Takeaways: Kingsbury feels team had best practice of the fall on Tuesday
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury and select defensive players spoke with local media members on Tuesday to discuss things heading into the Louisiana Tech game on Saturday night...
-Coach Kingsbury was very pleased with the way his team has practiced so far this week while trying to bounce back from the Arizona State loss. In fact, he thought the practice on Tuesday afternoon was the best of the fall, bar none:
"Really good. Really good. I thought today was the best practice we've had through camp and through anything. Their energy, got a good attitude, want to show what they're about this Saturday, so hopefully it's a sign of things to come."
-Linebacker D'Vonta Hinton practiced on Tuesday, and Kliff said he's about 50/50 to play this weekend against Louisiana Tech. They're monitoring him throughout the week.
-Kliff, when asked how much he believes the defense missed Hinton at linebacker against ASU: "Quite a bit I think from what I saw him get done in the first game. He's a veteran linebacker that's seen it, and we had some young guys running around, and it's moving pretty fast for them. So, I think getting him back either this week or next week could really help us out."
-On how he thinks true freshmen linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Brayden Stringer played on Saturday, how they're coming along, how they handled the ASU offense: "It's a learning experience. That was a good offense, good skill, good scheme. It had them running all over the place. So, we're throwing them into the fire a little bit, but they handled it well, and they'll be better for it down the road."
-Cornerback Paul Banks will not play this week, and Kingsbury noted that his status is still week-to-week. Defensive end Zach Barnes practiced on Tuesday a bit, and the head coach said they'll see on Saturday if he can go.
-On what the team has been focusing on this week so far in practice, across the board: "It's been a lot of basic, fundamental things. Technique, footwork, things of that nature that we have to get better at."
-Kliff was asked about how he thinks JUCO transfer defensive tackle Mych Thomas has played so far this year: "It's been okay, a little bit inconsistent. We'd like to, by conference, work him into the rotation a little bit more. I think it'd help with our depth. I've seen flashes, think Coach Patrick has seen flashes, but not consistent enough for us to rely on him as much as we'd like right now."
-Thoughts on how depth has performed so far across the board, on how the level of play has been when starters have subbed out for a few plays: "At certain positions it's been okay, at others it hasn't been up to par. That's what we're striving for is to get the depth where we can plug somebody else in and keep it rolling. I don't think we're quite there yet. Hopefully by game five or six in the conference we'll feel better about that."
-Kliff was asked about what he really thought about the defensive performance against ASU now that they've had a few days as a staff to really comb through it: "They had some really big runs on I think eight plays that we were just out of position or didn't make the tackle. They do a good job schematically of hitting some wheel routes, and then they hit the trick play, and to me the biggest thing was not handling that adversity when we recovered that fumble, would've been 21-9, and we just never came back from that. We kind of let it get to us and didn't play very well the rest of the game. More than anything, to me, it's about that bad things are going to happen, and we've got to be able to handle it better."
-And for Kingsbury, after the tough offseason and how he felt this team had prepared mentally throughout the summer, he was most disappointed by the fact the team caved in and deflated after the roughing the passer call on Fehoko: "I think, for me, that's what it was. I just felt like the air kind of got let out of our sideline. I didn't think we responded on either side of the ball after that happened like we had been playing. That would've been four or five stops by the defense to start the game, up 21-9, then you're rolling, and we should've been able to handle that better. We didn't, and that's something we've got to learn from and get better at moving forward."
Kingsbury on Louisiana Tech slot receiver Trent Taylor, who is the team's leading receiver with 256 yards and three touchdowns two games in:
"He plays like a maniac every play. Full speed, full go, reminds me of the Amendola, Welker type of players that give you everything they've got every single snap. Very precise on his routes, very crisp, knows how to find the soft spots in the zone, and I'd like him to be in our offense. He's one of those players."
Texas Tech was planning on wearing all white this Saturday, but Louisiana Tech has to sign off on that and be willing to wear their home jerseys for that to happen. Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs apparently declined that request by the Red Raiders. Kingsbury when asked about it: "I wish (we were wearing white). We are apparently not allowed to do that," he said. "We asked if we could. But, we are not going to. We're going to be in black."
-Senior nose tackle Ondre Pipkins with his thoughts on the loss to Arizona State: "We were just a couple of plays away from winning that game. Defensively, we've got to do a better job of backing up our offense. We've just got to do a better job of being gap sound. A couple of times I was out of my gaps, and they sprung it for 75 yards, so we've got do a better job up front, and that starts with myself. They're a good football team, but we felt like we were the better team, and we let one get away. We can't let that happen again."
-Pipkins agreed with his head coach about Tuesday being a great practice: "I think today was a bit chippy, and that was good to see. I think this next game we're going to come out and take care of business."
-I asked the nose tackle about the lack of pass rush against the Sun Devils, and how they fix that moving onto Louisiana Tech this weekend: "You've got to get to him early, frustrate him, and be disruptive," he said. "I just feel like we have to get better. Of course, I have to get better. It's nothing with the coaching. That's up to us, and we have to do a better job of backup up our coaching, know what I mean? So, we're going to take care of that, make some adjustments, and we're going to get that corrected."
-Pipkins also acknowledged that he thought the defense gave in emotionally after the big roughing the passer and following penalties that swung the momentum of the game. His thoughts on how they change that: "You've just got to weather the storm, control your controllables, and just do your job. There was a little bit of frustration on the sideline, but you've got to control that. You can't get frustrated when they make their first big play. They feed off that, so we've got to do a better job emotionally."