Thanks to Rock Chalk Talk for taking the time when it's obviously basketball season.
Talk a bit about the Charlie Weis Experience thus far. What's your general take on how he has done so far and as bad as things are right now, do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?
You know generally speaking I think we're seeing improvement and a more competitive product week to week. With Turner Gill things were constantly going from bad to worse, Weis seems to be coaching up players where he can and doing his best to work around some pretty big deficiencies. I think his done a nice job in some areas, but it's a long road. The biggest question will be whether or not he can find the right guy to play quarterback in his system and can we put the weapons around them to be successful. Right now we don't have a legitimate QB option and our best wideout is probably the 5th or 6th wideout on other teams in the league. We just don't have the weapons to threaten. Next year we have Jake Heaps moving in at QB. Early reviews have been very positive, but none of us could have predicted the flop by Dayne Crist so we're being cautious. The biggest plus has definitely been on the defensive side of the ball. It might not always show in the stat column, but as a unit this is a much better group and I attribute that almost 100% to coaching.
James Sims has been spectacular, talk a bit about the style of play and what other offensive skill position type of players should Texas Tech fans know?
Sims is a patient back that has put in the work to take his game to another level. He's deceptively fast, he understands the game and he does it with a high football IQ. He's fun to watch. He reminds me of when I would watch Emmit Smith growing up. I think another thing he brings to the table is passion. He really is the one guy on the team that seems to be going 110% at all times and he's driving any success we have offensively. As a fan with little to get excited about on offense, I really can't say enough good things about Sims as a player.
In reviewing the Kansas defense, it would tough to find a lot of bright spots (I can relate because Texas Tech fans were in this exact position last year). I would say that I really like the hiring of Dave Campo as the defensive coordinator (I live in Dallas and generally follow the Cowboys) as he always seemed like a good teacher and getting lined up is half the battle? What is your general thoughts on Campo and what will it take to be improved next year?
This goes back to my statement above. I think on paper it's hard not to look at this group and think it's more of the same but that honestly couldn't be further from the truth. Campo is getting it done, we just have to give him time to get the horses in place. Our players are in position on a more consistent basis, we're making plays and buckling down in the red zone, and in general you can just tell that the defense believes in the scheme they are being taught. All of that helps a lot.
I think to continue down that path it's all about addressing the glaring holes. We have a solid group of young linebackers but we don't have depth. The defensive tackle spot was addressed some this year but end will be a priority as will the safety spot. Right now I think it's on Campo to say 'here's what I've got, here's what I need' and from there I think he can get this thing moving in a positive direction.
What can we expect from the quarterback position on Saturday?
Not too much to speak of. We're really in a bad spot with our passing game. Our quarterback is young, inexperienced and the playbook is very limited as a result. Throw in the fact that the guys catching the ball aren't all that dynamic and it's a bad situation for Charlie Weis as a coordinator. He's been creative and he hasn't quit trying, but it's definitely smoke and mirrors to keep our offense going at this point.
What's been the game-plan in some of the close losses, particularly to Texas and Oklahoma St. and can we expect to see that again?
Slow down the game, take chances, keep it close and see what happens. The defense is very much a bend but don't break style. The offense is going to try to churn clock and cross their fingers for a score. That doesn't mean we're just going to concede a three and out, Weis will get creative, but even that hasn't always been successful. It's interesting, we're one of the better red zone defenses in the Big 12 and one of the worst red zone offenses in the Big 12. I think that right there is the recipe for a close game for better or worse.