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Football Friday :: Worrying About the Air Raid and Player Reaction

Because there was so much information this morning, I thought it might be best to make one post about all of the football news.  Not to mention, I'm not afraid of change, I embrace it, and I hope you enjoy this curveball today.

Press Junket

Yesterday, in addition to meeting with the team, Tuberville had the opportunity to meet with every local news organization.  A lot of those interviews are linked below, but Tuberville did one-on-one interviews with each and every outlet, which is interesting in that he's really wanting to make a good first impression and reach out to the media, get himself on television and get more exposure for Texas Tech.  All of those videos will be linked at the very bottom of this post.

Everyone Is Worried About the Offense 

I keep reading about where Tuberville lied in his initial press conference regarding retaining the entire former staff and keeping the offense.  I wanted to take a step back and go back to the transcript and here's what Tuberville said about wanting to hire coordinators, who will then make the decision on position coaches:

I'm a believer of having a great offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.  But I also believe in letting them have the opportunity to interview coaches, to make sure that they fit into their beliefs and how they want them to coach, either receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, offensive line.

And here's what Tuberville specifically said about the offense:

So those that are out there thinking well, he's going to change everything we're doing on offense, that's wrong.  We'll make some subtle changes.  Most that you won't even recognize when we get to spring practice and we get to the fall.


The thing that's given me problems over the years of defending is multiple offenses, sets, motions out of the backfield, motions from wide receivers, different personnel.  Fast-paced offense.  I can't really tell you at the moment what we'll look at in terms of changing.  But, again, it will be very subtle in what we do.   We're going to air it out.  We're going to keep the air raid.  I think it's something that Tech has hit upon that gives them that identity to recruit and we all want to have.

I'm not trying to nit-pick here, but if there's anything that Tuberville is guilty of is that he used a term near and dear to the heart of Red Raider fans and that the offense that we've known so well may not be the exact same offense in years past.

Again, Tuberville openly acknowledged that it wasn't going to be exactly the same, but then he says that Texas Tech is going to keep the Air Raid offense.  But knowing what we know now, in that Tuberville has hired offensive coordinator, who has talked about increasing the same style of offense but possibly running more and increasing the tempo isn't such a bad thing. 

I'd also like to go ahead and remind everyone that in 2008 Leach ran a number of two tight end sets, which included your favorite wide-out in Adam James and former Red Raider, Ryan Hale, a running back / tight end and punishing blocker.  Leach didn't have a true tight end on the roster this year, other than James, who really doesn't have the size to be a tight end, and the relationship with James soured, but don't be surprised if you see a few tight end sets with Brown.  We also saw Leach have a few Wild-cat plays with former WR Eric Morris in 2008 and I Leach tinkered with this in the spring with WR Cornelious Douglas.  Don't be surprised to see this as well.

What Is the Air Raid? 

Before we continue, I'd love to hear your comments about what is the Air Raid offense to you.  As we move along in this process from the initial press conference to today, I'm really surprised by the personal connection that folks have with a particular offense, and that the Air Raid offense shouldn't be referenced because the Air Raid was Leach.  Again, perhaps this is just an instance of a poor choice of words by Tuberville, a choice of words that he may not have realized that fans would have had such a personal connection.

But I ask you . . . what is the Air Raid offense?

And this isn't some rhetorical question where I'm going ask it, and then answer it for you.  I want your comments about what you think the Air Raid offense but what I'm thinking is that if we have 30 different comments, then we're going to have 30 different answers (also check out SmartFootball).

The Hot Seat . . . Offensive Coordinator

New offensive coordinator Neal Brown received his opportunity to meet with the media yesterday and he's saying all of the right things in that the offense isn't broken and Brown is here to try to make the offense better.  LAJ's Don Williams and DT's Alex Ybarra both write this morning that Brown wants the tempo of the offense to be faster.  Here's Brown:

"One thing we will do is we’ll pick up the tempo,’’ Brown said. "I thought (the Raiders) did a decent job in the bowl game doing that. We’re going to pick up the tempo and play a little faster than they probably have.’’

Brown's main philosophy is to get the football to players in space and get the football to the best players:

"My whole philosophy is I want to get the best players the football in space,’’ Brown said. "If the running backs are the best players, then they’re going to get the most touches. If the wide receivers are the best players they’re going to get the most touches. It’s not a deal where I’m coming in here saying, ‘The running backs are going to get the most touches.’ Whoever the best guys are are going to get the touches.’’

And Brown makes it clear that he's not here to fix anything:

"I’m not a fool," Brown said. "I’m not here to fix this. There ain’t nothing broken here. You can look at the stats. You can look at the results. The offense isn’t broken. There will be some subtle differences. Joe Schmoe sitting in the stands isn’t going to notice the difference."

I'm going to throw a ton of links to video after the jump, but I wanted to include this bit from the DT (they always do great work and they upload it on YouTube, which makes my life infinitely easier) from Neal Brown:


I'm going to reserve judgment until I can see this for myself, during the spring game, but right now, I think that Tuberville and Brown are all saying the right things and don't see where they've lied to fans regarding how the offense will change, remain the same, etc.

Much more after the jump, including player reactions, news on Scotty Young and links to all sorts of video of yesterday's events.

