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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 11, 2018
Q. Coach, going through practice this week and watching the game film from Houston, what really sticks out to you about them?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think just overall talent. Offensively, defensively, very skilled players, very athletic, flashing all over the screen against a Power Five team, so yeah, lots of depth, lots of really good players on that football team.
Q. How do you prepare for a defensive line like they have and also just a guy who's as talented as Ed Oliver?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I don't think you can simulate what he brings. His motor is unlike any player I've ever seen, the way he plays that hard every snap, every play, chasing the football, relentless. So you've got to give him a lot of credit. It's impressive to watch.
Q. How do you feel Alan has progressed these last few weeks?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I think with more of the reps last week, he made some strides. We've still got a long way to go. He's still learning on the fly. But I think as we push reps his way, he definitely took a step forward, and we have to hope that continues.
Q. How much has the offense changed compared to what you guys saw last year in Houston?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Quite a bit. Yeah, quite a bit. This is a lot of the stuff that Kendall did at Baylor, which they were wildly successful there, did a great job at FAU and is doing a great job here with a lot of talented, skilled players. It'll be a huge challenge for our defense.
Q. Along those lines, what have you seen from King, and what do you like from him?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I loved D'Eriq coming out, great young man. We recruited him. He played receiver when he initially got there, but he's playing really well at quarterback. Threw it really, really well last week, had some great deep balls, so he's progressed nicely. They've done a really good job of developing him as a quarterback. He has the dynamic to beat you with his feet and his arm, so he's a tough out, there's no doubt.
Q. Do you have an update on McLane Carter's status for this week?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I don't. I don't. We're still working through that. We're hoping either this week or next week that he'll be available, and we'll kind of take it from there, but I'm not sure yet.
Q. From week 1 to week 2, how much improvement overall did you see in the team?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I mean, it's hard to tell. You know, offensively way too many penalties still in week 2. I thought we've protected the ball well for the most part, which is encouraging. But I'm not sure progress-wise -- we'll find out Saturday where we're at against a good football team.
Q. What part of the defense do you think has played best so far over two weeks?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: That I think we can exploit?
Q. Well, the Tech defense; what's the best part that you've seen?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I'm not sure. I think it still remains to be seen. We played a super talented team week 1, and so had an ejection, had some things happen that we didn't handle the adversity well, but we get another opportunity against a very talented team this week, so I think after this week, we'll kind of know where we're at as a team, offensively, defensively and special teams.
Q. Last week you got those turnovers going. Where do you think this team sits at right now as far as the momentum to continue to get that ball back and get it back in your offense's hands?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I hope we're in a good place there. I think last year it kind of started developing that culture. A lot of those guys are back on defense, and that's what we've been preaching for two years. We need that turnover margin in our favor, and that's what we're fighting for. So I'm hoping that we still have a knack to take it away, and it was good to see that last week.
Q. And specifically with Adrian Frye, he had two turnovers and assisted on the other one. What did you really see from him in that game?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: He's a talented, skilled DB. He played receiver in high school, returned punts. When the ball is near him, he tends to make a play on it. We've got to keep him coming with his technique, fundamentals, all those things, but he's one of those kind of ball hawks that the ball seems to find quite often.
Q. Do you have an update on Trey and Da'Leon?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I don't. Those will both be game-time decisions. We'll work through it today with some limited work and we'll see if they're ready to go on Saturday.
Q. Even if they don't play, what did Saturday show you about the depth you have at that position?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think those young guys are learning every day. Still got a long way to go as far as protections and things of that nature, reads, but they like to play. They're out there every day. They're working hard. So they've got a chance. I thought when the lights came on, they responded, and that was good to see.
Q. You may have talked about this a little bit on Saturday after the game, but what do you think it says about the depth and the talented youth to have seven guys have their first career touchdown on Saturday?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, that's fun. Anytime you can get that many guys in the end zone for their first time, that's exciting. A lot of guys got to play a lot of snaps, and you can't simulate those live game reps. It doesn't matter who you're playing. So it was good to see those guys get in there, have some success, and build some confidence from that.
Q. In terms of Jah'Shawn, has he practiced or I guess what's his status?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: He has practiced. We're still -- same deal, just being really careful with him, but he's full go. He's been practicing. So we'll see where we're at with that at the end of the week.
Q. Is that the same with Trey and Da'Leon?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, they're limited in practice, so we'll get through the week and see how it develops and know on Saturday.
Q. In terms of what Alan has been able to do just not turning the ball over, is that just one of the best traits that you've seen out of him, considering he's really right out of high school so far?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think that's -- with young players, that's always your fear is reckless with the football. But he's adhered to the play the next play, live to play another play. If it's not there, throw it away, and he really hasn't been sacked, I don't believe, which says a lot. If it's not there, he's throwing it away, continues to let us play downhill instead of backing us up, and those are the things we're looking for, let the playmakers make the plays. If it's not there, live to play another play.
