NFL: Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals Cell Phone Policy is a Non-Issue + So 2019

Kliff Kingsbury Cell Phone Policy Players social media

In an interesting twist, it wasn’t news coming from the NFL’s annual meetings that seemed to dominate the headlines on Wednesday, but Kliff Kingsbury’s cell phone policy.

Throughout the week, NFL personnel–including head coaches–have been in Arizona discussing and voting on rules chat could change the course of this upcoming season, and taking care of other pre-Draft business. But despite important discussions that were occurring, one seemed to dominate the headlines on Wednesday.

Shop for NFL Gear at Fanatics!

First-year Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced on Tuesday that he plans to implement a cell phone policy that is commonly used among the college football ranks. “They’re itching to get to those things,” Kingsbury said. “You start to see kind of hands twitching and legs shaking, and you know they need to get that social media fix, so we’ll let them hop over there and then get back in the meeting and refocus.”

This shouldn’t come as a shock.

According to Statista, there are over 4.9 billion mobile phone users in the world. What’s more, the average cell phone user will check their phones up to 47 times per day, with 2,617 likes, taps, or swipes; and 22 percent of those surveyed ages 18-29 check their phones every few minutes. While the data supports obsessive and addictive traits, fans have to realize that it’s not a coaches’ job to mitigate these issues. For Kingsbury to understand these habits is a testament to his attention to detail, and considering the lucrative contracts these players hold, Kingsbury would rather give them a few minutes in between activities to center their focus and hopefully see a greater return on their investments as a result.

Shop for NFL Gear at Fanatics!

Kingsbury is Forward Thinking

Throughout the day, fans were calling Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals out for supporting a “millennial culture,” but it’s hypocritical, considering every cell phone holds personal data patterns, and the negative responses were likely coming from people who weren’t paying attention to the tasks or people in front of them in order to craft their opinions.

The average age of an NFL player is much closer to the ages of the guys Kingsbury coached at Texas Tech. Moreover, Kingsbury, himself, is a former college and NFL player so he understands players on a deeper level than his cohorts. Cell phone breaks are even facilitated at the Ivy League level, so this isn’t groundbreaking or distracting, and shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than leadership understanding how to get the maximum output from their personnel.

From continued activism for benefits to former players, to concussion and CTE issues; domestic violence and drug incidents, to in-game protocol and reviews, the NFL has significantly larger issues to deal with than devolving to high school levels in terms of cell phone and attention management issues.

Kliff Kingsbury Interview: NFL is Ready for Bold Coaching Philosophies

Kliff Kingsbury Interview: The NFL is Ready for Bold Coaching Philosophies

As former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury transitions into the NFL, his thought process shows just how far he’s matured since becoming college football’s youngest head coach.

When Kliff Kingsbury was hired as Texas Tech’s head coach in 2013, he was coming off an exciting year. Kingsbury, then 32, had just coached the youngest Heisman winner in the award’s history in Johnny Manziel. As offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, the national spotlight was focused on a coach with a penchant for details, who proved his high powered offense could be successful in the SEC; which was viewed as the gateway to the NFL.

Fast forward to Texas Tech’s loss vs. Baylor on November 24, 2018, where Kingsbury’s head coaching record hit 35-40 (.467).

In Tech’s 24-35 loss in Dallas, it was pretty much guaranteed that he would not be returning to Lubbock in 2019. Days later, Kingsbury’s termination was confirmed, but just as the news came in, Kliff Kingsbury’s name escalated to the top of every offensive coordinator vacancy position available. Just as Red Raiders began embracing “The King’s” new destination in Los Angeles as the Trojans’ OC, USC allowed him to interview for the Arizona Cardinals’ head coaching position. While the idea of a coach with a losing record seemed insane at first, the Cardinals’ decision was on-trend with the NFL’s sudden shift to the very offensive installation that Kliff Kingsbury had become notorious for throughout his entire playing and coaching career.

