AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 5: Running back Joe Bergeron #24 of the Texas Longhorns makes a second quarter long run down the sidelines against safety D. J. Johnson #12 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 5, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
I fully admit that I do this (talk about things that aren't related to the game in an attempt to mildly deflect you) and I shouldn't but wanted to mention that no matter what you think happened at Texas Tech, it doesn't even come close to what's currently happening at Penn St. This isn't your normal Sunday morning reading, but if you can stomach the details, SBN Penn St. blog Black Shoe Diaries is a good place to start. In reading some of the charges I just can't imagine. Also, shout-out to OU receiver Ryan Broyles, who is the NCAA's all-time leading receiver and has torn his ACL. Doesn't deserve that.
THE RESULT | I DON'T KNOW THE END-GAME | I'm trying to figure out how all of this eventually plays out. For two weeks straight, this Texas Tech team has been dominated in just about every facet imaginable. Offense. Defense. Special teams. And the problem for me is that I don't know or can't give you any solace as to what the eventual end game will be. For me, the end-game is me trying to predict what will eventually happen. It's usually me trying to base my decision on reality, the circumstances at hand and the eventual outcome. For example, the end-game of firing Tuberville right now isn't an option for me because it's not something that I realistically think is going to happen. I think that no matter what, Tuberville will have three years. I've said that I'll have a much better opinion about the job that Tuberville is doing after this year, but that's just my personal opinion.
I'm sure a lot of you feel like Nick Saban right now:
I understand, I really do.
Again, the end-game isn't necessarily what I want to happen, but it's what I think will happen. These post-game thoughts aren't going to be very insightful in to what was an arse-whipping of the highest degree.
DEFENSE JUST DOESN'T HAVE THE PLAYERS | When Tuberville says (and I'm paraphrasing here) that the defense just doesn't have the players to compete, he's not lying. That's not coach-speak, that's honest to goodness truth and we've witnessed that the past two weeks. After watching LSU and Alabama last night, as well as some action in other Big 12 games, the thing that sticks out at me is that this team doesn't have the actual players to compete on a high level in the Big 12 this year. And I don't know that it's going to get much better next year either. As I watch the opposing offenses simply push any Texas Tech defender out of the way time after time, then you know that this isn't a situation where Texas Tech has the class of athletes, whether that opponent is Texas or Iowa St. to compete. At this point of the season, I wonder how this team has won as many games as they did. That's beside the point.
When the secondary is in a situation where offensive players are being considered during the week as either starters or as far as a position switch, then that should give you an indication that things aren't going as planned. Receivers Shawn Corker has made the permanent switch to cornerback, just like Derrick Mays did in the middle of last year, and it was discussed (I think) that Cornelius Douglas would be switched to safety.
This indicates to me two things. The first thing is that there aren't any players that are available that are even remotely the athletes that Corker and Douglas are. Let that sink in for a minute. I think that Corker and Douglas are probably fairly high level athletes, but is there any scenario where they should be considered as possible starters eight or nine weeks into the season? Absolutely not. And yes, this does speak to the depth of athletes in the program and Tuberville has had one recruiting class (I never know if I should consider the 2010 class Tuberville's class as all of the players were essentially already committed and my general thought is that it's not "his" class, but he did keep them on board) to make a difference, but right now, I don't know that I see change on the horizon.
Additional Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
One thing that I do know is that the defensive coordinator is going to stay. Chad Glasgow is trying to implement the third defense in three years. Yes, there are plenty of concepts that are essentially the same in previous years, but it's a situation he signed up for. With the premise that Glasgow is going to be in charge of the defense next year, he's got to find better athletes and players that can play. When we talk about the attrition of players, i.e. players that quit, or are injured, or just don't come back, during the course of the year, this is what programs like LSU and Alabama do. They oversign, each and every year (i.e. they sign more players than scholarships available) with the thought that they have figured out the players that can or cannot play.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this method is employed the next year and possibly the next two years. This team needs athletes, bodies and playmakers and I think that Glasgow will have full authority to do what needs to be done in order to make sure that this happens. I don't know this as a fact, but it's just something that I suspect will happen because it's painfully obvious to anyone watching yesterday's game, which is that no matter what you think, right now Texas Tech is out-classed in terms of athletes and players in just about every respect. You could certainly see the number of JUCO players increase as right now there are none, but there needs to be an immediate influx of talent on the defensive side of the ball and I don't know how that happens other than to recruit JUCO players.
As I continue to pile on the defense, I already mentioned that I think this is about having the better athletes and players. That's not to say that scheme doesn't matter. It does matter, but when you're lining up your two defensive tackles that don't weigh more than 270, you're going to get whipped up front. And when your linebackers don't weigh more than 215, more than likely, you're going to get whipped up front. It's really a perpetual problem with the defense in that one issue begets the other. The defensive line isn't big enough or strong enough to make any sort of plays and the linebackers aren't big enough or strong enough to help out the defensive line to make plays on their own. It's amazing to see the difference in size of linebackers between UT and TTU as UT runs out players that are 6-3/235 and can take on an offensive lineman if necessary, while Texas Tech runs out there linebackers that are 6-0/210 and are essentially pushed out of each and seemingly every play. That's just not going to cut it. And yes, it would be wise to invest in these freshmen that are getting pushed around like rag dolls with the hope that by this time next year, they'll be closer to that 235 range, but as I said before, I don't know that Tuberville and Glasgow have the time to be that patient and I think that players are regressing. There was a time when I thought that Cody Davis would be a good safety in this conference, but he's regressed this year and it's noticeable. Perhaps it's because the staff have him playing out of position a bit, but the fact that he's sometimes this team's last line of defense more times than not is an indication that he's not playing in the right spot and he's not made to be this team's free safety (which I know he's not the team's free safety, but he's put in that position). I don't think that every player doesn't have value I haven't had the time to try to figure that out just yet (that's what offseasons are for), but I do know that just about every player has to prove his value and the staff has to figure out how to improve the talent next year.
