Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 03.15.10

Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon: Sorry I've been out of touch for the last couple of days.  My wife ran in the race yesterday, ended up leaving the house at 5:45 a.m. and didn't get home until 2:00 p.m.  She did well, but later yesterday afternoon, I read the story about one of Texas Tech's own, Mark Austry, passed away after finishing the race.  Mark was only 32 years old and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.  Rest in peace, Mark.

Texas Tech (8-9) vs. TCU (12-2)
Location: Lupton Stadium : Ft. Worth, TX
Radio: Affiliates
Date Start Time Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
TCU
Starting Pitcher
Result
3.12.10 6:30 p.m. Brett Bruening
L, 2-1
Trent Appleby
W, 1-0
L: 7-8
3.13.10 2:00 p.m. Bobby Doran
L, 0-1
Matt Purke
W, 2-0
L: 1-9
3.14.10 1:00 p.m. Chad Bettis
L, 2-2
Kyle Winkler
W, 3-0
L: 5-8
Outfield:
LF - Michael Reed (Sr.); CF - Taylor Ashby (Sr.); RF - Barrett Barnes (Fr.)
Infield:
SS - Joey Kenworthy (Sr.)     2ND - Nick Popescu (Jr.);
3RD - Justin Berry (SO.)                                  1ST - Stephen Hagen (Jr.)
C - Jeremy Mayo (So.)
DH - Scott LeJeune (So.)

*Click on the score for boxscore. Texas Tech series preview (pdf).

The Game: I missed covering both games, but to say it's been a rough past couple of days would be an understatement. Saturday's game was a complete loss, both the offense and defense. Former 1st round pick Matt Purke pitched a complete game, allowing only 4 hits and 1 run, while Bobby Doran (5.0 IP; 7 H; 6 R; 5 ER; 1 BB; 6 SO) gave up more than enough to lose the game. Reliever John Neely (3.0 IP; 4 H; 3 R; 2 ER; 0 BB; 1 SO) wasn't spectacular, but I think he just needed to finish the game, especially considering the way that Purke was pitching for TCU. Offensively, there only player to register an RBI was Barrett Barnes (1-3; 1 R; 1 HR; 1 RBI) and he did it off an homerun in the 5th inning.

Sunday's game wasn't much better. Chad Bettis (7.0 IP; 7 H; 7 R; 2 ER; 2 BB; 10 SO) got the start because he didn't pitch on Friday or Saturday. And when I read Bettis' line I couldn't believe that he only allowed 2 earned runs, but somehow the defense allowed 5 runs. Here's the first inning recap for TCU:

TCU 1st - VonTUNGELN flied out to rf (0-1). HOLADAY doubled to left field (0-1). COATS struck out swinging, reached first on a passed ball (0-2); HOLADAY advanced to third. CURRY walked (3-1); COATS advanced to second. ELANDER reached on a fielder's choice, RBI (2-2); CURRY out at second 3b to 2b; COATS advanced to third; HOLADAY scored, unearned. PHARR homered to right center, 3 RBI, unearned (0-0); ELANDER scored, unearned; COATS scored, unearned. PENA homered to right field, RBI, unearned (2-0). SCHULTZ grounded out to 2b (2-2). 5 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

Ugh.

The offense did hammer home 12 hits, that translated in only 5 runs. Jamodrick McGruder (2-4; 1 HR; 1 R; 2 RBI) led the team offensively. You should note that McGruder has essentially moved to right field and Barnes has moved to center field for the past two games. Also of note is that normal CT Taylor Ashby didn't play because of a sore back, but Spencer has started to find a spot for McGruder and Barnes, while JUCO phenom, Stephen Hagen, hasn't played as much as I expected. 2B Nick Popescu (2-3; 2 R) and 3B Justin Berry (2-4; 1 RBI) also helped drive in a few runs on Sunday.

NIT Bound: The Red Raiders will play in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) on Tuesday night against Seton Hall.  I'm hoping that I can do a Q&A with Seton Hall blog, Gonzo Ball, but with such short notice, I'm not making any promises.

LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that the team is excited to be playing basketball during their spring break, and SG Nick Okorie wants to represent the Big 12:

"I feel like this is pretty much us being able to step up for the Big 12 and show that we’re a competitive team over here," guard Nick Okorie said. "Just because we’re the lower seed team and didn’t make it to the NCAA doesn’t mean we can’t play with the best."

And here's Okorie on Seton Hall:

"They’re a Big East team, they’re good, play fast-paced, shoot a lot of threes," Okorie said. "We have to play good defense, be on the help line when they drive, and pretty much play our game."

Knight Will Coach in 2010-11:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that on Friday, AD Gerald Myers said that head coach Pat Knight will be back coaching next year:

"Last year was a tough year, his first year," Myers said. "We were out-manned most of the time last year. He went out and improved the team with some good recruits, and a lot of those boys are back."

I did think it was odd that Myers took the time to mention that Texas Tech needs better post play, perhaps that's the basketball coach coming out in Myers or perhaps that's Myer's giving PK a huge hint:

Myers does want to see an improved post presence in order to better compete against Big 12 players like Kansas’ Cole Aldrich, Texas’ Dexter Pittman and Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh. And he expects continued improvement through next season.

"I’m looking forward to Pat being our coach for a long time," Myers said.

Leach vs. Texas Tech:  I've completely ignored this story for the most part and you guys and gals have done a good job of keeping up with things.  Skin Patrol transcribed both speeches (these are unedited and will naturally have very colorful language), VirtuaCory with a FanShot on Craig James testimony with this nugget:

Liggett said Adam James testified that he thought being placed in the shed on Dec. 17 "was funny."

The younger James also testified that he "felt no threat of physical harm, and he didn't think that a coach should be fired for the incident that took place on Dec. 17," Liggett said.

And:

An attorney for Texas Tech, Dicky Grigg, told reporters Saturday that Craig James testified that initiallly he only wanted Leach to accept responsibility for the alleged mistreatment of his son.

Grigg said Leach and his attorneys made misleading statements that "are intended to sway public opinion."

Grigg also said that Leach didn't believe the receiver had a concussion and that he "pressured" a trainer "to make Adam practice." That's what led James to seek Leach's dismissal, Grigg said.

"He made no bones about it," he said of James wanting Leach fired.

Attorneys are posturing.  The earth continues to spin on its axis.

Big 12 Questions:  SI's Stewart Mandel wrote on Friday the Big 12's spring storylines, with this bit about Texas Tech:

The hiring of a former standout SEC coach won't automatically soothe the pain felt by Texas Tech fans over the school's controversial decision to fire Mike Leach. Tuberville surely sensed that last January when, upon his arrival, he announced his intention to retain the type of wide-open offense for which the Red Raiders became synonymous during Leach's tenure.

It was a surprising pronouncement from a guy who preached power football throughout nearly his entire time at Auburn, and who in fact met his demise in large part because of a failed experiment to install the spread offense in 2008. Even more puzzling, as his offensive coordinator Tuberville hired 29-year-old Neal Brown, formerly of Troy -- the same place from which Tuberville plucked the ill-fated Tony Franklin two years earlier.

Tuberville and Brown have said there will be slight "tweaks" to the offense -- more run-pass balance, less checks at the line by the quarterbacks, some new formations, etc. -- but for the most part, they don't want to mess with success. To that end, Tuberville pushed back the start of spring practice two weeks (to March 20) so that quarterback Steven "Sticks" Sheffield has more time to heal from foot surgery. Sheffield, who helped ignite Tech's offense during its Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State, and Taylor Potts, whom Sheffield replaced in that game and during an early-season stint in which Potts was hurt, figure to wage a heated fight for the starting job.

This is something that I had not considered, which is the idea that Tuberville could have moved back practices in order to give Sheffield  more time to heal and then could give both Sheffield and Potts a more equal footing to win the quarterback battle.

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