Ever since social media hit peak proliferation, a market has emerged among college sports programs to monitor how its players use them. Texas Tech has found a fool-proof formula: fake accounts of cute girls.
Noting that friend requests from such accounts are usually automatically accepted — even though players often suspect the account is a fake one — Kingsbury told former Green Bay Packer A.J. Hawk on his podcast, “We have fake accounts of cute girls that they add right now and we can kind of see what’s going on, who’s tweeting what. Those are heavily monitored, for sure.”
As for monitoring when their players use social media, Kingsbury said:
“Meeting rooms and locker rooms, they don’t have their phone in there. But there’s time they’ll sneak one in there and we’ll catch me. Like, ‘Dude, did you not think we were going to find your picture of you in your uniform on Twitter?’ At the same time I want them to enjoy life. I want them to show their personalities. As long as they handle it like a grown-up, we treat them like a grown-up.”
As for more substantial subject matter, I liked this exchange on over-coaching:
Hawk: “As a head coach, how do you make guys feel comfortable to not have to (over-coach)?”
Kingsbury: “That’s a great question. Particularly as a younger coach, I didn’t know many people in this profession when I got this job, so I had to really branch out and try to meet people, go through the interview process. We’ve had some coaches come and go.
When I got into coaching I was fortunate to be with a couple coaches that let me be myself and I really believe that’s why I had success at a young age. They didn’t make me dress a certain way or talk a certain way or coach a certain way. They allowed me to do things the way I do things and what I felt most comfortable in, so I try to give our coaches that autonomy to be themselves. I think if you allow a person to be himself, you hire the right guy and you let all those true characteristics to come out in that person, they’re going to be successful.
Hawk: “Are you a guy that will get on his coaches publicly on the practice field or on the game field, or would you wait till you guys get in the staff meeting to really him know you were truly upset with him?”
Kingsbury: “I won’t ever do it in front of our players. I think that kind of takes some swag from them, you know? I remember as a player if I saw a coach getting berated in front of me I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ You lose that subtle amount of… maybe not listen as much the next time he says something or yells at you because he was getting yelled at. It’s a closed door meeting with them. I think that’s the best way to handle it. Players respond better if you don’t yell at your coaches. That’s my policy. You’ve seen some serious beratings by head coaches to position coaches throughout, I’m sure.”
Hawk: “Oh my goodness. You’re right. Whether subconsciously or consciously as a player, I think, even the young guys that don’t really know what’s going on, they’ll see it and they’re like, ‘Wait, my position coach has been killing me every single day and he’s a huge dick and killing me in my meetings, but then the head coach just made him look like a huge baby.'”
Kingsbury: “It knocks something off of them, some shine off of them a little bit. There’s no question. If I have an issue with a coach, I don’t like how he’s doing something. I’ll either walk over to him, kind of walk away from everybody. ‘Hey, we’ve got to change that. I don’t like how you’re doing this.’ Or wait until after practice and get him there.”
The entire conversation is an easy, entertaining listen, though the second half gets Deflategate-heavy.