Record-breaking numbers and fast-paced offenses are becoming the identity of the Big 12. Now it’s also trickling into the SEC and specifically Alabama with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. For years the Crimson Tide’s identity was in its defensive fortitude, but Tua’s arm strength and cerebral talents prove that to outmaneuver opponents means you have to outsmart them. This can be attributed to why Rams’ head coach Sean McVay has seen the success he has in Los Angeles. Just as defenses understand what “Halle Berry” means, quarterback Jared Goff catches them off guard with another audible. “Obama Obama. Ric Flair Ric Flair.” Score. It’s poetry.

It’s easy to understand why NFL purists who believe the offensive philosophies and avant-garde schemes in college should stay in their lane, but the NFL has to source talent from somewhere. And with two of the top producing conferences in college football transitioning, it’s the perfect timing for a Kliff Kingsbury-type coach.

Kingsbury might be young by NFL standards, but his playing resume spans from New Braunfels, Texas to Europe, so he’s cultured in a way that he understands his players. His coaching career started on a roll of the dice, and he’s been on a G6 ever since. Sure, there’s been turbulence, but like most successful people, adversity and struggles haven’t taken him off course. He’s learned from every role and opportunity he’s been given, and his work ethic combined with his detail-oriented mentality is why he’s now one of 32 NFL head football coaches.

But with the man responsible for coaching up six current NFL quarterbacks–including the frontrunner for the NFL’s MVP Award in Patrick Mahomes–suddenly in charge of a team worth $2.5B, questions have been raised, and rightfully so.

Thankfully, Kingsbury was kind enough to sit down with me to clear the air on some of those concerns.

Q: What was the most transformative event in your time as head coach at Texas Tech that let you know you were ready for this step?

KK: “I’m not sure you ever know that you’re ready, but having been fortunate to coach guys that have played at this level and seen the success they’ve had in similar offensive trends going on in the NFL, I’m just excited for this opportunity, and I’ll try to take what we’ve done at the college level into the NFL.”

Q: If you could break the internet with one unknown fact about you, what would it be?

KK: “I’m straight forward. What you see is what you get.”

Q: You’re one of the coolest and most composed guys on the sideline at every level. So, schematics aside, who influenced that aspect of your coaching philosophy?

KK: “I try to only show positive reactions. I think that when I was with New England watching Coach Belichick, he was the one where ‘great play or bad play’ [he was composed]. And I always thought that was good for the pulse of the team. You never really knew what he was thinking either way, but he never showed panic or any sort of overreaction, and I think that’s just a good mentality for a coach to show to his team.”

Q: Thoughts on angry coaches coming from a former players’ perspective?

KK: “Players respond differently. For me, I was just never a guy who fed off the coach losing it. I was more like, ‘Hey, let’s figure this out, keep our heads together,’ and come up with the best solution to whatever the issue was at the time.”

Q: You coached Pat [Mahomes] and were with him the night he was drafted, and you were drafted by the Pats and played with Tom Brady. How are you feeling about the AFC Championship game?

KK: “I’m pulling for both offenses, so… a high scoring affair. Hopefully, they tie! No… it’s tough because obviously, I have a lot of respect for the head coaches and the teams and Tom and Pat, so I just want them both to play really well, and I’m sure it will be a heckuva a game.”

Q: So you have no rooting interest?

KK: “I don’t. I’m just trying to stay neutral and hope everyone plays well and stays healthy.”

Q: What was the biggest challenge in your first few years as head coach at Texas Tech? Did you face any issues or setbacks that might have throttled Tech’s progression, and ultimately your win-loss record?

KK: “I’m sure there were specifics, but just as a young coach, I think I was probably a little too ambitious on some things. Instead of just really trying to build it from the ground up, I thought we could make some quick fixes here and there. It probably set us back, and I think it’s just something that you learn as you go. There isn’t anything that can prepare you for that, but I think that probably pushed us back a little bit in the beginning.”

Q: Did you think your limited time in the coaching profession had an impact on your coaching tree?