Q. Have you considered or are you considering possibly using Jett Duffey as a kind of change of pace after seeing him last week in the game? Is there any consideration of that moving forward?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, there always is, based on game plan, based on how the game is going, definitely. He's dynamic, he's a dynamic athlete, so if there's a way we can use him moving forward to try and get him some touches and better our team, we'll do that.
Q. What's the biggest challenge Houston poses overall going into this game?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, you know, I think, just like I mentioned before, just how talented they are, having your team understand that this is as talented a team as we've played. Ole Miss was a very good football team, but you look at this team offensively, defensively, they've got guys that can go and can play for anybody. So I think you're going to have the tempo offense coming in, the quarterback is very dynamic, really talented skill, and then that defense has a lot of veteran players, has the best player in America on it who can disrupt an entire game plan by himself. So I think just understanding what is coming here and the intensity that the game is going to bring.
Q. How important is this game considering you start Big 12 play after that, Oklahoma State there, West Virginia, then TCU, obviously a lot of competition there. How important can you say or not this game is?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think it's the natural progression. You want to continue to be able to continue to play better and be at your best when you reach conference, so hopefully we respond this week and play our best game yet and build some confidence going into the first conference game.
Q. I just wanted to ask about Travis, if there was any update on him for this game.
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, he's the same. We've worked him into practice a little bit today. I'm not sure if he'll be ready for Saturday. But he's progressed. I don't know if he'll be ready for Saturday or not.
Q. Following up on that, how did Dawson do on Saturday?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: He did well for his first start in the Big 12. To put him at left tackle, that's not an easy spot, and I thought he handled himself well. I think the beautiful part about Dawson is that he can play any position on our line, which I think he's the only person in our program who can do that and start at any position. So he's invaluable to that group, and for him to be able to step in at an important position like left tackle, protect that quarterback's blind side, it definitely gives us coaches a lot of confidence moving forward.
Q. What have you thought of your receivers' blocking so far, and who has excelled at that?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, you know, they have big shoes to fill. I feel like last year that group, Dylan and Keke and Cam were as good a blocking receivers as we've had. But I think Antoine Cox Wesley, he needs to get bigger and stronger, but he gives great effort; Da'Quan Bowman gives great effort; Zach and Ja'Deion, kind of the older guys, they're a good example of how to play every snap even without the football. So I'd say those four guys are the ones who kind of stand out on tape.
Q. Shifting gears a little bit, do you expect or do you think the Kansas City Chiefs have a shot at the Super Bowl this year?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I'm pulling for the quarterback, that's for sure. I've got too many other guys I pull for to pick them as a Super Bowl team, but I hope he continues to play well.
Q. And when he becomes MVP, do you expect a shout-out?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: I expect some money. (Laughter.)
Q. Following up on that, what did you think of -- I don't know if you've had time to see highlights, but of Patrick and of Jakeem on Sunday, as well?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I thought it was great to see those guys have that success. Jakeem is somebody who if you would have told me his sophomore year when he got here or freshman year when he got here that he would be doing that in the NFL, I would have said you were crazy. Just the maturity that he's shown and how much he's grown on and off the field is phenomenal. He's a real game breaker for those guys now.
And then Patrick is doing what Patrick has done. I think it was awesome how he protected the football. He's got a great team around him. Coach Reid has done a tremendous job developing him. Just fun to watch, both tremendous human beings that you want to pull for.
Q. Have you had a lot of contact with Patrick since he's been in the NFL?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, just talk, text, just he's got a lot going on, but just making sure he knows that we're all pulling for him.
Q. Does he ever reach out to you for advice?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: No. No, he had three years of that. He had enough of that, I think. He's tired of hearing me talk.
Q. What do you think his ceiling as a player is?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think as good as anybody in that league. He's got to have the right situation. A lot of that league at that position is situational, and right now it seems like he's got it with a quarterback-minded coach and the type of skill he has around him. But he's the most talented quarterback I've probably ever seen. There's only a handful of guys in that league that can do what he can do.
Q. What specifically do you think his attributes -- what attributes specifically do you think can help him be a successful QB in the league for such a long time?
KLIFF KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think he's figured out the work ethic part of it. He's very, very smart, kind of a photographic memory. The first time we'd teach stuff he'd walk it through and nail it. So it's just about the work ethic, the preparation, making that a lifestyle, and it sounds like by all accounts, he's doing that. He loves when the lights come on. That's always when he's at his best, so he's got some good stuff going for him.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports