THE RESULT | SOMEWHAT EXPECTED . . . BUT YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE | I'm not going to work anyone up into a frenzy about the fact that Steven Sheffield saw any meaningful playing time. I think I've come to the realization that this staff will most likely come to the same conclusion that they've come to over the past 8 games. But I don't know that I'd be able to go a whole week without some glimmer of hope, and right now, Sheffield is that glimmer. I mentioned this before the game, which was that the pass defense was 119th out of 120 universities playing college football. There was no way that Fuller and Tannehill wasn't going to carve up the Texas Tech defense. There's plenty to complain about, and I hope that no one misconstrues my explanations as excuses. To avoid that, I'll say it now, which is that this team just isn't very good right now. Whether it be players or coaches or a combination of the both. There's obviously issues.
LINKS | Since I can't really talk too intelligently about the game because I didn't see it, I'm linking to those that did see the game.
LAJ's Don Williams | Raiders in no position to waste chances … but they did
LAJ's Don Williams | Tuberville tries two quarterbacks
LAJ's Adam Zuvanich | Aggies’ Tannehill has record-breaking first start at quarterback
LAJ's Don Williams | Tech notes: Leong produces fifth three-TD game
FWST's Dwain Price | Tannehill leads A&M to rout of Tech
DMN's Mike Graham | Texas Tech observations: Fumbles doom Red Raiders against Texas A&M
Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
WHICH QUARTERBACK? | QB Taylor Potts led the offense to two scoring drives on the first 11 drives (there were actually 12, but the last in the first half was 0:09 seconds). RB Eric Stephens fumbled in the endzone and WR Detron Lewis also fumbled into the endzone. Notwithstanding those missed opportunities, which don't count because they didn't count, this offense absolutely struggled to do much of anything. You can read the post game non-transcript below, but Tuberville said that the offense was too lateral and that's true, when Potts is leading this team. Potts completed 62% of his passes, which is absolutely standard for Potts and averaged 6.1 yards per attempt. And had Lewis not broken a few tackles and scampered off for 54 yards, that yards per attempt would most likely have been worst. That is unacceptable. You can also read my notes below for all of the instances during the radio broadcast where the announcers said that Potts overthrew a receiver or a defender batted down a pass. They were more than I want to count.
I'm sure there are those people that want to defend Potts and claim that TAMU wasn't giving it their all in the 4th quarter when Sheffield finally got a chance, but Potts has proven what he is, which is a quarterback that completes a shade over 60% of his passes and somewhere about 6 to 7 yards per attempt, which is a lateral offense. At some point, it's not about what some hope that Sheffield is, but what we know what Potts is.
Sheffield finished the day with 9.2 yards per attempt and 78% of his passes. Again, I get that the Texas A&M defense may have been playing off quite a bit, but this is about what we know what Potts is because he's had 8 games to prove it out this year. I like Potts as a human being and although you may not like the way the played the game, please don't take out your personal frustrations out on Potts as a human being. Just as if you were to screw up at work, no one should attack you personally, Potts doesn't deserve that. Critique his play on the field, but leave him alone off the field.
ABOUT THAT DEFENSE | This is a bad defense and it's playing true freshmen in spots that true freshmen shouldn't be playing. As a redshirt last year, I think that CB Jarvis Phillips was converted to a cornerback position after he played quarterback in high school. This is Phillips first year in live game experience at the position and it's showing. I typed Phillips' name way too often yesterday and it was because Phillips was covering Jeff Fuller. Also mentioned during the game was that CB LaRon Moore was in the lockerroom for some time with stomach virus issues, which means that your cornerbacks was a former quarterback, Phillips, and Eugene Neboh, a former walk-on. The only constants are S Cody Davis and S Franklin Mitchem, although Mitchem missed a bunch of time over the past few weeks. Just a ton of young players with little to no experience.
The only silver lining is that with so many young players getting time is that they're also paying their dues and getting invaluable experience. From listening to the broadcast, Phillips was there on a bunch of those passes to Fuller, but just didn't turn around. And despite being a walk-on, Neboh finished the day with 9 tackles and 1.0 TFL, which was 2nd on the team.
