DALLAS– We’ll have more later today from Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Red Raiders players during the afternoon breakout session at Big 12 football media days. Here are some quick highlights from Kingsbury’s time at the dais early Monday:
-- Asked if he has anything more in store for freshman cornerback Nigel Bethel II than the recently announced three-game suspension, Kingsbury said: “We’ll do some things in house on our end to handle that. That’s really it.”
Bethel was kicked off the team, then reinstated and given a three-game suspension for a physical altercation with Lady Raiders player Amber Battle at theTechStudentRecreationCenter. A grand jury declined to bring charges against him.
The Miami Washington product is one of Tech’s most highly regarded signees, and the Red Raiders have a need for help at cornerback.
Kingsbury saidBethel“brings speed at that position we don’t have,” but said you never can tell how quickly a freshman can make an impact.
-- Kingsbury sounded more of a certain tone about how another signee, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, will play a role this season.
“He’s got to be ready to play,” Kingsbury said. “We only have him and Davis (Webb) on scholarship.”
The Detroit Tigers drafted Mahomes in the 37th round last month as a pitcher, but the Whitehouse standout declined to sign.
Mahomes, who is 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, threw 96 touchdown passes the last two years.
-- Asked what he learned in year one as a head coach, Kingsbury said, “Consistency every day. Making sure you’re bringing the same energy and the same message.”
Kingsbury took ownership of the Red Raiders’ five-game losing streak, during which they nosedived from a 7-0 start to a 7-5 finish to the regular season.
“I didn’t do a good job of preparing our team each week,” he said. “Hopefully we learned from that.
-- Kingsbury noted the Red Raiders played “in a box” – a phrase he’s used before – on offense last year.
“We have to take the top off,” he said.
As a group, Tech expects to have more speed at receiver this season with sophomores Reginald Davis and D.J. Polite-Bray joining the starting lineup and newcomer Devin Lauderdale in the mix for the first time.
Even with more speed, it’ll be hard for the unit to match last year’s group. All-America tight end Jace Amaro caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns, and wide receiver Eric Ward caught 83 passes for 947 yards and eight TDs.
Both are gone.
The constants are Jakeem Grant (65-796-7) and Bradley Marquez (49-633-6).
-- Asked why he blocked quarterback Baker Mayfield’s transfer toOklahoma, Kingsbury said, “Team policy.” He added, “The NCAA has the in-conference policy for a reason.”
Mayfield was the Big 12 Conference offensive freshman of the year last season for Tech, throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He transferred toOklahomafor spring practice, but must sit out a season and will lose a year of eligibility as a transfer within the conference.
-- Kingsbury said he likes the neutral-site game pitting Tech and Baylor at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium inArlington, calling it “a special atmosphere.”
Kingsbury said he’d like to see it continue. The game could return to the campus sites after this year’s meeting Nov. 29 inArlington.
That’s the second game in a two-year contract option that both sides exercised in early 2013.