These are my post-morten thoughts on Texas Tech v. Nevada, but check out RaiderAde's, Hyatt's and Classless Clowns thoughts as well:
- The offensive line bothers me. Harrell has been under more pressure than he was all of last year combined. He's been hurried and that's affected how well or poorly he's played. I've always trusted that offensive line coach Matt Moore does an excellent job only caring about having the most talent on the line, regardless of position. I'm guessing that Vasquez sat out on Saturday, although he could have played, but the staff felt that the extra week, along with he not being absolutely vital, let to him sitting out Saturday's game. I'm okay with that. However, I'm not sure that having Hamby at guard is working out so well and I wouldn't mind seeing Lonnie Edwards move over to the guard when he's not spelling Reed. I think he's plenty big and athletic enough to hold his own, but there's something wrong with the offensive line, and Moore needs to figure out who his best options are really quick.
- I feel awful for Donnie Carona. He's just 18, but for whatever reason, he just can get the kicks high enough. Keep working on it and it will happen, but for now, it may be time to give Fowler a shot at a few field goals. Let's keep Carona kicking off.
- Tramain Swindall is skinny, but he can play and is one hell of a receiver. Thought his three 3rd down receptions were as important as Crabtree's big catches. Swindall showed up when some of the other receivers did not. He's going to be replacing someone soon.
- I've always had a problem with the defense not being able to make plays. It's probably been one of the more frustrating aspects of watching Texas Tech play over the past few years. I know that the defense gave up a ton of yards against Nevada, but I think some credit is owed to the defense. The defense was on the field for 12 more minutes than the offense so it's natural to think that the defense is going to give up yards (especially when both Texas Tech and Nevada had 14 possessions a piece).
For the year, the Red Raiders already have 4 interceptions, 7 sacks for 66 yards (only 26 for the year last year), 13 tackles for a loss for 83 yards (79 last year), and 4 interceptions (10 last year). By my math, other than the tackles behind the line of scrimmage, we're making some significant improvements on game-changing plays.
Although I could never back this up, I think what I saw on Saturday night was a defense that hits harder and tackles better than just about any Texas Tech defense I can remember. Granted, there's plenty of room for improvement, including the long completion for a touchdown and the volume of yards, but I can see improvement.
- As far as individual defensive performances that I thought were great . . . I kept thinking throughout the game that the play of Brian Duncan and Bront Bird was exceptional. It was good to see McKinner Dixon and Brandon Sesay get involved and the more time those two see over the next two games is going to be huge. In just 1 game, Dixon had 5 tackles and 1.5 sacks while Sesay had a tackle and 0.5 sacks (combined with Dixon on that sack). I also don't want to forget about Brandon Williams, whose 2 sacks were great and thought he really exhibited his speed.
- Shouldn't we be the least worried about Graham Harrell? I mean he's shown over the years that he's going to find a way to get it in the endzone and as horrible as the Nevada game was for Harrell, and it was conceivable that it could have been that much worse with underthrown deep passes that likely should have been picked off, it didn't. Harrell had one of the worst games of his career and Texas Tech still won, which is a rare feat when we've talked about bad Texas Tech losses in the past.
Texas Tech won despite Harrell and, in some way, despite Captain Leach. Throw those two variables together and you've normally got a recipe for disaster that this team was able to overcome.
Credit the running game that racked up 124 yards for a 5.6 average and closed out this game. Again, when was the last time that Texas Tech fans were able to say that the running game efficiently finished out a game? I'm happy to see that Batch (6 carries for 47 yards), Woods (7 carries for 45 yards) and Crawford (5 carries for 15 yards) are all sharing time somewhat equally.
Again, just think about this, Texas Tech won running the ball the last two offensive drives of a game and despite an absolutely awful game from the quarterback.
Harrell will bounce back in a big way, I'm confident of that, but most importantly this team learned how to win differently (without depending on the quarterback position) and that is invaluable.