THE RESULT | SLIGHTLY SURPRISED | (As you all know, my thoughts are without having seen the game and so take them with a grain of salt. Would love any corrections in the comments.) I am admittedly a bit surprised at last night's performance. I thought that UT allowed about 230 yards of total offense (they were playing in New Mexico) that the Texas Tech defense would yeild at least 300 yards based on prior performance and what I think about both UT and TTU's defenses. Not only did that not happen, but Texas Tech allowed 100 less total yards that New Mexico did. As mentioned last night, New Mexico had 79 yards on their lone scoring drive, which means that they had 50 total yards for the rest of the game. I really thought that UNM was going to grind it out a bit and that as a result, this game was going to be closer than what I had hoped.
I think at this point of the season, I realize that I am intentionally thinking that something bad is going to happen because that's how I was conditioned last year. The first conference game in a couple of weeks is the real barometer and we all know that. These games are all nice confidence builders, and that's a good thing for this team and that needed some confidence headed into conference play. I think, though, as a fanbase, we needed to see it too. Last year, the defense started out at 49th after Texas St., then 48th after playing New Mexico, and ended up at 95th after playing Nevada. This year, even though we can all acknowledge that the competition is lacking, the total defense ranks 2nd after Northwestern St., 4th after Texas St. and back to 2nd after playing New Mexico.
This may not be a mirage after all.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Seems kinda hard not to give the offensive MVP to Seth Doege, who was simply dominant in just over a half of play.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Just based off of statistic, there was not one player that had more than 5 tackles, although Dartwan Bush had two tackles for loss and 1 sack. Let's give it to him.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | PK Kramer Fyfe kicked a "sky ball" which resulted in another scoring opportunity for the team and anotehr possession.
NON-TRANSCRIPTS | Since I cannot offer you much in terms of actual content, I can offer you non-transcripts of the three individuals who did not have their post-game comments transcribed, offensive coordinator Neal Brown, defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and LB Will Smith.
OC Neal Brown | Very pleased with how first group played, practiced and prepared. Took care of business with these three games. Have a couple of weeks to prepare. Wanted to see our two's finish better, they get a lot of reps in practice and we don't expect much drop-off, they have to be better when they have opportunities. We've got all of the offense in, but haven't shown everything. This was a weird game to prepare for, didn't have much film, because their DC had not called a game in a while. So we started out very vanilla and then adjusted as the game went on. Left guard has been good, played all nine guys. Been alternating series with Alfredo and Beau, that's on going and would love for one of them to jump up and win it. Ontiveros did not play well the first game, and it was probably my fault, I played him too many plays, he bounced back the second week and played a lot of tight end this week. Need to quit putting the ball on the down, we had 325 rushing, so we'll take that. Average the first week. The thing I liked is that they made people miss and if they didn't do that they they punished the defense.
DC Art Kaufman | I thought we came out focused, got ourselves off the field, they they put together a 17 play drive and we had to make adjustments and we talked about this during the course of the game. We came down after that game, to the sideline, how to fit up the run game. They are going to do some things that we had not seen, and we have to adjust, but I thought our guys played well. When someone makes a mistake, someone with effort cleans up the mistake. Kerry Hyder had a great camp and played well, he is causing other people to make plays. He is as explosive as quick, powerful and smart that I have been around. Michael Starts redshirt removed, with Michael, when would we play him, as he came along, he was okay, then got fatigued, and really developed over the last few weeks, I am interested to watch the film. Zach Winbush started over Sam Eguavoen, Zach had a good camp, I thought he earned the right to start, I think we have two starters there.
LB Will Smith | Every week, being ready to step up to the plate, had to focus on individual assignment. As a team we did what we wanted to do. It wasn't too confusing, we prepared for that, they changed QB's, it was pretty easy to play around it. We are getting better each week, we have not hit our peak yet, we should be close to hitting that peak.
SPECIAL TEAMS NEEDS TO BE BETTER | It's always cringe-worthy when a team like New Mexico, that struggles to score in the first place, is able to run one back for 98 yards. Not only that, but a missed field goal and a punt that only went for 35 yards isn't necessarily a huge concern, but they are cracks and I'm admittedly tring to find cracks. It is also tough to find cracks when a team is #6 in total offense and #2 in total defense.
SETTING UP FOR RUNNING SUCCESS | Throught three games, Kenny Williams has 34 carries and 241 yards, Eric Stephens has 34 carries anad 238 yards and Sadale Foster has 31 carries for 260 yards. The numbers are largely irrelevant, but what is I think important is that the coaching staff did not want to get caught in a situation like last year, where the team was somewhat lost offensively without their top running back. The whole reason why all three of these running backs are playing somewhat equally is because the staff doesn't want to find themselves in the similar situation. It's not just one guy, but three guys that all offer something a bit different and probably two lead runners in Williams and Stephens.
MORE SOLO TACKLES | I mentioned this earlier in the week, which is that the defense has a ton of solo tackles, which as you all summarized, is that this could mean one of two things, it could mean that the team is making plays in space or that the defense is having to make solo tackles way down the field. This was another game where the defense had 41 of 45 tackles. Through your first three game sof the year, S Cody Davis and S D.J. Johnson are your leading tacklers but I feel better about this group, the linebackers, the line, just about everything there is with this team. Much like the running backs, I think the intent with the defense is to give this team as many possibilities in terms of who can play and trying to get players ready for competition right in non-conference play.
I have no doubt that the reason why Art Kaufman is playing so many guys, and removing redshirts from players like DT Michael Starts is that he doesn't want to be caught with players not having seen a live snap. If they can play, then they need to play now. DC Kaufman has done as good a job as I could have imagined getting this team ready.
BEING REALISTIC | I really don't know if we saw much of this last year, but we're seing it this year. HC Tuberville discussed at length about how he is happy that this team is playing well, but this was just a start:
It's good to see guys have fun, but we know and understand what we've been doing the last three weeks and coming in to an open date what we've got to expect in front of us. Got a lot of work to do. We'll use this week as a work week. Get ready for a lot of fundamentals and techniques in the next three or four days. Give them a day or so off. Put together a game plan and get going in nine straight games, which is going to be a tough ride for these guys, but they'll be ready for it.
. . . .
But we know things are going to get tougher for both offense and defense. So we've got to continue to get better. We'll get to a point, as I told the players last week, you get to a point you can be a good team, but the only way to continue to improve is improve your technique. We play hard, we play fast, and now we've got to continue to work with our hands and be lined up right. Take the right steps, be able to get off blockers and do the little things right. It will make us much, much better.
I can promise you that most likely every player is tired about hearing about technique and about how it needs to be better. I can also promise you that Tuberville will continue to talk about it as much as possible.
INJURIES | The only injury coming out of this game was CB Jeremy Reynolds, who hurt his knee. Tuberville said it didn't look good, but we'll have to await MRI results. From my keeping track of injuries, this is just the third season-ending injury. I don't know if I should use the word "just" in the previous sentence, but this doesn't sound unreasonable. The other two players out are OT Matt Wilson (torn ACL) and WR Aaron Fisher (broken leg). All of the other players on the list, could return this week, I think.