“Stop recruiting these beasts up front and we won’t run as many plays.”

Texas Tech coach (and former TAMU offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury got some attention for his “I’ll change my approach if Saban will change his” interview earlier this week.  It’s a fair point, but I thought this was the more interesting part of the discussion:

Kingsbury said the style of play, especially in the Big 12, where half the teams averaged at least 76 plays per game, has changed what it means to play good defense.

“There are some really good players in the Big 12 on defenses, but yards per game is through the roof. That’s just the nature of the game,” he said. “If Alabama or LSU or those guys faced these offenses all the time, each and every week, it would be different. That’s just a fact.

“We’re big on being great in the red zone, holding people to field goals and creating turnovers. I think the yards are going to be up there. It’s just the way the game is set up these days.”

That, of course, begs the question of how Texas A&M did in those categories in its maiden voyage through the SEC.  The answer is not so great.  Per cfbstats.com, the Aggies sported the 8th best red zone scoring defense, the 8th best red zone touchdown percentage defense and finished 11th in the conference in turnover margin.

Also worth checking out as an example is LSU’s total defense game log.  In losing at home, the Aggies managed to run an insane 94 plays on offense, by far the most of any LSU regular season opponent.  But their average yards per play number was mediocre.  (Going minus-five in turnover margin also didn’t help.)

But here’s the thing – every offense that LSU faced after A&M managed a better yards per play number than the Aggies did.  And it was considerably more for the rest of the regular season.  So the question is did playing that non-stop attack take something physically out of the Tigers’ defense in the next few weeks or did it expose some weaknesses that other offensive coordinators took advantage of?  Given that the next two schools LSU played ran very different and much slower paced offensive schemes, I tend towards the former, but in any event it’s a noteworthy pattern.

Now I don’t want to push this too far, because it’s a limited sample size I’m reviewing here.  But maybe the way we should be looking at this is to realize that in his own way, Manziel was as much a beast last season as the ‘Bama offensive line was.  There’s more than one way to skin a defensive cat, in other words.

All that being said, I still think Kingsbury is full of it if he really believes Big 12 defenses are as good as those in the SEC.


Filed under Big 12 Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

15 responses to ““Stop recruiting these beasts up front and we won’t run as many plays.”

  1. Kingsbury is full of “it” alright. There are several ways to skin a defensive cat. Saban know them all.


  2. I guess we’ll just have to see how it works out. When Kingsbury’s “approach” wins multiple National Championships then I’m sure a lot of teams will go that way. Until then…….


  3. Are you saying Kingsbury’s approach will win multiple NC? For whom?


    • No actually I’m saying the opposite. Kingsbury has won nothing yet. If he can consistently win NC’s then maybe other teams will go that way. He kind of said himself that since he can’t recruit the best talent, he has to try something to counteract the better talent.


  4. Macallanlover

    Kingsbury has little choice but to defend the ineptness of Big 12 defenses, the entire conference has an offensive slant. No different from the PAC12. The fans obviously prefer the high scoring shootouts but you have to wonder how they rationalize the failure those teams face when they encounter a solid defense. Stanford is the only team in either conference to play big boy defense and it seems to serve them well. Last year they shut down Oregon lightening fast offensive attack; in fact, they have prospered by playing the role of contrarian. You have to wonder why others haven’t pursued this angle, or at least added some balance to their overall scheme. Texas, OU, and USC have been the best overall performers in those conferences and they have used the formula of “balance” with an edge toward the offense. Kingsbury may want to try that approach since a decent defense will get the ball back quicker and allow the high flying offense to roll up plays/points.

    I think the failure of the BigWhatever over the past 3-4 decades has been their lack of offense to go with some decent defenses. Again, lack of balance contributing to poor performance. The SEC was like that pre-Spurrier, imo.


  5. Bob

    The Aggies had a great year, no doubt about it. But, in games against the three best SEC teams they faced, they got shut down the second half at home against Florida and LSU and lost both games. They jumped to a big lead on Bama and held on to win. Not sure his remarks about the problems LSU and Bama would face in the Big 12 was that well thought out.


  6. I would say in the case of the LSU example, emotional letdown had as much to do with it as anything.


  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Kingsbury is the next great college football coach. When he gets TT going offensively watch what happens to Texas after a couple of losses in a row to TT. Since Kingsbury is a TT alum it will be interesting to watch what he does when he gets the big-time offer from DeLoss Dodds.