THE RESULT | I Ain’t Quitting and I’m Not Budging an Inch | If you think that Art Briles hung the moon and that Baylor isn’t going to falter and that you still want to hate another human being for the Leach situation and you want to think that Texas Tech will never be able to rise out of the middle pack of the Big 12, then maybe VTM isn’t the place for you. I have no idea what the statute of limitations on something like this is, but blaming someone or something isn't going to make things better.
Here’s one thing that I know. Shit happens in life and you move on to making the situation better. If there’s one thing that I learned while living in West Texas and being the son of a farmer, is that there in things in life that you just can’t control. We as fans couldn't control what happened and it was tough as hell to watch it happen from the sidelines to something we all have a passion for. That situation sucked like nothing else for a fan. Sometimes life doesn't give you what you want. There was a time in my marriage where all I wanted was a child. For whatever reason, that didn't happen for my wife and I biologically. It would be awesome to "blame" someone or "hate" someone, because then I really wouldn't have to deal with the situation at all. What I did do is fix the situation. Click.
You just don't give up. You don’t give an inch. Hard work and intelligence will eventually reward you.
You may not get immediate satisfaction from this. Kingsbury may not be able to turn things completely around next year or maybe even the year after that, but it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen because Kingsbury won’t be out-worked and he’s as bright a coach as there is in college football.
I’ve been really patient, but if you still feel that you need to blame Hance for the situation or you need to "hate" another human being on this blog, then I don’t think VTM is the place for you. How long do we get to "blame" Hance? A decade? At what point do we look at the situation at hand and just fix it? Things happen in life and things don’t always work out like they are supposed to, but I’m not about to let this blog and this community continue down that road of feeling sorry for yourself or blaming someone for a situation.
I’m about what’s happening right now and if you feel the need to hate then this isn’t the place for you. We’re going to be talking about today and the future. VTM doesn't need a bunch of sunshine pumpers, that’s not what I’ve ever been about, but if you’re already throwing in the towel because Texas Tech will never be able to finish above 5th place because all of these other coaches and all of thee other teams are so AWESOME, that sounds sounds like quitting to me. And if you tell me that you’re just being realistic, I really don’t care. I’m not going to quit on this team because if I do quit and just accept that Texas Tech is ALWAYS going to finish last in men’s basketball and ALWAYS going to finish in the middle of the pack in football then there’s really no point in guys like DanSwany continuing to write about Texas Tech basketball or me and all of the other folks writing about football. Let’s just throw in the towel, right?
I ain’t quitting and I’m not budging an inch.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | My love affair with WR Eric Ward continues, in a totally platonic sort of way. A beautiful touchdown catch and 7 overall catches for 82 yards,
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | It’s really difficult to pick a defensive MVP when the defense has given up 300 yards rushign for 4 weeks in a row, so I’ll give it to the true freshman, S Justis Nelson, who had a pretty decent night all things considered.
It Is What It Is | I know I’ve used this phrase at some point, but it’s one of the more useless and meaningless phrases on the planet earth. That’s right, the entire planet. The defensive line isn’t going to magically get any better this week because of an off-week or anything else. The defense is a defense that just doesn’t have the horses right now. We talked about that last week. For whatever reason, there’s just not enough bodies and/or talent to stop opponents. Right now, it’s about minimizing the losses as much as possible and making opponents churn out yards rather than give up big plays. That did happen against Baylor I think, for the most part. Wallerstedt is in a bit of a tough spot in that if tries to be a bit unique and blitz or stunt of force the issue, there’s one guy that’s usually is out of spot and the entire thing sort of falls apart. So, I think that Wallerstedt played it safe and hoped the best for some turnovers and I think that was a much better game plan than the former. It doesn’t look any better this morning. The result is still the same, but when the offense doesn’t do their part and hold onto the ball, then the defense is going to struggle. That’s just the reality of a symbiotic relationship.
Baylor clawed their way back into the game early in the second quarter because of a punt return for a touchdown (really, this is just unacceptable) and giving Baylor the ball on the Texas Tech 31 yard line after a fumble and then a couple of series later, it was yet another fumble at the Texas Tech 44 yard line that helped Baylor get back. Sure, the defense is supposed to stop the opposing offense, but it’s just much more difficult to do that when you’re working with a short field and giving up special teams touchdowns.
