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Kingsbury knows he has to win, or else

Posted: July 17, 2017 - 2:02pm

Kliff Kingsbury knows what is at stake this season.

And it just isn’t wins and losses.

It’s his job.

“I think it comes with the territory. … We know we have to be much improved,” Kingsbury said Monday at Big 12 Media Days at the Star in Frisco.

“But that’s part of the job. I think that everybody but the four that make the playoff every year are basically on the hot seat in college football. You’re coaching for your job every year, and we know that.”

The Red Raiders went 5-7 last season despite having Patrick Mahomes II leading the way, Mahomes, who was the No. 10 pick in the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, set a slew of offensive records for the Red Raiders.

It just didn’t translate to wins and Kingsbury is only 24-26 at the helm of his alma mater. After the season, Kirby Hocutt endorsed his head coach.

Press conferences like that a day after the season usually aren’t good. But, Kingsbury said at media days that he hasn’t felt any extra pressure heading into the season.

“I always expect to win and give Texas Tech what it deserves and their fans and their alumni and that university,” he said. “So to me, we’re moving forward and have tried to improve all our processes, but as far as added pressure, it’s not something we try to dwell upon.”

What he has dwelled on is getting his senior players and giving them a solid way to end their time in Lubbock.

“(The most frustrating part is) not being able to get over that hump for your players, for our student body, for our alumni. You just want it for them because we have incredible support, we have incredible fans,” Kingsbury said. “We have had really good teams, and we’ve just kind of hovered, and we’ve got to get over it somehow. So that’s been the toughest thing, having our opportunities to get past it and not taking advantage of it.”

Those changes start with Kingsbury taking on a slightly different role this season. He hasn’t given up play calling just yet, but he has handed more duties to offensive coordinator Eric Morris so he can take a larger role in overseeing the defense.

It is an adjustment he said he had to learn to make, or else.

“Time management is something that I feel like I’ve gotten better at … trying to be more involved in all aspects of the program,” Kingsbury said. “Not just saying, hey, we’re going to outscore everybody. We’re going to have a great quarterback. We’re going to score a bunch of points. But having an impact on special teams, strength and conditioning, defense, recruiting. I think, as you go, you learn that you better be involved in all those things.”

The Red Raiders were ranked dead last (128th overall) in total defense last season and were 125th against the pass and 112th against the run. In his four years as coach of the Red Raiders, Tech hasn’t seen a ranking in the top 100.

It hasn’t even really been close and that is something he said is a process, but has to change this season.

“I think middle of year two we made a change where we kind of had to start over, and Coach Gibbs came in,” Kingsbury said. “It wasn’t the greatest situation, no question, and he’s still working through that.

“I think going into year three, we have the same defensive coordinator for the first time at Texas Tech in a long time. He’s been able to bring in players that fit his scheme. He’s been able to bring in coaches that he’s comfortable with. So I expect to see us be improved.”

With Kingsbury’s job on the line this season, he has had to reassure recruits that questioned his longevity with the university.

“Obviously, that can be used. Players want to know you’re going to be there. We kind of explain the college football landscape, that coaches come and go,” he said. “Come to a university because you love what it’s about and you can see yourself there whether the head coach is there or not. That’s why we said it. We have no plans of going anywhere and not being there and we’re working towards that, but, yeah, select a university that you love because coaches come and go.”

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