Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jumping off a Kliff?

Scott and Trey love Kliff Kingsbury... does Texas Tech feel the same way?

Scott:  Alright Trey, it turns out we have some rather conflicting opinions in regards to our beloved Kliff Kingsbury (so why not take it to the web).  He came over with Sumlin, and ultimately played a huge role in our offensive magic show this year.  

His alma mater, Texas Tech, is currently knocking on the door.  Open it up for me Trey.

Trey:  Things are definitely going to get interesting; the word on twitter has it that the Aggies' OC, Kliff Kingsbury, was actually interviewed last night for the Texas Tech Head Coaching position, replacing Take-Out Tubbs.  

Three things:

1. Do you care? - A year ago, this week, Aggies everywhere were complaining, saying Sumlin shouldn't be bringing KK along to A&M at all, let alone as OC. Obviously, that sentiment is gone, but how important is he to our offense?

2. Does Tech offer? - He's a former record-breaking player from Tech so the fans are into him, but does the administration make a move on a guy with such limited experience?

3. Does KK ultimately leave? - Heisman winning freshman QB vs. Head Coach at his alma mater.

Scott:  Solid questions for me to develop my platform.

Of course I care.  He is a blossoming offensive mind that helped create the greatest Aggie season of my coherent lifetime.  Do I think he will stick around forever?  Absolutely not. That is wishful/delirious thinking.  Do I HOPE he sticks around for a couple more years?  No doubt about it.  Could a realistic hope be that he sticks it out as long as Johnny does?  Does our team take a big step back next year if he departs?  Questionable. I could argue that losing both Joeckel and Matthews might be a harder hit... but on that note (and to conclude this thought), I REALLY don't want to lose our starting tackles, our record-setting receiver, AND our offensive coordinator.  That doesn't sound fun.

Second question and ultimately where the argument begins.  Speaking from the perspective of Texas Tech... I ABSOLUTELY OFFER!  Texas Tech is not a top tier job.  It is squarely in the middle, just like Lubbock is to Texas... truly mediocre.  

Now there are multiple layers to this discussion.  Do I think Texas Tech has a savvy, smart, accomplished group serving as their think tank?  No, I don't.  They ran Leach out of town.  Dumb.  Tuberville walked out during dinner.  Shocking.  To the Big East.  Double Shocking.  Things are getting weird in Lubbock.

But this is my argument (with the hope that the Texas Tech think tank doesn't read this blog).  If Tech wants to win and win on the big stage they have to be creative.  They aren't A&M or Texas.  They don't have the support or the resources.  Is Kliff a high risk, high reward option at this point? I absolutely think so.  He is young (not always a bad thing) and has limited experience near the top of the coaching totem pole.  But what has he shown to this point?  TONS.  He very well could be a star in the making.  We aren't sure yet, but, say he goes from star in the making to actual star... well Tech just lost their shot at one of their own.  Kirby Smart is not going to coach at Tech, he is waiting for a BIG job.  Kliff could be there in a couple years too.  So if I am Tech, I understand the risk and the reward and would ultimately push all my chips on the table.

The big questions we don't know:

Does Kliff love Tech?  He was big man on campus once upon a time, but does he still adore his alma mater.  If he does... it is the icing on the cake for Tech, if not, well they still might make a strong run at him.

Does he ultimately leave?  Not sure, A&M better start this process by doubling his salary (400k to 800k), no questions asked.  We print money, and that would be 400k in a worthwhile place.  How much could Tech offer?  Money always talks, so does the opportunity to start the head coaching process WAY early than anyone expects or could hope for.

Phew, I am already worn out... come back at me Trey!

Trey:  Good stuff. Well I'm glad we agree on one thing, he definitely is appreciated at A&M by the fans and hopefully by the administration (GIVE THE MAN HIS RAISE!).

But you're telling me he's ready to be THE guy at an AQ school? For starters, he's only been called "Coach" for 5 years; 2 as "quality control" (whatever that means), 2 as Co-Offensive Coordinator at Houston where he went 17-8 in C-USA, and 1 as Offensive Coordinator at A&M. Yes he had a great year this year, but how many times did the play break down and JFF improvised it into a TD? Truthfully, we don't know, because he isn't seasoned enough for Tech to know what they would be getting. Add to that, Keenum was already a record breaking QB before KK got a hold of him.

Dang dude, look what you're doing to me! I don't WANT to be discrediting KK but you're making me point out what should be obvious to those searching for a head coach.

*sigh* OK, I'm going back in.

His in-experience is more than just calling plays or running an offense; does he even go on the road to recruit? Who is he going to hire to his staff? I hope he made a bunch of friends last week in Orlando because he's going to be calling any defensive coordinator he can get his hands on if offered the job. How many of them will be excited to work under a 33 year-old out in Lubbock? You make the case that Tech is desparate and needs to do something un-orthodox, well you'll only entertain conversations with defensive coordinators who are as equally desparate.

