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DTN Roundtable: 02.05.09

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We're going to try and do this weekly, and because we have a number of authors, sometimes we'll have everyone participate and others we won't. Feel free to answer in the comments and join along.

1. How do you view Pat Knight's recent ejection from the Nebraska game? Did you appreciate seeing the fire and protecting his players or is this same-song-different-verse?

2. What are your expectations for the rest of the year, especially when KenPom is not predicting another win for the rest of the year? What's progress?

3. Baseball season is right around the corner, what's your interest level in the program and if it's zero (it's okay if it is) then what would it take for you to follow the program?

4. Do you think that Ruffin McNeill's personality and his ascension to defensive coordinator has helped recruiting players at Texas Tech or has it been a wash?

5. Who are your sleepers for this year's recruiting class? Pick one or two guys that you think are a little unheralded that you think will make a positive impact for the program.

NM992:

1. Not a big deal to me. Not that it happens *all* the time, but often enough that it has lost it's novelty. Coming back onto the court was a bit over the top. But I don't think it was staged. I think it is more of a culmination of frustrations than anything. I was out of town, so I didn't see the game, only the replays. I don't know what led up to it that made PK think he needed to "protect" his players. If he felt that is what he was doing, then I'm OK with it. I just thought it was a questionable call, which I expect a coach to argue about. It's part of their job to make sure the game is being called fairly and correctly, and they do it by arguing. But I'm not sure it is worth storming the court over.

2. I don't expect us to lose out, but I don't see us finishing over .500 either. I think there has been some significant improvement by Robertson, Singletary, and Big Lew that they can build on next year. Cook's injury has been a big loss, and I imagine it will take an off-season to get him healthy. Hopefully we can find a couple of more guys to fill out the starting line-up for next year, but I think it will be 2 years before we are back in a post-season tourney ( be it NCAA or NIT).

3. I love baseball, but have had a hard time keeping up with the Red Raiders after graduating. I tend to follow in the papers (or on-line). Being able to actually get to a game every now and then would be great, and keep me more invovled (I went ot a lot of them being an ME major with the field right there when I got out of class), but every time they have been in my area, they were playing a tournament and the games were at terrible times.

4. I think his personality could make him a great recruiter. Everything that you see and hear is that the players really like him and want to play for him. Getting a guy to like and want ot play for you is at least half of what recruting is all about. There has been a notable improvement on D. Even if Tech isn't exactly the imovable object on D, that improvement and the press it receives goes a long way as well. Throw in that we play in the Big XII and have been doing a lot of winning lately, and you have a great pitch to make to a recruit.

5. D.J. Johnson. He's been recruited as an athlete, but something about him says he could be a great strong safety. Sort of a combination of Slay and McBath. I think Daniel Cobb and/or Yahshua Williams could move up to an OLB slot. Both are a little slower than I like in a DB, and with their size and a good conditioning program, could be a sleeper at LB and would be fast enough to handle a slot receiver, big enough to cover a TE, and could get to the corner on the run.

kayakyakr:

1. I loved it. It was sorely needed on a team where nothing is happening. At least if Pat's willing to go out there and fight for his players, students will see that, fans will see that, and will show up to give themselves up to support the players. At best, it lights a fire under the team and they say, "man, we need to play great basketball because we have a coach that is giving it all." If only we can see an end to all those turnovers.

2. Progress is showing fundamentals and not getting blown out of games. Keeping everyone within 15 would be a good start. Pulling a surprise win would be a greater start. I honestly can't say where this team is going, as much as I love prognosticating based on small amounts of information. At this point, it's all about setting things up for next year for Pat. If he can get things going, build some momentum even if that momentum is just not being blown out, then that's a start.

3. 1 percent. Let's face it I don't enjoy baseball. I will keep up with our stat line, with our team's weaknesses, and with the progress that Dan Spencer is making. I'm thinking that this may be a surprise season for us, so I'm pretty hopeful.

4. Ruffin is a great recruiter. He has always been a great recruiter and as long as he's on our staff, he will be a great recruiter (if he leaves our staff for someone else's, then he's a bad recruiter, but that's only because he'd be recruiting against us). I'm not sold on Ruffin as a scheme coach, though he's as good a motivator as he is a recruiter and he's done well in fundamentals, especially where before we had none. The biggest difference is that Ruffin now has the final say on which defensive recruits the team goes after (as opposed to when Lyle was DC. He appeared uninterested). He's also one that's much more likely to get into Mike's ear about needing ___ number of scholarships to work with instead of taking the space that was left. A sort of ying to Mike's yang. This year's class is a culmination of a continued improvement over the years in recruiting fundamentals for this staff top to bottom. We have 26 committed players and very, very few of them are grade risks. Remember our 2006 class? That class had 26 players in it, but fewer than 20 made it on campus. This year... well, I think we may have to do some scholarship trickery in order to fit the players.

5. Long term sleeper: Aundrey Barr. He's unheralded but understandably so considering that he is in his first year of organized football. He's got a chance to be a very high impact player for us based on measurables. Short term impact: I think it's going to be a combination of Will Ford and Daniel Cobb getting time at safety next year as true freshmen. Miles Wade will be in games, but I think he will have an adjustment season. He's going to be huge rotating with a senior Whitlock and Junior Perry in 2010.

Seth C:

1. I'm not necessarily for it or against it. I'm neutral. I love the fact that he's standing up for his players, but this wasn't about Saturday. PK's ejection was more about being completely frustrated with the way the entire season has transpired and PK just tipped over and let it all out on the court. The repeated F-bombs were a culmination of a frustrating season, one that he probably feels like isn't going the way he expected. I'm guessing that we don't hear much from PK the rest of the season. I think it's out of his system.

2. If I can see Robert Lewandowski improve with each passing game and the sophomores take some steps forward and I'll be happy. I need for John Roberson to make better decisions (he's already a good scorer); Mike Singletary to also make better decisions regarding when he can take advantage of his man; and D'Walyn Roberts continuing to make a push to improve offensively. If I can see those things happen, I'll be happy.

3. I'm actually excited about baseball and I have reasonable expectations about Dan Spencer transforming last year's team which struggled offensively (seemed to rely on the big hit) and on the mound to a team that manufactures runs and there's a big emphasis on pitching, teaching and fundamentals.

4. I have no doubt that Ruffin McNeill's infectious personality is one of the reasons why Myles Wade and some of the other defensive recruits committed to Texas Tech. When I called McNeill Texas Tech's Quartermaster, that was intended as a compliment:

Pirate quartermasters, like pirate captains, were usually elected by their crews. The quartermaster ranked higher than any officer aboard the ship except the captain himself, and could veto the captain's decisions whenever the ship was not chasing a prize or engaged in battle.

I get the feeling that McNeill may have vetoed Leach on some players that he may have wanted that McNeill knew he could sign LOI's. Those kids love Ruffin, and as it's been mentioned before, I'm not sure that he's taken the next step from a defensive coordinator position, but Ruffin gets a ton of credit for the increase in athleticism and talent along the defense.

5. I'll go with Jarvis Phillips, the athlete out of Carter in Dallas, Texas. I think he plays cornerback at Texas Tech, but what Leach said about Phillips makes me think that maybe, just maybe, he will play point guard and in the secondary for Texas Tech:

Can play either side of the ball — offense, defense, corner, receiver, safety, a lot of stuff. He’s kind of quiet. He’s used to leading his basketball team, too. He’s their point guard and he’s one of the best point guards in the state probably.’’

Yes, great minds think alike.