Shout Out: I had the opportunity to talk to DTN's very own LondonRaider last night, that's right, all the way from London, and it was a pleasure. This only increases my thought that as a community, we need to get together during the spring practices (no matter who is in charge) and plan to meet for a game next year as well.
Coaching Candidates: I've got a post scheduled to go up for a 9:00 a.m. posting on the available coaching candidates. As an aside, I did not write about Southern Mississippi's Larry Fedora not because I doubt the WWL's reports, but rather because I just didn't have the time and I never really considered him or the NY Jets' Anthony Lynn as serious candidates. And the talk about this being a huge conspiracy theory because Lynn's son was a teammate of Adam James (Lynn's son is also at Penn St.) sounds flimsy. I know, I'd like for there to be a conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but sometimes in life there are coincidences. I'd like to believe that there would be too many cogs to put into motion for this to work.
Tuberville, No Contact from Texas Tech: LAJ's Don Williams writes this morning that as of right now, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has not been contacted. Tuberville had some interesting things to say. First, on if he's been contacted:
"I’d love to talk to them," he said. "In our business, you never know what people are looking for."
And whether or not he'd like to change the offense at Texas Tech:
"It’d be crazy to change it," he said. "That’s a trademark of Texas Tech now. It’s helped put them on the map. It’s helped in recruiting, I’ve noticed. Mike’s had a good chance of getting quarterbacks and receivers to come there – in the past, (Tech) wasn’t able to get them. We’ve run a lot of the spread over the years, and I’m very familiar with it."
Williams also has a short quote from current offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley who liked the tempo on Saturday night:
"They made it easy on me," Riley said of the players. "They’re the ones that executed. We did a good job of getting in fast (tempo)."
Another for Ruffin: LAJ's Adam Zuvanich opines this morning that he believes that interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill is the right man for the job:
But I’m convinced that no one on the face of the Earth is more deserving of the job than Ruff, who for the last 10 years has poured his blood, sweat and tears into the Tech program. He started as Leach’s linebackers coach in 2000 and has gradually taken on more significant roles, from special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator to interim head coach in the wake of Leach’s suspension and subsequent dismissal last week.
Along the way, McNeill has become an indispensable part of the Red Raiders’ coaching staff. He’s emerged as the emotional and inspirational leader, the disciplinarian, the father figure, the heart and soul of the team. The man is adored by players, parents and Tech supporters alike, mostly because his love for those who wear red and black is free-flowing and unconditional.
And Zuvanich had this quote from QB Taylor Potts on McNeill (and to clarify, Potts was interviewed by the WWL after the game and stated that he was upset that Leach was no longer his coach or his position coach so please no comments about how Potts never was a fan of Leach.):
"It was really remarkable, and it was really amazing to see how Coach Ruff held us together," said Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, who shared more than one embrace with McNeill during the postgame news conference. "This entire team could have given up and not really cared that we lost the game, because nobody would have blamed us if we lost with the distractions and how crazy it was this whole week. But it was crazy to see how well Coach Ruff kept our entire team focused and kept us together.
"The Lord really put his hand on this week," Potts added. "I think one hand was from God and one hand was from Coach Ruff, really."
Red Raiders Nab Win: The Red Raiders beat a pretty good UTEP team yesterday (a team that has legitimate NBA type of talent) 86-78 (boxscore). I missed the game yesterday afternoon as I was hauling some brush to my parents' burn pile, but from all accounts, the fact that D`walyn Roberts returned from the flu was a huge reason for yesterday's win. Roberts' 13 rebounds, 7 of which were offensive boards, were a big part of yesterday's win because the Red Raiders won the rebounding battle 48 to 31. I'd also mention that another factor was the free throw disparity, which was in favor of Texas Tech 46 to 23.
The Red Raiders finished their non-conference schedule 12-2, which is pretty good considering where this team was last year. You may not be in favor of Pat Knight as a head coach, but as of right now, he's turned this team around to the point of being respectable and competitive each and every game.
LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that SF Mike Singletary appreciated Roberts' efforts:
"He really just helps us out so much just by the way he plays," Mike Singletary said. "He rebounds, he blocks shots, and that really gets us going. We know if we get beat on defense D’walyn can come across, get a block and start a fast break."
And Pat Knight liked how the team got to the line:
"With our offense, we want to get to the line," Knight said. "When you’re getting teams in foul trouble you want to keep driving, you don’t want to start jacking threes."
Here's the Four Factors and Player Impact, courtesy of StatSheet: