Texas Tech held their weekly press conference this week and the normal PDF was a link from the first of the year, so last night I turned to ASAP sports, who does the transcripts.
Before we get to the quotes, let’s get to the news.
1. Le’Raven Clark is day-to-day (I’d guess he plays against Oklahoma).
2. CB Theirry Nguema may be out for a while.
3. Eric Morris wants to keep the redshirt on WR Dylan Cantrell.
4. Morris also said that he hopes to have Jonathon Giles and Keke Coutee back this week, although I wasn’t aware that they were officially “out” for last week.
Let’s get to the press conference.
1. Kingsbury doubled-down on his criticism of the offensive line and I think it is an accurate criticism. The offensive line was a shell of itself without Cark in there and I’m fascinated how things will play out next year.
Q. As a former quarterback, what kind of challenge is it, when you lose people up front, to develop that chemistry with perhaps guys that haven’t played a lot this year, keep the offense going?
COACH KINGSBURY: As you know, Le’Raven is one of the better tackles in the country. I didn’t think up front we handled that well. When he went out, we moved some guys and slid some guys around. We didn’t step up like we needed to. We’ll address that this week. Whether he can go or not, we’ll try to get that fixed.
2. This was a string of questions that was asked of Kingsbury about Oklahoma, and then Baker Mayfield. The reporters are looking for something, but they’ve been covering him long enough to know that they were going to get anything from Kingsbury this week:
Q. What do you see this week when you look at Oklahoma’s offense?
COACH KINGSBURY: Tons of great skill players. Lincoln’s done a nice job of adapting to the personnel and putting his spin on things. A good quarterback, two good running backs, probably better than anyone else in the country. Very skilled wide receiver, Shepard, one of the best route runners in the country. Great offensive line. They can attack you in a lot of different ways. We have to defensively try to create some turnovers somehow and hopefully slow them down a little bit.
Q. Do you have any kind of advantage that you know Baker and his talents?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don’t think so. The little film I’ve watched on him, he’s developed very well. He’s playing at a high level. There’s nothing that I know about him that could help us.
Q. You said he’s developed. What kind of developments is he — have you seen out of him since his time here?
COACH KINGSBURY: No, I just think he’s older, more mature. Lincoln’s done a nice job with his scheme, and they’re playing very well as an offense.
3. Another couple of quotes (these were not in succession) asking about QB Patrick Mahomes and he’s asked if Mahomes pushed too much, which he did. It seems with these answers, Kingsbury isn’t as upset with Mahomes as he is with the offensive line and the receivers. The things that plagued the team last year, plagued the team last week.
Q. With Pat and his performance on Saturday, do you think his biggest issue was he was pushed too much at times? What did you kind of see from him as you watched the film?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think receivers are struggling to get open, dropping a lot of balls up front. When Le’Raven went out, protection was spotty. He tried to take it on himself, Which is what he does. That’s what you want him to do. He’s got to know, hey, if it’s off on a part aroud you, you’ve still got to do what you do, but we’ve got to have other guys step up. It was just poor really on all sides when it comes to offense.
Q. Has Pat had to respond to a performance like that before or a film session like he’s had, I’m sure?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah. It really is what it is. Everything kind of fell apart. I was proud that he kept battling. He was banged up pretty good and kept battling, but that’s something. It’s only the 11th, 12th start. We’ll learn from it. And still found a way to win. You’ve got to applaud him for that, but we’ll definitely get better this week.
4. Now, up to defensive coordinator David Gibbs, and this may be the most positive comment that Gibbs has graced his unit with this year, that this team finished the job. Sometimes it isn’t easy to finish, but the defense did make plays and that’s difficult to do.
Q. What kind of positive did you take away defensively?
COACH GIBBS: Found a way to finish the game. Getting a turnover at the end, regardless of whether you score or not, our goal, like I said, from day one is to give our offense the ball back with a chance to win the game at the end. We did that. I don’t care who we play. I don’t care what the score is. That’s our job. I felt like we did that.
Got some turnovers, that was positive. Obviously, could have had a couple more and didn’t quite come away with them. But they played hard. Didn’t play very good, didn’t play very smart, but played hard, which they do most of the time.
5. One of the running jokes through the press conference is to ask Gibbs about how he’s making adjustments during halftime and Gibbs always says that he’s not making any adjustments.
Q. What did you see them doing kind of in the fourth quarter? It seemed like that was one of the only stretches where they were consistently scoring. What did you see there?
COACH GIBBS: You didn’t like my second half adjustment that’s we do so well? I’m just kidding. Calling the same things in the second half you call in the first half. Just doesn’t always work out that way. No, they did a good job executing. We got them to third down a few times. Didn’t get off the field. Got them to fourth down on the one play, and J.J. got picked on the wheel route. We’ve just got to play smarter and obviously play better. Learn how to — when things start rolling bad around here, there’s a tendency for guys to start doing their own thing. That’s human nature also. So just keep working, keep grinding, go back to the basics like we always do. Got a great challenge again this week.
