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Double-T Nation Roundtable

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For the first week, I present to you the DTN Roundtable. We got together to answer a set of questions about TTU, football, and our thoughts on it all. Keep in mind that these questions are all reader submitted and I think we'll be doing another next week, so please do ask a new set of questions. Please email questions to Questions and answers follow after the break. Read, it's good stuff!

1)  Because these teams have remarkably similar stats on offense (high pass, low run) and defense (strong run D, no pass D), which secondary do you trust more and why?

Tech92 - This is tough because both D-lines have done a good job pressuring the quarterback. That obviously makes the job of the secondary easier. I think, though, that Tech's experience with Charonnet and McBath makes the difference. With 8 INTs between them, they have good ball skills (and yes, I realize 6 of those came in only two games - but you still have to catch it.). If I'm Texas, I worry a great deal about my secondary tracking not only Crabtree and Detron Lewis, but Eric Morris, Edward Britton, Lyle Leong and newcomer Tramain Swindall. That's a tough task and nobody has been able to contain all of them. Tech's offensive line has also been a tough wall to penetrate which gives Harrell a ton of time to find any one of three receivers likely to be open on any given play. This is the kind of game that could be a breakout for Adam James. UT struggles with TE coverage.

NM99 – I like Tech's secondary in this game.  The Texas secondary has some real talent, but they are young and will be given a lot of responsibility in this game.  The Tech secondary has shown a remarkable ability to totally shut down the pass and grab interceptions when they are in the nickel set.  I expect to see a lot of that like we did against KU.  Texas is running an offense that is similar to KU this year (though McCoy is a markedly better QB than Reisling).  Another reason I like Tech is that Colt McCoy is not comfortable with his receivers beyond Cosby and Shipley, whereas Tech involves everyone.  I think this makes Texas easier to defend in pass than Tech.

Djollie111 – Texas has the talent, Texas Tech has the experience.  Granted, experience is less of a factor after 8 games, and Texas has had to defend 3 highly-ranked offenses.  Judging by performance of the DB’s  to date, Texas Tech leads interceptions (11-5) and pass breakups (29-21).  I think number of games played and confidence of knowing they can defend gives the Texas Tech secondary the edge.

Kayakyakr – This is a big tossup for me and here's why: It's all going to come down to the pass rush. If both quarterbacks can take their time in the pocket, then I don't give it to either team, it's going to be a very high-scoring day. Likewise, if both teams can get a pass rush going, either secondary is good enough to come up with turnovers or batted balls. All of that said, I think that the TTU offensive line has a better game than the UT offensive line and therefore the TTU secondary comes out of the game in much better shape and hopefully with a few more turnovers.

Seth C – I probably trust UT's a little more, not because I think they have better talent, but because I think UT's front 7 is better than Texas Tech's.  It's not a huge margin, but I think that UT will be a little more efficient at getting pressure on the quarterback.  In terms of pure talent, I still like what Texas Tech throws out there with their starting 4 defensive backs.  McBath and Charbonnet have both shown to be playmakers, while Charbonnet has cooled a bit.  Wall has been solid after getting beat earlier in the year and Brent Nickerson and/or L.A. Reed . . . well, I hardly noticed them last week, so that's a good thing.  Texas is awfully young, so I think I take the experience of Wall, McBath and Charbonnet over the relative youth of Texas, but it's close.

2) Are the pass defenses in the Big 12 as bad as they look in rankings? Or is this just the side effect of having such good offenses in the conference? If so how would you rank the top 6 teams in conference (Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado) on total D, run D, and pass D if they faced a much more average offense every week?

Tech92 –  I think it's a little of both. I think the defenses are having a down year in general in the Big XII, but it's a function of the power of the offenses they face. Who could have decent defensive numbers facing OU, OSU, Tech, UT and Mizzou? I still think the SEC's defensive numbers are boosted by the fact that there are really only a couple of offenses worthy of mention in that conference.
I think the defenses would stack up like this:
1. Texas
2. OSU
3. Nebraska
4. Tech
5. OU
6. CU

NM99 – In short, I think the defenses are better than they get credit for.  I think that we are seeing a real shift in the way football is played at the college level with the adoption of the spread.  Against the spread, it is extremely hard to defend everything, so you have to pick your battles, which means the opposing offense is goign to get yards.  So looking at the number of yards (the typical measure of total defense) given up by defenses in the Big XII is not a very good measure of their effectiveness.  I think the best measure is red zone efficiency against the TD (% of TDs allowed).  This makes the top 6 (1) Texas (2) Nebraska (3) Mizzou (4) Texas Tech (5) OU (6) A&M.  Colorado comes in at #10, ad OSU at #12. 

I'll also point out that I think Tech is better than their rating would indicate, but because we switch between nickel man coverage (where we are very good) and a 4-3 zone coverage (where we are very bad) we have a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde thing going on.
Thanks to for the numbers. cfbstats stats

Djollie111 – My typical answer to questions like this is usually “a little of both.”  No doubt the spread offense has “spread” all over the conference and the country.  It is getting more difficult for defensive coordinators to adapt and survive.  I think that finding the DB’s who are good enough to defend against these offenses is becoming more difficult as there is more demand.  Having not watched a lot of the other teams play entire games, I would rank the D’s as follows:

Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, and Nebraska.

