Maybe this will be the year Texas Tech figures out how to play a lick of defense. History would suggest that is probably not going to be the case, but Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury sounds confident in the direction of the defensive unit under defensive coordinator David Gibbs in his third year on the job in Lubbock.
“Coach Gibbs didn’t come to Lubbock and get dumb all of the sudden,” Kingsbury said in an interview with ESPN. “He’s had success everywhere he’s been.”
Texas Tech is coming off a season in which they ranked last in the Big 12 in total defense, allowing nearly 100 more yards per game (554.3 ypg) than the next worst team in the conference, Kansas (456.2 ypg; and Kansas at least beat Texas). Texas Tech has finished in the bottom two of the conference in total defense each season since 2014, which has left the program trying to break out of its reputation with frustrating results on defense. Hiring Gibbs was a good move for Kingsbury after Gibbs had a short and successful stint at Houston. For Kingsbury and Gibbs, playing the long game has been and needs to be the plan, and taking the lumps along the way is part of the process.
“He’s frustrated. He’s competitive. He wants to be successful. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for him for sticking it out,” Kingsbury said in his interview with ESPN. “He’s had opportunities to go other places and start over. He’s well-respected in this profession and he wants to get it right here. I admire him for that. It would be an easy out to go somewhere else at this point. He wants to do it here and wants to show we can get this fixed.”
The biggest concern for Texas Tech has been in establishing depth on defense. This has been an area of focus in recruiting and development the last few years, and the hope is that work is going to begin paying off this season.