Texas Tech will define its season starting tomorrow against Oklahoma State and followed by games against Colorado (away), Texas A&M (away), Missouri (home) and Oklahoma (away). I am going ahead and assuming that we win out against Houston and Weber State, which gives us a baseline of 5 wins.
Depending on how well we do in this upcoming 5 game stretch, we're probably looking at a 2010 team which finishes somewhere between 10-2 to 5-7. This observation is obviously not rocket science, but the above discussion is meant to indicate that we are about to find out just what kind of team Tech really is.
Seth C and ArizonaRaider have already covered a lot of stats ground in their previous posts, so I'll try to keep from repeating their points.
More after the jump!
Week 6 Report Card
This week's report card comes in PDF form only. Let me know what you think of that. I was told that everyone has a PDF reader and that PDF's are easily viewed on Blackberry's and IPhones. So here's your one PDF which covers the Offense, Defense and Special Teams.
The offense is playing better and appears to have gotten back on track. Potts is definitely playing with a hot hand, the running backs have gotten more involved, and the offensive line is actually performing better than last year's offensive line (allowing 28.9 passing attempts per sack).
Those improvements, while certainly welcome, still reflect a less productive offense than last year.
So far this season we are averaging a total of 436 total yards per game comprised of 330 passing yards and 103 rushing yards. These totals are down from last year's numbers by about 8% (35 fewer yards per game). In 2009 the offense averaged 471 yards per game comprised of 387 passing yards and 84 rushing yards per game.
Neal Brown's offense is averaging about 81 plays per game which is more than last year's team which averaged 76 yards per game. Neal Brown is calling about 6.5 more rushing plays per game than last year and about 2 fewer pass plays per game.
In spite of executing more plays and rushing more frequently, the offense as a whole remains less productive. Neal Brown's offense is averaging 5.4 yards per play compared to last year's team which averaged 6.2 yards per play.
The 2010 offense's time of possession is also down from last year by over 3 minutes per game.
Let's just say that so far, I'm a little perplexed by Brown's changes which seem to have made the offense less productive, and not moreso.
On an extremely positive note, our offensive production tendencies to date are by no means set in stone.
In fact, I offer this discussion simply to define a benchmark before we start the toughest part of our season. It will be interesting to see how our offense evolves over the course of the season.
Actually, I predict that Neal Brown's offensive production is likely to improve because:
- Going forward, we only play two teams which currently feature two top 30 defenses: Texas A&M (24) and Missouri (30).
- The offensive line, Potts and the skill players seem to have found their comfort zone and have developed more confidence over the past two games.
Wow. Our defense is struggling. We are down in virtually every statistical category since last year.
We are giving up an average of over 400 yards per game - over 50 yards more than last year's team.
We are the 114th ranked pass defense and are about to play the number 2 passing offense in the country.
In philosophy, when an irresistible force meets an immovable object, all sorts of wonderful things supposedly can happen.
It would require quite some imagination to describe our defense as either irresistable or immovable.
Oklahoma State's offense on the other hand seems to be pretty darn irresistable so far (but not irresistable in the way that my wife's lonely single friend , whom I secretly can't stand, would describe, "that Weeden boy is so cute!").
Actually there is no such thing as both an irresistible force and an immovable object. The phrase actually represents what is known as a paradox. You can continue your day in peace now.
Our season does not get any easier. Unlike our offense, I am concerned where our defense is headed the rest of the way:
- We play 5 top offenses going forward: Oklahoma State (4 in Total Offense), Texas A&M (15), Houston (23), Oklahoma (40), Missouri (43). Fortunately, Weber State is struggling (see below).
- Losing Smith and Barr makes it tougher.
Hopefully, our other defensive players (Mitchem et al) are healed and will be able to solidify this defense. I still have faith in our young secondary's potential. Yes, they're getting burned, but they are athletic and capable. I expect that OSU's barrage of passing is likely to yield a much needed turnover or two for our defense.
Willis needs to adopt a defensive game plan that masks our weaknesses and gives our offense a shot to win it.
In other words: a return to the dreaded bend-don't-break might be the best prescription.
Yes, I know we hate the bend-don't-break (at least I know I hate it!), but given the circumstances, a more conservative defensive game plan might our best bet.
The defense without question will have the toughest job on Saturday. Hopefully they will be able to rise to the challenge.
I predict no onside kick attempts this week (unless we feel we have to), and that we do not fall victim to another fake punt.
So now that Chris Olson actually plays tight end (and apparently can catch too according to Brown), why didn't the depth chart change?
Quick Weber State Update
I know I'm behind on my updates. Here are the results from the last three games.
Weber State is currently 2-3 (1-2 in the Big Sky).
After starting the season 1-1, Weber State was upset 24-17 by Sacramento State (at Sacramento); but recovered to beat UC Davis 20-9 at home - a much need non-conference victory.
The following week, Weber State was upset yet again at home 35-24 by the resurgent Eastern Washington Eagles who are now 3-1. Talk about two teams headed in the opposite directions.
Cameron Higgins' senior campaign has been a bit of a disappointment so far. In 5 games Higgins has thrown just 11 TDs against 6 interceptions (including 3 at home against Eastern Washington), Higgins is averaging just 278 passing yards per game - significantly down from the 343 passing yards per game which he averaged in 2009.
Weber State faces Big Sky doormats Idaho State (1-5, 0-4), in what will likely be a game which salvages the Wildcats' young but so far disappointing season.
We break the scoreboard this week. If you like shootouts, this is your game.
Both defenses bend.
Both defenses break.
Tech holds serve in the Jones.
Texas Tech 51-OK State 49.