This weekly feature considers five reasons why Texas Tech will win and five reasons Texas Tech will lose to each opponent. Related: Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Lose // Rice Owls Edition.
Reason #1 :: Correctable Mistakes: It makes little sense for me to give one of the reasons that Texas Tech will lose and somehow have a related reason why Texas Tech will win. Well, the nice thing about quite a few of those mistakes is that they are correctable. From Leach's post-game comments the aggressive defensive play doesn't seem to bother him much, but the one thing that Texas Tech can control are the 3 false start and 2 illegal formation penalties. Those are correctable mistakes with nothing more than a little concentration. The Potts interceptions are also mistakes that can be fixed, or at the very least limited. Potts first interception occurred on UND own 13 yardline and the second interception on the UND 15 yard line. There's two places that a quarterback doesn't want to throw an interception. Inside his own 20 yard line and inside the opponent 20 yard line. Becoming efficient in this offense doesn't happen overnight and we're all reminded by the fact that Graham Harrell completed 19 of 46 passes against Nevada in his second game of the 2008 campaign (Leach mentioned this earlier in the week). All was forgotten because of what happened the rest of the year, but the key is that quarterbacks in this offense can and will have bad games, but it's all about limiting your mistakes.
Reason #2 :: Defensive Front Seven: Universally, this was by far the best producing unit of the day on Saturday and I'm expecting nothing but improvement from this group each and every game. As this group gets more and more time, especially some of the backups, the more comfortable I become. Aside from a very long UND drive, the defensive front held up their part of the bargain on Saturday. Whether it was the outstanding linebacker play or the defensive tackles who didn't make a bunch of plays or the defensive ends who brought pressure most of the day. I'm hoping that we can look forward to more of this the entire season. There's talent there, and there's even talent there that's not starting.
Reason #3 :: Running Opportunity: 295 yards. That's the total number of yards that Rice gave up on the ground last week against UAB. Of those 295 yards, 194 was done by the talented UAB quarterback Joe Webb. Of course you're asking if this can really be a reason why Texas Tech can win considering the paltry performance last week against UND. This isn't just a reason why Texas Tech can win, it is the reason Texas Tech must win. It's absolutely imperative that the running game get on some sort of track, especially before the Longhorns come calling. Rember that it wasn't too long ago that the Red Raiders ran for a meager 79.31 yards a game which was good for only 8 wins in 2006. That can not and should not happen again.
Reason #4 :: Varied Receiving Threats: Leach mentioned during his Monday press briefing and said that the true definition of a balanced offense isn't necessarily a run vs. pass ratio, but how many offensive players can get their hands on the ball with the ability to do something. Last week against UND, the Red Raiders had 10 receivers catch at least one pass. That's what Leach ultimately wants, is an offense where the defense has no idea where the ball is going to go and that each receiver is a true threat to catch the ball.
Reason #5 :: Improved Special Teams: There was a lot of good with the special teams (please forget the fake punt) against UND and credit goes to new special teams coach Eric Russell who decided on CB Jamar Wall, 1 punt return for 17 yards, and IR Austin Zouzalik, 3 punt returns for 33 yards, for a very effective punt return duo. Exclusively used WR Edward Britton returning kickoffs to the tune of 4 for 115 yards, an average of 28.75 yards a return. Kicker Matthew Williams was 5 for 5 on extra points, plus a field goal good for 32 yard field goal. And to top it all off, the guy that took the most heat last year, K/P Donnie Carona had one punt, good for 40 yards, and kicked off 7 different times and 4 touchbacks. For those of you who don't do math in your head (i.e., me) that's a 57.14% rate, which by far leads the Big 12. That is a huge weapon and I'm tickled that Russell is getting tremendous use out of a guy who struggled to find a place on this team last year due to his field goal woes.