DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Tech head football coach Kliff Kingsbury is still riding high off a 7-5 season capped off with a Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State.
“It’s been a wild ride I don’t think anybody’s ready… you just kind of hop in, go with and learn everyday,” said Kingsbury at the annual DFW Red Raider Review.
Kingsbury accepted the job in December 2012. Recruiting and spring training soon followed.
“I had to learn how to handle success and then handle failure and wrap it up and continue to believe in each other. More proud of how it ended and I think next year’s team
learned from that,” said Kingsbury.
The talented young hot-shot offensive play caller learned from his success at programs like Houston and Texas A&M.
“I got to learn to delegate a little better. You try to take everything on to be the offensive coordinator, be the offensive play caller, head coach… administrator. I got to learn to push some of that stuff off to other people,”said Kingsbury. “I mean when you’re the OC you’re just dialing up plays, calling up plays and any issues that come up your shoving on to your head coach. Now it all comes your way.”
A couple issues did come up during Kingsbury’s first year; the transfer of two quarterbacks for example. Freshman walk-on Baker Mayfield was transferred to OU recently and Michael Brewer will leave in the spring. But Kingsbury said he isn’t concerned, especially considering the success of sophomore Davis Webb. Kingsbury’s answer for the loss of three starters on his secondary is simple — local DB Derrick Dixon from Skyline.
“He’s just a ball hawk in the honeybadger mold…you watch him on tape and he’s always stripping the ball,” said Kingsbury.
And as far as Bishop Dunne’s DB Payton Hendrix goes… Kingsbury considers him a “versatile” player who “covers a lot of field in the run game.”
Kingsbury said Argyle’s swingback DB Connor Wilson can “play linebacker and safety.”
However, the local kid the coach is most excited about is Wilson’s high school team mate, wide receiver Ian Sadler.
“You hate to make a Wes Welker comparison but very similar type game. He played elite level soccer like Ian and we expect him to play right away,” said Kingsbury. And as Kingsbury looks to coach up his second Red Raider recruiting class, he said his mentors still coach him up.
“Coach Sumlin is the guy I lean on and I got my dad who was my high school coach who has always been there for me.”
Looking back, he admits the comparisons this first year to Hollywood hunk Ryan Gosling are flattering, but he hopes the attention subsides.
“You take it all in stride. They say all publicity is good publicity for the program so you run with it but you want it to be more about the players because they’re the ones going out there each and every week and putting their bodies on the line there playing,” said Kingsbury. “Hopefully next year we can focus more on the players and less on the sunglasses and suits.”
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