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Red Raider Gridiron :: Hearings, Running Game and Conference Expansion


Lots to Discuss:  All of this stuff probably doesn't belong in a RRG, but this is what I felt like doing this morning.  Later this morning, I've scheduled a preview of the SMU Mustangs and I hope to have this series occur every week, along with the assistant coach profiles.  Cheers.

Beebe Speaks:  Sports Radio 810 spoke with Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe regarding Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney and the tone of Beebe's quotes seem a bit defensive

"I’ve talked directly with Jim," Mr. Beebe said.  "I understand what he’s doing, where’s he’s coming from.  Maybe I would do it similarly if I were in his situation, maybe I wouldn’t.  But I’m going to protect our interests.  We need to move forward and have a direction people need to buy into and move forward."

Additionally, Beebe's quotes seem to indicate that he's about to start asking the Big 12 universities if they're in or they're out:

"We need to come to terms with that.  We’re going to head into our meetings in Kansas City and I think we need to have a very frank conversation about where we’re going and who’s going to be on the plane when we take off."  Mr. Beebe said. "I will be very direct and talk about that with our membership and want to find out.  It would be a shame, given that all boats have risen with this tide that’s been created in the Big 12, for anybody to think they’re going to have a better future somewhere else."

S!@# or get off the pot.  About damn time. 

A couple of additional points from yesterday's excellent discussion regarding conference realignment (I really enjoyed reading your comments).  First, if Missouri does leave I would guess that the Big 12 would not only lose a part of the Kansas City market, but also part of the St. Louis market.  Just an FYI.  I also wanted to point out a really good comment from the conference realignment conversation over at BON from friend of DTN, Bring on the Cats' TB, regarding the academic situation of Kansas St., which I think is very much similar to Texas Tech (relatively small community, agriculture community, offers a great deal on education, etc.)

Has it ever occurred to you that some schools exist with a different mission statement than others?

Think about it this way. All those schools existed long before intercollegiate athletics. They clearly did not begin or develop with the intent of being a minor-league sports factory. They developed as educational institutions. Take K-State as an example. A land-grant institution in a small-population, agriculture-based state. The mission at K-State is to provide an affordable, quality education to the population of Kansas. Because the institution is paid for by state taxpayers, the idea is to give as many of those taxpayers as possible a shot at a better education.

The point is, if we all chased the ideal of academic excellence required by all these entities that "rank" schools, we’d price a lot of people out of a college education. Kansas residents pay $206.20 per credit hour at K-State. Iowa residents pay $256 per credit hour at the University of Iowa. Spread out over four years, that’s at least a $6,000 difference in the cost of education (I say at least because yearly tuition hikes would probably increase the difference). That’s a lot of money to a farmer’s/teacher’s/factory worker’s son from western Kansas.

With regard to sports, for decades K-State was far and away the worst college football program in the country. Don’t take my word for it, Sports Illustrated said as much. If K-State’s idea was to use lenient academic standards as a means to athletic success, it failed miserably for decades. K-State didn’t suddenly drop its academic standards in 1989, it hired an offensive coordinator from Iowa who knew what he was doing.

I know successful people who got a good education at LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and Baylor. To say that academics are "in no way a priority for those institutions" is utterly arrogant and borders on ignorant.

So much more stuff after the jump (including a tuition hike, the sovereign immunity hearing, Harrell's shot with Green Bay and so much more), it will absolutely make you go insane.

And to further prove this point, per LAJ's Sarah Nightingale, Texas Tech has increased their tuition by almost 10%, but that tuition increase still represents incredibly value in comparison to other universities:

"Texas Tech has been affordable for a very long time. As programs expand, that's value added," he said.

Tuition was not increased last year, Scovell added.

"Some of this is catch-up," he said.

Despite the increase, Tech's tuition and fees are less than its peers - including the University of Texas at Dallas, UT Austin, Texas A&M, UT Arlington and the University of Houston, Clark said.

"We are still an incredible value," Scovell said, adding, "When parents write the check, they also look at the cost of living in Lubbock compared to Austin, Dallas and Houston."

Taking this recent news (although I'm sure that the current students aren't keen about the increase) I am very proud that Texas Tech is able to offer a college education for less than it's competitors.  I paid for my education from Texas Tech out of my own pocket, and it was those low tuition expenses that helped every bit.

In other conference news, Corn Nation's Jon Johnston does the research to figure out if playing in the Big 12 influences Nebraska's ability to recruit in Texas. 

Sovereign Immunity Hearing:  Today, 99th District Court Judge Bill Sowder will hear oral arguments from both sides on the issue of if Texas Tech's sovereign immunity defense will permit Mike Leach's lawsuit against the university to continue.  To say it's a big day for both parties would be an understatement.  LAJ's Logan G. Carver had this regarding today's hearing:

It would be foolish to try to anticipate what Sowder will do, said Jim Stanton, a Dallas attorney with first-chair trial experience in unlawful discharge litigation.

