THE RESULT | The Drives | Against Iowa St. QB Davis Webb converted for a touchdown one of his first three drives and the rest were punts. In the second half, Webb started the second half by scoring a touchdown on one of his first five drives. Against West Virginia, Texas Tech had to punt after the first drive, but then Webb converted a touchdown and a field goal on each of his first three drives. In the second half, Texas Tech started with a field goal, a rushing touchdown and then a punt in their first three drives. Against Oklahoma, Webb started the game with a punt, an interception and a punt in the first three drives of the first half, but rallied strong in the second half with two passing touchdowns and a field goal.
Against Oklahoma St., Webb led the offense to two punts, a fumble and then a punt to start the first half, and then in the second half, he started with two punts and an interception to start the second half.
Of the 24 opportunities to start the first half, Webb led the team to a score on 9 of those 24 opportunities. Against OU and OSU, that's Webb taking advantage of 3 of 12 opportunities and all of those came in the second half against Oklahoma. They came in bunches. The competition is much tougher, but that's just not enough production to keep pace. You can handle it against offenses that are maybe not as adept at scoring, but not against Oklahoma and Oklahoma St., where they simply capitalize on poor play and being unable to score.
And I've never believed that a game is won or lost by just one guy. This isn't all on Webb.
The defense gave up almost 500 yards of offense and Oklahoma St. had over 280 yards rushing. Football is typically a game of multiple problems when things go wrong. When things go right, lots of people are pulling in the right direction. But when the offense isn't producing to start the game and the offense struggles to find its rhythm until late in the half, it's problematic for this team.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Despite his second straight game with a turnover, TE Jace Amaro was impossible to stop, 15 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown. Yeah, he's a receiver not a tight end.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | I thought DE Branden Jackson had his best game as he had 7 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU and 1 pass defended. Very active and very athletic.
Mounting Injuries | This isn't excuse making, just reality. there seemed like there were a ton of injuries last night, happening in-game. Beau Carpenter went out at some point. Terrance Bullitt left with an apparent broken hand. Tre' Porter was also out late with a hit that shook him up, and that's bad news considering his past history with what we think was concussions. That's some pretty important parts there.
The Presser | Kingsbury's press conference was as curt and short as i can recall, and he's not a guy that talks a lot anyway. He didn't really have any answers, not until he could watch the film. There wasn't any excuse making, it was clear that he saw the same things we say, which was that there were mental errors, turnovers, and special teams mistakes that costed this game in addition to the offensive and defensive futility:
Yeah, that's tough. You lose the turnover battle and get outplayed on special teams against a really tough team like that, you're going to have a hard time winning the game. I thought the first half, it was good effort to battle back, we come out and get a three and out two drives in a row, and then we're just chasing them the rest of the half.
He's seeing those three-and-outs to start the halves as much as you are. If this gives you any solace that would be it.
Webb's Rough Night | Statistically, I suppose that things look okay, throwing for 425 yards a couple of touchdowns and interceptions. Not all that bad. The problem was that Webb threw 72 times to get those 425 yards. That's only 5.9 yards per attempt and I don't have to do the touchdown to interception ratio for you.
After the game, Kingsbury said that Webb had an up-and-down night, but he said that the supporting cast didn't help:
Up and down. There were some plays to be made. I didn't think the supporting cast played as well either. I thought we had plays to be made and didn't make them. To keep up, when things are scoring that much, you've got to make all the plays.
Other than Amaro's fumble, I thought the receivers continually made plays for Webb as any of Webb's long completions were really a result of players going out and making plays after the catch, but I don't recall Webb connecting deep other than the play that Grant caught that bounced off a defender. If Kingsbury is talking about the offensive line, yeah, it wasn't their best game, but I thought Webb had time to make plays. So now I pose this to you, how did you feel the supporting cast played, feel free to break down the receivers and the line if you want, but I thought they played well enough.
I think my frustration with this situation is more or less with the fact that either Kingsbury has dur in his heels about playing Webb or the other two options really are injured (as suggested by NM99 last night). Kingsbury said last week that QB Michael Brewer was healthy, but that he needed to get into football shape.
