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Monday Morning Notes - The Setencich Resignation Aftermath

DTN News:

The comments has been great and I appreciate every one of you. One little tip that might help when replying to comments is when you want to reply a particular post, is hit the "Reply to This" link right below the comment you want to reply to. This will make your comment indented and it will be easier to tell when you're replying to a particular person.

I've got one other dilemma, I wasn't going to go to this game because it's not important. Should I make the trip now that McNeill will be in charge? I wouldn't think that I'd notice a discernible difference against NW State. I do plan on attending the Iowa State game. Thoughts are appreciated.

Texas Tech Football:

LAJ's Don Williams's story referenced yesterday is completely fleshed out and it's official, Texas Tech defensive coordinator, Lyle Setencich, has officially resigned. Let's go step by step from what has been reported. Last night, Myers said that Coach Leach initiated the conversation:

"Mike told me early this morning that he was going to talk to Lyle today about this," Myers said. "Mike did initiate it and felt he needed to talk to Lyle about it, and so that's what transpired. ... I think they just decided that a change needed to be made on defense."

This is the one thing that surprises me. Leach is a smart man, so there's no doubting that he's able to read the writing on the wall. He knew that the performance on Saturday was not acceptable and he knew that the defense had not made any major improvements for the last couple of years. The next quote mentioned in Don's story is about Lyle's wife, who has been ill:

"The biggest thing is he's got some personal, family issues to deal with," Leach said. "Trying to take care of both, I think, was a tall order for anybody. So we wish him and the family the best."

There's no doubt that his wife's health played a part of Setencich's decision, and it should have. What I think this came down to is Leach going to Setencich and asking him if he had the stomach for the fight. Was he ready to face the media, defend his actions, or inactions, and try and lead this team from it's current state? Obviously, the answer was no, he didn't.

New defensive coordinator and linebackers position coach Ruffin McNeill had this to say about what we'll see different about the defense:

"It'll be a similar schematic, maybe simplified in some ways," he said. "We're going to attack via blitz, via base, just like I've done in the past. We want to attack them and, at the same time, make sure we get lined up quick. It's not what you do, it's how you do it."

For those of you who wanted a more attacking style of defense, you may get your wish. I thought it was interesting that he mentioned lining up quick, as it seemed to be during the OSU game that there were many instances where the ends where still running around right before an OSU offensive snap. I'm sure that it had something to do with the OSU quick huddle, but it still seemed a little chaotic and unorganized.

McNeill said that coaching linebackers will be nothing new to him:

"I've coached linebackers and D-line all my 27 years of coaching," McNeill said, "so coaching linebackers is no different. I can handle that. In the middle of the season is a little different, but I'm ready for the challenge. Coach entrusted it to me, and I'm going to take it by the horns and run with it."

It's good to hear that McNeill is going to take the job and run with it. Like I said yesterday, he's got nothing to lose so it will be interesting.

Leach had this to say about the McNeill's prospects of getting the job permanently and the timing of Lyle's resignation:

"The way we end the season," Leach said when asked the criteria. "We haven't gone that far. We haven't crossed that bridge, really. We just had to make a change and move on down the road as quick as we could."

"I imagine the timing could have been better, but I think it's fine," he said. "Stuff just happens when it happens, really. Would it be better in the off-season? Yeah, probably. But I don't think it'll hurt us."

I'm still in shock over all of this and I can't believe it happened mid-season. I guess the likely question is if this is Leach making Setencich the scapegoat and on some level it is. Although I don't have the quotes to reflect it, I've always understood that Leach would leave the defense up to Setencich and Leach gave Setencich as much rope as a head coach could give a coordinator. Ultimately, if Leach left the responsibility of the defense to Setencich, then ultimately, it was his fault. Despite that, Leach also realizes that if something didn't change quickly, it could mean his job as well.

The strange thing about all of this is that most of the fans that I interact with really like Coach Leach and want to see him succeed. That really rare for a program. Most of the time, when there's a serious flaw on the part of the team, we want to see that head coach go, that's not the case here. Personally, I love Coach Leach and hopes that he's around for a long time.

The shake-up means the defensive staff will look like this:

  • Defensive line: Charlie Sadler (formerly defensive ends) and graduate assistant coach Chris Hudler.
  • Linebackers: Ruffin McNeill (formerly defensive tackles).
  • Special Teams: Ruffin McNeill and graduate assistant coach Clay McGuire.

LAJ's Don Williams also has a piece on Graham Harrell and how he's not celebrating his incredible game on Saturday. There are some things I'd like to comment on this story, but I'm running out of time this morning, most notably, is that Leach agreed with me on handing the ball off to Kobey Lewis on the 4th down and 2 in the 3rd quarter and he wasn't aware of the play clock only being 15 seconds coming out of a television timeout.

Big 12 and College Football:

The DMN goes Around the Big 12 . . . DMN's Chip Brown has notes around the Big 12 this weekend . . . FWST's Wendell Barnhouse on the week that was and he week ahead.