"There are so many factors that have either already been taken into account or will be taken into account, and I think it's too difficult to try to predict that," Stanton said.

Sowder has many options, including listening to arguments and then taking them under advisement and rendering a judgment at a later date, Stanton said.

"It could be three days. It could be three months. It's just too hard to tell what's gonna happen (today)," he said. "I think it would be unlikely that the judge would rule on both of those issues (today)."

More Balance:  DMN's Kevin Sherrington wrote about how head coach Tommy Tuberville wants a little more balance in the running game that did Mike Leach:

So who wouldn't want to throw the ball as much?

Three men, actually: Tuberville, Sheffield and Potts.

When he met with his players this spring, Tuberville says, both of his dueling quarterbacks asked to run the ball more often. They want to take advantage of Baron Batch, who ran for 884 yards last season on only 13 carries a game. And if that means the quarterbacks won't absorb as many shots, they were all for that, too.

Tuberville has been careful in selling this approach. He insists the offense will be "similar." They'll just run it 10 more times per game.

I think we've all known this, right? 

Then last night I ran across this from ESPN's Graham Watson on former Texas Tech receivers coach and current East Carolina offensive coordinator, Lincoln Riley, on his philosophy regarding the running game:

"The perception is that we throw it every snap and that the running back is just there to block, but I think when they really start to see how many times they’re going to touch the ball and start to see how well we ran the ball at Texas Tech the last two years I was there and the amount of touches the running backs got in the bowl game when I called the game, I think that once they see that, the opportunities are going to be there," Riley said. "Our running backs are always going to have more touches than any player we have and its not going to be close. I think maybe in the beginning the spread played a part, but now I think its just adjusting to the scheme, to the coaches and to new expectations and that’s the thing they haven’t done as fast as I would have hoped. But I do think we have them on the right track."

I don't know if it's just me, and I don't think it's a dig against Leach, but Riley seems to perhaps differentiate himself, a bit, from Leach and the percentage that the running backs touched the ball.  Just for fun, I looked back at the Alamo Bowl game, the game that Riley called, and the run-to-pass rates were 36% run to 63 % pass, which I think is a little higher than Leach's percent.  Perhaps this is Riley just saying that he too would have run the ball a bit more, or have the running backs get more touches (which would be an interesting study that I'll have to add to my list of things to do) than Leach.  Or maybe I'm reading too much into Riley's quotes.

Tubs Interview:  Southern Pigskin's J.T. Bennett interviewed Tuberville and we learn a couple of things.  First, both he and Leach love Cagle's Steakhouse, that Texas Tech is not a land-grant university (I think), and Tubs loves catfish.  Tubs talks about recruiting:

What is it like recruiting areas like Texas?
I enjoy it. Of course you travel a lot. What we do is separate the state in different regions and we hit it hard. The one thing I found about this state is that high school football is huge. The coaching is very good and you know what you are getting when you are recruiting a player. Because they are well coach and well disciplined. There is a lot of pressure on these kids to perform well and it really prepares these kids to play college football. I think the recruiting here is going to be fun. If you just look at the state of Texas there are probably 400 players a year that sign FBS college scholarships. Most of the states in the SEC for instance might have 15 or 20 tops. And again it has a lot to do with population and area.

And then Tubs talks about conference realignment:

What is your opinion on super conferences?
You know it is bound to happen sooner or later. That is what drives college football, competition and getting in a situation where people can play more people. To get on TV and to get bigger contracts. I can remember when I was at Miami and winning championships we knew it was just a matter of time that we would be in a conference. Then we went from independent to the Big East to the ACC. So you are always going to have some change over and people moving in and out. Is it good? Probably in some areas. I just hope we don't go too far with it. Right now we have 119 FBS schools and realistically every year you probably have twenty that can win a national championship. I think what has happened in the course of my career is you have seen a separation over the course of a few years of dividing teams where they can move into a different league. So they can take a bigger piece of the pie and that is kind of what you see here.

Harrell to Tryout with Packers:  DMN's Brandon George reported yesterday that Graham Harrell would get a tryout with the Green Bay Packers.  The Packer Report's Bill Huber sized up Harrell's competition:

If signed, he’d compete with Chris Pizzotti and undrafted rookie Noah Shepard for the Packers’ third quarterback spot.

Miscellaneous:  Remember when 2010 commit Benjamin McRoy ran a 20.38 in the 200mMcRoy was highlighted for his efforts, but perhaps just as impressive is the name from the fellow who is also featured, Hercules Stancel.  Hercules is just an awesome name . . . another 2010 commit, Frankston DT Coby Coleman, was featured in the Tyler Morning Telegraph in what I found to be one of the most poorly written articles I've seen in quite some time.  I have no idea what's going on in this article . . .  well, SB Nation's Phoenix Suns blog, Bright Side of the Sun, had a pretty funny bit, asking Suns players if they thought they could shoot with just one eye, just like Canadian hero, Stevie Nash . . .