Kayakyakr – I'm going to go out on a limb and go with the media on this one. The Big XII pass defense are very poor and are being absolutely lit up by these good to great offenses. Now, if our defenses were playing against more average competition, I think you'd see these units ranked in the 40's and 50's. Not great, by any means, but good enough to still be able to outscore most teams.

Seth C – I've thought that it's a product of the systems in place and I still scratch my head and wonder why SEC and Big Ten teams can truly figure it out.  Perhaps it's a matter of Big 12 teams putting the more talented players on offense while the SEC/Big Ten does the opposite.  That doesn't necessarily jive with me, but that's not even remotely the question you asked.  Bottom line, the offenses are spectacular in the Big 12 with a ton of capable quarterbacks (whereas I watch Notre Dame and I swear Clausen never looks away from his primary receiver - and the same could be said for a number of quarterbacks) with quite a bit of talent.  Quarterbacks drive offenses, so there's you answer.  

Ranking the Defenses:  Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado.

3) Who wins in the "better looking women" contest…Tech or UT?

Tech92 – Best. Question. Ever. I think this is a total push. Having spent a lot of years in Lubbock, I have an affinity to Tech women. But having been to Austin countless times, there aren't a lot of Duroc Sows there, either. I guess if you had to quantify it, Texas has more students, thus more women, thus more beauties (more, not better). But we are both quite well represented in the "10" category. That's like asking, "What do you like better...a Ferrari or a Lamborghini?" Can't go wrong with either!

NM99 – Tech hands down in my book.  But I prefer women who shower regularly, don't use their bodies as a canvas, and don't poke too many extra holes in their bodies.

– I gotta say Texas Tech, because they’re all natural.  No scars, botox, or fake tans here.  From what I’ve discovered, the good-looking women in Austin seem to have paid money to get there.

Kayakyakr – Both schools are pulling from the same barrel. I'm gonna have to give the edge to UT on this one for shear variance. TTU can't boast the population of Asian women that UT can nor are there many girls at TTU who would fit the description of "cute indie girl". In addition, UT is around 52% women to TTU's 47%. It's getting there, but Tech will need to catch up.

Seth C – Resume:  my little brother, 10 years younger than me, graduated from UT two years ago, while I have recently been to Lubbock for a few football games.  Findings:  Texas Tech has a higher ratio of good looking women, but Texas isn't far behind.

4) With Willingham now stepping down today, what is the possibility of Capn Leach setting sail to the Huskies next year? Other jobs have opened early including Clemson, Tennessee, and a rumor of Auburn. How much do we need to worry about losing Leach? (Keep in mind, none of us are insiders. Also answered with how afraid we are of Leach picking up and leaving.)

Tech92 - I think the odds of Leach going to UofW are close to zero. Not because it wouldn't be enticing to him. I think he would be intrigued. They have an amazing history (a national title in 1992). But I think they want someone with UofW ties or PAC-10 ties, if at all possible. He's stated he's a west coast guy, so I'm sure his ears perked up at the news. He'd be a good personality fit up there, that's for sure. It's a unique city and he's a unique guy but he isn't leaving for Seattle. They would be better served to go after Peterson at Boise State or Dave Christensen, the offensive coordinator at Mizzou. Christensen played for Don James up there and would jump at the chance.

Now, Clemson, Tennessee and Auburn may cause some anxious moments for Tech fans in the coming weeks and months. Nationally, I think the perception of Clemson as a "good job" have taken a hit the last few years. They are anxious to get a young innovative mind there, and it will be interesting to see if Leach is a candidate. I'd bet he gets mentioned.

I don't think you can convince me Tennessee or Auburn aren't "better" jobs than Tech. They are. But they also come with pressures that Tech doesn't. The pressure to win at LEAST 10 games a year at both places is immense. Leach has never won 10 at Tech, though I think he does this year. Leach is pretty well liked on the South Plains and Lubbock has sort of gotten used to the kookiness of Leach. 

I think if Leach bails, I think it would be to a place like Clemson. The ACC is a pretty weak conference top to bottom and he could be in line to win conference championships in just a few years down there. Recruiting against conference rivals at Clemson would be much easier than the battles he faces against UT, A&M and OU here. The key difference is that he'd also be competing with SEC schools for talent which is a tough row to hoe.

If he was ever going to leave Lubbock, this would be the year. We are losing quite a bit of top-level talent at key positions after this season and our outlook for '09 probably won't be as bright as its been this year. Not that things will go in the tank by any means, but replacing Harrell, Crabtree (if he chooses the NFL), Charbonnet, Woods, Vasquez, Reed, McBath, and Charbonnet will be tough. That sticky contract thing is still hanging out there and needs to be addressed about 17 seconds after the season ends. I think in the end, he stays at Tech.