And I've been incredibly worried about replacing Colby Whitlock next year. There may not be a more unsung and more productive defensive tackle in the Big 12 than Whitlock. Yesterday alone, he finished with 7 tackles and 1.5 TFL. Enter stage left, Pearlie Graves, who also finished with 7 tackles and 1.5 TFL. Graves may take some time, obviously, to be on the same level with Whitlock, but Graves' first two games are impressive and gives me hope. And he's only a redshirt freshman.
REPLACING TUBERVILLE, BROWN AND WILLIS | I get that the general reaction is to fire everyone after a loss. Those comments aren't anything new. I've been saying that I think that no matter what happens, Tuberville is going to get at least 3 years. That's just a guess, it could be more or it could be less. But there's no guarantee with OC Brown or DC Willis. Despite everyone's misgivings about these two, I still think you give them a chance. With OC Brown, the same offense that Potts is running is the same offense that Sheffield is running. The offense can be explosive. It doesn't have to be horizontal. It can average over 7 yards per attempt. And just to remind everyone, if you don't think that Brown is a good offensive coordinator, then consider the next type of offensive coordinator that Tuberville might want to hire. If you're upset that you think the Air-Raid has disappeared . . . just wait. I don't think that OC Brown is coaching Potts to overthrow all of those receivers.
And I think that this is something that Ryan Hyatt wrote after one of the games this year (this is me being too lazy to figure out where) that when Texas Tech matched up against Michigan St., that was Leach's game plan, which was that he wanted to start Potts, but Sheffield saved the day. I wish I could explain it, and I keep thinking that at some point, perhaps the problem is that Sheffield isn't a good practice quarterback. Leach came to that conclusion to start the year and so did OC Brown. It honestly befuddles me, and I don't have any sort of answer that makes any sense. So it doesn't bother me too much to know that OC Brown and Leach came to similar conclusions. But back to the idea of firing OC Brown, be careful what you wish for. If you think that Tuberville would hire a more explosive and creative offensive mind, then think again. If Tuberville lets Brown go after the year, expect the offense to be even more conservative.
And although DC Willis isn't making any excuses, there's only so much that you can cover up with a young secondary and cornerbacks that haven't played much at the position. It's going to stink, and most likely it's going to stink for the rest of the year. The one thing that I can appreciate with DC Willis is that he doesn't deviate from how he wants to play defense, no matter the consequences, and perhaps when a coach is trying to implement a system, the results may not be pretty, but he's sticking to the plan. DC's Willis' insistence on running a certain style may be his failing, but at the very least, he's doing it his way.
POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE NON TRANSCRIPT |
TOMMY TUBERVILLE | Shot ourselves in the foot. Wasn't good enough to stop that offense or keep up with them offensively. Rushed for 200 yards in the 2nd half. Knew we were going to have to outscore some teams. Had some good performances, played pretty good and caused some turnovers too. They had a good football team and tried to take the game away from Tannehill, but Fuller out-jumped Texas Tech defenders. Can't have that inconsistency on offense. Same offense with Tannehill as with Johnson. Four personal foul penalties is too much. Didn't protect the passer very well, put Sheffield in because needed a change of pace, it wasn't anything that Taylor did or didn't do, but it was time to get someone in there. Too much of a lateral team. Gave effort just made too many mistakes to give much of a chance. Have to be more consistent on 3rd downs. The deep ball hurt Texas Tech the most. Must have some help from the offense to keep the defense off the field. D.J. Johnson tweaked his hamstring, probably out for a couple of weeks. The offense didn't play with a lot of emotion and should have scored more points. Need to find the right combination.
WR LYLE LEONG | Started off fast and then slowed down. Continue to get better. Always expect to win, not going to give up and get better each week. We win as a team and lose as a team. We expect to score every time. Any loss is difficult, but believe that Texas Tech will come out and fight. Everyone on this offense knows what they need to do. Both quarterbacks are capable, whoever takes the reins will do a good job, not leaning towards anyone.