6. Another series of questions to Gibbs about Oklahoma and devling into how Gibbs usually says that Texas Tech just can’t cover the opponents, but they’ll try to do their best.
Q. Where does your game plan start? Is it Perine? Mayfield? The list goes on and on.
COACH GIBBS: You tell me. I’m all ears, baby. They’ve got a great quarterback. Their offensive line is humongous, physical. Two big time running backs, about six wide receivers that we probably can’t cover any of them. We’ll go fight and do the best we can. That got you all quiet, huh?
Q. It seems every time you face a prolific offense, you say exactly that –
COACH GIBBS: Have I lied to you yet?
Q. Is that a message to your team to step up?
COACH GIBBS: If they’re listening to me, I don’t know. That’s irrelevant. We’re going to play man coverage. We’re going to play zone coverage. We’re going to — we got to go fight. We got to play better against, obviously, the better offenses, which starts with coaching, I always say that. Kids got to continue to improve, and again at the end of the day, just got to give our offense a chance to win at the end.
7. Interesting how Braden Jackson and Pete Robertson said that when the game got close, they tightened up their game and wanted to put the team on their back and Gibbs is having none of that. Just do your danged job.
Q. A couple of defensive players after the game said, when you kind of got to three and things kind of got nervous, they wanted to put the team on their back and make a play like Pete and Branden did. Does that frustrate you? Because obviously they waited that long to do that. Or is it maybe encouraging to see that leadership?
COACH GIBBS: If it’s real leadership, I’m all for it. If it’s talking to the press just to talk to the press, then it doesn’t do any good. I’m not a big tar heel. It’s irrelevant to me. I’m glad they went out and made the play. They don’t need to talk about it. Go out and do your job and make the plays when you’re supposed to make them. They did that, and I’m happy for those guys.
8. Offensive coordinator Eric Morris was asked about how the team reacted and I think you’ll hear the word “maturity” because I think the coaches were more disappointed than anything else. Disappointed that they didn’t rise to the occassion.
Q. Coach Kingsbury said he didn’t like the vibe he saw in warmups. Is that kind of the sense you had going through it?
COACH MORRIS: No, I didn’t feel anything in warmups. It was one of those things when you hope a team with this much maturity and this many games underneath them and an offense like we’ve been performing, at least as time went on the game, somebody would step up and try to get things turned around and figure out a way to start making plays.
We challenged them at halftime, and they came out the same way in the second half, which was disappointing. Same thing, we shot ourselves in the foot. We put some yards out there and got some drives started, but had some key drops. Dropped a big touchdown, dropped a big third down earlier in the game. Fumbled when we’re driving. First series we’re marching down and throw an interception, and just stuff that’s costly to your football team.
Really proud of the way the defense played and responded the whole entire game, and it’s good to win games like that. There’s games like that where you usually lose, but we got to learn from it and move on in a hurry.
9. Morris said that IR Jakeem Grant has been more vocal, but Morris also says in the later section that Morris will address the entire group, and I’m assuming this is the wide receiver group, and they all need to be better.
Q. From a leadership standpoint, who would you expect moving forward to speak up when things aren’t going well?
COACH MORRIS: No doubt, No. 5 has that ability. He’s talking to those guys every single play. Jakeem Grant is a kid who’s become more and more vocal this year. He’s had some good performances. Really explosive guy. Should have got him the ball more in the second half than what we did. Jakeem would be a guy, and I think Jared Kaster is the third guy. All those guys are guys that we’re going to lean on heavily and are vocal kids.
Q. Is this maybe an opportunity for somebody to take those three aside and say, here’s an example of what we need from you on Saturday and what didn’t take place to help for the future?
COACH MORRIS: The whole group will be addressed in that regard. We won’t just talk to three of them. There’s a lot more problems than one. All of these kids need to come together as a unit. We don’t just need a couple of them. We don’t have any guys that stand out right now that are just dominant forces on Saturdays that can kind of lead the charge. We need a whole group effort, all 11 of them, to play with a passion that they need.
10. The players are never as interesting to me, because they have a filter (and rightfully so), but here’s Tevin Madison and Jared Kaster. up first is Madison:
Q. Obviously, you didn’t play with Baker, but do you sense it up in the defensive room guys wanting to play well against him because he was here?
TEVIN MADISON: Not really. I think we want to play well just because we know we’ve got a great opponent coming in. Like you said, I didn’t play with him, but I heard great things about Baker. He’s a good quarterback from what I’ve seen.
Q. Your coach was pretty critical of you guys in terms of how you came out and didn’t want to play and didn’t show much effort. Hit you pretty hard at halftime, and nobody responded. How do you guys respond to that?
JARED KASTER: We’ve just got to come out better. We’ve got to come out more enthused and act like we want to play football, and that’s something we didn’t do. I’ll take responsibility for it being an older guy. We can’t do that. With all these opportunities getting limited as the season goes on, it’s something that we can’t do. We just have to come out and bounce back this weekend.