NM99 – UW has pretty much already been ruled out.  Clemson might be a fit, but I think the ACC would be a step down, even with the chance to dominate.  Auburn has been burned trying to adopt the spread this year, so I think they will shy away (but wouldn't that be funn for Chris Todd?).  Tennessee is a maybe, but I think they are much too traditional to put up with the Captain.  Then again, there is nothing they would like better than to beat Florida...

Djollie111 – I agree with Leach on the idea that there are two lists for head coaches – coaches who may get hired or coaches who may get fired.  It’s good he comes up for the former.  That said, I just don’t see Leach leaving for a program in the SEC or on the east coast.  Yeah, maybe the west coast, but not the Huskies.  He’s been building this program with little interference and a lot of support.  The budget’s not the size of UT’s, but I think he will stay just to prove that his “system” can take a program to the top and to prove to all the doubters that his way works, too.  He accomplishes more with less compared to other programs.  Why leave that?

Kayakyakr – Fear factor: 1/10. Not 1 out of 10, 1 tenth. So far, the only school that even seems like it could fit the idea of an upgrade for Mike Leach is Tennessee and I just don't see him in the southeast. The next time I would fear is when Berkley opens up or USC.

Seth C – Seth C's Leach Leaving For Another Job Fear Factor:  2.  Every time something like this opens up I ask whether or not Leach would pick up his family to move.  I don't see that with any of those jobs.  The other question I also ask is whether or not recruiting is any easier than it would at Texas Tech, and each of those schools are going up against some powerhouse programs.  My biggest fear was UCLA last year and that's over for a long while

5) How much do you think that crowd will be a factor in the UT game?

Tech92 - The crowd can be a pretty big factor for Tech. If anything, it will keep Tech's players fired up and the adrenaline will flow. Players say all the time how they feed off of the crowd, so it can only help Tech. But the reality is the Jones isn't very large. 55,000 can be pretty loud, but nothing like Kyle Field or Norman. While Tech may feed off the crowd, it won't throw UT off, if that's part of the question.

NM99 – Night games can go either way.  Momentum will be huge. If Texas comes up with a big play like an INT for a TD, it could really take the crowd out and be disheartening for Tech when they only hear noise coming from 1 corner of the stadium.  OTherwise the student section right behind the Texas bench and the raucus Tech fans harassing Texas could really get into their heads. One thing.....

Djollie111 – 2006 was a close game.  Home field is an advantage, there’s no argument.  This is the first tough game Texas has played on the road.  The night game atmosphere and the biggest crowd in school history can only help Texas Tech.

Kayakyakr – The crowd is going to be super pumped up and there are a number of players on this UT team who haven't seen Lubbock before. The secondary, the running backs, a lot of the offensive line. Unfortunately for us, Colt McCoy and his receivers have been there before and I think that minimizes the impact on the crowd on UT's players. The atmosphere might have a huge impact on our players, though, and it could really go either way. Either the defense comes out fired up and flying (both good and bad, as we saw against Nebraska and parts of A&M and Kansas, the players, when they try to be heros, tend to make bad reads and worse plays) or they come out with big heads and don't try hard enough.

Seth C – I think I read somewhere that the last night game that Texas Tech lost was against Texas in 2006.  Night games are always tricky and a team has all day to out-think themselves.  A crowd can a factor for every game, but good teams, like Texas Tech and Texas seem to have a way of not letting the crowd get the better of them.  I don't see UT being affected all that much by a loud crowd, but I hope like hell I'm wrong.

6) Weekend picks! (wait, there are other games this weekend?)
Kansas State @ Kansas
Colorado @ Texas A&M
Missouri @ Baylor
Iowa St. @ Oklahoma State
Nebraska @ Oklahoma

Tech92 - Kansas State @ Kansas - Kansas by a lot
Colorado @ Texas A&M - The Aggies get two in a row
Missouri @ Baylor - Mizzou in a laugher
Iowa St. @ Oklahoma State - OSU. See Mizzou above
Nebraska @ Oklahoma - OU in what used to be one of my favorite rivalry games in the Big 8.

NM99 – Kansas State @ Kansas             KU by 21
Colorado @ Texas A&M            A&M by 3
Missouri @ Baylor                       Missouri by 35
Iowa St. @ Oklahoma State        OSU by 14
Nebraska @ Oklahoma                OU by 10

Djollie111 – Kansas
A&M (only tough decision this week. I think Johnson leads them to a W at home)
Oklahoma State

Kayakyakr – Kansas
Oklahoma State

Seth C – Kansas State @ Kansas:  Kansas State in an upset.  
Colorado @ Texas A&M:  Depends who is quarterbacking for the Buffs, but I'll take the Aggies.
Missouri @ Baylor:  Missouri rolls the cubs.
Iowa St. @ Oklahoma State:  Oklahoma State will crush ISU.
Nebraska @ Oklahoma:  Oklahoma, but Nebraska keeps it respectable.