Texas Tech Saturday Morning Notes - Oklahoma Game Day Edition

Double-T Nation News:

A couple of blog notes go at the top. I probably haven't mentioned it enough, but go visit the Tortilla Retort for lots of good Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma talk. Dr. Saturday, a.k.a. Matt Hinton, deconstructs Oklahoma's chances of pressuring Graham Harrell. Go read the whole thing, it's that good. And last, but certainly not least, Bill Connelly, from Rock M Nation, wrote a very statistical based preview of today's game for Football Outsiders that fascinates me, despite my limited ability to add numbers.

I'm posting the basketball notes, yes there's a game today, in a FanPost and I'll also be posting an open game day thread and preview later today, probably around lunch. The game is not on television.

Texas Tech Football:

LAJ's Don Williams profiles offensive guard Brandon Carter and how he gets fired up for each game and here's Carter on why he does the makeup and the hair:

"I think (some) thought that I was just kind of being an individual," Carter said. "They thought it showed individualism and not much as a team player, which was the total opposite of what I was trying to do. It gets me hyped, and it gets other players hyped. That’s why I do it. I don’t do it to stand out above others or keep the focus on me."

And offensive line coach Matt Moore told Carter that if he was going to do it, he had better be good:

"I think (some) thought that I was just kind of being an individual," Carter said. "They thought it showed individualism and not much as a team player, which was the total opposite of what I was trying to do. It gets me hyped, and it gets other players hyped. That’s why I do it. I don’t do it to stand out above others or keep the focus on me."

Tech line coach Matt Moore, when he was hired in the spring of 2007, talked Carter into toning down his look at the beginning of last season. It’s not that Carter’s style clashed with the new coach’s.

"He and I had a talk coming into his sophomore season," Moore said. "I just told him, the way people are, that if you’re going to call attention to yourself, you’d better be really, really good. You know, let’s back off until you start playing real good, and then as you start playing good, you can start doing what you want. So that’s kind of been his reward."

Also from the LAJ, Adam Zuvanich writes that the Sooners are looking for a win, not revenge and Jeff Walker talks with Bob Knight about this football team:

"Tech’s season starts because Gerald Myers hired Leach," Knight said. "That’s the most important thing to this season. That’s No. 1 because they wanted to hire (Rich) Rodriguez, the committee did, and Gerald fought (because) they wanted to start the whole search all over again. Gerald really fought that and he won and they hired Leach."

Snip

"The reason why Leach was such a good choice is because he did not play a conventional brand of football," Knight said. "He wasn’t going to bring that to Texas Tech. He wasn’t going to try and be Oklahoma or Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska or anybody playing the way they play. He was going to do something different. That’s what his game was, and it was so ideally suited to this school in this geographic location in terms of recruiting that you could have spent five years and you wouldn’t have found anybody equal to Leach as a choice."

Lots of quotes about Graham Harrell, Ruffin McNeill, and some other items. It's a good read, check it out.

Also from Williams, he talks with Mike Leach about what this team does well:

"They play together, and they’re the most coachable group," he said Thursday. "So they’ve been able to develop quicker, respond to adversity quicker, because as a unit they’re more committed in their various jobs and roles, and the other thing is they’re the most coachable. They respond as a unit."

The New York Times just can't get enough of Texas Tech, as Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans profile quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree. Again, read the whole thing. Thamel and Evans also had a blog post on The Quad quoting Captain Leach on their personalities:

"They have this huge mutual respect. They’re very connected. They’re both literally at each other’s disposal anytime the other needs anything. They know how valuable they are to each other. They run in a little different groups. Part of it is because Graham is older than Michael. It’s nothing to see the two of them coming together and talking as they’re going onto or coming off the field. They definitely are two people that recognize their roles on the team as a whole, but then also they’re a value individually to each other. Graham is significantly more outgoing than Michael. Michael is kind of shy and kind of quiet. There’s usually kind of a crowd around Graham. He’s not flashy, but he’s one of those guys that typically has people around him. People tend to follow him. Michael’s got a little bit of loner in him."

DMN's Brandon George previews the matchups between Texas Tech and Oklahoma and Chuck Carlton writes that everything is on the line for Texas Tech:

Everything was supposed to be different for the Texas Tech football program this season.

This was high Tech, the 2.0 version of what Mike Leach had built, all the offensive wizardry complemented by a mature core.

So far, the Red Raiders have met every expectation. They have avoided the inexplicable stumbles of the past, refused to believe their press clippings, run the ball better than they ever have in the Leach era and discovered defense.

DMN's Kate Hairopoulos profiles kicker Matt Williams and thought this exchange between Williams and special teams coach Clay McGuire was pretty good:

And to think ... as Williams and special teams coach Clay McGuire walked up from practice on the Jones AT&T Stadium turf the week of the Texas game, they passed Raiderville, the tent city where students camp out before big home games.

"If you hadn't won the contest, you'd probably be camped out here," McGuire marveled.

"Yeah, Coach," Williams told him. "I had plans to do it."

The USA Today featured Texas Tech and our quirky coach yesterday, in an article written by Steve Wieberg and if you've never heard Leach's story on recruiting Graham Harrell, here it is:

During a recruiting visit with Harrell, Leach pulled out his cellphone and a deck of cards, asked Harrell to pick a card and then called a friend identified by the coach as the Wizard.

At the other end, the Wizard identified the card.

"And then he sat down and started doing some card tricks for me," Harrell recalls. "And he started telling stories — about his life, about what he's researched, about pirates. One story leads to the next.

"I think my dad asked him how he got into coaching with a law degree or something, and that led to the story about him moving to Finland. Then World War II. And then, somehow, he related it to some World War II navy, which led him to pirates.

"I don't know if he has it memorized or if his train of thought is that all-over-the-road sometimes," Harrell says. "But that's just the way he is. He's interesting."

Harrell, a record-setting passer at Ennis (Texas) High School, where he played for his father, Sam, was highly amused. But what ultimately sold him on Texas Tech was Leach's offense.

The whole thing is pretty good, if you've got the time.

The SAEN looks at all of the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma matchups and Mike Finger writes that this is the end for one of these two teams:

Bob Stoops can prove he hasn't forgotten everything he once knew about winning big games. Sam Bradford, just now shaking off the grogginess from his last up-close meeting with a Texas Tech defender, can prove he can finish an evening against the Red Raiders standing upright. And Mike Leach, who began his Big 12 reign of eccentricity here nine years ago, can prove once and for all he's more than just Stoops' old wacky sidekick.

With armada-loads of hype and the world's most popular pirate descending upon Oklahoma, the stage is set for one form of breakthrough or another. And while it's yet to be determined whose story will be the subject of tonight's version of The Gangplank Redemption, it's certain that one team's national championship hopes will get busy living, and the other's will get busy dying.

That's what is so great about tonight.

And also what's so wrong about it.

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