Look, by NO MEANS AT ALL am I trying to hate on our boy Kliff, he's as bright a star as there is in our program at the moment; but guess what, Johnny Manziel isn't ready to go to the NFL just yet either. It's just apples and oranges at this point.

That's just why Tech shouldn't (understand I'm not saying wouldn't, because they are a rather idiotic bunch at the moment and could do anything) offer Kliff. I haven't even begun to discuss the benefits he has if he stays at A&M for a few more years.

Ball is in your court, Scotty Ice.

Scott:  I think we can definitely agree with the statement, "probably not ready" when it comes to Kliff and a head coaching job.  But as I mentioned before, if the big wigs at Tech think he will one day be "fully ready" (and both of us do think that), then their only chance to snag him is now.  

All of my thoughts are based around this opinion.  Kliff is awesome, Kliff is young, Kliff is charismatic, Kliff looks a bit like Ryan Gosling, and Kliff will make a GREAT head coach one day.  If Tech thinks the exact same thing, then they might throw their chips on the table for him.  

Another sticky part of the situation; unless he is openly pining/flirting for the job to Tech officials, I think most of my arguments become moot.  So much of this situation is Texas Tech being his alma mater.  I love my alma mater, but my alma mater isn't Texas Tech (although to their credit, they are actually pretty darn loyal/good fans, especially when compared with the pathetic "fans" at TCU or Baylor).  And I am always intrigued by coaches going back to their alma mater and taking them to the glory land, BUT honestly, that happens way less thea expected.  Furthermore, it might not actually be a good idea; giving way for too much "feeling" or "emotion" that cannot be mixed with objective, rational thinking.  

BUT WAIT, why am I blabbering about the "thinking" of a college football coach, the closest thing I have been to coaching was a college powder-puff team full of babes (and you were right by my side for that Mr. Bahney).  Silly tangent I got on there.

Correct me if I am wrong, but you think he would be dumb to take it right?  I have to disagree with that.  I have zero doubt that Kliff is a confident guy who thinks he will be running his own team in the not so distant future.  If some business offered you triple/quadruple what you are making now and said, "hey, we think you have incredible potential and will dominate this new job in the near future, you might not be ready at this exact moment, but we can deal with the growing pains." Well da gum, where do I sign Mr. Encouraging Boss.

The search for a defensive coordinator and the recruiting angle you brought up... I honestly don't have a response.  Open up the bank for a defensive coordinator, and hope a savvy offensive mind can woo recruits.  Seems simple to me (actually sounds somewhat similar to what A&M did).

Alright, digest and spit it back Bahney

Trey:  Nice shout out to our dominant run-stuffing blitz schemes (powderpuff is pretty straight-forward: blitz the corners all day).

Yep, Tech students are rather good at supporting their alma mater, but Kingsbury has the dynamic of seeing Mike Leach, his first real mentor, get run out of town in the middle of the night so there's no telling what he thinks. Normally, I would say we could look to his twin, Ryan Gosling, to see how much allegiance he has towards his college of choice but Gosling didn't even graduate high school so that is of no use. (Also, how fascinating that Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake lived together for 6 months when they were 14! Do you think that's what people will be saying that about us 20 years from now?)

I'm off track.

Ok, back to the topic at hand. Yes I think Kingsbury's career would ultimately be handicapped if it included a premature trip through Lubbock, but I do see your point in that it can't be considered a "dumb move" if he were to take the huge promotion. It's just that, at the end of the day, fans want legacy coaches because there is a better chance the coach will stay forever (assuming they blossom into an awesome and successful coach), but even if he did love Tech, he's not going to see Tech as a destination job. If he does go, look for him to ride a two-year stint and a 5-19 record at Tech into a head coaching job at a place like Auburn (cue Gene Chizik joke).

All opinions aside, here's to hoping he stays! He's got the Heisman Trophy winner under his wing for three more years, EIGHT more stud receivers coming in next year to go with our leading receiver, Mike Evans for three more years, and a whole slew of talented running backs in Trey Williams, Ben Malena, Brandon Williams, and Tre Carson. That would be like giving Achilles a machine gun.

Scott:  Uh oh, we are getting soft with each other now; I was expecting some icy tension.  Kliff's charisma is melting us right in the midst of our argument.

How can we not love EVERYTHING that was even the slightest bit involved with Texas A&M this year, let alone our offensive coordinator.  He has unlimited toys to play with during the next couple seasons (as long as our offensive line develops new studs), why not hang out and enjoy it?  Time (and ladies) is on his side.

I hope the all mighty Coach Sumlin has some heart to heart chats with him and simply reminds Kliff what A&M is building. 

And where Lubbock is on the map (geographically and metaphorically).

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