We’ve gone and done it, with the current state of the football team, Staking The Plains convened an emergency roundtable.
seth: Well, we’ve had to break the glass and create an emergency roundtable to discuss what’s happening with Texas Tech’s football program. I’ll start. 1) Do you think Kingsbury will be able to turn this around this season and 2) do you think he’s the long term solution for Texas Tech?
briandc: This past Saturday was definitely one of the first times I remember being genuinely frustrated with how Kliff was handling things; usually if I’m skeptical I still trust his opinion, but the WVU game was rough. I don’t think the season turns around because I think Pat’s injury isn’t going to heal if he keeps playing, and Kingsbury won’t pull him. As for the long term solution? I still think so, but ask me again at the end of the season
michael: Seth, it’s great to be here. Those are very good questions, and I’ll address them (notice I didn’t say “answer) right after I spend the next 2 minutes ranting about the state of the Big 12 Conference until my time is up.1) This is tough to say, but no. I don’t think he can. Tech was barely hanging on in the beginning of the year thanks solely to our offense. Now due to injuries, questionable play calls, penalties, opposing defenses having time to figure it out (or a litany of other things), that nail we hung our hat on has fallen off the wall. We’re looking straight down the barrel at 8 consecutive losses unless something drastically changes. I just don’t see it happening.2) Yes, I do. I’ve had 7 years in my head since he was hired in December 2012. There’s no one else available that I feel would work as hard as he does and/or would even consider the move to Lubbock. My friend Adam and I talked a lot about that this weekend, and he brought up a good point. I feel like this will all be worth it eventually, and I would rather suffer now than see him kicking our tails at UT or TCU or (fill in the blank) in 5 years while our new coach always has one foot out the door eyeing his next gig.
briandc: Michael raises a good point about a future coach. Who do you get, and what makes Lubbock more than a stepping stone? Do you get a PJ Fleck who, if he finds success, will probably surely move on, or do you try a Kingsbury Mk II with Lincoln Riley? If Kingsbury gets cut loose given circumstances, would Riley even want to risk having his alma mater turn on him if things go sour?
meestahrogers: For this season, I don’t see Kingsbury and this team turning it around. We’re seeing that Kingsbury is willing to stick with an injured QB where he’s ineffective and has essentially cost this team 2 games and perhaps the season. It’s been one game, so it’s hard to tell if the lack of effort is an anomaly for the season or the start of an ugly trend. We could probably feel pretty confident in saying it’s the start of a trend with the way this team has shown to fade and accept defeat. Is this something that can be fixed mid-season? Over the off season? Or has this staff shown it can’t right the ship?I’m still trying to decide where I fall on Kingsbury and whether or not I think he’ll be able to bring success in the long term. He’s had 4 years. He’s made wrong hires at DC. This was his first gig at head coaching. I can go back and forth on this all day. The biggest thing I struggle with is wanting him to be successful (here at Tech and not somewhere else against Tech) and it’s just not coming to fruition. He was an outstanding OC and maybe he needs to be an OC only again. I’d have a hard time throwing out names as possible replacements, and that contract buyout is a significant hurdle if Hocutt decides it’s time for a change.
meestahrogers: One thought I had on a possible replacement coach, if that’s the route this ends up going, is going after a big name DC like a Dave Aranda and see if you can retain Kingsbury at OC like Kansas retained Clint Bowen.
And if Kingsbury balks, look at Cumbie and see if he’d be willing to come back as full time OC/QB coach
michael: PM Kingsbury as an OC/QB coach would be a very interesting scenario but I doubt he would go for it. That would be a very tough transition.
What do you guys think of how Kingsbury handles penalties and crucial mistakes during games? There has been a lot of talk about how he should act on the sidelines, and it even got enough attention for Don Williams to ask him about it with Kingsbury basically saying he handles it after the game.
seth: Well, there’s also the idea that rather than spin wheels with another offensive coordinator who you hope can put together a complete program, should Texas Tech look to a coach that has coached at a lower level and proven themselves. A sweet bit of irony would be to hire Ruffin McNeill as the head coach and then you probably have your pick of coordinators. And really though, we’re talking two years down the road and who knows what would happen two years assuming this actually happens.
Oh, and one more thing, Bill Connelly had an interesting piece this morning that basically said that TTU has one option to stay in a Power Five conference if the Big 12 implodes and that’s the Pac-12. Meanwhile, a team like Oklahoma could have three options (Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC). Although I think the Big Ten is a pipe dream for OU, it’s a possibility. In any event, to add to the hand-wringing, is what seems like the pending implosion of the Big 12 a significant deal and as Connelly notes, the best thing that Texas Tech can do is be really good at football starting now.
briandc: If the Big 12 implodes soon & we somehow get left out in the cold, I propose burning an effigy of Tommy Tuberville every year (edited)
michael: You guys aren’t already doing that? #streetsahead
seth: Like during homecoming?
briandc: That’s as good of a time as any. We’ll all eat steaks that night as well and leave our bathroom windows open in remembrance. It’s like milk and cookies for Santa Clause near the chimney, except this time it’s a vigil to never forget the man who helped shove our program off a cliff. Speaking of, it’s getting closer to the time where we can’t blame roster woes on Tuberville
seth: And this really is the deal isn’t it? Has Kingsbury and Gibbs, especially with the last class, done an effective job of evaluating talent? If Gibbs and I think Spavital, who is his right-hand man, have done what needs to be done in terms of evaluating talent, then TTU should start to see the fruits of that labor starting next year in a much greater force. Just thinking about all of the defensive linemen that have redshirted.
And maybe this is where we are all led, which is that no matter what happens this year, Kingsbury will be around next year pretty much no matter what.
Oh, and how fast would Sonny Dykes be in Lubbock if that were even a thing to consider as a current head coach who has had success at a smaller program (La. Tech)?
michael: I think it’s safe to say he’ll still be here. Hocutt placed a lot of trust in Kingsbury with that extension, so I feel like he’s invested in his success and understands it won’t be immediate.According to Wikipedia (sorry, Travis), Dykes could actually make more money here at Tech as his current salary is below Kingsbury’s. Is that right??
briandc: And in the end, I still support the decision to give Kingsbury that huge extension early on. It’s not a matter of him earning it, but a way of Hocutt saying “we understand it can be rough, but we’re going to give you the time.” Those early staffing hiccups hurt, but I do think Gibbs has started to lay a good foundation on the defense so far. Improvement has been shown and the younger players are contributing and at least getting some experience.
meestahrogers: That’s the way I approached the extension, Brian, but my thought was that there wasn’t going to be an appreciable step backwards (and to be fair, they’re only 3-3)
seth: So it seems as we’ve reached somewhat of a consensus here. Kingsbury is at Texas Tech no matter the results in 2017 and all bets are off after that?
michael: Yes, and hopefully by then we’ll be scrambling to delete this conversation so that we can claim we never doubted him.
briandc: I think that’s safe to say, though I think 2017 would have to be an absolute dumpster fire for him not to be around in 2018.
meestahrogers: I think Kingsbury stays purely from a contract issue, though. If he hadn’t just signed that extension, I would imagine he’d be done
seth: Guys, I think we’ve solved it.