Odds and Ends
Spanning the Globe: How about this, we've got news and notes on all three sports that DTN has the time to cover: football (a given), basketball and baseball.
Texas Tech Football
Full Attention: LAJ's Don Williams writes that the Texas Tech received the Longhorns full attention on Saturday night and perhaps there's no longer
Texas coach Mack Brown sounded a little bit like a fan afterward.
"I thought it was one of the harder hitting football games that I’ve been around,’’ Brown said. "It was a great football game. There were times when things weren’t easy for either team. You have to give each team credit for continuing to compete and fight back. It was a slow start, then all of a sudden we start scoring, then they start scoring. That’s usually the way the Texas-Texas Tech game goes.’’
Well, not always. Tech has lost six in a row in Austin, including by scores of 58-7, 42-7, 52-17 and 59-43.
Those are some ugly scores and its understandable to think that the oddsmakers or fans might think that Texas Tech has not turned a or any corner. Again, you hate to talk about moral victories, and after today, we move on to Houston, but I think the tide is turning.
Unexpected Praise: I could have sworn that someone else on DTN caught the Chron's Richard Justice article on Sunday morning where the Red Raiders have received mentions and actual compliments from some of the major papers in Texas. Here's Justice:
America almost never gets it where Mike Leach is concerned, but maybe now America will. He has to earn his respect every year, and when he does it one year, he has to do it all over again the next year.
No other coach in college football is better. Leach complains about being overlooked, but he may secretly love it.
Even as he rolls out another new version of college football’s best offense, even as he plugs in new players and keeps rolling, he loves the underdog role.
This was a game second-ranked Texas was supposed to win easily. Inside the UT program, some thought the Longhorns would hang 70 points on the outmanned Red Raiders.
The game was nothing like that. Texas won 34-24 on Saturday night but was pushed to the edge. That Texas Tech is unranked is beyond ridiculous. These two teams are really close, and this was a heavyweight bout from start to finish.
Then, SAEN's Mike Finger had this to say about Texas Tech:
The Red Raiders lost in Austin on Saturday, but they also provided another reminder about their staying power. Like Missouri, Tech had to replace a decorated quarterback and receiver, but Taylor Potts looks every bit as capable as Graham Harrell was.
A tough test at Houston awaits this week. But if Tech survives that? A run through the rest of the Big 12 schedule isn't out of the question.
And then, FWST's Jimmy Burch is buying what QB Taylor Potts is selling:
Potts threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns against No. 2 Texas in his first road start. Although the Red Raiders lost 34-24, Potts showed lots of poise, as well as the ability to bounce back from some big hits levied by the Longhorns’ defense.
After the contest, Tech coach Mike Leach said, "Anybody that really had any doubts about Taylor Potts’ ability to be a really good Division I quarterback, I think those were pretty well dispelled."
I wholeheartedly concur with Leach.
Houston Wants to Play Passing Offense: The Chron's Steve Campbell features UH cornerback Jamal Robinson, who is excited about playing the Air Raid offense of Texas Tech:
UH cornerback Jamal Robinson can't make any promises about how the 17th-ranked Cougars will hold up under the barrage. The one thing Robinson can guarantee is that he won't be ducking for cover or trying to hide.
"As a corner, you can't have fear," Robinson said. "If you have fear, you're automatically beat."
Robinson is a 5-10, 185-pound junior who has been through too much to play scared. Three years into his stay at UH, Robinson had as many surgeries on his left knee (two) as tackles to show for his efforts. Robinson quietly emerged as the starting right cornerback during the preseason, but that secret's out of the bag.
Texas Tech Basketball
Early Power Rankings: Yahoo! Sports Jason King has come out with some all too early Big 12 power rankings and has some nice things to say about Pat Knight and Texas Tech, who are initially 9th, but admits that the two two teams, Texas and Kansas, are at the top, but there's parity with all of the rest:
The Red Raiders went just 3-13 in league play last season, but by the end of the year they were improving at a rapid pace with wins over Kansas and Texas A&M and a near-victory over Texas in Austin. Virtually every key piece of that team returns, including forward Mike Singletary, who reached double figures in seven of his last nine contests and erupted for 43 points in the victory over the Aggies. Texas Tech is also hoping to get a big contribution from Trevor Cook, who missed most of last season with a back injury. Guard and former juco transfer Nick Okorie also returns after emerging during the second half of the 2008-09 season. He’ll be part of a backcourt that also features John Robertson, who averaged 6.4 assists as a sophomore. David Tairu, who teamed with Okorie at South Plains (Texas) Junior College when the school won the 2007-08 title, will be a key player on the perimeter, as well.
Texas Tech Baseball
Tired of Settling: LAJ's George Watson writes that head coach Dan Spencer is tired of small improvements (it's only been one year), but wants his team to start thinking Big 12 title as organized fall workouts begin today. Here's Spencer:
"I don’t know that we’re looking at the fall differently in the way we do things or what we’re trying to get out of them," said Spencer, who in his first season in 2009 led the Red Raiders to the Big 12 Championships for the first time in three years. "But we’ve got to win more and push for those goals to give us a chance for where we need to be. We got a taste of it last year playing in some big games and winning some games, but we want more."
Watson does a good job of looking at the pitching staff as well as the fielders, and Spencer talks about how he wants his team to play:
"We’re confident enough in the arms we have here to do that, and then we’ve got to get guys to buy into roles," Spencer said. "Baseball is a long season and consistency is the key. Relentless consistency. We’re always going to play defense and we’re always going to pitch and throw strikes. If you can be consistent in the little things in the game, if we can be more consistent in pitching and defense, that will mean more wins."