Before we get to the game I wanted to share a couple of cool events that happened before the game.
Cool Moment #1: I had the pleasure of hanging out with some DTN readers and they were gracious enough to provide a place to congregate before kick-off. Much thanks.
Cool Moment #2: I was lucky enough to have tremendous seats in Norman (shout-out Kris). I was essentially on the 12 yard line, south endzone, row . . . 2. That's right, I was on the freaking 2nd row (which is ground level) and I had the most amazing vantage point. I've never sat that far down in a stadium. If anything it makes you appreciate what these players do as it is absolute chaos on the field. I can't imagine processing a play as quickly as they do.
As far as the game production is concerned, there are cameras and people everywhere. Lisa Salters checks her phone . . . a lot. Also, her assistant (i.e. girl that follows her around with a clipboard) is pretty good looking (shout-out to my wife), and looked a lot like Erin Andrews. I wouldn't be surprised to see this girl in a year doing sideline reporting. Sorry, no picture and yes, that makes me very uncool.
Cool Moment #3: About half an hour before the game I watching every one warm up, taking it all in, and right before me walks Austin Murphy. So, like a school girl yelling for Miley Cyrus, I think I said, "Austin!" (Austin looks my way.) "It's me Double-T Nation." (I pause because I just realized what I had just said and I wanted to make sure and correct myself). " It's Seth from Double-T Nation." Those may not be direct quotes, but that's pretty close to how it went down. Austin and exchanged thoughts about the game, all of my were wrong, and it was a nice conversation and a pretty cool moment for me personally, I just hope I didn't embarrass myself completely (totally recognize that I was somewhat embarrassing).
The Trenches: No report card really needed for this one. I've DVR'ed the game, but I really don't see any need to watch it. That game was won and lost in the trenches. I never saw it coming, it was like a Mack truck coming straight at me behind my back. I think we could talk about scheme and play calls and other things, but the bottom line is that OU whipped Texas Tech up front and any game plan disintegrated from there. It stinks, but it's true.
Going For It: Going for it on 4th downs caused me consternation during the game, but thinking about it in retrospect, I think Leach probably felt like he knew what was about to happen and if he didn't at least give his team the opportunity, it would have been a mistake. Converting those could have been the difference in a close game. Again, Leach is going to gamble and it's not always going to be pretty, but I think Leach instills a sense of confidence in his team by saying that he believes that they can do it. Some days chickens, some days feathers.
I Wish I Had Been Wrong: When I think of my 5 Reasons Why Texas Tech Will Win/Lose I never expect to actually be right. Well, I was entirely too right this past week.
Recovering Quickly: I'm really interested to see how this team recovers against Baylor. I'm not sleeping on Baylor and Robert Griffin is an amazing talent that can change the game. After watching the Sooners shred Texas Tech's defense this past week, I'm not looking forward to seeing what he can do with his legs and with his arm, which is better thank you think. Everyone needs to pick themselves up and remember that 10-1 is not good enough this year and the Red Raiders need to do it's part to complete the season.
Where I Stand: I gave this lots of thought Sunday morning. It was actually pretty strange, I arrived where I was going to lay my head and didn't turn on ESPN for any sort of highlights. I wanted no part of sports for the night. In fact, I ended up watching this (not trying to be religious, it's just what I watched) until I simply passed out.
I woke up this morning, trying to figure out what I was going to say about the game.
My first thought was if we are in a better place, as far as a program is concerned than we were 1 year ago today. This time last year, Texas Tech just knocked off #4 Oklahoma and was waiting as to where Texas Tech was going to play in a bowl game. Texas Tech also had an 8-4 record and had losses to Oklahoma State, Missouri, Colorado and Texas.
And I'm not asking you if this year's team is better than last year's team, that's too easy, but the big question that I want to pose is whether or not you feel the program, as a whole, is in a better place that it was 12 months ago? For me, there is no question that the answer is a definitive yes, for some of the reasons listed below.
Any time I talk about Texas Tech with friends or family, I always mention that I think Captain Leach has taken baby steps with this program, but changing history is not something that can be done overnight. It takes time.
Re-Sign Captain Leach: I know that I promised that I wouldn't talk about this any more, but hopefully you'll grant me this one exception. I think it gets done, but more than that, I want it to get done.
Lessons Learned: I think both Leach and McNeill are smart guys, but I think that on Saturday they were out-coached. That still doesn't change my opinion of them because I think they're both pretty good at what they do. There's been improvement on both sides of the ball this year. I'm still very much comfortable with both of these guys going forward. Although neither Leach or McNeill showed much propensity to stop their opponent against Oklahoma, I think they've done a pretty good job thus far and I can't help but think about the advances the defense has made from one year ago.
|Year||Rivals Avg *'s|
Talent: There shouldn't be any doubt though that the team will play better as the talent improves. As mentioned above, we're talking baby-steps here, but as more talented players show up on campus, then competing on a year-to-year basis is that much easier. And the truth of the matter is that as much as we talk about scheme and particular plays on the field, perhaps the biggest difference maker is the talent on the field.
I think its disingenuous to think that things have remained completely static or that there's absolutely no opportunity for things to change, although you're certainly entitled to your opinion. Keep in mind the recruiting numbers to the left.
I know that recruiting rankings aren't 100% accurate in predicting a player, but I have no doubt that there is some truth there, that the overall level of talent is trending upward. As an aside, the strange thing to me is that the 2007 class is actually a pretty good class, with some guys already making significant contributions, including Colby Whitlock, Detron Lewis, Bront Bird, etc.
Concluding It All: At the end of the day, Texas Tech isn't quite ready for the big time. In year's past, Texas Tech has always struggled on the road and sometimes struggled at home. This year, the Red Raiders overcame some of those stereotypes by winning on the road, sans one major exception, and winning at home.
And I think a lot of this depends on your personality and level of patience. Personally, I'm a glass half-full sort of guy and I absolutely believe that Leach is working on a master plan.
And I understand you guys who have been cheering this team for 35 years or longer and think that this was Texas Tech's only shot at this type of future success. I can't and I won't believe that. I'm not saying that Texas Tech is going to be able to run the gauntlet next year without any hiccups, but Leach has left us in capable hands next year. Attrition is a part of the college game and the biggest part of being a coach is making sure that there are guys on the team that are capable of filling those roles.
In any event, there's plenty of time to do that after the season has concluded.
I've got Baylor firmly in my sights for the rest of the week.