As a player, Kliff Kingsbury was an exciting quarterback to watch.
Playing at Texas Tech under coach Mike Leach, he passed for over 12,000 yards and set 17 NCAA records.
Now, back as head coach of the Red Raiders, he is once again exciting fans – and still with a high-powered offense. In his first season, the 34-year-old (the youngest head coach in a BCS Conference) led the Red Raiders to an 8-5 season, which included a 37-23 Holiday Bowl victory against Arizona State.
Kingsbury was in Granbury Wednesday night to speak at the Red Raider Round-Up, sponsored by the local chapter of Texas Tech alumni.
He also took a little time to speak to the Hood County News about his Red Raiders and the state of college football.
“I like what I see. I like the downtown area,” Kingsbury told the crowd of about 300 at the Granbury Resort Conference Center.
“It reminds me of New Braunfels (his hometown).”
Kingsbury went on to tell the audience of mostly Red Raider fans exactly what they wanted to hear.
He said that recruiting has been good and the team looks to be even better in the future.
Of one recruit he said, “Our kids are scared of him. He pulls a phone book out and tears it with his bare hands.”
Tech’s home schedule in 2014 includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.
“I’ve never seen as good a home schedule for Texas Tech football,” the coach said.
A few questions from the audience included one about the proposed new “10-second rule” that would allow defensive players to substitute for 10 seconds before the offense can snap the ball.
“I don’t see it passing,” Kingsbury said. “Fans like the up-tempo game.”
Kingsbury said he likes the new playoff system in place for the highest level of college football.
It begins this season with four teams.
However, the coach would like to see one tweak in the format.
“I’d like to see it expand even more. I think the fans would like that,” he said.
“I’d like to see eight or 16. The more you get in, the more fun it is.”
And, of course, he’d like to see his own team and the Big 12 Conference be a part of that mix – which he believes could happen.
Kingsbury was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in the 2012 season when Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy. The year before Kingsbury was offensive coordinator at the University of Houston when the Cougars posted their best season in school history (13-1, No. 19 in BCS rankings).
Much talk has been made of making it legal to pay players, but Kingsbury wants to stop short of doing that.
“I’d like to give them more in terms of meals or a clothing allowance, maybe housing money,” Kingsbury said. “But as far as giving them cash to spend, that could be a little difficult. You want it to go to the right areas.”
While Kingsbury believes the Big 12 is ready to contend for a national title again – he referenced Oklahoma’s 45-31 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama – he also believes his Red Raiders are preparing themselves to perhaps be the next Baylor.
“In the Big 12 it used to be Texas and Oklahoma out in front of everybody recruiting,” he said.
“But now we’re all recruiting the same players.”
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