I checked in earlier today with a column on Kliff Kingsbury's biggest challenge of Year 1 at Texas Tech: The ability to learn as he goes along and adjust his schemes as he learns more about his team.
My colleague Travis Haney also wrote about Kingsbury today as part of our weeklong series on first-year coaches. Haney talked to a handful of coaches around the country about Kingsbury, and no surprise, there were plenty of rave reviews. But Haney says even though Kingsbury is young -- the youngest AQ conference coach, to be exact -- a wide-open Big 12 is ripe for him to build a program within.
"He's not just running Mike Leach's Air Raid that he played in college," the coach said. "Kliff did a great job of using little things he's learned, from Leach and Dana Holgorsen (when he was an OC at Houston) and everyone else. He was Charlie Weis' quality control assistant (in 2003 in New England).
"He's taken those things and created his own thing."
That thing? In an era of accelerating offenses, Kingsbury wants to go even faster.
"He's up-tempo as fast as you can go," one SEC assistant said.
But he is still intelligent enough to be flexible when he needs to be. Kingsbury developed a first-year starter in Johnny Manziel, one who doesn't always abide by the letter of the playbook law, into a Heisman Trophy winner.
Well said. The Big 12 will find out soon enough if Kingsbury's rising star will continue to do so in his new role in a new league. Check out the full piece from Haney. Really great, candid, interesting stuff.