With another installment of spring football in the books, Big 12 Conference coaches on Tuesday took some time during a teleconference with the league’s media members to wrap up their thoughts after 15 practices with their teams.
For first-year Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, preparing those practice plans provided a challenge when coupled with the work of hiring a coaching staff and putting together a recruiting class in short order after arriving at the school in December.
“I guess fitting in all the responsibilities,” Kingsbury said of the most challenging aspects of his first spring as Tech’s coach. “Scheming for spring practices and doing the scripts and installs, things of that nature. So, really, just time management.”
Despite the time crunch, Kingsbury and his staff believe they were able to accomplish a number of key objectives during the short window of 15 sessions, from installing base concepts of new offensive and defensive systems to just strengthening relationships with players.
In short, a new culture has already begun to be identified around the program.
Still, the new coach emphasized that his team still has “a long way to go” before kickoff arrives this fall.
“I think the kids know how we want to practice, the tempo of practice and the effort we want to give in practice,” Kingsbury said. “But we just got our base stuff in, so we still have a long way to go.”
On the field, Kingsbury said the unit that impressed him most during spring drills was the defensive front seven, a group that performed especially well during the defense’s triumph in Saturday’s spring game.
“There’s some guys that have some experience around here, have made a bunch of plays,” he said. “They really stepped up this spring and showed some good leadership qualities and really dominated up front.”
Here were some other topics Kingsbury discussed Tuesday:
■ Quinton White made a major impression during camp, performing well in all three scrimmages that were open to the public. The redshirt freshman, whose hopes of playing last season were halted by a broken foot in fall camp, averaged better than 63 yards, unofficially, in the three open appearances, demonstrating a knack for making defenders miss in the open field.
Kingsbury wouldn’t go as far as to say that White has come out of nowhere, but the A&M Consolidated product has certainly been a pleasant surprise for the new coaching staff.
“He’s a done a great job,” Kingsbury said. “He’s a kid we didn’t know much about coming into the spring, but every time he got the ball in his hands he seemed to make plays. He showed up, really, in the scrimmages when people were watching, so that’s encouraging.”
■ Kingsbury, as he’s mentioned often the last couple weeks, said he has been impressed by how seamlessly Michael Brewer has picked up Tech’s new faster-paced schemes, noting that the offense has some similarities to the one he ran at powerhouse Lake Travis.
“He seemed comfortable from Day One,” said Kingsbury, who has had similar praise for true freshman Davis Webb. “(Brewer’s) biggest asset is his competitiveness and his ability to extend plays. He’s really good at moving in the pocket, keeping his eyes down the field and finding an open player.”
Kingsbury added he “couldn’t be more impressed” with Brewer’s progression over 15 practices. The sophomore enters the summer, in the eyes of many, as the frontrunner for the starting quarterback spot, though Kingsbury said Saturday that decision likely won’t come until fall camp.
■ There’s no doubt Kingsbury’s is one of the hottest names when discussing the current crop of young football coaches. Though he hasn’t yet coached a game for the Red Raiders, Kingsbury has already been the subject of a Sports Illustrated profile, among many other moments in the spotlight.
The 33-year-old calls all the attention “more embarrassing than surreal,” but he also understands the attention that comes with coaching on this stage.
“I’d like to do something on the field first before all this other stuff comes into play,” Kingsbury said. “It’s part of the position. It’s part of the job. I just try to have fun with it. Being at a place where I feel comfortable around the staff has really helped ease all that.”
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