Seth C: Let's just rip this band-aid off and get this right out in the open. It's been alleged that you might wear skinny jeans.
Travis (SARR): Yes. But only when I'm carrying a tower of cups.
So there's a debate raging about Webb and Mayfield and Brewer and whether or not the best QB is on the field. I'll be honest, I'm having a tough time figuring it out and reaching a conclusion. I think that Kingsbury sees a lot of himself in Webb. Moxie, confidence, gunslinger mentality, etc. Those characteristics might be playing into his decision to continue starting him. I honestly don't know, but it's all a little perplexing. It seemed as if we were riding with Mayfield, then Webb came in, then Brewer was cleared but hasn't seen the field since the Kansas game. What are your thoughts regarding the quarterback situation?
Seth C: Yeah, the deal with Webb assumes that things have stayed static since the start of the season. During the spring, there was no question that Webb was the second best quarterback, clearly behind Michael Brewer, but things change. Webb's biggest deficiencies were yards per attempt, which was around 5 or so and a completion percentage of 50%. Over the last three games, Webb has completed near 62.5%, 72% and 62% of his passes and has 7.4, 9.2 and 7.3 yards per attempt. The turnovers are still a problem and probably always will be.
Some really talented quarterbacks were around 140 for their quarterback efficiency for their true freshmen years which is right were Webb is sitting after a game in Norman. I don't think we're really taking this into the equation because there are a lot of quarterbacks, much less true freshmen, that would wilt in Norman. No quarterback is perfect and that includes Mayfield and Brewer. I'm good with Webb and I think he's improving each game, it's probably not going to show up on the stat sheet, but I do think he's getting better. And I think we also have to think long-term, which is that if Webb even marginally advances in quarterback efficiency then he'll be a top 25 quarterback by the time that he's done. Kingsbury is trying to balance today and he future and it really isn't an easy task. Bottom line, I think that Kingsbury wants to go with the quarterback that gives him the best chance to win. We may disagree with that, but it's not as if the other options don't have issues as well. And to be honest about the situation, every player, no matter position, has issues.
What about you, where are you at on the quarterback issue?
Travis (SARR): It’s really difficult for me to wrap my head around. I’m like most in that I can see the deficiencies in Webb. I cringe when he has to scramble because he really can’t throw on the run. You can also see him over thinking things at times. There was a play early in the game where he scrambled out of the pocket on about the 10 yard line and had an easy path for a score or at least a first down but as he approached the LOS he inexplicably tossed the ball away. You could just tell he was thinking about the WVU fumble and how Kliff had told him to take care of the ball.
But a lot of that is on the job training. He’s been thrown out there to the lions and every play is an opportunity for him to learn. He has shown improvement in the past few games which is promising because the defenses he is facing are getting progressively tougher. He won’t face an environment like that again until Thanksgiving night so I’m anxious to see if he can really shine over the next three weeks.
Webb was far from perfect last Saturday but I don’t necessarily pin the loss on him. Amaro had a big fumble and the defense couldn’t get off the field at critical times during the game. At one point there was a stretch of almost an hour between offensive snaps, which is just ridiculous. We won’t win many games when that happens.
In an ideal world Michael Brewer would never have gotten hurt and would have 8 starts under his belt by now and Gilbert might be a little more relaxed, but that’s not where we are. Kliff has given the keys to Davis Webb, regardless of what he did in high school and I’m ok with that. I’m also ok with debating the topic because that’s how the internet go.
We’ve talked a lot about how the expectations have really ramped up which is a great thing to see. But realistically I like to think that if we can win 2 of the next 4 we’ll have a shot at a 10 win season with a bowl victory. Going into the season I would’ve never imagined a 10 win season. Where do you stand with that? Are you expecting a disaster or do you remain hopefully optimistic?
Seth C: I can't really ever remain optimistic. Sometimes I think you wrote Gilbert about me, but I'm not totally sure about that. But truthfully, all of the teams are the top, except for Texas, are about to play some pretty tough teams. Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma. We're about to find out where these teams are in terms of their record.
It's strange in that the thing that bothered me the most almost all of last year was that I felt like I spent a year and a half trying to be positive about something I wasn't really all that positive about. Writing last year as tough and running the blog became laborious because it wasn't fun any more. Pretty much anything could happen and I'll still be incredibly happy about where Texas Tech is and what's happening. I still want to win more games, of course, and I hope that the players aren't satisfied or anything like that. I became satisfied as a fan at some point in December (or something like that -- which reminds me that we need to make December 12th some sort of Red Raider holiday) when this all became incredibly real.
I figure we can get to expectations next year.