Mayfield Any Better? | The numbers aren’t going to show that this is accurate. I’ve always said that it just feels better with Mayfield back there, but as you all have pointed out and was so incredibly clear last night, Mayfield is reckless with the ball in his own way, i.e. he puts it on the turf. Davis Webb tends to throw it to opposing defenders, but Mayfield drops it on the ground more times than not and that’s just as problematic. Kingsbury said as much after the game. If he wants to continue being the quarterback, then he’ll have to figure out that he just can’t be careless with the ball. I mentioned above, the reason the big reason (I think) that Baylor got back in the game so quickly was turnovers, namely fumbles, that helped and special teams. In as much as the defense can’t afford to have a guy out of place, neither can the offense. If one guy doesn’t do their job or drops the ball, then the whole thing can fall apart.
Still, the offense just feels like it runs better with Mayfield at the helm, and if given the two quarterbacks of Webb and Mayfield, I’ll still take Mayfield. The yards per attempt aren’t any better than what Webb did over the past few weeks, 6.1 yards per attempt, and like I said, the result is still the same, it was an offense that wasn’t "good enough".
If I had to pin-point one thing, I think I would look at the third down completion percentage for both quarterbacks. Texas Tech was 7 of 17, with one of those being Brewer, so I think that Mayfield was 7 of 16, which is good for about 43%. Webb had a couple of games of 35% and 29% against Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. and then the third down conversions went back up over 50% against Kansas St. For a beleaguered defense, I think that extending drives is pretty important.
Penalties, or Lack Thereof | I don’t write about penalties in Post Game Thoughts. I just don’t.
Rough Day for Offensive Line | If I’m counting correctly, the Baylor defense had 9 quarterback hurries and 2 sacks and 3 penalties for 27 yards. Some of this is on Mayfield because he’s more mobile, but he also saved a handful of pressures and sacks by running out of them. Despite the sacks, Mayfield still finished with 35 net yards rushing and I thought the running backs were okay (fumble issues aside), but that’s way too many pressures for this offense to be effective and it’s one of the reasons Webb struggled over the past few weeks too. I mentioned last week that help is on the way, and I do believe that, but this is yet another reason why Mayfield gives this team a bit of a better shot offensively. He can out-run some of the mistakes of an offensive line that is struggling. Oh, and you have yet another freshman starting at right guard, Baylen Brown.
Something Has to Happen With Special Teams | Would it be a stretch to say that the special teams are as bad as they were the past few years? Does anyone think that they are better than they were previously? I’m in the camp that they just aren’t any better and I’m not sure what moves the needle here to get this better. I do trust Trey Haverty to take care of this, but something has to give. Haverty isn’t a special teams coach and it may just be too much for him to effectively manage.
Something is terribly wrong here and I’m not sure if this is a depth issue or something else. There are a lot of walk-ons and true freshmen getting time on special teams and maybe that’s the biggest problem. Maybe this is the problem that goes to the large problems of the program in general. This team just isn’t at a point from a depth perspective to compete on this side of the ball. There should be a group of sophomores and juniors that are hungry for playing time and eating up that playing time on special teams, but that’s just not happened for Texas Tech for the special teams and it does speak to how thin this team really is from a depth perspective. I think a look at the special teams is going to take a much closer look in the offseason, but there should be a group of players that aren’t true freshmen that are leading the charge on special teams and that’s not at all happened. I think that Haverty would take some of the blame himself, it’s been uneven at best, but many times, penalties are a result of the guy on the other end of the field being bigger, stronger and faster than you and the penalty happens to make up for that lack of ability to stop the other guy from doing what you want him to do.
Generally speaking, if you get some older guys here, I think a lot of the problems that you see on special teams will be much better. Haverty just isn’t a guy that is going let this be a problem unless there is a real reason, and if I had to guess, it’s an influx of youth and walk-ons that have earned the right to play on special teams rather than some of the older guys that should be taking some pride and making an impact here.