REASONS FOR CONCERN
THE UNKNOWN | As the week goes by, nothing concerns me more than the unknown. I'll either feel a lot better or a lot worse Sunday evening and that in itself is a scary feeling. We've been promised, and I believe, that the offense isn't going to change. The spring game is certainly indicative of that statement. I do think this offense will be faster, and on some level, that could work out wonderfully if the offense clicks and makes things happen. However, if the offense doesn't click, then SMU is right back on the field, doing what they do. Defensively, we've been told that the defense is significantly more difficult than the prior defense, that the biggest problem is getting aligned correctly and making the right reads. Offenses like SMU and Texas Tech typically force teams to make decisions defensively and if you have mental mistakes, compounded with physical mistakes, then you've to the recipe for a long afternoon. My biggest solace in this whole scenario is that I'm very thankful that the Texas Tech offense probably force-fed the the defense by seeing a ton of repetitions and a bunch of different formations that require the Texas Tech defense to adjust.
STOPPING THE PONIES | This merges a bit into what I was thinking above, which is that I think the Texas Tech defense has plenty of talent and bodies to make it happen. And as I continue to think about the prior regime, I keep thinking that I knew what I was going to get from Ruffin McNeill. It's wasn't going to be anything incredibly creative, but it was pretty solid the past two years. There wasn't going to be any exotic blitzing schemes or alignments that were going to confuse the opposing offense. What McNeill did do is line you up, rush just four guys 75% of the time and just beat you with fundamentals. This worked to Texas Tech's disadvantage when the defense was against a physically superior team, but more times than not, the defense was just better. But for now, there's no safety net for me personally.
Reasons for optimism after the jump.
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
|What We Think We Know
|Keys to the Game
|Reasons for Concern and Optimism
SKILL POSITION CONSISTENCY | I absolutely love the skill position players on this team. Granted, it's great to have skill position players, but you've also got to have a quarterback that can get them the ball and an offensive line that can protect the quarterback. Since Edward Britton was the only player that the offense lost last year from those skill players. I've talked a bit about how last year's team lacked certain playmakers and that was true to an extent, but that still meant that the receivers and backs caught almost 450 passes for over 5,000 yards. That's still really good and if you add the maturity of some of some of these players, in particular the emergence of Jacoby Franks and Tramain Swindall in fall practices. The continued maturation of Eric Stephens who the coaches continue to talk about on more than a handful of occasions. And a finally healthy Detron Lewis, who was supposed to be the next big thing and he's going to have plenty of opportunity to make a name for himself. And this really doesn't even mention players like Baron Batch and Alexander Torres, who were incredibly consistent all of last year. There's a ton of talent at these positions, now all we have to do is get them the ball.
STABILITY AT THE TOP | I preface all of this by saying that leadership at the top won't mean a hill of beans should Texas Tech lose this game on Sunday. That still doesn't mean that those fans that were even the most angry, bitter, and overall pissed at the things that have happened over the last nine months haven't bought in a little bit at what Tuberville has done since he arrived. And this isn't an indictment on the former staff, this is about Tuberville having to clean up someone else's problems (I'm thinking the Wolf in Pulp Fiction). Up to this point, things have gone about as smoothly as you could possibly ask. Sure there have been bumps and bruises along with way, including a quarterback controversy. I can't say that I can relate any more to 18 to 22 year old football players, but having a little consistency and a little structure to your life can be a really good thing. Not to mention, I think that the players have bought into what Tuberville is selling. Earlier in the spring/summer I was still a bit wary about whether or not the players had really bought into the program and after seeing and reading everything that I possibly could, I'm pretty much convinced that for the most part, they believe in his vision. Having a little faith will take a team a long way.