As spring football winds down and Texas Tech fans all begin waiting for the real games later this fall, we wanted to provide a different type of content item.
So we reached out to one of our own, country music artist Josh Abbott, for a Q&A to get his thoughts on Red Raider football and much more.
Q - We know you are an obsessive and longtime Texas Tech fan like many of our subscribers, so what are your thoughts on the current state of the football program?
JA - I'm proud of Kliff and our program. People typically evaluate programs based on W's & L's and that's a sad way to solely evaluate a program. Why are those the only ways to determine "value"? What about whether or not our Head Coach loves being here and isn't looking for "better" options every December? What about whether or not our student athletes are making their grades, graduating, staying out of trouble, and bettering their lives? At Tech right now we have an alum leading the way, happy with his job, embracing the community, and not tolerating failing grades or criminal activity. He runs a clean program that competes in a difficult conference. We win some, we lose some, but we do it the right way. We've got an IPF finally on the way. Obviously I want us to win, but as long as we're competitive with a team that represents Tech and Lubbock with pride, then I'm perfectly happy with that. What's the flip side? Baylor? Nope. They won some but at what cost? National embarrassment and a stigma for generations.
Q - You get to spend time around the program when in town, when is the last time you were in Lubbock and had a chance to see those guys?
JA - I was around a few days this spring, but didn't have time to stay for practices. Emo and I went to lunch and I've spent some time with Kliff up there. Those guys love this university and they're excited about this team. I will say this: the last couple years, I thought they all just looked...tired...especially around the Feb/March timeframe. They seemed drained. This year they don't for whatever reason and it's great! They're fired up and reminds me a lot of their first spring here. Good things are coming; we just have to remember to be patient and let them build what we hired them to build.
Q - Call your shot, when does Mahomes get drafted later this month?
JA - I'm on record three months ago saying that he would be a top 15 pick and I'll stick with that. It's been fun having some of my friends in that world (NFL scouts, ESPN, various college football guys) text me and say they were wrong. I told them early on to get off Kizer because he's gonna drop to round three and get on Mahomes in round one. I'd love to see him in Houston but not sure they can pull it off in the draft and honestly I don't think he needs to play much in year one anyway. Cleveland at 12 seems most likely (God help him) but don't be surprised if the 49ers trade down from #2 and still grab him in top 10.
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) March 29, 2017
Q - Speaking of Mahomes, what have you thought about Nic Shimonek so far this spring?
JA - Haven't seen enough to make a definitive opinion but I'm glad we have a fifth year senior in there that waited his turn, learned the system, and earned his respect. He's gonna make some mistakes but he will have a great season in this offense. These receivers we have are absolutely incredible as a unit. If Steele, Anderson, & the line can do an above-average job blocking and give him 4 seconds off the snap, we'll be extremely efficient.
Q - It's year three with Coach Gibbs this season, he seems to have more depth than ever before...so does the Tech defense get it done this season?
JA - Tricky question because what does "get it done" mean? They had some great stops last year but our offense either didn't "get it done" or scored so fast the D was right back out there. Plus in today's Big 12, everyone spreads the ball and scores so much. The games last longer because of televison timeouts and increased incompletions. We all have these notions of what a good defense is and it's based on decades ago. Kansas St. had the best D in the Big 12 last year and gave up 21 points/game. So the #1 D in our conference was only 20th in the country. The simple truth is that everyone in our league gives up lots of points. Mahomes threw for 800 yards on OKLAHOMA. Alabama gave up 35 in the natty against a team that runs an offense like what we face almost every week. I do believe the personnel has all the makings of the best defense we've had in years. A kid that Mike Smith and I absolutely loved coming in last year is Houston Miller and I still believe by the time that class is done, he'll be the best D-linemen from it. I pushed Eli Howard hard on the coaches when he was a HS senior so I'm glad to see him doing work this spring. Hill, Gilmore, Wallace, Washington, all those guys are a deep young talented group. Having Dakota & Hinton back along with Brooks is salty. And those juco DB's we brought in are absolutely solid so the secondary will be instantly better. I personally wish we played more of a 4-3 and blitzed more out of the Nickel but honestly what the hell do I know?! One thing is for sure, the talent and depth has continued to improve.
