TEXAS TECH ROUNDUP
LET'S NOT OVER-REACT | A big reason why I wrote what I wrote yesterday, which is to be a bit tempered in Texas Tech's win is that I'm not over-reacting about a big win. I did that last year and even I was over-confident. Texas Tech is going to lose another game and let's just try not to over-react the other way either. I think this team is better, it seems somewhat apparent at this point, but I'm also still preparing myself to be disappointed too. I think this is the defeatist in me, but I am what I am. And there's a pretty good chance that Texas Tech loses a game in Lubbock. I don't think the tables flip that quick. SB Nation's Spencer Hall wrote yesterday to never go to Lubbock because you'll lose there, but that's not a true narrative. Before Saturday's win, Texas Tech had not won at home since beating Missouri in 2010. It's a good win, a very good win, but let's not over-react. I've seen too much bad football to over-react one way or another.
RANKINGS AND BCS AND STUFF | So apparently the initial BCS rankings were released last night and I can't believe that this is a television event. I also have read about how Texas Tech is ranked #17 in the BCS rankings, #18 in the Associated Press poll and #20 in the Coach's poll. That's great and all, but more than a week's appearance, I want a consistent appearance in the top 25. Then I'll be interested.
MARQUEZ OUT FOR YEAR, AMARO OUT FOR TCU, NO UPDATE ON BELL | Last night, WR Bradley Marquez tweeted that he was done for the year. Think a good thought for Marquez. TE Jace Amaro also tweeted that he would not be available for TCU as he most likely has bruised ribs from the hit he took on Saturday. Also, I was curious about where WR Javon Bell was and he left practice (this was in the same LAJ notebook where Tuberville was asked about Marquez going full time to the Mets) and at that time it was thought that it was not a big deal.
LAJ LINKS | LAJ's Don Williams editorializes and for the most part its a good article because of a really nice quote from CB Eugene Neboh who seemed to really appreciate how much this win meant:
“I got hit in the head,” Neboh said. “People were jumping, trying to tackle me from the back. I was running, trying to find my brother and my mom and dad. It was exciting. It let me know how much this meant to them.”
And then Williams inexplicably mentions mentions Kent Hance and my mind went into a tailspin. I think that Williams may be referring to Hance's snide comments after Leach lost a game earlier this year and I think that Williams sometimes intentionally likes to stir shit up because he thinks its fun. Of course a lot of us like to do that too.
NATIONAL LINKS | CBS Sports Bruce Feldman writes that DC Art Kaufman for the Frank Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant . . . SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes about the defensive improvement at Texas Tech and more than anything, I thought this was a surprising quote:
"Yesterday was a huge turning point for us," said Tuberville. "Here at Texas Tech there'd been no [emphasis] on defense the past 10, 11 years. It's been tough changing that mentality. Coach [Mike] Leach wanted to outscore people. There's nothing wrong with that, but that's not me."
I'm trying to think back and I don't think I've ever seen where Tuberville mentions Leach by name. I looked in the post-game quotes and I couldn't find this quote in the post-game press conference, so I'm interested where Mandel got the quote. In any event, Tuberville is right and this is sorta where I was going yesterday, but in college football, it isn't right or wrong. There's lots of different ways to get to the same spot. And I'd also say that Dana Holgorsen is going to need a little bit of time to figure out how he wants to recruit and play defense. I remember writing during the summer preview of the Mountaineers about how WVU had only 4 or 5 scholarship defensive backs on the entire team. Have to give him some time.
TCU IS UP | So I am still not sure how good or bad TCU is and I have to believe that their lack of depth is going to be problematic at some point. Gary Patterson is still a good football coach and he showed that he can do it on offense and defense, holding Baylor to 21 points and forcing a handful of turnovers, while putting up some serious offensive drives. This should be a terrific game.