KK: “No…I’m not sure. Obviously, I hadn’t been a coach for very long when I was given that opportunity and probably had some limited connections as opposed to others. I think that’s something that moving forward, I’ve really tried to be thorough in the hiring process, and making sure that we’re always getting the best candidates possible. I’ve been fortunate to coach with a bunch of coaches who have done a tremendous job for us, but that’s one of the biggest things I took from [that job]; you have to get the right tools for that program at that time, regardless of your relationship with people. It’s just about getting the right people.”

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

KK: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and live the life you’ve imagined.” — Henry David Thoreau

Q: You haven’t announced an OC yet, but noted that whoever you hire will help you mesh some traditional looks into your system. With how much the NFL is changing offensively, is it important to bring in traditional coaches to transition veteran players into new schemes more efficiently?

KK: “The experience factor in this league is [what’s] important for me, to be able to learn from everyone that has been here before and dealt with an NFL schedule, game planning, and break downs. There are just different aspects that will be new to me, so the more experience you can rely on, the more ideas you can get from people who have done it at a high level from different organizations, the better off we’ll be.”

Kliff Kingsbury is an anomaly–especially to the coaching world. He’s a charismatic guy with Texas swagger but places a great deal of emphasis on intelligence. From his custom suits to one of his favorite books, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the details he pays attention to are a nod to old school elements of the game; it’s his system that provides an upgrade. And with another NFL team getting on board, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the ‘Year in Football’ in 2019 includes an increase of “system experimentation.”

Want More? Check Out: Preseason Polls are Worthless and Mess Up the College Football Playoff

College Football: Before You Fire Your Head Coach Take the US Coaching Test

Coaching Test

Tis’ Firing Season

It is abundantly clear that many schools do not make good decisions when it comes to deciding whether to retain or fire their head coaches. So I am here to help. I have come up with a simple, absolutely genius, and foolproof Coaching Test to determine whether or not your head coach needs to be fired.
Thanks to social media, fans, and boosters that scream about wanting their coaches fired are now heard. More often than not get their wish granted. As of November 29th, there have been 12 FBS head coaching jobs that have come open. None of these coaching changes were unexpected, but sometimes coaches are fired prematurely. Often, coaches are on an extremely short leash and are expected to win now despite the dysfunction they inherited. Fans and boosters want Clay Helton, and Gus Malzahn fired at USC and Auburn. But should they be gone as well?

2019 Coaching Changes

Coaching Test
With some coaches having large buyouts, there are obvious financial ramifications to firing a head coach. In addition to financial ramifications of firing the coach, there is often a lot of uncertainty when you don’t know who the next head coach is going to be. Many fan bases that have called for their coaches to be fired are learning a hard lesson. You may get your wish with your coach being fired, but your new coach may be from the “scratch and dent bin.” There are good coaches in the scratch and dent bin, but they aren’t perfect and have some unsuccessful times in their history. But you got what you wanted, a new coach. Take Kliff Kingsbury for example. After Texas Tech fired him, his phone started ringing off the hook with job opportunities. Tell me if you think Kingsbury should have been fired after you take the test.

Unafraid Show Coaching Test

Every head coach needs to be reevaluated every season. It does not matter whether the coach went undefeated and won the championship or went defeated and zero games. You only need to answer two questions two know whether your coach needs to be fired or not.

Number one:

Is there a coach that is guaranteed to take your job that is better than your current coach? Example: James Franklin is the head coach at Penn State. He seems to be doing a good job, but anyone clearly would fire him if Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban would replace him. Often coaches are fired, and the schools have no clue who will replace him.
I believe that is part of the reason USC did not fire Clay Helton. How many established, and winning head coaches would be willing to leave a successful program to go to USC. Coaches are more often valuing the stability at a top 11-25 job rather than jumping at the chance to coach a top 10 team.

