The Texas Tech Red Raiders improved to 7-0 on the season and moved into the top 10 this week thanks to a strong performance against the West Virginia Mountaineers (and a parade of upsets from teams ahead of them in the rankings). First year head coach Kliff Kingsbury has returned to his former stomping grounds and led the Red Raiders into an early lead for the Big 12 title by restoring the exciting offensive style that made Tech dangerous when he was under center and instilling an aggressive, confident philosophy that has permeated the entire roster.
That aggressive confidence was on display this weekend when the Raiders were trying to ice their win over WVU. Nursing a three-point lead late in the 4th quarter, Kingsbury put the game into the hands of Davis Webb, the true freshman quarterback only starting because of injuries to two other Tech quarterbacks this season. That didn’t phase the Tech head coach, however, from leaning on his young quarterback with the game in the balance.
Facing a third-and-six with less than two minutes to play, Kingsbury dialed up a pass play for Webb, who converted and kept the Tech drive alive. Later in the same drive, Tech faced a third-and-goal and Kingsbury once again put the ball in Webb’s hands who found tight end Jace Amaro for a game-sealing touchdown. When conventional wisdom might have said to take the air out of the ball and play it safe with running plays, Kingsbury played his offense and put his faith in his players.
That faith was rewarded and has been rewarded time and again multiple times this season. Kingsbury has earned the trust of his team by trusting in them and the result has been an absolute buy-in from the Texas Tech players into Kingsbury’s system and philosophy as head coach. That has resulted in the Red Raiders racing out to the top of the Big 12 early with huge matchups down the stretch. That mutual trust between coach and players will be even more important in those showdowns in the coming weeks.
When many coaches in the Big 12 are limiting how much responsibility and risk they place on their quarterbacks (leading to some stunted offensive performances), Kingsbury has instead turned it all over to his young signal callers. And through seven games in 2013, it has made all the difference.