Athlon Sports is at it again with the "off the record" trash talking article they put out every year. This year's roundup is especially juicy when it comes to Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and the team's defense.

I doubt any of these quotes come from head coaches or even coordinators for that matter, but it doesn't make it any less crazy that a professional coach would be negative about another program.

There's power in anonymity, though, so here are some "honest" assessments of Texas Tech football's outlook in 2018 from 'fellow Big 12 Coaches.'

"It’s the quarterback. It’s always all about the quarterback there. There might be someone waiting in the wings and set to play, but don’t ever think Kliff won’t play the guy he thinks gives him the best chance. He’s not just playing a guy because he’s next in line and knows the offense. He’ll teach enough of the offense to a young guy and get him ready to play if the upside is greater."

Nothing out-of-line there, nothing untrue. The quarterback is going to be very important for Kingsbury and company this season.

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The next quote is the equivalent of a Twitter egg quote. I guarantee you this guy isn't as candid with his actual face next to his quote:

"He does some strange personnel things at that position, and most of the time, it pays off. People thought he was crazy to run off Baker (Mayfield), and in hindsight, maybe he was. But he wound up with an NFL talent (Pat Mahomes) who did some really nice things there. Bottom line: I’d trust Kliff at that position. Now, the other side of the ball is a different story."

"Strange things?" BAKER MAYFIELD STARTED EIGHT GAMES AND TRANSFERRED.

The defense line at the end is funny, and pretty much the ultimate backhanded compliment for any coordinator trying to be a head coach.

Holgerson and Gundy dealt with it early on. It's part of the trade, and mostly true. It's why Kingsbury hired David Gibbs: so he doesn't have to do anything with the other side of the ball.

"I just think you have to be committed to playing strong, fundamental defense. And I don’t think Texas Tech is committed to doing that — in the way they recruit, in the way they coach on game day on both sides of the ball. You can’t keep taking unnecessary chances and put your defense in bad position. If your unit is getting bombarded by constantly protecting short fields, eventually, they’re going to break."

Texas Tech isn't committed to playing defense? Has he not been around the last two years? The defense isn't good, but it's obvious they've made an effort to improve.

From this quote, it's obvious this guy has a very low opinion of Coach Kingsbury and his ability to make a game plan. Also, fortune favors the bold. I hope Kingsbury takes way more chances on offense this season.

"I keep hearing how the defense will be a strength this year. Read somewhere that the defense will have to pick up the slack for the offense early on. You’ve got to be kidding me. Two things: Nothing is picking up Texas Tech other than the offense, and that defense isn’t nearly at the level of carrying a team early in the season."

The defense does have a lot of hype. I actually love this quote and I think it might even be from David Gibbs himself. The defense needs to prove they are capable before any of the accolades for individuals mean anything. The only stat David Gibbs cares about is wins.

"I absolutely think it’s fair to question where the program is headed. Look, we all know the business we’re in, and simply winning more than you lose doesn’t cut it anymore. Anywhere. So does 6–6 cut it this time around?"

Even Kliff Kingsbury himself is worried about job security so he can afford expensive Metallica concert tickets. As far as 6-6 goes, I don't think Kirby Hocutt has a win total in mind; if the team is better than last year, then Kliff Kingsbury will get an extension in December.