Player Reactions

Yesterday was the first time that the players were going to have the opportunity to meet Tuberville and there's a ton of reaction, most of the players comments are that Tuberville wants a more professional and tidy ship.  LAJ's Adam Zuvanich and DT's Adam Coleman both recap the players' thoughts on their new head coach, here's  LB Bron Bird:

"As soon as he walked in, there was definitely a different feeling in the air," Tech linebacker Bront Bird said. "He’s a real professional guy. He came in in a tie and slacks and the whole deal, and I think one thing that he said that kind of got everybody fired up is, ‘I came here to win championships.’ He said, ‘I’ve been to six (championship games) and won three of them.’

It seems as if the biggest thing that the media and the players discussed is that there is now a dress code for the staff and for the players that are at the complex.  Here's LB Brian Duncan:

"It’s a big difference. It’s a big change," Duncan said. "You have our strength and conditioning staff with polo shirts on, with ties. Even our equipment staff, they normally wear sweats and stuff, with polos and ties. The whole atmosphere is professional. It’s very, very professional, and I think they can get more done with a professional staff."

And Bird is excited about the opportunities of playing in a Tuberville 3-4 defense:

"To me, it’s just an exciting defense because you can do so many things out of it," he said. "You can get in a 4-3, you can bring as many people as you want, drop people quarterbacks aren’t used to seeing drop — like a one-technique or something like that. I’m excited about it and it’ll be a lot of fun."

Again, another DT production with players such as Brian Duncan, Alexander Torres, Steven Sheffield, Taylor Potts and Tramain Swindall:


Scotty Young, Quarterback of the Future

Denton Ryan quarterback and current Texas Tech commit spoke to the media yesterday, as did his Denton Ryan head coach, about Scotty Young's commitment to Texas Tech.  FWST's Dwain Price is the only one on this story and Young says that he's talked with Tuberville and with  Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown:

"He seems like a good coach and a good guy," Young said of Tuberville. "I talked to [Coach Brown on Wednesday night] a little bit and he was helping me out and letting me know that they are going to throw the ball a lot. Although it’ll be a little more balanced, the offense should be about the same — just little changes to it — so it seems like a good thing."

And both Potts and Sheffield discussed how they both wished they could play for Tuberville for more than their remaining year of eligibility:

Potts: "He should be excited to come down here," Potts said Thursday. "I’m sorry I only get to play under [Tuberville] for one year because I wish I had more, to be honest with you."

Sheffield:  "I hope [Young] can come here, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about him,’’ Sheffield said. "He came up here and we played some basketball, and he’s a good guy and he’s a good basketball player, too.  I just hope that he can trust Coach Tuberville and know that there’s still a lot to accomplish here no matter who’s coaching. We’re going nowhere but up as far as the entire program goes."

Again, per Price, Denton head coach Joey Florence had this to say about Young and his decision:

"I just think the whole (circumstances surrounding the firing of Leach) is bizarre out there,'' Florence said. "But I want what's best for Scotty and hopefully it'll be a good match for everybody and it'll work out for Tech and for Scotty.

"I've heard a lot of good things about both Tuberville and Coach Brown, but we'll just have to wait and see. Scotty is very intelligent and he and his parents will make the right decision, and we'll just have to wait and see how it works out.''

Florence said: "If he's in the spread and they're throwing it -- he's a pocket-passing quarterback -- that's what he needs to do. He's not real terribly agile and mobile.

"But if they expect him to stand in there and throw it, then he'll do good. I know he's going to meet with them and try to hammer out the details and make sure that's what's right for everybody.''

This situation sounds better that the situation regarding fellow Texas Tech commit, Kadron Boone.  I'd also like to clarify something that's been passed around where Tuberville allegedly stated that he's talked with every recruit.  Keep in mind when Tuberville was hired, he said this:

At 12:06 central time, Coach Myers called me and offered me the job, and I accepted.  I guess about six-and-a-half hours later I was here in town, on the phone with almost -- not all -- but all the players that I could visit with on the phone about their commitment to Texas Tech or their looking at Texas Tech with some possibilities of going on other places.

Again, Tuberville never stated that he talked to all recruits, but almost all of the recruits.  We have no idea if Tuberville contacted Boone, but for whatever reason couldn't get in touch with him.  I'd also like to remind folks that I believe starting on this Monday (01/11/2010), there is a dead period where coaches cannot contact players, so Tuberville had less than 12 hours to hold his initial press conference, meet with the media and try to call as many commits before the clock struck midnight. 

Interviews and Videos:  LAJ with Tuberville  . . .  KAMC with Neal Brown and players . . . Fox34 with Neal Brown . . . KAMC with Tuberville . . . KCBD with Tuberville . . . Fox34 with player reaction . . . Fox34 with a preview with Tuberville . . .

Miscellaneous:  LAJ on the Team Leach Rally yesterday afternoon . . . DMN's Kevin Sherrington thinks that Texas Tech hiring Tuberville was better than USC's hiring of Lane Kiffen . . . LAJ's Don Williams on the James Willis hire for defensive coordinator (more on this later next week) and that Tuberville is close to hiring Tommy Maindord, formerly the offensive coordinator at Lamar (son of Carlos Mainord) and Travaris Robinson, formerly at Southern Mississippi as their cornerbacks coach . . . LAJ's Don Williams writes that QB Taylor Potts was the target of a home robbery, but the police has apprehended the suspects . . . TR's dedfischer ponders building a defense (I'm not sure I have to say this, but really a must read) . . . LAJ's Don Williams writes that Chancellor Kent Hance would like for Ruffin McNeill to work in the athletic department at Texas Tech (I'm not a big fan of Hance right now, but I really like this gesture as I'm fond of Ruffin as a person) . . . LAJ's Adam Zuvanich writes that the players support Adam James (I'd like for Zuvanich to talk with students about how they feel) . . .