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Five Questions | Gearing Up for the Longhorns


In lieu of a links post, I'm interjecting both links and questions into a Five Questions post.  I know, it's amazing, almost like a double-rainbow.

1.  WILL DTN NEED TO VETO SOMEONE ELSE OFF THE ISLAND?  Early Saturday morning, I expressed my displeasure with a national writer who will not even consider Heisman candidates unless they play for top 10 programs.  FWST's Jimmy Burch, who has covered Big 12 football for ages, has this headline, "After two cream puffs, Baylor, Texas Tech face stiff tests".  Did someone not tell Burch that Texas took on powerhouse programs such as Rice (2-10 last year) and Wyoming (7-6 last year) (with all due respect) and only beat them by a combined score of 68-24.  Wouldn't it be more appropriate to write that Texas has played cream puffs too?  I've always thought that if you rank teams based on resume, then you could probably call it fairly even between UT and TTU.  Burch does go on to write that the key to this game will be whether or not the Texas offense can take advantage of a Texas Tech defense that has given up some yards along the way. 

Willis, Tech's first-year defensive coordinator, was the Crimson Tide's linebackers coach in that game. So he has a good working knowledge about what types of blitzes and disguised coverages confound Gilbert. Expect Willis to dial up as many of them as possible Saturday.

If Gilbert turns in another turnover-free performance in Lubbock, the Longhorns probably win. If the Tech defense can stop some drives with turnovers, as they've done in each of the first two games, the upset possibility grows.

2.  IS IT AN ADVANTAGE THAT WILLIS HAS SEEN UT AND GILBERT IN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME?  LAJ's Don Williams talked with DC James Willis, who has seen UT quarterback Garrett Gilbert as Alabama's linebacker's coach.  Do you think it's an advantage that Willis has seen Gilbert and UT just a few months ago, or do you think that the Longhorns, much like Texas Tech, may have been holding back a bit on both offense and defense?  Here's Willis talking about how New Mexico came out differently than last year:

"We made some adjustments," Tech defensive coordinator James Willis said Sunday. "Early in the season, a lot of times you don’t have enough stuff on film to really get a good bead on a team. They came out and did a lot of things that were totally off from what they did last year — the first game also.

"We kind of had to adjust as the game went on, and I think our kids on the sideline did a great job of adjusting. That’s what shows the maturity of a team."

Bonus question, do you trust that Willis is going to be able to adjust are you still a bit unsure?

3.  DO YOU AGREE WITH HOLDING BACK THE OFFENSE UNTIL THIS WEEK?  In the same article linked in question #2 above, OC Neal Brown says this about the offense:

"We wanted to play at a really good tempo, which we did both weeks," Brown said. "Also, we wanted to keep it simple for the quarterback, which we have. But I think as you get into conference play, whatever you’re carrying you’ve got to show, and we will this week."

Do you agree with the concept of holding the offense back a bit before the first big game, or would you prefer the offense do what they do, and do it well?

4.  DO YOU LIKE EARLY CONFERENCE MATCHUPS?  KC Star's Blair Kerkoff writes about how creative scheduling is a big part of Big 12 scheduling?  We've talked about this before, but the idea is that both UT and TTU moved this game to be on television:

Texas-Texas Tech is completing a two-year run in mid-September for precisely that reason. The weekend looked a bit light from a national-appeal standpoint, and ABC, mindful of the grand theater the Red Raiders and Longhorns provided in the 2008 classic, relocated the showdown to mid-September.

The SEC started conference play this past weekend.  Do you like these early conference games or would you rather play your four non-conference games first?

5.  WHAT SPECIFIC MATCHUPS ARE YOU MOST COMFORTABLE AND MOST CONCERNED ABOUT?  It's only Monday, but it's time to start thinking about specific matchups on both sides of the ball?  Here are the official NCAA stats for Texas Tech and the stats for Texas.  I'm leaving this very much open-ended as I'd like to see you guys and gals run with this. 

QUICK HITS | Episode two of Raider Power '10 is now available online . . . LAJ's Don Williams writes that OC Brown believes that Sheffield was solid in clean-up duty on Saturday:

"I would have like to have seen him in the second drive make a couple of better decisions," Brown said. "He had some bad luck in the second drive. (Running back) Harrison Jeffers didn’t pick up a blitz he should have, and he had a drop on third down by (split end) Eric Ward.

"He was a little rusty because he hadn’t had live action in a couple of weeks, but I thought he performed pretty well."

Williams also writes that per DC Willis, S Franklin Mitchem should be expected to play . . . Big 12's Wendell Barnhouse has a football week 2 rewind . . . the Daily Toreador has some highlights of the New Mexico game, after the jump . . .