Q - One of the main story lines this off-season is Coach Kingsbury spending more time and being more involved with the Tech defense, what are your thoughts?
JA - I'm never a fan of asking someone to do too much especially when it takes away from their primary skill set. I can see how it gets the defensive players more fired up, but I hope he spends most of his time on offense still because that's what he's a genius at. And make no mistake, Kliff is an offensive genius. Looking at his play board in his office is like seeing Russel Crowe's office in "A Beautiful Mind". It's incredible and only he can decipher it. Emo knows his stuff too.
Q - In your opinion, Texas Tech's best player on offense and best player on defense?
JA - Keke and Brooks. Easy answers. But that WR corp is full of guys who can get it done, & Anderson could be the best OL ever at Tech. On D, there are several other guys who have all-conference potential.
Q - Not sure how closely you follow recruiting these days, but who is one player you would like to see the coaches land in the 2018 recruiting class?
JA - I'm not into recruiting as much as I used to be simply because it's nonstop and kids constantly change their minds. They're a bunch of divas. That said, I'm tired of seeing legacies go elsewhere so here's hoping Hanspard will come to Lubbock. And if we can land the Waco QB, that would be awesome simply because it would be a big slap to Baylor.
Heart is heavy for the Dykes family. Coach Spike is an all-time west TX legend; Here's hoping he's w/ his wife & saying hi to Jennie Bailey pic.twitter.com/qFTARFWvrP
— Josh Abbott (@joshabbottband) April 10, 2017
Q - You grew up in West Texas, any memories of Spike Dykes or did you have an opportunity to meet him?
JA - Met him several times. His speech at Jennie Bailey's funeral was Spike at his best. I would argue that he's the most beloved person in Lubbock history. Buddy Holly is the most famous but Spike is the most loved by the community based on all the years he was here and people he influenced. He was a special person and an icon.
Q - Your band recently had a No. 1 single/song, what all have you guys been up to lately?
JA - Been a busy year. "Wasn't That Drunk" streamed almost 20 million times last year on Spotify, went top 40, and landed us on Kimmel. That in turn helped us get to play "Amnesia" on Conan in January. Then "Live It While You Got It" went #1 in TX/OK and is our mantra right now on our tour. We actually just finished recording a new album in February. We were in the studio when my father had his stroke. I had to fly back to Austin a few weeks later just to get the vocals done. I recorded them all in one night, flew back to be with my father and the next day we had to let him go. I was able to play the title track for my dad that last night and it was the last song on this earth he heard. This album will be dedicated to him. This album is all about learning to live life again and love again. We added horns and strings to the album and it will begin with a prelude and end with an epilogue. I'm proud of my band and this album. It stays true to our Texas country roots while challenging ourselves to mature as artists.
Q - What are you listening to when you aren't creating new music or listening to country music?
JA - Outside of country, I listen to a lot of alt stuff. I've got several friends in bands that are killing it right now: Kaleo, Missio, and The Wind + The Wave. So it's been fun to watch them blow up nationally with songs I've been listening to for a while now...Beatles, Pink Floyd, Alt J, Halsey, John Mayer...But I listen to a lot of country, TX country, alt country, whatever. William Clark Green is my best friend in this industry and makes incredible albums. Sturgill is on another level right now. Aaron Watson is really doing well right now too, as is Cody Johnson. Whiskey Myers latest album "Mud" is straight fire. So is Dierks Bentley's "Black".
Q - What is your way-too-early prediction for Texas Tech football next season?
JA - Three (3) wins to start the season; beat UT for win number eight (8); bowl game; everyone's happy except for the trolls in the forums