Texas Tech held their weekly press conference with center Paul Stawarz and cornerback Adrian Frye. On the injury front, I think that fullback Conor Killian hurt his foot against Kansas and they’re still evaluating that. Kingsbury also confirmed that they are trying to redshirt tight end Tyler Carr, linebacker Brayden Stringer and defensive end Quentin Yontz. Running back DaLeon Ward is still working back from a nagging injury and they want to get him back to 100% before he goes back out there. Kingsbury also said that receiver T.J. Vasher is still working through his injury and that rush linebacker Tony Jones should be available this week.
Let’s get to Kingsbury’s thoughts on Iowa State:
Q. What about that Iowa State team off the film that really sticks out to you?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think they’re really good personnel-wise. I think that gets lost. They’ve done a tremendous job recruiting there, tremendous job developing talent. They have great players all across the board that can play for anybody, and you throw in the great coaching job they do as a staff, and it’s just a tough team to beat.
Kingsbury was also asked about Iowa State running back David Montgomery:
Q. Montgomery had a huge game last week. What makes him such an explosive runner?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I’ve said it since his freshman year, I think he’s one of the best backs in the country. Very, very sturdy runner. The first guy never brings him down. You watch against West Virginia, a bunch are slipping on that field. He’s the one guy that doesn’t slip the entire game. Sharp with his cuts. Can catch it, run it, great in pass pro. He’s a dynamic, complete back, and he probably doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves.
Q. Does it often feel the offense goes the way Montgomery goes throughout the game?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: He’s a big part of it, no question, but they have wideouts that 6’6″. They can go up on anybody and make plays. The quarterback is playing at a tremendous level. O-line is playing at a high level. They’re well coached. Like I said, I think it gets lost they have really good personnel. I think that’s a credit to that staff developing those players and recruiting those guys.
Q. Do you think this team is better built to slow down someone like Montgomery compared to last year with how you guys have done against Kansas and you did against Justice Hill earlier this year, just the different good running backs you’ve seen?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: It remains to be seen. He’s a really, really good player, and we’ve had our struggles against this team. Like I said, we all have to step up as a program and play a lot better this week.
Iowa State also has a two very tall receivers.
Q. You look at Hakeem Butler at 6’6″, Matthew Eaton at 6’4″. Are they similar to T.J. and Antoine? How might they be different?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think the similarity is that they take shots with those guys and give them a chance to make plays on the football consistently. Those guys always either come down with the ball or get the pass interference call against them, it appears. They’re a tough wideout group because they have other guys in the slot that can make plays and then throw it up to those guys. They’re a complete offense. Those receivers are really impressive to watch.
Kingsbury was also asked about what he’s impressed with the most, and I found the answer about how Campbell runs the offense, essentially checking with the sideline before every play, so watch out for that.
Q. Coach, this team can obviously — you already mentioned that they can throw the ball, they can run it. Where do they put the most stress on the defense? Is it more of a play action type offense? Which one do they try to set up from what you’ve seen?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think, when they’re running the ball well early with Montgomery and then running the QB now — he’s pulling it and doing different things — and then the play action and taking the shots, if you walk down on them, they do a tremendous job coaching the scheme. There’s a lot of check with me’s from the sidelines, and they tend to get in the perfect play every time they do that.
Just been really impressed with the job Coach Campbell has done since he’s been there, and the defensive coordinator is one of the best in the game, really revolutionized the defense there, and they’re playing at a high level too. You’ve got to give that staff a lot of credit.
As far as his own team is concerned, Kingsbury was asked about having a healthy Clayton Hatfield help with the red zone success:
Q. What do you think has been the biggest contributor to the red zone success this year? Is it more lengthy receivers? Is it that Clayton is back and fully healthy?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think Clayton is kicking it at a high level. We were less than 50 percent on field goals last year, and that will hurt your red zone. Those big guys making plays too towards the goal line are helping, but I think the biggest key is Clayton and our confidence in him.
And I always love questions like this, which is which players have been playing well and Kingsbury mentions Xavier Benson and the San Diego State transfer Mark Brown (who I had somewhat forgotten about):
Q. Is there any freshmen who are redshirting that are looking good behind the scenes, players that we haven’t seen yet that you think we’ll start to know next year?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think Xavier Benson is one. He’s got a real chance, very athletic. He’s kind of that rush position for us, practices really hard. He’s doing a great job with the scout team. And Mark Brown, who transferred from San Diego State, has really come on as that D-end position. We go against them on scout team every day, and they’re going to be really good players if they keep their head on straight and work really hard at it.