THE RESULT | SIGH | A quick DTN history lesson is that those of you who have signed up since Texas Tech played Oklahoma in 2008, there was no 24-hour waiting period. After I got home from that game, the 24-hour waiting period was implemented and the rest is history. Cleaning up DTN after that game was not fun. Realistically, I didn't think Texas Tech had much of a chance to win this game and if you had asked me to guarantee one loss this year of any game on the schedule, I would have picked this game. We've somewhat already hashed out the 2008 vs. 2010 comparisons in the animated drive chart post. The outcome and results were similar. It's never pretty to lose by 40 or so and winning in Norman is tough (although UT will never know that).
Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
DOMINATED DEFENSIVE LINE | Paying close attention to the defensive line, it was incredibly evident that the defensive line is spent. There's nothing left except for the fact that DT Colby Whitlock is still giving maximum effort on ever play. And that's not to say that the other players along the line aren't giving effort, but there just wastn't any push in any shape or form and the defensive line is just beaten up to the point that when you're playing Sam Fehoko as your starting defensive end. That's just not enough size to compete on a play-by-play basis. And if you noticed, OLB Brian Duncan moved back inside for quite a bit of the game. The pass rush that Duncan generated at the beginning of the season isn't there at all. And I don't necessarily blame Duncan, nor do I blame DC James Willis. There's just not much left for Willis to work with and the prior short-term defensive ends (a few of JUCO's in Sharpe, Howard, Dixon, Sesay, etc.) let this become a situation where there was zero depth.
And when the pass rush doesn't even remotely get to the quarterback, it makes everything look bad. Tuberville said in his post game press-conference that OU just out-ran Texas Tech on a handful of occasions, and that's true as well. Not having athletes that can beat or meet opposing offensive players to the edge is a real problem with this team. Seeing Bront Bird being asked to cover a running back or a slot receiver is not an answer. It's just not. But it's either let Bird play out his senior year, and find the answer next year. It's probably not the best solution, but it's the best solution right now. The more I think about it, the more I think that we've always known that the defense never had much speed, and when a defense is asked to keep everything in front of them, playing a 2-deep zone in the secondary, a defense isn't going to look bad on individual plays, but rather it's going to look sorta bad each and every play. With Willis vs. Ruffin, it's about Ruffin hiding what limited athletic ability was there, and with Willis, it's about saying to any future recruit, if you are fast and you can cover, you can play for me.
This might make this year's off-season pretty darn interesting (nothing will beat the off-season of 2009) in that there's obviously going to have to be some infusion of talent, whether it be returning players making an improvement, the redshirts making an impact or true freshman and/or JUCO recruits making an impact. Since my biggest concern is the secondary, Texas Tech will have Nubian Peak (transfer from Virginia Tech), Don Hursey, Urell Johnson, Desmond Martin, and Russell Polk who didn't play at all this year. And we'll have plenty of time to discuss who's leaving and who's coming back after the season (don't anyone steal my thunder).
OFFENSIVE LINE MUST GIVE EVERYONE A CHANCE | The title says it all, the offensive line never gave the quarterbacks much of a chance. Seemed like after the only scoring drive for Texas Tech, the quarterback, no matter who it was, had little to no time to make a read, much less a read down the field. And Texas Tech fans should know this, that when a defense is able to get pressure with just 4 players and occasionally blitz, it's havoc for opposing offenses. Texas Tech couldn't muster a pass rush when sending six players, while OU was able to do it with four. This isn't to say that the line didn't have some bright spots, including rushing for 182 yards on 24 carries is actually pretty darned good.
And this ultimately leads me to wonder is it the offense, the offensive line, the quarterback, the receivers, the running backs, etc. It's never clear to me after a loss who to blame. Was the play-calling bad? Sure seemed that way, but then again, the offensive line couldn't block anyone. Would it stand to reason that the same plays that were called last week were similar to the ones called this week? Probably. So did the play calling get worse in a week? Maybe. Again, the one difference with this game compared to the Missouri game is that the quarterback had time. And the fact that I haven't much talked about the offensive line in a negative light for a handful of weeks is a good thing. I don't want to say that they get a pass because they don't, but the line has been solid almost all year and is the reason why Texas Tech beat Missouri. Yesterday, they, along with the defensive front 7, were the reason why Texas Tech lost.
