Double-T Nation News:
I'm a little late this morning, I've been tossing and turning since 3:00 a.m.
Texas Tech Football:
LAJ's Don Williams writes that this is Texas Tech's chance in the spotlight:
If Tech can just win.
Against Texas, that’s been a problem.
The Red Raiders haven’t lost a game since the last time they played Texas, which was last Nov. 10, but they haven’t beaten the Longhorns in six years. In his 81/2 seasons at Tech, Leach has moved within nine games of the school’s career coaching victories record. He’s owned Texas A&M and broken through against Oklahoma, winning two of the last three from OU.
Does conquering the Longhorns represent a last frontier?
"You know, we’ve been close," Leach said. "We’ve played them really well. There’s been a lot of years we’ve played them well, and we’ve played them better than probably anybody in the conference except for Oklahoma. And we’ve got to improve and see if we can play them even better."
- The LAJ with their Three Keys to Victory (pdf) and Tale of the Tape (pdf)
ESPN's Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin empties out the notebook:
Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley are the only players in the country who have caught a touchdown pass in every game this season.
LAJ's Don Williams looks back at the rare Texas Tech victory over Texas:
Texas Tech victories over the University of Texas have been rarer than Red Raiders fans would like. The wins have been punctuated by some of the most memorable plays in Tech football history. Four men responsible for some of those raise-the-hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck moments shared their recollections.
On YouTube, a person can find Anthony Manyweather’s dramatic contribution to the Red Raiders’ 1989 victory in Austin. There was the touchdown catch, a 65-yarder on an out-and-up that gave the Raiders the lead for good in a 24-17 victory.
And then came one of the most vivid end-zone celebrations in Tech history. Actually, Manyweather set up shop behind the end zone, turned to face the UT crowd straight on and began … well, shadow boxing or something like it.
And the YouTube Video:
1989 Texas Tech UT Highlights Revised (via oglepro)
LAJ's Adam Zuvanich on UT's near completion of their tough 4 game stretch:
Late on the night of Oct. 4, after his team wrapped up a 38-14 win at Colorado to open Big 12 Conference play, Texas coach Mack Brown must have been worried.
Sure, his Longhorns were 5-0, ranked fifth in the nation and had outscored their opponents 236-57. But they were about to begin what might be the toughest stretch in college football this season.
Here’s what awaited Texas after the Colorado game, with each opponent’s record and Associated Press ranking at the time: No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0), No. 3 Missouri (5-0), No. 17 Oklahoma State (5-0) and No. 7 Texas Tech (5-0).
- AAS on Colt McCoy returning to his West Texas roots, Cedric Golden on Texas Tech not just being a passing team, Suzanne Halliburton on three Texas Tech players to watch, and looking at the matchups.
DMN's Dwain Price features Matt Williams, Lubbock and Weatherford hero:
"Most people in our community know about it, have followed it and stayed in touch with it," O’Neal said, referring to Williams’ Cinderella story. "It is a great story to have your name pulled out of the hat and then be the kicker a few weeks later.
"We’ve been talking about that — some of our administrators over here. It’s almost like there’s some divine intervention."
O’Neal recalls Williams booting a 49-yard field goal as time expired to tie a 2005 playoff game against Mineral Wells, then winning it with a 28-yard field goal in overtime. Williams wound up at Tarleton State — where he was a walk-on but didn’t get in a game — before transferring to Tech and finding fame.
"I’m surprised that something like this hasn’t already happened because Matt is a very impressive kicker," O’Neal said. "He was an excellent kicker in middle school and was kicking 30-yard field goals as a seventh- and eighth-grader."
DMN's Kevin Sherrington says that this is Captain Leach's time to shine:
Few coaches have won over the national media like Mike Leach, whose whimsical lectures make for fun copy.
But now it's time for Leach to win something else of national interest, like the biggest game in Texas Tech history.
For someone capable of such oratorical riffs, Leach has been fairly mum about the magnitude of the sixth-ranked Raiders' game today against No. 1 Texas. He says he hasn't noticed the nuclear build-up. He's been in meetings. If he could sleep through the hoo-hah in Lubbock this week, his house must be lead-lined.
And let me say unequivocally, Leach played it right. He didn't need to get over-amped for this game, and neither did his players. Especially if they know their history.
One off-hand question this week illustrated the differences in coaching style and personality between Texas' Mack Brown and Mike Leach of Texas Tech.
Just before his weekly news conference, Brown was asked if he had a backup long snapper to avoid a meltdown like that of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the New York Giants. Brown immediately identified Alex Zumberge. The Longhorns had already used Zumberge in several lopsided wins this season to get him experience should he be needed, Brown said.
Out in West Texas, Leach made news by plucking a contest-winning kicker out of the stands and using him for extra points.
The distinction could not be clearer going into today's Showdown on the South Plains between the unbeaten Big 12 South teams.
Yahoo! Sports Jason King on Texas Tech defensive coordinator, Ruffin McNeill:
The phone will ring Saturday, probably about three hours before kickoff, and Ruffin McNeill Sr. will pick up the handset and talk with his son.
Ruffin Jr. probably doesn’t need Dad’s advice anymore. He’s 50 now and the defensive coordinator at sixth-ranked Texas Tech, which plays host to No. 1 Texas this weekend at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Without a doubt, it’s the highlight of McNeill’s coaching career to date. Flights into town are sold out, hotels are booked and national television crews are en route for what some are calling "the biggest game ever in Lubbock."
SAEN's Mike Finger says that Texas has the edge, but it's close:
MOTIVATION: This is the biggest football game ever played at Tech, and, unless Buddy Holly someday is reincarnated and returns to his hometown to reveal that his ghost killed JFK, it might be the grandest spectacle Lubbock will ever see. This is the Red Raiders' Super Bowl, and they will be more revved-up for tonight than any Mike Leach team has been. The Longhorns, meanwhile, are playing their fourth Super Bowl in four weeks, having already beaten Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Their consistency has been impressive, but matching Tech's intensity? It'll be tough. Edge: Texas Tech
The Chron's Jerome Solomon says that the offenses are the highlight of today's game:
Not too long ago, Mike Leach was one of those wild men looking to change the face of college football.
These scoundrels bucked tradition.
They openly scoffed at Darrell Royal’s understandably accepted truth that only three things can happen when you throw the football and two of them are bad.
They so disdained running the football that often they didn’t even put a running back in the backfield.
Former University of Houston quarterback Andre Ware found out firsthand how quickly things can change on the West Texas plains.
In 1988, Ware and the Cougars traveled for a late November game against Texas Tech. When the team plane landed the day before the game, the temperature was a balmy 70 degrees
"(Wide receiver) James Dixon told me, ‘I bet it snows tomorrow,’?" Ware recalled. "I was like, ‘You’ve got to be out of your mind. You’ve got a bet.’?"
Ware woke up the next morning to "snow all over the place." The No. 17 Cougars, caught by surprise and unprepared for the weather conditions, survived 30-29.