OFFENSIVE MVP | QB Steven Sheffield | This could have gone to Detron Lewis (8 catches for 111 yards), but he had the fumble and it also could have gone to Lyle Leong (5 catches for 67 yards and 3 TD's), but this is me just hoping for a change.
DEFENSIVE MVP | DT Colby Whitlock and DT Pearlie Graves | The two of them combined for 14 tackles and 3.0 TFL. S Cody Davis was also in on a ton of plays, 11 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recover and 1.0 sacks. Maybe they should switch Davis to linebacker rather than Dewhurst, but then I have no idea who plays in the secondary.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVP | KR Eric Stephens | Really at a loss to figure out who else deserves it. Stephens averaged 31 yards a return, including a 48 yard return.
GAME NOTES | These are my notes from the game, without editing:
TAMU: D.J. Johnson gets the start along with Brent Dewhurst and Graves. Tannehill starts, over throw pass. Blitz Bront Bird. Graves gets the stop again behind the backfield. Screen without blocking and Colby Whitlock turns it.
TTU: Potts with empty backfield, throws it short in front of defender. 3rd/9 and almost intercepted, blocked by Frederick and could have been a touchdown.
TAMU: Tannehill gets a 1st down with Nwachukwu. Fuller gets into TTU territory with pass from Tannehill. 3rd/1 gets stop by Whitlock and Bird. Goes for it on 4th/1 down and Jarvis Phillips knocks the ball away.
TTU: Potts to Lewis and gets 7. Gets 1st down with Batch running. 1st down. Stephens with a nice rush. Lewis gets short of 1st down and quick snap by Potts. 3rd/1 and Batch hit in the backfield and doesn't get to the line of scrimmage. 4th/1 from Aggie 33 and gets a 1st down Potts to Lewis. Potts to Batch with a screen to get 9. Stephens gets a 1st down and now in the redzone at the 18. Potts to Lewis and incomplete and flag on TAMU. Lewis is stronger to fight for the ball. 1st/goal and Potts to Lewis, but incomplete. TAMU blitzed. Inside handoff to Stephens and gets 2, now 3rd/1. Stephens walks in for touchdown, dodges Jerod-Edie and steps outside.
TAMU: Tannehill to Jackson, stipped the ball from Brandell Jackson and Cody Davis with a strip for a turnover.
TTU: Ball at the Aggie 35. Batch gets stopped at the line, no gain. Trips left. Potts to Leong and gets 3. 3rd/7 and Jeffers in the game with Stephens, Potts to Torres for a huge gain for 27 yards. Aggies blitzed. 1st/goal from the 5. Potts to Torres over Torres head and he was open. 2nd/goal Batch to the 2 1/2 and will be 3rd/3. Batch and Stephens, Stephens fumbles and touchback to TAMU.
TAMU: Cody Davis with the blitz and Tannehill is sacked at the 12. Tannehill to Fuller to the 24, now 3rd/6. Tannehill to Nwachukwu in front of LaRon Moore for 1st down. Pass is batted in the air, by Mitchem. 2nd/10 Tannehill to Swope for 1st down. Level says that they want Tannehill to beat TTU deep. Tannehill to Fuller for a 31 yard gain and on Phillips. Tannehill to McCoy and down at the 6. C. Micael rushes to the 3. 2nd/goal from the 3, Tannehill to Fuller with a fade and TAMU with illegal formation. Woooo! 2nd/8 and delay of game. Woooo! Now 2nd/13 Tannehill draw and limits to 2. Bird lays a hit on Tannehill. 3rd/10 Tannehill bounces the ball to Nwachukwu and incomplete. FGA for 28 and gets the field goal.
TTU: Stephens with kickoff to the TAMU 49. Play-action Potts to Torres for 12. **END OF FIRST** Trips left, with Lewis to the right. Potts to Torres to the 29 and gets 9. Batch to the left and has been stuffed to the line a handful of times. Lonnie Edwards was pushed back. 3rd/2 and Potts to Stephens with no blocking. 4th/3, another 4th down call, Potts almost throws another interception, intended for Douglas, but may have been tipped. Incomplete.
