I've tried to give you guys a ton of content for today and at least Monday and Tuesday of this week. I've broken down each drive on both offense and defense and below you have your random thoughts, but first I thought we would address the Johnson touchdown that wasn't.
When I first watched the Manuel Johnson catch I thought for sure it was a touchdown. It was ruled incomplete and the replay booth (seemed like a very quick review by the way) that the pass was an incompletion. Not having enough time to waste today, here's a relevant rule I found as to whether or not this may have been a catch:
This rule seems to be on point, but if you can find the another rule that might contradict then please feel free to post a comment.
On to random thoughts.
What Texas Tech Did Right:
- Texas Tech Came to Play: I really didn't have any doubt that the crowd would have a ton of energy, but it was up to the team to provide the substance for the team to cheer. I thought in my game preview that Texas Tech would be down early and there's nothing like an interception for a touchdown to make that true. Harrell hung in there and was able to lead his team to a win over a highly ranked opponent. Remember, we don't get style points for victories, it's just about winning and it's about winning quality games. Granted there's something to be said for losing to Colorado and OSU, but after a game like Saturday night, I think it's appropriate to just enjoy the ride.
- We Have a Runner: I thought Crawford's line of 50 yards on 12 carries was outstanding. Not to mention his 81 yards on 11 catches. I thought his breaking tackles and ability to create yards when it didn't seem that there was any hole to be a huge lift. I doubted Leach when he benched Woods as he said that Crawford had outplayed him in practice, but after seeing last night, I think I was wrong to doubt Leach. Crawford is a talent and I'm glad he's on our side.
- Crabtree is Amazing: I've truly run out of superlatives. His 60 yard touchdown run (it had to have been a touchdown) was absolutely amazing. He is the most talented player to have ever played at Texas Tech. Thank you Michael for giving us such a spectacular year.
- Harrell Answered Critics: Harrell wasn't perfect, but as much crap that Harrell takes when Texas Tech loses, then he should get the same amount of credit when Texas Tech wins, especially against a ranked opponent. For those of you who think that Harrell isn't as good, or should be better then I feel sorry for you. Live in the moment, especially this moment as Harrell, is putting together a pretty special career, and there's no guarantee that the others to follow will be as talented.
- Collectively Defensive: As I reviewed the statistics I was a little shocked by the overall lack of tackles, but then I remembered that Halzle had 20, that's right, 20 incompletions for the night. But here's the bottom line. Texas Tech only gave up 142 yards rushing and no play was longer than 12 yards. That's right, no big plays, no 40 or 50 yard runs breaking the backs and hearts of Red Raider fans. Collectively the unit was good.
- Ruffin Is Vindicated, I Hope: I don't know why I like Ruffin so much, I think that he's the kind of coach who can motivate and coordinate and get kids to play hard and future recruits to play here for our Red Raiders. Perhaps, I'm just a little bit biased, but I think McNeill is a good coach who, if given time, can do some things. Remember, that the great Brent Venables, OU's defensive coordinator, gave up over 473 yards. Every coach has its warts, but I think that McNeill is a Red Raider. He's in our corner and there's something to be said for that.
- Parker Rebounds, Mostly: I thought the play of senior cornerback Chris Parker was outstanding for the most part. He did give up the long touchdown catch, but he rebounded and played well most of the night.
- Taking a Loss: How about 8 tackles for a loss? I thought the defense as a whole was aggressive and putting OU in less than desirable positions, or at least situations where they were forced to pass the ball was a huge factor in yesterday's win.
What Texas Tech Did Wrong:
- Can't Cover Returns: Holy cow, kickoff returns were a tad bit scary for the Red Raiders as it seemed that Iglesias was breaking off huge chunks of yardage and shortening the field. I didn't think twice about not L.A. Reed's suspension, but we sure as hell missed his presence on all of the coverage units. Let's hope he gets his head right with ball and is able to play in whatever bowl game.
- Crossing for Yards: Someone has got to figure out how to limit or stop the crossing patterns for huge chunks. My untrained eye tells me that it's partly to do with the less than speedy linebackers who have a tough time taking the faster receivers. Whoever Texas Tech plays for the bowl game will undoubtedly make this a part of their game plan and Coach McNeill needs to do something to limit this.
- Running Out the Clock: So incredibly frustrating to not be able to run the ball, at least at some point, to help run out the clock. That's the rub however, when you have a pirate for a head coach. He doesn't care about what you want, he's going to keep doing what he does. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
- Quarterback: Graham Harrell
- Running Back: Aaron Crawford, Koby Lewis and David Schaefer
- Receivers: Eric Morris, Michael Crabtree, Danny Amendola, Edward Britton, Grant Walker, Detron Lewis, Adrian Reese, Lyle Leong, and Kelly Hildenbrandt
- Offensive Linemen: Rylan Reed, Louis Vasquez, Shawn Byrnes, Brandon Carter, Marlon Winn, Chris Olson, and Stephen Hamby
- Defensive Line: Richard Jones, Colby Whitlock, Rajon Henley, Brian Williams, Clint Stoffels, Sandy Riley, Daniel Howard, Tyler Yenzer, Alex Hamilton and Jake Ratliff
- Linebackers: Brian Duncan, Paul Williams, Marlon Williams, Julius Howard, Blake Collier, Bront Bird, Victor Hunter and Kellen Tillman
- Secondary: Jamar Wall, Joe Garcia, Darcel McBath, Chris Parker, Marcus Bunton, Daniel Charbonnet, Anthony Hines, Lance Fuller, LaRon Moore, Pete Richardson, Jordy Rowland, Nathan Stone, Steven Harris and Steven Harris
- Special Teams: Jonathan LaCour, Austin Burns and Alex Trlica