Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury sat down with ESPN.com earlier this week to talk about his new gig. Earlier today, he talked about his first week on the job, the process of being hired and his relationship with Mike Leach. Here's the rest of the conversation.
I watched your introduction on Friday and you certainly didn't avoid the whole Tuberville issue. I think a lot of guys would have avoided that. Why did you not, and why did you take that approach?
KK: I just think when it's your school and that's where you've been, I felt entitled to that. If I was just a guy who had no ties to this school, it may have been a little bit different. But I take a lot of pride in this school, a lot of pride in what we've accomplished here, and I'll never shy away from that.
So as a Tech fan yourself, what were your thoughts on the way he left?
KK: You know, everybody has their own priorities, so I won't get into that, but like I said, it opened the door for some people to step up and young coaches to get in here and take it a different direction. We're really excited about that opportunity.
Any progress on the Cincinnati matchup in the future? (Laughs)
KK: (Laughs) I haven't heard back.
You've talked a whole lot about establishing a "swagger" on this team, but how do you impose that onto players?
KK: I think you have to make the players take ownership of it and make sure they know that this is their team. They have to act like that and as coaches, we can only take them so far. We're all in this together. If they play bad, we're probably going to get fired, and if we coach bad, we're not going to win many games. So, it's a group effort, and you have to make sure they take ownership of their own team.
How closely have you been able to follow Tech while you were away at Houston and at A&M last year?
KK: I've always followed them. That's my school. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears at this place and it's meant the world to me and my family. So, I've always kept up with them and I'm very proud of what this place has been able to accomplish over the years.
How would you describe your knowledge of the roster at this point?
KK: Not great. Just watched and seeing their records over the past couple years. They're 7-5 this year, but seeing them over the past few years, they've had some big victories and you're taking over a program that's not broken by any stretch of the imagination. It's a solid program and something we can really build off of.
Who were some guys that jumped out at you?
KK: I think the big tight end, Jace Amaro, is an imposing figure who can really run. Eric Ward has done a fabulous job. I've really been impressed by the defense and the improvements they made this year. There's really some pieces in place and if we can get in here and get things rolling, I think the future looks really bright for Texas Tech.
Where does the defensive coordinator search stand right now?
KK: We're still looking. We're still looking. We've had some good talks, but still wide open.
What do you want in a defensive coordinator?
KK: Aggressive. I think in this day and age, you have to be able to dictate the pace on defense and dictate what people are doing. Offenses are so good, especially in this league, that you can't sit back and let them play their game. You have to try and be deceptive and make things happen on that side of the ball.
How good can this team be immediately?
KK: I don't think it's broke by any stretch of the imagination. It's a 7-5 team playing in a bowl game, so I think last year at Texas A&M, nobody thought we'd be very good coming in as a 6-6 Big 12 team, so I'm excited. I think there's a lot of talent, the previous staff did a really good job of recruiting and I'm excited to get out in the spring and see what we have to work with.