Congrats to Ruffin: Thanks to batmantt for the FanShot, but I couldn't be happier for Ruffin McNeil as he may have gotten his dream job #2 at East Carolina. I like Ruffin and I cheer for him personally and I hope he continues the success that Holtz had at ECU. Also of note, per FWST's Dwain Price, McNeill immediately hired Lincoln Riley as his offensive coordinator.
Court-Ordered Mediation: Mike Leach vs. Texas Tech was ordered to go to mediation by February 5th. Mediation is not binding, that's arbitration, and I think that jeffinhouston and Raader92 have good thoughts in yesterday's FanPost and to reiterate, this seems to be the judge nudging both parties to try to figure this out before things get really ugly.
ESPN Ombudsman Reacts: Yesterday, ESPN Ombudsman Dan Ohlmeyer responds to the coverage by ESPN in the Mike Leach Saga, especially during the Alamo Bowl game coverage by Mike Patrick and Bob Davie:
So, again, the key question: Was the telecast balanced? ESPN thinks it was -- and for me, that is the most troubling aspect of this whole affair. One ESPN decision-maker reviewed the telecast and, admitting his tally was subjective, told me the positive and negative comments about Leach were nearly equal. That may be accurate, at a high level. But the positives revolved around his X's and O's achievements as a coach. The negatives reflected on Leach's character as a man, which is where the balance was required.
That's a critical distinction.
Another recurring thread from ESPN was the assumption the audience had prior knowledge of the controversy. Indeed, some who complained about the coverage seemed to have a better grasp of the nuances of the dispute than those responsible for the broadcast. But it's not the audience's responsibility to come armed with those details. The telecast should have been constructed and executed as if the viewer had no background on or opinion of the Leach affair.
If there's anything that you guys and gals can do, it's pat yourselves on the back for making your feelings known to the WWL. Thankfully, others are picking up on this, including EDSBS's Orson Swindle/Spencer Hall and SportingNews' Dan Levy who both take note. And I'm sure there are plenty of other examples across the internets of the WWL finally being called out for the awful coverage of the Alamo Bowl.
Recruiting Links: Every morning, I do a Google search for all things Texas Tech and came across this Scout snipet about a Florida running back, Brandon Gainer, getting some new attention from Texas Tech and head coach Tommy Tuberville. We'll see how this turns out, but it appears that Tuberville is at least trying to talk to some running backs since we found out yesterday that Aaron Spikes and Texas Tech have parted ways. Here's Gainer's Rivals and Scout profiles and the Scout profile has Gainer as having medium interest in Texas Tech and an offer has been made . . . meanwhile, ESPN's Gerry Hamilton talked with Florida WR Shawn Corker about his meeting with Tuberville:
"I met with coach [Tommy] Tuberville last night," said Corker. "It was great. It will be different from coach [Mike] Leach, but in a way better. You will miss some things about Leach and enjoy some things about Tuberville, but Tuberville's perspective of football is more of a defensive coach."
. . . ESPN's Tim Griffin posted the recruiting needs for every Big 12 team and we could certainly debate how accurate this actually is, but in my opinion, I think that due to the switch to the 3-4 and the graduation of all of the defensive ends, I think linebacker and defensive end are this team's biggest needs, hands-down. Leach did a pretty good job of putting together fairly well-rounded classes in previous years and last year's class and this year's class are fairly representative of recruiting a team (i.e., 1 QB, 1 RB, 3 WR, 4-5 OL, etc.)
Miscellaneous Links: ESPN's Tim Griffin has been posting every Big 12 team's all-decade team and yesterday Texas Tech was up (it's certainly a discussion point if you want to leave a comment or two below) . . .
Tairu with Flu: I got an email yesterday and I was informed that the reason why SG David Tairu didn't play much on Wednesday was that he was a bit under the weather, which makes sense because I think that PF D`walyn Roberts was out for essentially a game last week.
Jumping Into the Race: DT's Mike Graham writes that the Red Raiders are hoping that a win on Saturday will get the Red Raiders back into the Big 12 race. Here's head coach Pat Knight:
"You don’t like to say (it’s a must win), but we talked about it this week," Tech coach Pat Knight said. "To me it is a must win, we haven’t won two consecutive games (in the Big 12) in a long time. We haven’t beaten Oklahoma in a couple of years. Plus if we can win Saturday, that’s 14 wins and we’ve already tied the win mark we had last year.
"Our whole thing this year is we want to show improvement every year."
Recruiting a Ham: (Ed. Note: Please tell me to stop if I'm beating a dead horse.) Right now, Pat Knight has offered and received a commitment from Gulf Coast Community College PF Paul Cooper. In Cooper's last game against Chipola College, Cooper finished the game 0 for 6 from the floor with 0 points and 6 rebounds. For the year, Cooper is averaging 6.6 points a game and 4.5 rebounds. Cooper seems completely unconcerned about his performance and I'm pretty sure he's not starting for his JUCO team.
Meanwhile, I stumbled on this player this morning, Darvin Ham, Jr., who is a senior at Bridgeport HS in Michigan and is barely on the recruiting radar of any teams. For those of you who don't know who his dad is, Darvin Ham, Sr. played for Texas Tech and is mostly known for doing this.
Ham, Jr. was profiled this morning by MLive.com's Hugh Bernreuter and it's apparent that Ham, Jr. is just warming up in terms of becoming a player. Ham, Jr. made the switch from guard to center this year and he's been nothing short of spectacular, averaging 20 points, 13 boards and 4 blocks a game. I'm sure that why Ham, Jr. isn't getting many looks is that he is just 6-5/190 and still growing. For those of you who don't remember Ham, Sr.'s journey to Texas Tech, he had to stop at a JUCO before starring at Texas Tech and it appears that Ham, Jr. is headed for the same path as he has only been offered by one college, Northwood University.
Here's Ham, Jr.'s head coach and Ham, Jr. on his move inside:
"I'll be very interested to see what Darvin (Jr.) looks like when he's 23 years old," Kowalski said. "He's just now growing into his body. He always looked like a colt out there, with extremely long arms. But this year he's stronger. He's maturing."
The 6-foot-5 Ham Jr. didn't complain when he learned he was making the move inside.
"I worked a lot in the weight room to get stronger," Ham Jr. said. "I had to work on my stamina so I could contribute late in the game. Last year, I would disappear sometimes in the second half. I like playing inside near the basket, although I do get the ball outside sometimes when teams are zoning us."
I'm not any sort of recruiting expert and I'm probably being a bit naive in thinking that Ham, Jr. can be a Division I player as it appears that every school is overlooking him, but I would rather see this program take chances on players like Ham, Jr., who would be a Texas Tech legacy, who has potential, and it's mentioned in the article that he already knows his major, marketing and finance, rather than a guy like Cooper who seems unmotivated to even make much of a difference on his JUCO team. It may take a year before Ham, Jr. grows into his body, but how great would it be to have a 6-7/220 jumping-jack forward who likes to rebound and mix it up inside?