Seth C: We're a third of the way into the season. Assess the offense, defense, special teams and coaching with a letter grade. Also, are you officially worried about the quarterback position?
Travis (SARR): Ok, I’m gonna go with the standard grading process but I’m also gonna tie in some Breaking Bad references. I know you don’t watch the show (not out of any sort of disdain for it, just a basic time allocation issue) but I’m sure many VTMers do and Sunday will be the last episode ever and I’m really sad about that. I also found a way to honor the show in my answers.
So how do you grade all four? And since you don’t watch Breaking Bad feel free to include pug stories if you see any correlation between, say, some of Webb’s throws and your pug having horrific nightmares and scaring Fitsum.
Seth C: Oh man, this is going to be tough. Let's just say that I'm pretty much right there with you as far as the grades are concerned. Statistically, I do not think that the defense could have performed at a higher rate. The defense has allowed just 6 touchdowns in four games, which is pretty stinking awesome and given the number of plays that they are actually on the field, it's just been fantastic. One other note is that the defense has been really good at third down conversions and allowed a season low 18% against TCU. Texas Tech sits 20th in third down conversions and that may be the biggest reason why the defense is doing so well, is that they are forcing opposing teams to punt. And we hate punts, except when we're on defense, and then we love punts. I think the defense gets an A and since I don't have any Breaking Bad references because I don't watch television (unless I am sitting with my wife as she watches reality shows), I will display my feelings with Pug GIF's. Here is the ferocious defense:
The offense is really good and I think this speaks to where we are as fans in that we have one of the top 20 offenses in nation, two freshman quarterbacks and virtually no running game to speak of and you still have a top 20 offense. We, and I'm including myself, just aren't totally happy with how things have looked. That's okay, we're supposed to have high expectations, so it's good to be critical when you know things can be better. Still, I think it's been average at best with our expectations. Considering the freshmen quarterbacks and an offensive line that isn't what we thought it would be and we're left with not all of the pieces of an offense that's still cranking out yards. Still, average for Texas Tech isn't good enough and I think we all know it can be better. Like you, I've got them with a C. Pug GIF, cute, but not quite all growned up:
The special teams have been outstanding in my opinion. Bustin has been great. I hated seeing Erxleben replaced, but going with the best player in the coaches' opinions is what we all really want, so best of luck to Symmank. Texas Tech is 4th in the nation in touchback percentage, 8th in kickoff returns and 7th in kickoff return yards allowed. Seriously, that's just fantastic. Grade is an A and this is Haverty saying that you better recognize:
The coaching, I just couldn't be more excited. There's just so many good things going on. Remember when the media was trying to find stuff to criticize and one of the things that they pointed to was that this coaching staff that Kingsbury put together was too young and it was like a frat house and the coaches wouldn't work? Yeah, me neither. Coaching gets an A, from top to bottom and this is the media trying to remember if they were really asking those questions.
And I really couldn't leave here without my favorite pug GIF and it represents VTM and we do what we want (language warning, don't hover your mouse over the GIF if you don't like bad words):
The news of the week is that Brewer's return could be in the near future, which I love the vagueness of this comment. What's your gut tell you about Brewer? Do you think he plays this year and if so, what's your best guess? Also, do you think that it was Kingsbury's plan all along, which is mitigate Brewer's injury the best possible way and hopefully have him ready to go by Kansas or Iowa St., which is the meat of the conference?
When I get home from work, I ask my wife, what's the best thing that happened to her today as a way to generate some discussion about our day and the good thing that you did or someone else did for you. So, I'll ask you, what's the one best thing that's happened this far this season?
Travis (SARR): I’m still so confused about Brewer and his status. We talked behind the scenes about the various stories we were hearing and they seemed to correlate pretty well. My guy said it was six weeks minimum, and that was just before the season started so the timelines tend to match up. I think it’s still up in the air to an extent. What catches my attention is that Kingsbury keeps mentioning that the trainers are keeping him updated, which just seems odd to me. Especially when you consider that Brewer mentioned on Twitter that he was going to get checked out (presumably by a doctor) and should have good news soon. I’m not claiming conspiracy here, but it just seems odd that Kingsbury is deferring to the trainers when I would assume there are many more people involved in this decision process.
Now with all that said, I would love to have Brewer back at full strength as we get into the meat of the schedule. If we can survive a few more weeks and he comes back ready to go, we should be in a good spot. Our number 1 will be back on the field with 2 guys that have been thrown to the wolves behind him. This could work out really well.
And in thinking about the best thing that’s happened so far this season I keep going back to the last five minutes of the TCU game. So many variables were at play and it could’ve spun wildly out of control for us, but I think it all goes back to the sense of calm that Kingsbury exuded. Our QB is hurt? No problem, get in their Webb. We made a boneheaded play on a TD run? No problem, score again. We’ve got a 3rd and long and desperately need a score to break a tie with a true freshman QB? No problem, hit the pro-baseball player on a go route.
It was such a surreal few minutes and really gave us a glimpse of what may lay ahead for us. How about you? What is the best part of the season for you so far?
Seth C: I think the best moment was when Kingsbury walked out of that tunnel.
It's always been real, but it wasn't quite real until he walked out of that tunnel and lead HIS team on the field. That felt very real. And I sorta felt this sigh of relief in that it's all going to happen. The other moment was hours after the TCU game. I had an obligation that kept me away for almost the entire game. I got home, talked to my wife for half an hour and started to watch the game. I don't think I finished watching that game until nearly 1:00 am and I was going to need to get up and write a post in three hours. It was the best three hours of sleep that I've had in a really long time. Getting a win at home against a tough opponent and it all seemed worth it at that point.
Travis (SARR): So, even though we don’t have a game this week, do you have any predictions you want to make about anything happening? My prediction is that Jesse gets a hold of the machine gun and takes out Todd. Walt uses the ricin on Lydia and then he dies. Jesse is the last one left standing.
How about you? Any uplifting predictions?
Seth C: I'm always nervous about making predictions because I'm admittedly overly pessimistic. I think that's enough adverbs to describe my feelings. I know that with a thin offensive line, things most likely will be pretty tough to keep pace. We talked before about Big 12 defenses just needing to create opportunities and I'm afraid that with the line and inexperienced quarterbacks, Texas Tech will give away far too many of those opportunities. I'm a believer in the defense. There is a bunch of seniors that are contributing and making plays. Unless something catastrophic happens, this will be the constant. If Brewer plays and plays well, then all bets are off.
I think that every game left on the schedule is winnable, some more than others, with Oklahoma being the exception. Beating Oklahoma in Norman takes a special performance and is pretty rare for Texas Tech. There were years that I didn't feel that way.
So my ultimate prediction is that I'll be hopeful for every game and I think Texas Tech is going to knock some folks over the rest of the way.