Number Two:

Is there still hope? Can your current coach go into the living rooms of 17-21-year-old kids and sell them and their parents on the fact that the future of your program is brighter than the past? Can you make them buy in, believe, and go all in with you?
If you can’t answer both of these questions in the affirmative, then you need a head coaching change. The Unafraid Coaching Test is a simple and foolproof test. If Athletic Directors and administrators answered these two simple questions every season, they wouldn’t consistently mess up their programs. This method of determining whether to keep or fire your coach is an easy explanation to the boosters and other influential people around your program. It will keep the waters from being muddied by people with personal agendas and faulty reasoning. When Athletic Directors and administrations listen to the mob of angry fans, they mess up their programs by firing a coach too prematurely, or they rely on their gut/pride and keep the coach too long.
The angry mob of fans and boosters change their minds like the wind; their opinions cannot be trusted in the short term. Think about this.  Last year Florida State fans couldn’t wait to get Jimbo Fisher out and Willie Taggart in. Now, they would happily take Jimbo back. Texas fans were unsure about Tom Herman’s prospects as head coach. Now the Longhorns fanbase is smiling.
Here are a couple of common questions I got when I explained this on #UnafraidShow:

What if the coach is winning, but he can’t recruit?

If your coach can’t recruit, then he can’t win long term. If he can’t win, there will be a loss of hope. When the loss of hope happens, fire your coach. Don’t fire a winning coach!

What if the coach recruits well, constantly goes 8-5 or 9-4, and can never get you “over the hump”?

This is clearly referring to Kevin Sumlin at Texas A &M last year. TAMU was able to get Jimbo Fisher who has won a national championship. So, firing Sumlin was a good move. If they had missed on Jimbo, the Aggies would have ROYALLY screwed up. A coach who recruits well and consistently stays in those win totals is really close to breaking through. If you miss on the big fish, you will wish for him back two years from now.
Next time you get into a discussion about whether or not the coach of your favorite team needs to be fired refer to the Unafraid Coaching Test.

Kliff Kingsbury to USC? Here’s what we know about Texas Tech’s former HC

Kliff Kingsbury

Former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury could be headed to Los Angeles as the USC Trojans’ offensive coordinator, but other teams could also be in the mix.

When former Texas Tech head football coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired following the Red Raiders’ loss against Baylor to close the season, it was pretty much guaranteed he would not be returning to Lubbock as its head coach in 2019. The following day, in a somber tone, Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt made the official announcement, and shortly thereafter, rumors of Kliff Kingsbury sightings in Los Angeles started to emerge. What’s more interesting is that despite the up and down news cycle in the past five days, there have been no other rumored sightings of Kingsbury elsewhere.

A USC Annenberg Associate Professor of Professional Practices, Jeff Fellenzer dropped this bomb on Twitter earlier today:

The news began Thursday afternoon when this started making the rounds:

This source has been wrong in the past, and in any event, we should always take caution when news breaks, especially if it’s not a primary source or corroborated by secondary outlets. Moreover, While the NFL season is still ongoing, according to many sources, Kingsbury has “firm offers” from several NFL teams, and NFL analysts such as Ian Rappoport have cautioned against any conclusive moves involving USC and Kingsbury.

In a Tweet by Bruce Feldman, Kingsbury’s agent said this in response to the news, “Pump the brakes on the Kliff Kingsbury to USC talk. His agent Erik Burkhardt just told me. ‘It’s premature to say that any decision (by Kliff) has been made.'” This could mean a number of things. It could very well mean that the in-principle deal outlets are reporting as factual are not true, or parties are still negotiating. It could also be a method agents employ when they want to drum up more leverage, considering Kingsbury will take a pay cut by going from making just north of $3 million a year at Texas Tech, to somewhere in the ballpark of $1.5 million. When former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin was signed to an extension this past February, the details of his contract weren’t disclosed, but considering USC just wiped most of its staff, I’m sure Kingsbury and Burkhardt are being very meticulous about this.

Regardless of if or when terms are met, it’s important for USC to find its next coaching staff, especially with early National Signing Day on December 19.

We’ll be sure to update this as more information becomes available.