TAMU: Tannehill to Swope for a 15 yard gain. Cyrus Gray gets 5 and hit by Bird. Gray rushes and Whitlock drops him behind LOS for -2. 3rd/7 Tannehill to Fuller and Phillips with the coverage, a 34 yard pickup. To the TTU 18. 3rd/3 Tannehill to Fuller double-coveraged with Phillips and Davis and interference on Phillips. 1st down. Tannehill to Michael Lamothe for touchdown. Play under review. Confirmed.
TTU: Ball at the 30. Potts incomplete to Swindall. 2nd/10 and gets 2 or so. 3rd/8 and Potts overthrows Leong. No where close to Leong. Potts can't struggle if the defense can't stop TAMU.
TAMU: At the 43, LaCour with only a 25 yard punt. Yeesh. Tannehill to Hicks and a long completion plus a roughing the passer on Sam Fehoko. Tannehill to Fuller, Phillips on him again and no one was close. Seems to be confusion on who was to cover Fuller. 1st/10 Gray rushes to the 6 for 4. Tannehill to Fuller for touchdown, Phillips on coverage and pass interference again.
TTU: Tried trick and tried to do the star-burst? Potts to Douglas for 11. Potts to Stephens is incomplete, behind Stephens. Missed Torres in a vertical route, was wide open. Potts to James and hit by Von Miller, helmet-to-helmet. James still had a 1st down and 15 more. Batch gets passed the line of scrimmage for 4. Potts to Batch, dives to get about 5. 3rd/inches and Batch rushes for 1st down. Eric Ward in the game, Potts to Swindall for 7. 2nd/3 Stephens rushes and gets to the 15 yard line for 15. Potts to Leong, wide open, but too high. Another missed touchdown. Potts to Leong, inside slant and no one there for a 15 yard touchdown. Stephens in motion and into the flat, Hodges and Frederick went with Stephens leaving Leong open.
TAMU: Tannehill runs and Whitlock gets stop for no gain. Tannehill to Swope for 16. LaRon Moore had been in the locker room and is coming out. Tannehill is sacked by Franklin Mitchem, safety blitz for a 10 yard loss. Need more blitzes and pressure that one. 2nd/20 Tannehill to Fuller and Eugene Neboh with a tackle and lose 2 more yards. D.J. Johson with hamstring and Moore has stomach flu. Tannehill is hit out at the 43 and short of the first down, force a punt. 2:00 minutes left in the half. TAMU with delay of game.
TTU: Starts at the 14, Lewis bobbles the punt, retains, but loses 2 yards. 1:39 left. Batch with a short carry. Potts' pass is batted by Von Miller, intended for split screen. 3rd/7 Potts' pass is batted away, intended for Torres and now 4th down. 1:13 left. LaCour punt to the TTU 40 and 44 yard punt.
TAMU: 1:02 left. Tannehill almost throws interception to Fuller and Porter almost intercepts. Couldn't hang on to the ball. Tannehill to Swope to the TTU 40 and gets out of bounds. 26 yard pick-up. Swope was wide open. Tannehill to Gray for a short gain. 2nd/8 Tannehill to Fuller and now a flag on Davis. If flag, the ball was being bobbled by Fuller for targeting a defenseless player. Tannehill to Swope to the 12. 2nd/3 with 0:35 left, Tannehill to Nwachukwu to the 5 and timeout TAMU with 0:29 left. Tannehill almost throws the ball to Mitchem, hits him in the waist. Davis putting pressure on Tannehill. 2nd/goal from the 5, Tannehill to Fuller on the slant and behind Fuller. 3rd/goal from the 5, Tannehill pass tipped by Bird and refs call a flag, called personal foul. Tannehill to Fuller, in front of Tre` Porter for a touchdown.
