Choice Cuts: Texas Week

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, defensive end Kolin Hill and linebacker Malik Jenkins met with local media following practice on Tuesday. Senior writer Joe Yeager, who was on-hand, breaks down what was discussed.


In the hope of improving team performance in morning games, Kingsbury and his staff will “tweak” the schedule and perhaps other facets of the game-day rites and rituals. He did not divulge any specifics.

Kingsbury confirmed that the pre-game meal for morning game is three to four hours before kickoff. He allowed that that is an early wakeup call, but noted that it is the same for all teams so nobody gains an advantage. Kingsbury stated that the stadium will be electric, so there can be no excuse for the team coming out flat and lethargic.

Regarding how players and teams respond to comments such as Breckyn Hager’s: “I guess we’ll have to tune in Saturday to see how that turns out.” He said this with a certain steeliness. Kingsbury said he doesn’t know Breckyn, but knows father Britt and brother Bryce through the football grapevine. He went on to note that Hager apologized and said he believes the comments are a “non-issue.”

My take: It will be an issue. Kingsbury and his staff will make sure it’s an issue.

Kingsbury stated that as a player he was occasionally motivated by the comments of an opposing player but noted that before the social media revolution players heard considerably less than they do now, and usually from somebody like “somebody’s ex-girlfriend.”

Kaleb Hill, Houston Miller, Kirby Vinson and Ivory Jackson have played the role of Breckyn Hager on the scout team’s defense.

My take: No word on if any of those guys have been hospitalized.

Kingsbury said that Texas “does what they do” on defense, but given TCU’s success last week against Tech’s offense, he wouldn’t be surprised if they change some things. If changes occur, Tech will have a plan ready to counter them.

My Take: As painful as it may have been for Kingsbury and the offense, encountering an effective scheme such as Gary Patterson’s is a tremendous learning opportunity. Patterson exposed some weaknesses, and now Kingsbury and his offensive staff can work to eradicate them. And it is a huge bonus to be exposed and still emerge with the win.

Gang tackling is the key to slowing down Texas running back D’Onta Foreman. However, Texas’ offensive line is playing “at a high level,” which would seemingly make gang tackling difficult.

Tony Brown, Antoine Wesley and Derrick Willies all saw action at X receiver in today’s practice. Willies, however, is still day-to-day. He could play against Texas or he could sit out one more game.

Tony Brown has been “solid” so far. Kingsbury said that Brown is anxious for more balls to come his way and stated that that will happen eventually. He also said that Brown constantly works on his fundamentals and does the right things on and off the field, so he can be counted upon.

Devin Lauderdale and Gary Moore “were not in the building today” by mandate from Kingsbury himself. Kingsbury refrained from terming this action a “suspension,” however. Their ultimate return to action will be determined on a “day-by-day” basis.

Mason Reed is “doing better” in his role as a blocker. Kingsbury called him “a physical kid,” but stated that he needs to become more “football savvy.” Reed “struggled a bit” against TCU. Reed’s toughness and athleticism are not open to doubt.

My Take: Reed looks like a baller.

Reed’s progress and Quinton White’s injury combined to give Reed the opportunity to play.

Justin Murphy was “limited” in practice today. If he’s capable of playing against Texas, he will play.

Malik Jenkins

The TCU performance was a huge confidence-booster for the defense, but it will not make the defense complacent.

The linebackers probably graded below the defensive line and the secondary against TCU. He seemed to indicate that the linebackers really didn’t play all that well.

My Take: Really surprised by this. I thought Jenkins and Jordyn Brooks played exceptionally.

If it comes down to it, the defense will make sure that the offense has the ball at the end of the game.

The team must have “more juice” to avoid coming out flat as they did against West Virginia, and Jenkins himself is partially responsible for bringing the juice. He also said that linebackers as a position group innately possess great potential for energizing football teams. Energy is “contagious.”

Playing against D’Onta Foreman and the Texas offense will be “physical,” “bloody,” and a “dogfight.”

This game will feature “ups and downs,” but the “toughest team will win.”

To the fans: “Be loud. I love it. We love it. Keep bringing the energy. Keep bringing the juice. We love the juice.”

Kolin Hill

The defensive line had a great performance against TCU, and it was fun to see so many Tech fans at an away game. The “Raider Power” chant “got the team going.”

Texas has “a big, physical offensive line and a good running back,” but the Tech defense is “going to put on a show.”

The TCU performance was a “big confidence booster.”

My Overall Take on the Comments: This team seems extremely determined and quite confident. I think Hager’s comments have really motivated the team, and I expect to see a very emotional Red Raider team take the field against the Longhorns.

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