DEAR SWEET TUBERVILLE | One of my half-assed coaching theories is that coaches, in general, get one bit at the apple to yell, scream and berate their team in the press. My general thought is that if a coach does this after every loss, the message gets lost because I think that people who screams all of the time is tuned out relatively quickly. I know that I do this. Every year, you could guarantee that Leach would do this at least one time a year. After every game this year, Tuberville has said that the team has given good effort, even in games where you could question the effort. Most of the time, after a game, Tuberville and the team talks about how they didn't execute, which is typically true. In almost any situation, the team that executes better wins, unless your team out-matched athletically, but even then a team can sometimes account for that.
But yesterday, in non-typical Tuberville speak, he said that on both sides of the ball, he didn't do a good enough job preparing the team. He mentioned execution again immediately after that, but for those that have been looking for Tuberville to make some sort of admission that he didn't do his job good enough, yesterday was it.
So to bring this back to the idea of if and when Tuberville will simply fire off against this team, the more I started thinking about it, the more I thought that Tuberville isn't going to do that this year. It's hard for me to figure out what type of person Tuberville is to these players. But if I had to guess, Tuberville is going to pass on his bite at that apple this year. This isn't to say that I don't think that Tuberville couldn't berate this team, but part of me believes him when he says that this team and defense isn't good enough to hold teams to low point totals and that although this group is going to struggle, he wants to recognize them as the players that gets this moving in a positive direction. There's no doubt that we can argue if Tuberville is the right person to do the job, but maybe Tuberville is letting this play out because he knows that yelling at a player because he's not athletic enough or faster isn't going to make that player any more athletic or faster.
Here's a non-transcript of the post-game press conference. You can watch the video or read the quotes linked above.
Tommy Tuberville: Not a pretty day, but they really got after us, took the ball deep on us, they had watched the last 3 or 4 games, we didn't make any plays, we didn't generate any pass rush. Took chances, last week they worked, this week they didn't. I thought we could move the ball better, but we didn't, but lots of pressure and was pushed around up front. Both sides of the ball, I did a poor job of preparing them, must not just prepare, but execute, play your position and do your job first. If we can't throw it and get it to our receivers, then we're going to have a rough day. They hit us hard and early. The two 4th down palys, then maybe we have a chance to keep the defense off the field and closer at halftime, but by not making those two 4th down plays, it gave OU the opportunity. Had several 15 yard penalties that hurt us, and when playing catchup, that's a problem, but the personal foul penalties. The players played hard, and mistakes on offense and defense, but need to get momentum. Not athletic enough to play in spots. Never able to get any momentum. Have a lot of work to do defensively, need to get more speed, this week was a product of last week. Right now, we're a hit-and-miss team, not good enough to hold a team to 7, 10 or 14 points. Not good enough to do that. The transition year is tough and we'll recognize this group that got us going in the right direction. A lot of what OU did, they run fast-paced. They did a good job of play-calling and when playng man. Out-ran us on a couple of plays. If make some 3rd down plays, then maybe a different result. One of the few times that we got knocked back, they didn't blitz much, but they're fast, they have a lot of speed and there's a reason they're ranked and have won almost every game the past few years. They brought it to us. We're beat up, thought Ben McRoy did a good job and Terry McDaniel played, was the first time that a 6th lineman has played in a long time.
OFFENSIVE MVP | RB Baron Batch | 91 yards on 11 carries, with a long run of 37. Batch ran hard yesterday.
DEFENSIVE MVP | DT Colby Whitlock | I feel like I've named him each week, but I don't know where this team is without Whitlock holding that defensive line somewhat together.