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Texas Tech Sunay Morning Notes - Started Out As A Lightning Strike Edition

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Double-T Nation News:

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via espn-i.starwave.com


If one picture epitomizes Texas Tech's 35-19 win over Nevada, this just might be it. Yes, that's right, the Texas Tech defense knocking people off of the ball and backwards. Victor Hunter, you are a run stopping machine.

There's no doubt that the defense gave up some yards, but at the end of the day, it was the defense that created turnovers, made plays, and for me, was pretty inspiring.

One other thought before getting to the articles. As ugly as last night's game was, the spread was only 10. Texas Tech beat Nevada by 16, which is a pretty healthy margin and typically doesn't happen on the road. I feel like I've been making excuses for this team for two weeks straight now regarding their poor performance in certain aspects of the games, but the bottom line is that Texas Tech won, they beat the spread, handily, and the team goes home with a "W". That ain't bad.

Texas Tech Football:

There's only one article from the LAJ this morning regarding last night's win. I suppose I'm up too early after going to be at 11:30 p.m. There may be more later, but I'll post those tomorrow. In any event, this article is a recap of the game with some notes near the end that were of interest to me. Vasquez suited up, but didn't play a down against Nevada. If there's a reason why the Texas Tech line struggled, we need look no further. Also, Blake Collier suffered an injury and spent the second half in shorts. You also have similar recaps from Dwain Price of the FWST (Dwain always writes about Texas Tech, rain or shine, so show him a little support) and the DMN.

We have a wealth of articles from Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin, who was in Reno, and hopefully came away a big winner. Up first Tim looks at Graham Harrell's slow start and improved second half. Here's Harrell:

"During the first half we were sloppy and just out of rhythm," Harrell said. "After halftime, we still weren't in a great rhythm, but we did start playing better. And we were able to come out with the win."

Snip

"We just had a miscommunication earlier," Harrell said. "It just seemed like we were a little off all night. We missed some opportunities and it was frustrating. But we knew we could get it if we tried again."

Tim, Harrell and Leach also compare last night's game to the TCU game in Ft. Worth (I was at that game). Smaller, but incredibly quick defenders flying around the ball, putting pressure on Harrell, getting hit more times that he'd like to admit, but they point out that Harrell didn't cave:

"The first part of that game reminded me a little bit of that," Harrell said. "I was a little bit off. But we came out of it and they couldn't stop us much down the stretch in the fourth quarter. That was good to see."

Up next, Leach says that he regrets the numerous gambles throughout the game. Here's the Captain:

"I thought I gambled stupid and it was just dumb," Leach said. "Being in Reno, I guess I got the bug. I was stuck in a hotel where you don't have any clocks and they were pumping oxygen in there. I thought it was my lucky day, we won the game."

By the way, the lone/first commentor in Tim's story really believes that Leach is blaming this on the hotels and says that it's Leach's arrogance.  Well, yeah, that's sort of the point, isn't it?  Anyway, what's completely fascinating to me is Captain Leach's self-awareness immediately after the game, but seems to lack that same self-awareness during the game. I'm wondering if he just can't help himself, or is it that he has no faith in his special teams? LaCour shanked a punt badly in the 2nd quarter and that was the last time he saw the field. Same goes for Caronoa. Had a field goal blocked in the 2nd quarter and never saw the field. If you're asking me, that's the problem, he doesn't trust his punter or his kicker.

Last, but certainly not least, the Texas Tech defense gets a ton of credit for their play Saturday night. Here's Texas Tech sophomore linebacker Bront Bird, who finished the day with 14 tackles, on the crowd acknowledging the defense after the game:

"It was kind of cool to hear that," Tech linebacker Bront Bird said. "It was a team victory and our offense stepped up when we needed them to. But it was neat to hear our fans chanting for the defense. I've never heard that anywhere I've played."

As Tim correctly points out, Captain Leach had a unique way of describing the transformation of this defense:

"They started out as a lightning strike, became a beetle and then became an ape," he said. "Now, I hope they don't evolve too far because they may lose their edge.

"I thought they were pretty good [Saturday]. They need to play smarter, but if you subtract five big plays, it was a huge performance. It was one of the most dominant performances in the country this week."

I'm not sure that I would call 488 yards "dominant", but the defense was HUGE on third downs (3 of 16), had 4 sacks on mobile quarterback, and 8 tackles for a loss. Those types of statistics didn't happen last year.