, he knows how I feel about him and I wish him luck.”
  • Kingsbury added that he didn’t see it coming and that the first time he had heard about it was last week. He is not sure what Dauphine’s plan is but he thinks he will be in school at Tech, but not with the team the rest of the season.
  • Coutee on Dauphine (they were in the same recruiting class): “I was really close to Corey, but he has his reasons for what he has done so that is his decision.” 
 
Injury Updates
  • Both D’Vonta Hinton and Kris Williams have “some sort of head injury” that occurred in practice and are day-to-day.
  • Both Dylan Cantrell and Derrick Willies are “day to day” but Kingsbury added that they will know this week and if they don’t play this week then “certainly next week.”
  • Kingsbury on Mahomes’ shoulder: “First two weeks really didn't practice, last week practiced more and he played sharper. He still wasn't as good as he can be, and I think this week we may get a full week out of him, which will be good. I think with a full week, he will be able to take another step and really perform at a high level.” When asked if it was a sprained shoulder or bruised Kingsbury responded “an injured shoulder.”
  • Mahomes on his shoulder: ”It's better. It's actually feeling the best it's felt so far since I've had the injury, and I'm going to keep rehabbing and keep getting out there and practicing and it will get better every day.”
  • Oh and Mahomes said he will be cheering for fellow Whitehouse native Josh Tomlin in the World Series: “Yeah, I will be cheering for Josh Tomlin. I got to see him a little bit when I went back home at one point this off-season, and he is a guy who worked for everything he got. He wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school, went to junior college and came to Texas Tech, which is another awesome thing, and he really has responded well and made a great career.”

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