Taking the middle seat on Monday was Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the only Big 12 coach whose chair temperature is even remotely elevated.
Kingsbury got a laugh at the start. The moderator announced that Kingsbury would go straight to answering questions, because his habit has been to bypass making an opening statement. So, naturally, Kingsbury said he had an opening statement.
It was just a joke about getting Justin Bieber walk-up music, though.
The first question for Kingsbury was really about Lincoln Riley, the new boss at Oklahoma. Kingsbury was asked how big a job continuing to call the offensive plays while being the head coach really is, and at what point it becomes too much. In a moment of self-awareness, Kingsbury noted that it probably creates a deficiency in other aspects of your coaching.
On the topic of what he’s learned as a coach, Kingsbury thinks he’s improved at time management, and has begun to get away from thinking he can just outscore everyone.
The defense then became the focus. Kingsbury accepts the blame for Tech’s anemic defense, but did point out that this will be the first year in which he has a returning defensive coordinator. He addressed the return of linebacker Dakota Allen, explaining that he’d earned his way back after being kicked off the team as a freshman and spending a year in junior college.
Kingsbury next fielded a question about wideout Cameron Batson, who will graduate this summer with honors. Batson will be Tech’s primary punt returner this season in addition to starting at receiver.
After some more noise about the defense and his job security, Kingsbury was asked about the quarterback situation in the post- Patrick Mahomes era. Fifth-year senior Nic Shimonek was the only candidate Kingsbury mentioned by name, noting he got most of the practice reps last year when Mahomes was hurting.
Asked again about quarterback, specifically McLane Carter and Jett Duffey, Kingsbury discussed Carter at length in generic terms, and because Duffey is currently suspended from school due to a sexual misconduct issue, didn’t mention him at all.
In some quick hits, Kingsbury handwaved the suggestion that some team’s going to score 100 (saying the coach would step off the gas), said Mahomes landed in the perfect place with the Chiefs because Andy Reid is a great developer of quarterbacks, and said he gave Lincoln Riley no advice because he’s the competition now.
And then Kingsbury — oddly, the only coach to be asked about this before Bill Snyder’s turn on the stage today — was asked about Scott Frantz. Kingsbury applauded Frantz for being brave enough to share, his teammates for embracing him, and Kansas State for handling the matter with class.