THE RESULT | DISJOINTED | My watching of the game consisted of the internet feed (by the great DTN reader who will go unnamed to hopefully remain anonymous and avoid criminal prosecution, but it was appreciated) and flipping back and forth between the game and the Yankees vs. Rangers game. Disjointed would be a good way to think about my viewing experience and disjointed was the way that the game played out for Texas Tech fans. I'm running out of answers and solutions, and to answer your question, no, the administration will still never re-hire Mike Leach.
I had a fan email me, who was upset at the loss, but still didn't understand the references to Leach. I told him that I really didn't have an answer. So does this mean that we're going to have comments comparing Leach for the next two years? Probably, although I've made my case that Leach comparisons don't do us a lick of good at this point and am still waiting for a reaonsable explanation as to the point other than to say that Leach was a good/great coach that won and now here's not here. I get it.
So at this point, I think it's a coping-mechanism, to get all pop-psychology on everyone. So many of us have a good week or a bad week based on how the Texas Tech football team performs on Saturday. "I just wanna win, for Pete's sake!" Do this and everything else is fine.
But right now, as a fanbase, we're being asked to trust the process.
And it's tough to trust the process because there was this safe comfortable place that we all were. We were quirky and fun, but having to go through this is pretty much unbearable for a lot of people. That safe comfortable place is no longer there (despite it having ups and downs too) and now, despite not wanting to, you have to trust the process of a new and different head coach trying to win games. You can look across the college landscape and fans all over the place are being asked to do the same thing. Those schools are telling the fans the same thing that Texas Tech is telling it's fans, "Trust the process."
I'm not telling you to do that. That's something you don't need me or anyone else to tell you how to think.
Bottom line. Buckle up. It's probably going to get more bumpy for the rest of the way. I'm going to do my best to focus on the product, or lack thereof, on the field and what's going wrong and what's going right. I don't know if this is the right way to go about this, but I really don't know any other way and I typed my little heart out when Leach was terminated that I don't know that I have any more to type. It sucked. It was awful. I can either write that I wish Leach was here 1,000 times or I try and dissect what's wrong on the field.
Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
HAD TO RUN | I watched the post-game press conference and believe it or not, I'm going to agree with head coach Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech had to run the ball. The way that the Oklahoma St. defensive line was pushing back the Texas Tech offensive line was embarassing. I don't think that I've seen an offensive line retreat so quickly. It was abysmal. No quarterack, whether that quarterback be Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield, should be required to take a 10-step drop in order to just look down the field. And Tuberville was also right in that Texas Tech had to run the ball. In the first five drives, Texas Tech passed the ball 14 of 17 times.
I actually thought that the offense adjusted fairly well, but not quick enough for a defense that was allowing touchdowns. After deciding to pass the ball 14 of the first 81 plays and run the other three, that left 64 plays where the offense was much actually somewhat productive. In those first 5 drives, the offense mustered 35 yards of offense. Yep, 35 yards of offense in 5 offensive drives. Not exactly offensive efficiency, but if you have 64 plays and 366 yards of offense for about a 5.71 yard per play average. You'll take that.
When all the pieces are clicking, this offense has shown some ability to get some things moving. And running the ball 38 times doesn't bother me at all. This offense played it's best offensive football when it did incorporate the run and you can't pass the ball when the defense is daring you to run it. That's just simple football.
BLAME GAME, PART XXVII | Again, the offensive line couldn't figure out that sometimes you have to push back. Potts wasn't without fault here either, and the receivers weren't great either. What plagued this offense yesterday is the same thing that plagued the offense in the past, which is not being able to advance the ball for anything more than a three and out and putting the defense on the field time after time isn't helping. So who to blame here? On some level, the players have to start taking some responsibility. At some point, the players have to execute the play that's called. At some point, the offensive line needs to act like they want to hit someone (yes, every one of these guys could crush me with one hand and one leg tied, but they were soft yesterday). At some point, the receivers need to figure out how to beat press-coverage and get open. At some point, the quarterback needs to be more consistent. At some point, the running backs can't turn the ball over. There's plenty of blame here, whether it be coaching or otherwise, but the players need to be accountable too.
