t's 4:06 a.m. in Lubbock, Texas, when the headlights on a Cadillac Escalade pierce the semi-darkness shrouding Texas Tech's football facility. The white SUV pulls into the parking spot nearest the entrance, and the driver kills the engine. It's cool for early August, and a breeze clanks the pulley off the flagpole. The Double T logo on the side of the football stadium adjacent to the parking lot glows neon red. The driver's door opens, and out slides the man everyone around here calls “Coach King.”
Kliff Kingsbury usually arrives around this time because he likes to, but this season, the early start means more. It embodies the change the Red Raiders head football coach now understands he needs to make. Tech hired Kingsbury in December 2012 after the former TTU QB and Mike Leach protégé's reputation burgeoned in his one season as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Under him, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. This instantaneous hype—which incorporated Kingsbury's oft-discussed Hollywood-caliber looks as well as his quarterback whispering—created an expectation and a celebrity that Kingsbury has found himself measured against ever since.