BIG 12 ROUND-UP
Our Daily Bears (Baylor Bears): No disrespect intended to people that actually suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but our defensive approach on third down is going to give me the same. I believe Phil Bennett when he tells me that he doesn't think our corners are good enough to play bump man coverage. I believe that he thinks that. What I don't believe is that our best alternative on third and four is to play eight yards off the ball. If speed is a problem in our corners, that problem will manifest again when the opposition throws the ball five yards and gets the first down. If coverage skills are the problem, you've already damned them by not giving them a chance. Bennett believes our players will blow the coverage and allow the big play, so he concedes the small one. That concession is equally lethal. When our offense plays as it should, maybe it makes sense to wait for your opponent to make a mistake. Put enough pressure on the other team that they'll eventually blink. When it doesn't, like tonight, we have no chance. We were going to need a stop eventually but had no plan to get one. Hope isn't a plan. (Link)
Wide Right & Natty Lite (Iowa St. Cyclones): Jared Barnett had a poor game, finishing 16 of 36 for 166 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 mind-numbing Jantzy interception. He seemed to be especially flustered in the last five minutes, with two opportunities for a game winning drive. Josh Lenz, the other part of the TCU dynamic duo, was held without a catch. The late announcement that James White was out with a knee injury turned out to be a major blow to the offense, as the Cyclones finished with just 65 yards on the ground. The defense put up a game effort against the Wildcats, but were bludgeoned by Collin Klein, leading drive after drive with robotic efficiency. Probably the most puzzling thing was Jake McDonough's three offsides penalties, one that led to Kansas State turning an upcoming field goal attempt into a touchdown. On the bright side, Ernst Brun looks to be developing into a difference maker at tight end, while Edwin Arceo went 3-3 on extra points (I know it's sad that I have to highlight this). And hey, at least we're having a better day than Texas. (Link)
Rock Chalk Talk (Kansas Jayhawks): I'm sure there are fans out there from opposing teams that won't really understand why Kansas fans might be somewhat pleased with a near comeback against an Oklahoma State team in the rain. They might not view that as a small moral victory and they'd probably point to moral victories as empty victories. But after the last two years and the dramatic fall following the Orange Bowl of 2007, any movement in a positive direction is a welcome sign. This game provided that. It was a competitive Big 12 game that Kansas wasn't finding a way to lose, but instead finding a way to fight toward a win. It was a game where the Kansas defense entered the game with a solid well developed game plan and the players executed that plan and played with energy. It was a game where in the 4th quarter, Kansas might have actually looked like the team with fresh legs and more mental toughness. Oklahoma State is a good team. They might not be the Oklahoma State from a year ago, but Kansas did well against a team that was and still is talking Big 12 title within their program. Kansas OUTGAINED one of the top offenses in the country. That has to be worth at least a little something when the talk turns toward improvement and competitiveness. (Link)
Bring On The Cats (Kansas St. Wildcats): Autobot Collin Klein had another exemplary day; his passing efficiency wasn't great, but he was effective (especially dumping off on third down). He appeared to be more comfortable running through his progressions than he normally does, and of course there were the three touchdowns and another 100-yard game. Hubert "only" had 79 on the day, but you can't have everything. The offensive line had a great day, by my estimation, giving Klein both time to throw when needed and clearing space for him to slip through on delayed reads. Defensively, we still have the 3rd-and-long problem, but I'm starting to lay that more on the coaching staff's tactics than on the players themselves. When you see the secondary giving a seven-yard cushion on 3rd-and-5, it's hard to blame them. The problem is from above. There were several great defensive stands, however, none moreso than the final one which secured the victory.(Link)
Crimson and Cream Machine (Oklahoma Sooners): There are no "advanced metric" numbers that will make Texas fans feel any better about what their Longhorns experienced at the hands of the Sooners on Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. The Longhorns were beaten fundamentally by an Oklahoma team that was better prepared and able to execute on both sides of the ball. They were beaten numerically in every aspect of the game, including the scoreboard, in one of the most spastically lopsided affairs in the history of this storied rivalry. They were beaten physically by an Oklahoma team that was stronger and faster. The Sooners abused the Longhorns with viscous hits and a physicality that literally left the carnage of bodies all over the field. (Link)
Cowboys Ride For Free (Oklahoma St. Cowboys): I'll give the Jayhawk defense credit. The game plan was stuff the box and force the Cowboys (ie: Walsh) to beat them throwing, and with the cooperation of Monken, Walsh, and the weather, they came within a horrendous screen pass attempt of pulling it off. And despite all the SUCKING, OSU still got the W. I'll have more comments about SUCKING tomorrow morning, but not sure how much more SUCKING I can write about. Congrats to Coach Gundy for tying his mentor, Pat Jones, (in the SUCKIEST way possible) with the most wins in Cowboy football history. Gundy should break that tie very soon. As long as OSU figures out how not to SUCK. (hint: bring Lunt back NOW) (Link)
Burn Orange Nation (Texas Longhorns): That's where Texas and OU are under Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. Dominance isn't about outcomes; it's about power and control. Under Bob Stoops, OU has attacked Texas from a position of dominance no different than the way I used to take it to my little brother. Some of Mack's teams have had players that stood tall and pushed back, but when Texas doesn't have extraordinary players providing that leadership, the Longhorns have been dominated like a little brother. Stoops and OU come out of the gates confident, assertive, and attack-oriented, while Texas is uncertain, passive, and defensive. (Link)
Frogs O War (TCU Horned Frogs): There have not been many more satisfying wins in the Gary Patterson era than this one in Waco, coming off a loss to Iowa State and having come up heartbreakingly short in Waco just last year the Frogs needed this one. And the way they did it was absolutely beautiful. There were head scratching and gut wrenching moments on defense- three busted coverages that led to almost half of Baylor's total yards for the night and ended up at least setting up all three of Baylor's scores. Other than that, it was defensive dominance on behalf of the Frogs, forcing up six turnovers that really should have been seven (which I'll diagram in the Video rewind this week). I predicted that the Frogs would need to win the turnover battle to win the game, but the TCU defense made sure that no matter how often TCU turned the ball over that the Frogs would have the advantage. (Link)
The Smoking Musket (West Virginia Mountaineers): In a game reminiscent of the Syracuse debacle from a year ago, West Virginia dropped an absolute bomb against the Red Raiders on the road. The score reads 49-14 but it really wasn't even that close. Despite not turning the ball over, the offense was never able to establish any kind of rhythm with multiple miss-thrown balls and flat out drops. The defense was again gashed by another Big 12 quarterback and offense to the tune of 508 passing yards and 6 TDs through the air.(Link)