In lieu of a links post this morning, we do five questions, although I did want to highlight SB Nation's Fantasy Football Roster Reader, where you can integrate your SB Nation account with Yahoo! Fantasy teams and when one of the writers for the SB Nation NFL blogs writes about one of your players, you'll see a link to the article where that player was mentioned. I signed up this morning and now I'm totally awesome and in 2nd place in my fantasy football league.
1. DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE BEND-BUT-DON'T-BREAK DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY? | One of the things that I wrote before the games even started, and certainly after the SMU game was that the new defensive philosophy was to blitz, be aggressive and force turnovers for the opposing team. There weren't any cries from folks on DTN, pleading that the defense continue to be passive and bend-but-don't-break. We all probably knew that the defense wasn't going to be ready for prime-time, despite the performance through the first three games and the ISU game certainly proved that. DMN's Mike Graham had this from Tuberville's press conference yesterday:
"Defensively we didn't coach very well, and we didn't play very well. There were some things in that game that we had to execute a lot better, but once we started trying to make plays and getting the ball back for the offense, we had to take chances. When you take chances you give up opportunities and possibly give up plays, and we did that.
"I think we learned a lot from that and we have to continue to learn".
Philosophically, where do you stand in terms of the style of defense, but perhaps not having the personnel to run an attacking style of defense? Do you ditch it now and play it safe?
2. IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS? | Tuberville admitted the abomination that was special teams play yesterday. LAJ's Don Williams wrote (and I had not realized this) that ISU had 24 points from special teams problems. Per LAJ's Don Williams:
"We’re going to work on our special teams," Tuberville said. "We’re going to make a lot of changes in personnel. We’re going to put more guys in there that might be offensive starters, defensive starters. We’ve got to find some combination where we get guys with experience on the field, especially early in the game, to get that momentum going."
It's about time. One of the things that I noticed early, especially at the SMU game, was that the entire coverage units consisted of defensive backs and receivers. Seems like this team needs some size on those coverage units and I'm hoping that Tuberville wants the same thing. At the very least he says he wants to play more starters. Have you been able to pick anything out about special teams that you would change?
Questions 3, 4 and 5 after the jump.
3. IS YARDS PER ATTEMPT INDICATIVE OF THE OFFENSE CHANGING? | There was a question in the comments about whether or not there was any stats of yards after catch. From all of the websites that I've visited, I've never seen a website that tracks yards after catch for the college game. However, one of the best resources out there is CFB Stats so bookmark this if you dig stats. I wish I could remember who, but someone (on DTN) mentioned was that the offense was different, evidence of that being that QB Taylor Potts yards/attempt were down from last year, which is true. Anytime that I've looked at Potts' statistics, it's always been pretty evident to me that he's just not as talented of a quarterback as his predecessors. Currently, Potts is sitting at 6.5 YPA (yards per attempt). Serviceable is 7.0 YPA, but you really want better numbers than that. In 2006, as a sophomore, Harrell was at 7.4 YPA and eventually ended at 8.2 YPA which is outstanding. It seems now that one of Potts' biggest problems is that he just doesn't look down the field. I can't believe that the only times that any of his receivers have one-on-one coverage is when he throws the ball to WR Lyle Leong.
I took a look at the numbers between the 1st and 2nd half for Potts on Saturday:
1st Half: 16/22; 122 Yards; 72%; 5.8 YPA.
2nd Half: 26/40; 248 Yards; 65%; 6.2 YPA.
So my thought is that although Potts had a really good and efficient 2nd half, he still didn't get the ball down the field much and personally, I think this is a product of Potts and not a product of the offense. I fully admit that probably a big part of this was the product on Saturday was how Iowa St. was playing Texas Tech, which was probably a very safe cover-two defense, not let anyone get behind them, etc. Potts has never been able to drop the ball between defenders, something that Graham Harrell did, almost to perfection.
4. HOW DOES TEXAS TECH DEFEND ROBERT GRIFFIN? | This is obviously the biggest worry heading into Saturday's game, which is how to defend Robert Griffin, III. Yesterday, Tuberville said that Griffin plays like Michael Vick and last week, through just three quarters, Griffin had 444 yards of total offense:
"This guy is Michael Vick, and again, this is the first time I have ever watched him consistently. I have gone back and looked at the film from previous games, before he had the injury, and he is big, he is illusive and the thing he has done is really improve his passing."
"I have been in games like this, where I have had to coach against Tim Tebow, now this guy is a lot more athletic than Tim Tebow, but you knew who, in a tough situation, was going to get the ball and was going to take it on his shoulders. If the play needs to be made, he is going to do it."
How do you defend Griffin?
5. HOW WILL THE TEAM PLAY WITH THEIR BACKS AGAINST THE WALL? | Per LAJ's Adam Zuvanich, Potts said that this team knows that their backs are against the wall:
"We're going into this game really thinking, 'Our back's up against the wall, and we've got to change something,' " Tech quarterback Taylor Potts said on Monday. "There's a time whenever you start thinking, 'Hey, we've got to get it done,' and I think that's where we're at now. It's time to get it done, so let's get out and do it. Let's go show everybody who we really are."
I hope that everyone doesn't just tear into the words of a 22 year old college kid, but I get that Potts' general sentiment is that it's time to put up or shut up. And I get that there are essentially two factions out there, those that still trust in the process and those that don't. Since the sting of the ISU loss is still fresh, do you think this team shows a backbone on Saturday?
Miscellaneous: Pretty good article from SAEN's Buck Harvey about how Texas Tech's game against Baylor is a trial for Tuberville (tying in the Leach vs. administration storyline) . . . per DMN's Corbett Smith, congrats are in order for Arlington Sam Houston C Tony Morales, who has been named to the Army All-American team . . . DT's Mike Graham writes that Texas Tech is in a tough position . . . the official site has the double-official preview of Texas Tech vs. Baylor . . . SB Nation's Spencer Hall with this week's Alphabetical:
P is for Pain. Texas Tech lived about three awful games in the span of a single game against Iowa State. First, a blowout in allowing Iowa State to go up 24-0; then a comeback to tie the game at 24; then a horrendous collapse capped by a play almost as humiliating as Fat Guy Touchdown: the onside kick attempt returned for a touchdown for Iowa State. The Cyclones scored 28 in the fourth against Texas Tech, because when they collapse they like to make sure that whatever is standing beneath them is killed and killed quickly.
. . . I don't recall where I saw this, but Hunter S. Thompson was brilliant in his request for a job . . . DMN's Jimmy Burch with a Big 12 Insider . . . RP.com's Travis Cram with thoughts about how this team is truly in uncharted territory. . .
QUESTIONS TO COPY AND PASTE
1. DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE BEND-BUT-DON'T-BREAK DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY?
2. IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS?
3. IS YARDS PER CATCH INDICATIVE OF THE OFFENSE CHANGING?
4. HOW DOES TEXAS TECH DEFEND ROBERT GRIFFIN?
5. HOW WILL THE TEAM PLAY WITH THEIR BACKS AGAINST THE WALL?