TTU: Potts to Stephens for 2. Edwards for false start. 2nd/13 Potts to Stephens for 7. 3rd/6 Potts to Lewis for a huge gain. 55 yards. Potts to Lewis, fumbles and Aggies recover in the endzone. Had the 1st down and just grabbed his arm. Turnover. Sad face.
TAMU: Tannehill to Fuller, but dropped. 2nd/10 Michael rushes for 7 yards. 3rd/3 Tannehill to Michael for 1st down. Michael rushes again for 7 more. 2nd/3 Tannehill to Swope for another huge gain, 14 yards. Tannehill, dodges Langley, had him for a sack, but gets 4. Michael rushes for 3. Now 3rd/2 and Michael gets another 1st down. Tannehill pass batted away by Mitchem, intended for Nwachukwu. 3rd/10 Tannehill fumbles the snap and Fehoko pulls Tannehill down for a huge loss. Looking at a 53 yard FGA. Punt to the 5 yard line by Tannehill.
TTU: 2nd/6 Potts overthrows Torres, had a lot of pressure. 3rd/6 from the 10 and swing pass to Stephens and marks it at the 13 and another 3 and out. LaCour punts to the TAMU 40, 47 yard punt.
TAMU: Gray scores on a huge TD for 54 yards. Simple hand-off. Duncan apparently missed a gap.
TTU: Swindall with a catch for 1 yard, left side not blocking. Potts sacked and lose 10 yards. 3rd/19 Potts to Stephens for a screnn and still not enough. Punt. Again.
TAMU: Tannehill keeps eating up yards. Michael is hurt. 2nd/8 Gray with rush and Langley gets a tackle and now 3rd/6. Tannehill to Swope for another 1st down. Shovel pass by Tannehill and a huge gain. Holding on TAMU, so at least there's that. Tannehill missed a wide open Nwachukwu. Neboh wasn't even close. Tannehill is pushed out of the pocket by Whitlock, but still gets 2 and Duncan forces him out of bounds. Tannehill to Fuller to the 12 and Porter with coverage, most likely a facemask. Facemask is on Fehoko. Keep shooting self in foot. TAMU about to score another touchdown. Gray for a TD.
TTU: Stephens with 11 yard run. Potts to Leong, but hit and drops ball. Potts throws it behind Zouzalik. Potts throws too high to Swindall.
TAMU: Tannehill to Fuller and 15 yards. Neboh has no chance. **4TH QUARTER** Tannehill to Fuller, and for once, Porter has good defense. Too little too late. Bront Bird gets an interception and Bird jumps on a route from Tannehill. Woooo!.
TTU: Sheffield in at quarterback. Sheffield rushes for 2. 2nd/8 Sheffield to Torres and Douglas and Moore miss a tackle. 3rd/6 Sheffield to Moore for 14. Sheffield to Batch, but comes up a bit hurt. Sheffield runs again for 2. Lewis has been in the lockerroom. Sheffield to Moore for another 1st down, this one for 12. Slant is available as Aggies are rushing. Stephens gets a small gain. 2nd/9 Sheffield to Leong for 11 yards and a touchdown. Going for 2, but misses.
TAMU: Tannehill to Swope, Neboh with interference call. I lost track of stuff trying to close the comments on threads. I'm sure everyone will forgive me. Tannehill to Fuller, at first ruled incomplete, but then ruled complete. Another touchdown by someone from TAMU.
TTU: Sheffield attempted to Stephens for screen, but not open. Batch rushes for 14 yards. Sheffield to Lewis for 17 yards. Announcers said great pass. Offsides by TAMU. Sheffield to Lewis for a touchdown and calling offensive pass interference. Another bad call? Lewis just batted the defender's hand away. Sheffield with a quarterback draw. 4th/8 from the 22 and is sacked.
TAMU: Very conservative playcalling, but still gaining huge chunks of yards on the defense. The defense is gassed.
TTU: Sheffield to Torres for 17. Crawford rushes for 25 yards. Too little too late. Sheffield to Leong for a touchdown for 35 yards. This is how it's supposed to be.
TAMU: I've completely lost interest at this point, there was actually one more drive (#16) that I completely ignored. It's been a long day.