After looking at the link above, are you still confident that Baylor is going to take the conference or have you changed your thoughts on the Big 12 race?
Travis (SARR): I agree with you on the 12/12 holiday. We should buy a festivus pole and a Gilbert piñata because Gilbert is all of us.
And my thinking is in line with yours to an extent. I’m so looking forward to the future that it’s almost like anything that happens this year is gravy. And yes, I know that’s incredibly hypocritical of me because I never felt that way with Tuberville. I was never willing to give him a pass for 5 years and then watch all the championships roll in, but with Kliff it’s completely different. I can’t help but dream about where this program can be 3, 4 or 5 years from now with a sideline full of his recruits and more experience at QB. Think about where Saban started with Alabama and Sweeney started with Clemson and Briles started with Baylor. I’d argue that to this point Kliff has outperformed all of those guys in their first year on the job. I can’t help but think the future is incredibly bright because he brings an identity to the team that Tuberville never established.
Now that doesn’t mean I’ll turn a blind eye to losing seasons or inexplicable losses or lack of effort on the field, but I just don’t see that happening. I watched a team fight their tails off in Norman last Saturday and was proud of them. Of course I wanted a win more than anything but I wasn’t devastated after the loss as I’ve been in the past. This is a different feeling, and I’m enjoying it.
As to your question regarding the Big 12, yes, I still see Baylor as the team to beat. I just don’t think anyone can match up with them offensively. Oklahoma should make a run and Texas is getting better every week but I’m sticking with Baylor, until 11/16. Then all bets are off.
So November is famous for upsets. Take a look at the national landscape and tell us what upsets you see lurking. Because they’re out there lurking. I can see Alabama losing to either LSU or Auburn and Oregon losing to Stanford and I definitely think that Ohio State will lose. That would really turn things upside down, to put it mildly. Who’s gonna get bit in November?
Seth C: /me googling "best college football games second half 2013"/
Well, let me tell you. We've got Oregon @ Stanford, LSU @ Alabama, Texas A&M @ LSU and all of the back-loaded Big 12 games. Honestly, I can see any of the top teams beating each other up in the Big 12 by the end of the season and then all of the national pundits saying, "Welp, I told you so, the Big 12 just wasn't that good." Of the three games listed above, I like Oregon, Alabama and LSU in those games. Overall, I think I like the favorites. Oregon to win the Pac-16, Ohio St. should win the B10, I think I like OU to win the Big 12, but I really go back and forth with them and Baylor now (OU has the better defense and Baylor has the better offense), Alabama to win the the SEC and Florida St. to win the ACC. That's all of the important ones, right?
So maybe rather than talk about how we see the Oklahoma St. game playing out, i.e. adjusting to them, what does Texas Tech need to fix?
Also, given that Texas Tech has one of those back-loaded schedules, what are the two biggest games remaining?
Travis (SARR): The defense absolutely has to find a way to get off the field. In the last two weeks there have been incredibly long stretches where the defense was on the field for what seemed like an eternity. The Special Teams is doing it's job pinning the opponent inside the 10 (even the 5 at times) but our defense can't get a critical stop. We can't allow too many 14 or 15 play drives that lead to a score and eat up 8 or 9 minutes. We're better when our offense is scoring, but that's just my opinion.
Of course I want to beat UT and of course I want to beat Baylor, but the two biggest games for me are the next two, because they are the most winnable. I'd be thrilled to be heading into the Baylor game at 9-1 and then the Thanksgiving Day game would just be more gravy because gravy on Thanksgiving.
So OSU has struggled in the passing game but have had success running the ball. Do you stack the box on Saturday and make them beat you through the air, or do you stick to what got you here?
Seth C: Losses always have me spinning a bit, so I'm not sure and I think that to say that Oklahoma St. has struggled passing the ball is a bit of an overstatement. They haven't been as good as they have been, but other than last week's 87 yard game, they've been okay. They have players that can beat you in Stewart and Moore, so that's bothersome and I think those guys are as good as what Oklahoma had.
I mentioned during the Iconography post that this is the game within a game and the best solution is to play it safe and not let the corners get beat deep again. I guess this is a pick your poison situation in that I hate the big play. I'd rather have a team earn it. Well, Oklahoma pretty much earned every touchdown they scored and really only had one huge play (there were big gains, but the touchdown pass was way too easy). The question is if you play it safe and have two-deep safeties, then they aren't there to help with the run and then we have the same problems. I honestly am not sure what Wallerstedt is going to do and if I was making the decision, I'd choose bet that Chelf and Walsh will be what they have been for the better part of the year and that Blake Bell being all-world in the second half was an aberration. Stop them from running the ball.
Travis (SARR): We're done!