Want More? Check Out: Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 14: CFPlayoff Chase

Texas Tech Football fans weigh in on QB battle

Texas Tech Football

Texas Tech Football is notorious for offensive weapons, but the quarterback battle throughout fall camp is presenting some telling storylines.

From Rodney Allison to Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech Football has produced some notoriously potent quarterbacks in program history. The level of talent that’s filtered through the position at Texas Tech has also created a restless fanbase, which expects its gunslingers to be able to extend plays on the ground, and thread needles like Aaron Rodgers.

In 2017, Texas Tech Football was left with a substantial void due to the early departure of Mahomes to the NFL. That left Nic Shimonek as the anticipated starter, and just as it seemed he was finding his stride, fans grew restless because the void Mahomes left was just too substantial. Two seasons removed from the end of the Mahomes Era, and Red Raider quarterbacks are in an advantageous situation, as it presents the guys competing with an opportunity to carve their own legacies without the comparisons and criticisms Mahomes’ backups faced.

Heading into the offseason last season, the narrative was that if Jett Duffey didn’t start at quarterback, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was done at Texas Tech.

Since finishing an impressive senior season at Mansfield High School with over 4,000 yards of total offense and 48 touchdowns, Duffey has had to work his way back into the fold at Tech. Many expected Duffey to emerge past Shimonek to compete for the QB2 spot in 2016, but an investigation sidelined him through 2017 season, where he burned his redshirt year. This put McLane Carter in a spot to earn reps with the first-team offense, and in Tech’s victory over Texas last season, Carter was able to demonstrate his value in a trial by fire situation that carried confidence well into Spring Ball.

In the Spring Game back in April, Carter finished 11-of-19 overall for 139 yards, followed by Duffey, who threw 11-of-15 for 89 yards, and Alan Bowman, who finished 7-of-12 for 76 yards.

While passes and receptions were on-par between all three quarterbacks, rumor has it, Carter has been spending a lot of time with the first-team offense. Although, Coach Kingsbury has been adamant since Media Days that all quarterbacks will receive equal time vying for the QB1 spot, brief snapshots could carry hidden meanings.

But Kingsbury isn’t worried about the quarterback spot, and nor should he be.

“Just because they’re young or inexperienced, to me, you never know how they’re going to respond,” Kingsbury said. “I wouldn’t say [I’m] nervous. I think excited to not really know who it is, and be able to work with those guys and try to have one guy really step up.”

While practices have been limited to a few minutes for media, and scrimmages have been limited to short clips, it’s growing apparent that the progression needle is moving towards one quarterback in particular–McLane Carter.

What’s more, Texas Tech fans seem to believe Carter is the front-runner, too. Texas Tech Football fans were polled on Monday, and 82 percent of the 150 votes came in for McLane Carter, with Alan Bowman and Jett Duffey receiving nine percent of votes each.

Jett Duffey is a dual-threat quarterback who was billed to become Patrick Mahomes reincarnated, but unfortunately, the biggest issue raised regarding Duffy has been in his mechanics.

According to the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, first-year c0-offensive coordinator Kevin Johns discussed what the requirements were to fill the QB1 spot, “Manage the offense. Take care of the football. Get us in the right play. Move the offense down the field. Be smart on third down. Things like that.” Said Johns, who also elaborated that Shimonek’s successor had to “Play smart. We don’t need anyone to necessarily win the game, but they can’t lose the game.”

While Duffey’s reps in front of media have been limited, his interceptions in practices have raised some questions, increasing the belief that experience will win out when Kingsbury announces who will start against Ole Miss on Sept. 1 at NRG Stadium.

As Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said on an SEC preview show, “The team will tell you [who your quarterback is].”  Coach Kingsbury is looking for a player who’s reactionary; a player who leads in every category, and moreover, a player who encourages progress and productivity by every player on the team–including quarterbacks.

And as Texas Tech Football fans have experienced in the past, backups are always one play away from reopening the doors on the competition.