Despite Changes, Kliff Kingsbury Isn’t Worried About the Offense in 2018
With the departure of Eric Morris, Kliff Kingsbury doesn't have a single assistant left from 2013. In fact, in a strange turn of events, the Defensive Coordinator at Texas Tech is the second longest tenured coach on the staff along with the linebackers coach.
The staff turnover has happened for Kliff Kingsbury in every off-season, most often with his coaches leaving to take better jobs. Eric Morris is now a head coach. Karl Scott is coaching at Alabama. Mike Jinks moved into a head coaching role. It's the annual coaching staff turnover that has provided questions in every off-season.
The changes this off-season though, seem to be perfect fits. Gibbs' hands were all over the defensive hires, that was obvious. He's earned that. Kliff Kingsbury's offensive hires were similarly... perfect?
I don't know if perfect is the right word but they do feel like good hires. Kingsbury has been desperate to have a successful rushing attack since the departure of DeAndre Washington so he replaced Eric Morris with Kevin Johns and went and poached Mike Leach's Offensive Line coach to run his running backs.
It might seem counter intuitive to grab a Leach assistant to revamp a rushing attack, but Clay McGuire is a former Red Raider and has coached running backs and offensive lines for the last 10 years and has experience running the Leach and Lincoln Riley offenses. He also coached with and a long side Brandon Jones while at ECU. He fits the culture.
The true wildcat here is the Kevin Johns hire. Kingsbury has spoken highly of Johns saying, "He's a guy who's a calm voice for our offense." Kingsbury said about his new offensive coordinator that it's a, "New approach, [Coach Johns] sees it from a different angle than I've seen it in the past."
These hires prove Kinsgsbury is, at the very least, aware that he needs help to make the rushing attack successful again and he knows he needs a successful rushing attack to win games, "That's when the offense is most effective." Kingsbury said. "We're going to do what we can do to run the ball better." He also mentioned that he wants to find a lead back but expects all five running backs to compete, including the two true freshmen.
The hope for the fan base is that Kevin Johns can come in and revamp the stale rushing attack that has plagued Texas Tech for the last two seasons. The passing of the torch that some want with Kingsbury giving up play calling doesn't seem to be in the cards for 2018 though, as Kingsbury says game day operations won't change much from 2017 to 2018, "It will be similar. We [Johns and Kingsbury] will share information and try to come up with the best play each and every snap." Kinsgbury was asked if he was going to continue to call every play to which he responded shortly, "Yes."
Even with the changes in the coaching staff and the question mark at quarterback, which he talks about extensively in the press conference above, Kingsbury is still confident in this offense, "We feel confident in what we do offensively... That's what we kinda do here." Kingsbury continued, "We put those quarterbacks in a position to be successful." That's hard to argue with, every Kliff Kingsbury offense at Texas Tech breaking the elusive 6,000 yard mark even stretching back to Texas A&M and Houston.
It's difficult for Kliff Kingsbury to not be stubborn after all that success and to just believe in that system, but does that stubbornness cost some real growth opportunity between Johns and Kingsbury who could marry two different systems into a beautiful arrangement? Time will tell.
With the defense being run by David Gibbs and the offense needing Kliff to iron out the quarterback situation Kingsbury is also going to spend less time with the defense this season saying, "I need to coach them [the quarterbacks] to the best of my ability but I'll still be involved and do what I can to help those guys."
The one position group that is basically replacing everyone is the receivers, but that seems to be a non-issue for the head coach, "People want to come play wide receiver here at Texas Tech." Kingsbury said."I feel great about the depth we have, the experience we have coming back and I'm excited to watch that group."