Takeaways: Kingsbury, Jeffers, Stawarz speak to media following practice
With the win against Houston in the back of their minds, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have begun preparing for Oklahoma State. Following Sunday’s practice, Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, sophomore linebacker Riko Jeffers and senior offensive lineman Paul Stawarz spoke to the media with continued reflection on the Houston game.
- When asked about looking at the film and what stands out about the defense, Jeffers said just how the defense continued to fight. “We got hit with some adversity in the beginning, but we continued to push through and do what we needed to do.”
- Come the second half, Jeffers credited the defense’s success to the adjustments made to Houston’s high tempo offense. Some of the adjustments included getting the play calls in faster.
- On turnovers, Jeffers said the defense was trying to get turnovers throughout the game but it just was not working out. “We still got the dub so it’s good.”
- On the supposed double-forward pass, Jeffers gave his perspective. “I was on the sideline. It was kind of like a chaos moment. When it happened it was just like ‘what?’ but we stopped it.”
- Now that they are preparing for Big 12 play, Jeffers said it is the same physical and mental focus.
- For Sunday practices, Jeffers said it is a practice to work on corrections and getting the plays they messed up on correct.
- When asked what he took away from the Ole Miss and Houston games, Jeffers said it was a test to see if they broke, and against Houston, they did not. “We fought back. We were resilient.”
- The biggest improvement the defense made, to him, throughout the offseason and into the preseason was communication.
- Kingsbury started off saying Alan Bowman’s progression is credited to the number of reps he has received. “He’s gotten more and more comfortable in our system and is going to the right place with the football most of the time and protecting it well and I think that’s what you hope to see as you get more reps, you play better and hopefully that trend continues.”
- He again said Ed Oliver was a tremendous player and the offensive line struggled early on to block him, but as the game went on and the Houston defense was worn down due to the amount of time they were on the field, the run game was more successful. “I think when you go against a guy like that, it makes you a better player.”
- He felt like the players handled being on the field so many times well when he was asked if the offseason conditioning paid off.
- When asked about freshman running back Ta’Zhawn Henry’s progression, Kingsbury again credited it to the number of reps he has received. “He’s starting to understand our concepts, what to look for in certain run plays and when he’s had an opportunity with the ball in his hands, he’s been pretty dynamic, and we need that to continue.”
- Freshman wide receiver Myller Royals is on the team but just has not played yet. Kingsbury said he hopes to possibly redshirt him.
- With the defense having more success in the second half against Houston, Kingsbury credited it to the defensive players settling and the coaches making adjustments.
- Kingsbury skipped on having senior Clayton Hatfield kicking a 50 plus-yard field goal at one point in the game simply to try and pin Houston deep in their own territory, but he believes Hatfield has enough leg to make that kick.
- On De’Quan Bowman’s return game; “He’s been really consistent up until that point. I think he let the one bad play really affect his entire game. He dropped a pass and then struggled with one kickoff after that. He can’t allow that to happen. He’s got to get right back into the saddle and continue to be a solid force in that deal, so we have some other guys we can go to, but we have confidence that he’ll get it corrected this week.”
- With Tech 2-1 entering Big 12 Conference play, and when he was asked whether this is where he wants the team to be at this time, Kingsbury said, “there’s only one way to find out. We’ll find out Saturday night against a very good football team.”
- Kingsbury said that ever since after the Ole Miss game, where Alan Bowman was thrown in after McLane Carter went down with an injury, he has made quick decisions and accurate.
- Junior Madison Akamnonu and Travis Bruffy are moving better and the hope is that they can go Saturday, but Kingsbury was pleased with redshirt freshman Dawson Deaton and senior Jacob Hines against Houston, so they will be ready to go if necessary.
- When asked how much of a difference senior Jah’Shawn Johnson would make in the secondary, Kingsbury said it would make a lot of difference having him back there. “There’s a calmness he brings and an understanding of our defense, getting guys lined up, getting us in the right places, so we’re hoping he’s back out there soon.”
- For this week, the focus will be on whether Johnson is comfortable in practice, and if he is, he will be sent out against Oklahoma State this Saturday.
- When asked how it was going against Oliver, Stawarz had this to say; “It was good. It was the second time around, so experienced playing against him before, I don’t know if any of the interior guys have. I know it was new for Jacob Hines but I think he handled it well.”
- With Akamnonu and Bruffy down with injuries, Stawarz said Hines and Deaton both prepare like they are going to start. “They are both very good, they’re both have some experience now and they prepare like they’re starting, so it’s good to have them.”
- Stawarz said having a running back like freshman SaRodorick Thompson is great. “I think the reps he’s having in-game, it’s going to help his future. I think he’s still learning but he’s come a long way.”
- On Alan Bowman’s poise on the field; “I don’t know how he does it. He doesn’t get flustered or anything.”