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Texas Tech Red Raider Notes for 09-16-2007: Rice Wrap-UP

DTN News:

I finished half of the review as I'm waiting for the official stats to be posted, especially for the defense. I have a general idea who played well (Howard and Whitlock) and who didn't, but I'd like to confirm that with some stats.

Have a happy Sunday. Enjoy the NFL.

Texas Tech Football:

LAJ's Don Williams has his game story and despite the offense's great showing, Leach finally called out the defense, sorta:

"I thought the first half offensively we played hard and played well," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "Defensively, I thought we played weak and played soft. Second half, I thought offense relaxed and it was really the reverse. There was a point there for about four series where Rice couldn't get a play off, which was a real credit to our defense. I thought defensively, they played real, real well the second half.

"The thing we need to work on's consistency."

That is the first time in a while that I can remember Leach saying that the defense played weak and was soft. I know, he calls out the offense for only scoring 24 points in the second half, but this quote confirms for me that Leach sees the lackluster performance by the defense and is critical within the coaching staff about the lack of defense (i.e. never, and I mean never, should have given up a 47 yard pass to Rice, even if it was Dillard).

Much of Don's article focuses on the offensive performances of Harrell, 6 touchdowns, and Michael Crabtree, who fell 19 yards short of the NCAA record for a freshman.

Don and DTN reader ayleein noted that the defense did play much better in the second half, giving up only 91 yards. Freshman defensive tackle, Colby Whitlock on the play of the defense:

"The first half, I felt like we were a little sluggish," Whitlock said. "We needed improvement. The second half the last two games have been better, but I feel like we need to come out and play like the second half in the first half - just do everything right."

LAJ's Ben Maki talked to Rice's defensive coordinator Chuck Driesbach after the game as he noted that the Texas Tech offense is still well executed. The one quote that jumped out at me was Rice defensive back Ja'Corey Shephard on covering Crabtree:

"We were in position to make plays," said Rice defensive back Ja'Corey Shephard. "It wasn't like we were blowing coverages, (Crabtree) made some plays on the ball. Not taking anything away from him, he's a great receiver, but the whole game we were right with him. He just made the plays."

They were right there with him? I guess my definition of "right there" is a little different that someone else's.

Don's Tech Football Notes has a couple of interesting tidbits. First, Leach on the removal of the redshirt from Aaron Crawford:

"He's doing some really good things," Tech coach Mike Leach said, "and I think he's really going to be a good back. He'll still have a year to redshirt if necessary. He's real explosive and I think as his timing takes hold, he's going to get better and better."

I was a little surprised to hear that Crawford was in the game in the 4th quarter, especially when Baron Batch was also available. I'm not sure what Leach has in store for both young men, but I've always trusted Leach on issues like that.

Don also notes the huge number of penalties yesterday, 16, the 3 touchdowns by Crabtree and the late hit on Harrell that wasn't called at the end of 1st half.

DMN's Chuck Carlton wrote his game story, focusing on the play of Crabtree. Here's Michael on his play:

"Whenever you call my number, I'm going to do my job out there," Crabtree said. "I expect great, so I work for great."

Chuck also compiled a Notebook, with notes on the win streak against Conference USA (bleah), quotes from Harrell on the late hit at the end of the 1st half, the newfound rush on the pass rusher, and the penalties.

SAEN's Tim Griffin has his game story, focusing on the late hit and the incredible play of Crabtree and a quote from Coach Leach if he had known that Michael was about to set the NCAA record for freshman for receiving yards in a game:

Tech coach Mike Leach said that he might have kept Crabtree in the lineup longer if he had known how close he came to breaking the record.

"If I had known, I would have thrown him a curl," Leach said. "I didn't know, but if I did, we would have gotten it."

FWST's Damien Pierce wrote his game story, again, focusing on the big play of Harrell and Crabtree.