Kliff Kingsbury

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Kliff Kingsbury admitted to doing something at Texas Tech a number of coaches in college football probably do

4 Comments

Former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, now the head coach of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, recently admitted to using fake social media accounts as a way to monitor what his players were doing in social media. The NFL world is reacting to the story now as Kingsbury prepares for his first season as an NFL head coach, with Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio noting Kingsbury will likely be asked about his social media conduct when he addresses the media for the first time since the story broke in the Arizona Republic at training camp.

The question college football people are probably wondering is “so what?”

The act of using fake social media profiles to keep tabs on others can be a risky move. Not only can it come off as deceiving because, well, it is, but improper use of fake social media accounts can lead to more trouble than it is worth sometimes. But was Kingsbury doing anything he should not have been doing with regard to his players at Texas Tech?

More and more often, college football coaches and staff members are stressing the importance of players keep their noses clean when it comes to social media habits. The problem is there are some difficult ways to constantly monitor and act on any player’s personal account, which is why going under the radar with a fake account seems to make sense. If a player is more likely to respond or react to another online profile they think is not their coach, they may be more open to expressing themselves more naturally. And that may be exactly the point for Kingsbury or any other coach who chooses to check in on players through a fake account.

We may never know for sure, but there could potentially be hundreds of college football or athletics staffers who are tasked with chatting with players through a fake account. And if anything fishy or questionable comes up, the staff can act on it accordingly as they best see fit. Coaches and staff members are there not only to win games but also pave a solid path for their players for life beyond the football field. In today’s world, having a good sense of how to appropriately handle social media can never be stressed enough.

Every coach and staff has a different way to handle social media, of course. Some programs force players to log out of their social media accounts during the season. Others don’t set any limits on social media screen time. There may not be a perfect solution, but with players getting more chances to express themselves directly, it is increasingly more important to have staffers logged in and tuned in to what is going on in the world of social media to ensure their program and university, and the player, will not cross any lines that don’t need to be crossed.

In light of this Kingsbury story, I fully expect one of the many anonymous coaches polls at conference media days to ask whether or not they or another staff member monitor players with fake accounts. And I’d wager a hefty sum the majority of them would confirm it.

Kingsbury was fired by Texas Tech last season. He then was named offensive coordinator at USC and eventually left the Trojans to become the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Clay Helton wishes Kliff Kingsbury well in NFL as new search for offensive coordinator commences

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
10 Comments

The Kliff Kingsbury era of USC Trojans football vanished just as soon as it began, and now USC head coach Clay Helton is looking for a new offensive coordinator for a second time this offseason. After Kingsbury was hired by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, Helton was left with little choice but to move forward and wish Kingsbury well.

“I am happy for Kliff,” Helton said in a released statement on Tuesday. “Any time you get an opportunity to be an NFL head coach, it is special. He is a talented coach, that’s why we brought him here. I wish him nothing but the best.”

USC officially hired Kingsbury to be the offensive coordinator a little more than a month ago, just 10 days after Kingsbury had been fired as head coach at Texas Tech. Kingsbury was to replace Tee Martin, who was not retained after a losing season for the Trojans. Where Helton and USC turn for their next offensive coordinator remains to be seen, although Helton expressed confidence in being able to attract a worthy candidate for the job.

“USC has always attracted the best coaches in the country from all levels,” Helton said. “We will spend the upcoming weeks finding the best possible fit for USC and our program.”

Report says USC blocked Jets and Cardinals from interviewing Kliff Kingsbury

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
7 Comments

USC is being real protective of their new offensive coordinator. According to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the school prevented Kliff Kingsbury from being interviewed by two NFL franchises looking for a new head coach.

According to Schefter, the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals were prevented from being able to organize an interview with Kingsbury after USC athletics director Lynn Swann rejected the request. That would be the end of the conversation for the Jets and Cardinals, who are forced to move on from their interest in Kingsbury as a result of a new NFL rule that requires NFL teams to ask for permission from university officials before approaching potential candidates from college football, be they head coaches or assistants.

“If permission is denied, the NFL club should respect that decision just as it would respect a similar decision from another NFL club,” the rule states in part, according to Schefter. “NFL clubs that fail to follow these protocols may be subject to disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the League.”

While that gives USC the power, that still feels like a tough situation for Kingsbury. Although Kingsbury publicly turned down the idea of going to the NFL to coach previously, it feels pretty odd for someone else to essentially block him from exploring other potential opportunities at the next level. Of course, if Kingsbury really had no interest in the NFL at this time, even if a head coaching job was potentially on the table, then he had no risk in signing on as the offensive coordinator at USC when he did.

NFL coaching carousel begins, so get ready for the rumor mill to spill over to college football

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
1 Comment

Today is Bloody Monday around the NFL as the regular season has come to a close. Head coaching vacancies have been made with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and more. And with the NFL coaching carousel now in full swing, do not be surprised to hear some conversation pick up about potential candidates coming from the world of college football.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has been one of the trendy names to follow in the NFL rumor mill, although the head coach of the Wolverines appears to be keeping his distance whenever asked about the possibility of pursuing a job in the NFL. Harbaugh has stated he does not really have representatives, and the Jets have turned aside the rumors suggesting the franchise was looking to make a push for Harbaugh.

For years, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been seen as a likely candidate to make the jump to the NFL at some point in time. Coming off an undefeated regular season only to be shown the exit from the College Football Playoff in dominant fashion against Clemson will certainly have some suggesting Kelly may have tapped out at Notre Dame and could be willing to look for a new challenge. Confirming his allegiance to Notre Dame is nothing new for Kelly, as he’s been doing it multiple times during his time in South Bend. We’ll see if anyone kicks up some dust on his name for a potential job opening.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has had his name thrown around by some NFL folks, and with the success of Baker Mayield in his rookie year with the Cleveland Browns, it’s not difficult to understand why. Former Texas Tech head coach and current USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury has also had his name tossed around at times, more likely as a coordinator however. There are also reports that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald could get a look from the Green Bay Packers. Former Washington and USC head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian could be out of a job as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, so it would not be out of the question Sarkisian makes his way back to college football in some capacity either. This thing works both ways, right?

Then there are the college coaches who have some previous NFL head coaching experience. Good luck prying Nick Saban back to the NFL when he is the God of Alabama football at the height of his career, but might an NFL franchise be willing to give a guy like Herm Edwards another shot after proving some doubters wrong in his first season at Arizona State? Given how coaching hires are made, recycling a veteran coach like Edwards would hardly be a surprising move by some NFL franchise.

This time of the year, nothing should be considered completely off the table, so brace yourselves, college football fans. This coaching carousel isn’t quite done just yet (and it was already potentially in motion with some recent vacancies already opened up at Houston and Temple).

Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman being watched with partially collapsed lung

Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images
4 Comments

Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman was taken out of Saturday’s game against West Virginia, and now it is unknown just how soon he may be able to return to action for the Red Raiders. Multiple reports say Bowman suffered a partially collapsed lung and was being treated at a local hospital over the weekend.

If there was any good news for Bowman, it was the report that there were no broken ribs, according to Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury. But it remains unknown when Bowman will be available again.

I think without the broken ribs, it should be sooner than later,” Kingsbury said, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “But I’m not sure the exact timetable yet.”

Jett Duffey came off the bench to fill in for Bowman for the remainder of the West Virginia game this weekend, and it should be expected he will continue to lead the offense for as long as Bowman is unavailable.

Texas Tech is off this week. The Red Raiders return to the field for a Thursday night game at TCU on October 11, followed by a home game against Kansas the following week.