Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury traveled to Bristol today and stopped by the podcast studio to sit with Ivan Maisel. Naturally, the conversation turned to the up-tempo offense.

You’d never be able to tell after the way he’s called plays the last two seasons, but Kingsbury didn’t fall in love at first site with the up-tempo offense. Upon introduction when he arrived at Houston in 2008, serving as an offensive quality control assistant under head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, Kingsbury needed some convincing before he became a believer. Turns out, he just needed to see the up-tempo pace in action. 

“Having played quarterback, you kind of want everything set so you can see it and you can process it so I wasn’t a big fan until I saw the results of it and what it does to a defense,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve just continued to expand the package, expand the package. You see it around the country. People are doing a great job of taking advantage of the rules.”

The conversation segued into Kingsbury’s thoughts on the idea, stemming from comments by Nick Saban and Bret Bielema, that the no-huddle offense was unsafe for defense players. 

“Until I see some statistics or factual information of injuries, things of that nature, I think it’s all about practicing at a tempo that prepares them for it each and every week. If you’re playing an opponent that’s going to push the pace on offense that week, the defense better be ready for it,” Kingsbury said. 

Now that he’s a head coach, Kingsbury takes equal responsibility for both sides of the ball. With that in mind, Maisel asked Kingsbury how he planned to evaluate what exactly constitutes good defense in a game where a team is forced to defend 80 or more snaps. 

“Especially in the Big 12, some of those teams have good defenses but the yards per game are way up there. It’s about creating turnovers and being solid in the red zone when they get down there. Hold them to field goals or keep them out of the end zone,” Kingsbury explained. “I think it’s just kind of the way the game’s going. When you see Bill Belichick doing it to the extent they do it up in New England, as we all know he’s a defensive genius. I just think people are playing to the rules.”