Texas Tech was the most penalized team in the Big 12 and ranked 115th in the nation for team penalties a year ago. There are only 124 teams on that list.
To say that the Red Raiders have to cut down on their self-inflicted wounds would be an understatement. The team averaged just under 8 penalties for 75 yards per game. That can add up quickly when facing stiff conference competition.
Coach Kingsbury began an initiative in the spring to encourage accountability for mistakes. The coaching staff is convinced that the team has to focus on integrity on the field to be more successful.
Coach Kingsbury described the solution:
"We started working on those things first day of spring ball and have stayed on top of that since we've been here, so that will be a huge emphasis in camp - just continue to reinforce that each and every day in practice that we have to take the ball away, and no more dumb penalties."
The veteran players have met Coach Kingsbury's expectations so far and have a renewed focus on avoiding penalties.
Junior Tight End Jace Amaro talked about accountability:
"There were a lot of games last year where we could have won in the fourth quarter and we got penalties that held us back from winning those games. There are going to be times like that this next season where penalties are going to be huge in the fourth quarter. I think that Coach Kingsbury has harped on it enough that we have learned to not make those mistakes."
Penalties frequently come from a lapse in focus, but at the speed these Big 12 offenses move, there is little room for error and a definite need for individual accountability.
If Tech wants to exceed expectations this year, they must do more than just try to outscore each opponent, they must do the little things right.
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