Something has to give here. This team needs a spark. It needs to get off on the right foot next week. I'm not real confident that Webb is the guy that can do that. Three scoring drives out of twelve is not confidence, especially when they ocurred all in one game in one half (OU). This team just has to get on the board to force the issue.
Defensive Struggles, Part II | For the second game in a row, the defense really struggled. Really struggled. We really don't need to detail how bad the rushing offense has been, but of the games remaining on the schedule, all of the teams run the ball well. Yikes. The defensive line is struggling in much of the same way that they struggled in previous years. They just can't get off their blocks to make plays and that's either a strength issue or a technique issue. I also don't know how or if this really gets solved this year.
Some folks have mentioned that this is why there's such a emphasis on JUCO defensive line for the 2014 class and you sorta have to tap the breaks on that. Some of these guys may play. They may buck the trend but of the JUCO guys that were signed this year, only Demetrius Alston and Andre Ross really saw time initially, and that's been curtailed significantly. The point being is that counting on JUCO guys to step in and play right away is usually fool's gold. It's rare. Maybe after a year of getting into the system and figuring it out, but generally speaking, that sort of planning doesn't work out. My point with all of this is to depress you even more as I don't know if there will be defensive improvement next year either along the line. Some of the JUCO guys like Keland McElrath and Owen Williams (and maybe Demetrius Campbell) may have to play because of lack of bodies, but it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.
It's Not Built In a Day | The turnaround and the energy has been awesome. It's been fun to write and fun to participate again. It stinks to write this in the middle of a two game losing streak, but Texas Tech was eventually going to get their rears handed to them. There isn't an ideal game for this to happen. There's only such much that a coach can fix after a winter and a spring. I'm going to keep the positivity going because I'm still excited to write and I think that there are still more games to play that I'm excited to write about. I can't tell you how sports-depressed I was last year. And we all got swept up, me included, in a 7-0 start that you tend to overlook some of those things that are creeping into this team. You should know this, which is that I'm almost positive that Texas Tech maybe loses to both Iowa St. and West Virginia last year given the quarterback play and circumstances of those games.
Fix The Special Teams | This isn't Trey Haverty's forte. This isn't why he was brought here to coach and he's taking this job probably because he's been asked to do so, but the coverage units are downright awful at time. Kicking the ball out of bounds, the huge returns that flipped the field. There were some bright spots, really Jakeem Grant, but generally speaking, there are a lot of issues here.
- So the coaching staff decided that it would be best to take the redshirt off of Justis Nelson rather than play either Martin Hill or Dorian Crawford. Maybe they are being saved for next year, but that baffles me. And as much as we have discussions about redshirts being removed from players, think about all of the redshirts that have been removed with minimal playing time. Maybe they want some veteran guys after Porter, Mays, Falemi and Jones all graduate. Maybe Nelson is forced to play the rest of the way because of Porter's injury, but Nelson is a skinny safety that played private school football last year.
- Really good to see some turnovers on the defense. Loved the Pete Robertson interception and touchdown, as well as the pick for Keenan Ward.
- That tunnel screen to Eric Ward looked awfully pretty and brought back some great memories of Crabtree doing that to opponents on a regular basis.
- Texas Tech was just 4 of 15 on third downs. That's been my other big criticism of Webb, which is that he's been pretty poor at converting on third down while he's been the starter. Again, knowing the competition is tougher is something to consider, but it's sort of a boom or bust with Webb. Converted only 31% against Iowa St., 60% against WVU, 35% against OU and 26% against OSU. That's real problematic.
- Texas Tech's third down defense wasn't all that bad, allowing only 5 of 16, but OSU was 2 for 2 on 4th down and they were both touchdowns. /sad face/
- Because of coverage issues, Texas Tech only netted an average of 22 yards a punt.
- The running backs are really starting to do something here. DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams combined for 170 yards, both rushing and receiving. They've been really effective the last few games.
- Sadale Foster has essentially disappeared from this offense and I don't have a reason why.