INJURIES, MORE AND MORE INJURIES | The injury situation is getting worse and I think this is a bit over-looked. Per the LAJ's Adam Zuvanich, the defense was again without CB Will Ford, SS Franklin Mitchem, DE Kerry Hyder (out early with a pulled hamstring) and DT Chris Perry has a broken hand. Add to that the suspension of DE Scott Smith, the season-ending injury of Aundrey Barr and there's now six significant players out due to injury. I'll have plenty to say about the defense, but that's a lot of defenders out that play signficant roles on this team.
And also, apparently IR Austin Zouzalik is out with an injury for an extended period of time.
MISSED TACKLES, BLOWN ASSIGNMENTS, ETC. | Dissecting the problems with the defense is pretty simple. The missed tackles were abysmal and affected just about everyone. I thought that ILB Bront Bird would need to have a game like he played at Baylor and that didn't happen, despite his 14 tackles. In this type of defense, the linebackers must fill the gaps taken up by the defensive line. I don't know what it is, if Bird is just hesitant defensively or can't figure out which gap he needs to fill. It's frustrating to watch. When three of your top four tacklers are all in the secondary, then you know it's not going to be a good day. I also don't know if I can really say that any one player had a superb game defensively. Colby Whitlock seems like he's taking on three defenders each and every play. Someone else needs to step up and make plays along that defensive line.
HAVING A PLAYMAKER | Oklahoma St. surely remember when Texas Tech had Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech fans will remember that Oklahoma St. has Justin Blackmon. When I talk about how a player can single-handedly change a game, it's what Blackmon did to Texas Tech's secondary yesterday. So who's the playmaker on this team? Offense or defense? Sometimes it takes just one, and I don't thinkt that Blackmon is as good as Crabtree, perhaps eventually, but the point here isn't to compare the two players. That's been done plenty this week. What I think is important is that teams need playmakers on both sides of the ball. Right now, there just aren't any.
POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE NON TRANSCRIPT |
Tommy Tuberville: Got beat by a good football team. Had no answer early. Had us confused with play-action. Couldn't make a play to get a first down. When you can run and throw at will, it keeps a team off-balance. The OSU pass rush, took away screen passes and didn't execute. Probably should have thrown the ball down the field more early, but into the wind makes it tough. Had no answer for their running game. Taylor Potts taken to hospital for concussion for taking a shot to the jaw. Felt like we needed to stay in the pocket to get the ball down the field. Potts competed all four quarters, just didn't make enough plays. The defense is in bad shape. Hyder out for a month. Down to playing a lot of guys who haven't played much. Guys have to step-up. Lost Zouzalik, he'll be out for a while. Got beat by a good team today. Best team we've played all year. Ran to slow down the pass-rush. Playing tight on the receivers. Second half was good, but didn't make enough plays. We were our own worst enemy. Played tight. We're not a running team. Have to learn to execute on offense to throw the ball down the field. Can be a much better team, don't know if the defense because of the players hurt. Guys on defense are struggling when you can't stop the run or pass.
D.J. Johnson: Made mistakes, that costs. Overall fought hard and played tough, but those mistakes caused big plays. Assignments, as a group, didn't have each other's backs. With Blackmon, he's a smart player, adjusts his routes according to the coverage. Once we come together as a team, we'll start clicking. Frustrated with the fact that it's little things that led to big plays. Minor mistakes that really cost the team.
Eric Stephens: Definitely execution, once we started to run the ball. Must find a way to get started faster. Definitely did not believe that this team would 3-3 at this point. Have to learn from it. Started losing the ball, must take care of the ball to capitalize, turnovers and mental mistakes.
OFFENSIVE MVP | RB ERIC STEPHENS | RB BARON BATCH | The problem with Stephens' and Batch's day were the fumble for each of them. Those bother me. Still, Stephens and Batch rushed for 182 yards and caught 7 passes for 34 yards.
DEFENSIVE MVP | DT COLBY WHITLOCK | He's the only guy that opposing offenses are keying on.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVP | RB ERIC STEPHENS | I'm not sure who else deserves this other than Matt Williams continuing to make short field goals.
Sorry for the relatively short nature of PGT. I missed a ton of things and that need to be discussed. Today turned in a way that wasn't expected.