ESPN’s Max Olson spent the day with the football team for the Frisco spring game and head coach Kliff Kingsbury. It’s a terrific read and you should read the whole thing. The best part for me is Kingsbury’s quote about owning up to the mistakes that he’s made since he was hired:
“I just try to own it, because at the end of the day, any decision made ultimately falls on me,” he said. “I understand that. There were decisions made — whether it be the hiring process or recruiting or numbers-wise — that I screwed up. We paid the cost for that a couple times over the past few years.”
When you first get a job like this, he says, you end up making a bunch of mistakes on things you’ve never controlled in the past. He points to their early recruiting operation, to guys they pursued in the past and how many junior college players they signed early on who eventually busted. The defensive woes are a product of those misfires.
“I can still call plays and we can still score points, but a lot of that stuff, I made mistake after mistake and it cost us the past couple years in some areas on defense,” Kingsbury said. “I feel like we’re at a place now where we’ve got our numbers where we want them, we feel like we’re recruiting the right players to our system. We feel like we’re getting better.”
I don’t know that I’ve read a more human answer from Kingsbury. It really does seem like that we are seeing a new and improved Kingsbury. From his transition to being more of a walk-around head coach being involved to the defense, to simply admitting that the recruiting mistakes that were made were a direct result of his youthfulness as a head coach.
The easy way would have been to blame the coordinator at the time, Matt Wallerstedt, but Kingsbury has never been one to shy away from blame and he does it as succinctly as possible in this interview with Olson.
I’ve been vocal about how I dont know what’s going to happen with Kingsbury and even during the season last year, I admitted that I thought that the Kingsbury experiment was essentially all but over. It felt like to me that the program wasn’t making progress, but my perception is evolving on this. In part because we finally get to see the evolution of the team a bit after a full year of Rusty Whitt and how Kingsbury is evolving as a head coach.
And if you needed any more proof of Kingsbury’s evolution as a coach and maybe even as a player, check out LAJ’s Don Williams story about the Garth Brooks camp on Sunday as it focuses on what Brooks does on his tour with this camp. I’m going to go away from the camp aspect and focus on Kingsbury’s quote about what he took from the camp:
“When you sit them down and ask them what ‘respect’ means and ‘courage,’ their answers … it’s a beautiful thing,” Kingsbury said. “We are honored to take part (in) it. You get to see everyone here playing hard and together and making new friends and that is what it is all about.”
That first part sounds more like what a dad would say rather than the bro-coach that Kingsbury was known for in his first few years as Texas Tech’s head coach.