At Big 12 Media Days in July, Llano News reporter Art Dlugach asked Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury why his all-world offense couldn’t be complemented by a defense that could hold the opposition to under 30 points a game.
It was an honest, fair, direction question – one that immediately went viral.
“Who would have thought the Llano News would have such hard-hitting journalism?” Kingsbury joked on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones, prompting hearty laughter from Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones. “I like the river there. That’s all I know about down there.”
Kingsbury, though, may get the last laugh. His defense, which allowed 43.5 points per game last season, is allowing 27.8 points per game, and Texas Tech, which went 5-7 last year, is 4-1 and ranked 24th in the country.
“Our fan base, I understand the frustration with the way we had played defense here for a while, and much respect to (defensive coordinator David) Gibbs, who’s going into his third year this year for sticking around and figuring it out,” Kingsbury said. “It takes time to build an identity, to build a culture, on that side of the football. If you look at the track record of the very successful teams in our league, it’s teams that have consistency at the defensive coordinator position, and we hadn’t had that here. To get Coach Gibbs in the third year, with our guys believing in the system and believing in each other, we’ve definitely made strides. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
To be an elite – or even solid – defense in the Big 12, you need talent, sure. But you also need depth.
“In our league, you’re going to play 80 snaps a game, minimum,” Kingsbury said. “Everybody’s playing fast, everybody’s pushing the tempo, for the most part. So you’ve got to be able to rotate in fresh bodies that can consistently tackle, consistently hold the point of attack in the run game and be able to rush the passer. So we feel like we’ve had more depth than we’ve had. Our scout teams are much improved, which is a huge part of being successful. So we just just had to keep acquiring depth. That has helped this season.”
Texas Tech, which is coming off a 65-19 win at Kansas, plays West Virginia (3-2) in Morgantown this Saturday. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. ET.