OFFENSIVE LINE WAS WHIPPED YESTERDAY, QUARTERBACK AND RECEIVERS WERE WHIPPED LAST WEEK | If it's not one thing it's another, and this point is going to be relatively quick. It is incredibly frustrating to see an offense struggle in two consecutive weeks. The offensive line was confused and took way too much line trying to figure out who was going to block who. Again, it was painfully obvious as the play-clock was winding down and the players are all trying to figure out who is supposed to block which defender. UT has been doing this for a couple of weeks, i.e. walking up defenders and not being sure who is going to rush and who isn't. This is just inexcusable.
ABANDONING THE PISTOL | As many of you know I completely missed and have not been able to watch the TAMU and Kansas St. games. So with that thought out of the way, the past three games that I have been able to watch, I've been meaning to mention that OC Neal Brown has just given up on the Pistol Offense entirely. After the spring and summer practices, where Brown and Tuberville talked about how they wanted to implement this type of offense to create an opportunity for the running backs to have more of a downhill run at the line of scrimmage, I am left with a handful of running plays from yesterday's game that will leave a mark on my memory. I don't necessarily remember the down and distance, but the running plays in question were in the redzone and they were absolutely futile. UT snuffed out the play, I'm pretty sure, before the ball was snapped.
I don't know why Brown and Tuberville have given up on the Pistol Offense, but they shouldn't have. Tuberville likes to run the ball more than Leach did, that's just a fact of life. The Pistol Offense is an offense that allowed Tuberville and Brown to have the best of both worlds in that it allowed the quarterback to still be in the shotgun formation, but also allow the running back a head-start at the line of scrimmage as opposed to just handing the ball off without a running start.
I liked this wrinkle, and I thought it was not just a wrinkle, but it was actually effective. The frustrating thing for me yesterday is watching the 22 personnel or 23 personnel that UT was running out there (2 running backs and 2 or 3 tight ends) and everyone in the world knowing what was going to happen, i.e. UT running the ball, and there was absolutely nothing that Texas Tech could do to stop it. For that reason, I wish that Brown would have kept the Pistol Offense. Sure, it usually meant more times than not that Texas Tech was going to run the ball (although to be fair, they were successful passing in that formation too), but it also meant that the line was usually imposing their will on the opposing defense. Yes, this usually meant that you might have in the game one or two tight ends and maybe a blocking back like Omar Ontiveros, who was punishing as a lead blocker, but it also meant that Brown could do a couple of things offensively, which is run it down the defense's throat, and for the most part they did, but it also allowed for a bit of play-action on the part of the offense, especially if you run it successfully enough and there is no doubt that Texas Tech did run it successfully enough early in the season to make defense at least consider the option.
If the offense is going to run the ball in the redzone, and it's fine that they do, but if that's going to happen, then you had better do it with some authority and make the opposing defense respect what you're going to do. The Longhorn defense essentially laughed at the Texas Tech offense in the redzone and forced Texas Tech to make plays in a smaller field and they couldn't.
TUBERVILLE IS AT A CROSS-ROADS | Tis is the tough thing for Tuberville, which is that I think he's at a serious cross-road as far as his coaching decisions. I think that the normal situation for Tuberville has been that if his coordinators aren't performing up to his standards, then to give himself more time he fires the coordinator and hires someone new. I can't and won't totally back this up from a historical standpoint, but I think this is generally how things go. I don't think that Tuberville is going to have that option here at Texas Tech. Last year, with James Willis, this was a weird situation, and with the allegations (I think there was a resolution to this, but for now, I'll use the word "allegations") about spousal abuse, he had no choice but to let Willis go and he had to start fresh, but I do believe that Tuberville is tied to Brown and Glasgow for his tenure at Texas Tech and I think that no matter what, even if Tuberville lets either of them go at the end of the season, it won't affect what essentially happens to Tuberville in the long-run.
I don't necessarily think that this is entirely Tuberville's thought and my natural reaction is that he should and will be given three years to pull in some players, which he is doing, but I'm not confident that things are going to change that dramatically next year, unless of course we see an influx of talent from the JUCO ranks. And not just averaged rated JUCO talent, but high level JUCO talent that makes a difference.
After it is all said and done, I think the offense will be okay (but there's really no excuse for a veteran offensive line to have the issues that they did yesterday) and I do think that Glasgow has a clue defensively, Tuberville is hitching his wagon to these two assistants to make sure that something spectacular happens in 2012. I hate to chalk up a season as a complete waste, but I think I'm at this point with 2011. I had aspirations of a 8 win season (sans the bowl game) but realistically, I don't think this team is bowl eligible and that is a sad reality to face. Oklahoma St., Missouri and Baylor can all run the ball with good to excellent success. I think it's going to be a long three games.