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Stoking the fire: Kingsbury not above using outside chatter to motivate Red Raiders

Coach doesn't claim to ignore the work of the media

Posted: October 21, 2013 - 10:45pm  |  Updated: October 22, 2013 - 12:09am
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Texas Tech finds motivation in being doubted when pundits pick against the Red Raiders. (Scott MacWatters)  Scott MacWatters / AJ Media
Scott MacWatters / AJ Media
Texas Tech finds motivation in being doubted when pundits pick against the Red Raiders. (Scott MacWatters)
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Kliff Kingsbury’s not the same as a lot of coaches who claim to ignore the work of the media and stay oblivious to what’s said and written about their teams.

The Texas Tech coach is willing to work any angle to give his team an edge, including dumping fuel on their fire from outside sources. After the Red Raiders beat West Virginia 37-27 Saturday, Kingsbury acknowledged noticing that ESPN Game Day analyst Kirk Herbstreit “and a couple of others” had picked the Red Raiders to lose that morning.

Kingsbury added his players are “very aware” of their skeptics, dating to when they were picked seventh in the Big 12 preseason media poll in July. That’s helping them to enjoy their 7-0 start and top-10 national ranking even more.

“He tells us every day how many times people are doubting us, that we have something to prove every single day in walk-throughs and meetings,” tight end Jace Amaro said Monday. “And it just helps everyone focus a little more, and it makes us a little more mad and angry that people picked us 10th, ninth, eighth in the Big 12 and right now we’re sitting at number one. That’s where we want to be and where we plan on staying.”

Hey, go with what works.

“It was very similar to the situation we had last year at Texas A&M with where they picked us,” Kingsbury said. “You know you have a good team and you have to have good things happen. But when you can continue to prove people wrong, it’s great for a team’s psyche.”

In the summer of 2012, with soon-to-be hotshot quarterback Johnny Manziel still mostly unknown, the Aggies were picked to finish fifth of seven teams in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. Eight of the SEC’s 14 teams received at least one first-place vote, but A&M didn’t get one from any in the panel of 222 voters.

Although the Aggies didn’t win the league or their division, they contended and finished 11-2.

Kingsbury was that team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Early in his career, Kingsbury’s getting a reputation for connecting with his players — seniors such as Eric Ward and Kerry Hyder have referred to him recently as “Kliff” in interviews — and getting them to play hard for him.

Hyder said the smaller-than-usual age gap between Kingsbury and his team “makes him almost like another player on our team.”

“He’s a great leader for us,” Hyder said. “He brings a lot of fire to our team and a lot of energy. It helps that we know he’s been here just a (few) years ago. He knows how hard it is out here, the hard practices and stuff like that, and he really takes care of us.”

So when Kingsbury plays the football-world’s-against-us card, the Red Raiders are all ears.

Asked his favorite motivational tool that Kingsbury employs, Amaro said, “I think when he talks about game-day predictions and stuff and he tells us before the game how many people are telling us we’re not going to win this game. I think the past three weeks, they had us on upset alert. It just really helps us pull through on those times we’re struggling through the game.”

Amaro doesn’t get the impression that Kingsbury’s acting to achieve the desired effect.

“I know he takes it personally,” the Raiders’ leading receiver said. “You can see it in his eyes. He gets mad like he’s actually a player with us, and he just brings a lot of fire and energy to our team. I know it means a lot to him, just like it means a lot to all of us.”

 

don.williams@lubbockonline.com

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College football

Who: Texas Tech at Oklahoma

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla.

Records: Texas Tech 7-0, 4-0 in the Big 12; Oklahoma 6-1, 3-1.

Rankings (BCS/AP/coaches poll): Texas Tech 10/10/9; Oklahoma 15/17/12.

Last game: Texas Tech 37, West Virginia 27; Oklahoma 34, Kansas 19.

Last meeting: Oklahoma 41, Tech 20 last year in Lubbock.

TV: FOX (channel 34; Suddenlink Cable channel 10)

Line: Oklahoma by 7.

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Best Ever?

Best coaching job anywhere, ever? Best effort and success in improving by a group of players anywhere, ever?

Here we were in Lubbock with all the talent we needed. 2010 was set to be a championship season. Then it got worse.

Then Hocutt went and brought back Kliff. Of course, the usual suspects wanted and continue to attempt to hog the credit.

Now here we are. We're set and we're shedding ourselves of the arrogant ego-maniacs who attempted to bring down the program.

These are the good 'ole days.

Go Tech!

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Thanks Facts

Thanks Facts I like most of your comment. It's amazing how you can be both positive and negative at the same time. We did have a lot of talent thanks to the good recruiting from previous staff. And Kliff has been able to get them to play together and stay focused. He has done a great job! The only reservation I have is QB. It's like your are always feeling a little uneasy and waiting for them to mess up and make a big mistake. Webb played very well and didn't make any too many mistakes. The fumble at the goal line hurt, but overall really good. I'm torn between wanting Mayfield to come back or leave Webb in until he shows ineptitude. I feel bad for Brewer because unless both those guys start struggling, or get injured he may never see the field. Go Tech!

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facts

You have a right to your on opinion but you don't have a right to your on facts. You claim 2010 was set to be a championship season. You and Leach are the only ones that believe that. No matter what one thinks of Tubs coaching, the talent he inherited was not that good. Do you really believe that Taylor Potts was going to lead this team to a championship? The players that Tubs left are so much better than what Leach left seams quite evident. It is also my opinion that Kingsbury has done a much better job with those players than Tubs would have but we will never know. According to your past post, you love to blame Hance for hiring Tuberville but not for hiring Kliff. Sorry but you can't have it both ways. After all of your bad mouthing Hance, you would like to believe that Hance personally hired Tubs and then stepped out of the way and gave total control to Hocutt to hire who ever he wanted. Common sense tells me that Hance either hired both or neither one. It's pretty hard to see the facts when you have such a naked agenda. I don't know who hired who, but lets look at some facts:

Fact: Hance fired Leach.

Fact: Tubervile was hired.

Fact: Tuberville had 2 out of 3 winning seasons.

Fact: Tuberville recruited 3 of the strongest classes.

Fact: Tuberville quit suddenly(Thank God).

Fact: Kingsbury is hired.

Fact: Kingsbury has done better than any first year coach in Tech history.

Fact: We wouldn't be having this great season if Hance hadn't fired Leach.

The thing you will never be able to grasp is that sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions in order to be able to move ahead. Sorry, but Hance is starting to look more and more like the smartest man in the room. Now you can go throw up.

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Nashville

I agree with some of your post as far as moving on and staying positive, but I wouldn't quite connect your 1st fact with your last fact that you listed.

Leach still could have been sitting at 7-0 this season...it is a possibility. However, it wouldn't have been nearly as exciting as it is now with KK. Still, none of this matters. All we should care about is what's happening now.

Go Tech!

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Quote from ESPN

"Since Kingsbury took over, the waiting list to purchase suites at Jones AT&T Stadium has ballooned. Donations to the athletic department have skyrocketed. Student ticket sales have reached record levels."

So much for Hance destroying the football program for the next 10-15 years.

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Mikey

Sure Leach could be sitting at 7-0 here this year, but instead he is sitting at 4-4 in Pullman, Washington not likely to win another game this year. My last fact includes the fact that Kingsbury is here this year. That is what the making of great season is all about. No more turmoil or drama. Just great football. The only reason he is here is because Leach was fired.

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