Seth C: We're really not surprised at anything at this point, are we?
Travis (SARR): No, not at all.
Oh, you want me to elaborate? Dang. Ok.
It’s really a tough question because there are so many moving parts. Did I think a 7-0 start was possible? Yes. Would I have bet my truck on it? No.
I’ll get really personal with this and leave my objectivity outside because this has been a crazy couple of months. I remember hearing the news about Brewer in August and thinking how that would really hurt us and you had a great post about how freshmen quarterbacks tend to struggle. I tried to dial back my expectations at that point but then Mayfield played lights out in the first few games and then got hurt and Webb seemed to struggle but he’s really growing and it’s all been such a blur.
The game on Saturday sorta epitomizes the season thus far. Tech got off to a decent start, then stumbled, then regained their footing and cruised. It was such an amazing, surreal 45 minutes. Up 13-3, about to punch it in and then BAM all of the sudden we’re losing 27-16. Then BAM we score 21 straight and shut WVU down completely. Kliff took the momentum in his hands and twisted it like the time Superman was in that ice cave with the kryptonite but he overcame it with his will power and strength.
It was gut wrenching and terrible and probably took 20 years off my life and I loved every minute of it. And we’ve got five more of those just like it coming up. I guess I’ll just leave it like this:
I’m not surprised by anything Coach Kingsbury accomplishes. It wouldn’t be logical to think otherwise.
You also expected this all along, right?
I also wanted to dig into your game day routine and experience. I’ll be honest, it’s gotten really difficult for me to be able to sit down and watch a game uninterrupted. My phone is blowing up with texts from friends all over the country, I try to say stupid things on Twitter and even occasionally check in on the game day threads. In some ways, it’s almost like a job (albeit a job I love) because I’m trying to entertain, and keep up with my friends, and keep an eye on the game so at least I can act like I know what I’m talking about during these conversations. All the while my heart is pounding and my stomach is churning and I can’t catch my breath because I want so desperately for my favorite team to do well. I’m usually pretty worn out when the game is over.
So let VTM be a fly on the wall in Seth C’s living room. (BTW- off topic, but my favorite thing about our Wiki page is the sentence that says "Seth C’s last name doesn’t start with a C") Ok, back to being a fly. What do we see?
Seth C: Last year it was a disaster watching games. Fitsum is somewhat controlling (this is an understatement) and he wouldn't let us watch TV last year without it being on something he approved, so the only times that I got to watch games last year was when he was napping, at night after he went to sleep and in the morning really early.
This year, I decided that I needed to establish some ground rules. So my typical Saturday morning is to be the best dad ever. I get up at 4:00 am, I write the morning post and make sure that all of the game threads are ready to go. I should also mention that those folks wanting a new thread to change the mojo . . . that's not going to happen. We were 6-0 with me posting an hour early and two hours thereafter. You think I was going to change? Heh.
After I get done posting, which is usually around 5:30 am, I start working on the next week. I get all of the tables done, all of the links for the posts with the helmets, remove all of the HTML for the Iconography post and get ready for the Big 12 Roundup post. By that time it's 6:30 am and I'm off to the grocery store for the week. I normally get home around 7:30 am or 8:00 am. I grab breakfast, make sure the game is recorded on the DVR and then I take Fits to take the recycling to the recycling center and take Fits to the park to let him play and run around and stuff. I get home from that at 10:00 am. By this time, I'm picking up the house a bit and trying to get organized for the game.
During the game, I'm usually on the Twitter and I sit on the ottoman and not on the couch. I'm generally a nervous wreck. The pits on my shirt are very sweaty within the first 10 minutes. With games at 11:00 am, I'm trying not to drink until noon. I try to make sure the game threads aren't getting too crazy, but most of the time, I'm trying to increase that Twitter audience with awesome things like "Wut".
With about 5 minutes or so left in the game, I start getting the post game thread ready to go pretty much right after the game.
By the end of the game, I'm pretty much a mess. I have been up since 4:00 am, Fitsum is most likely ready to play and up from his nap, so I don't get any time to do much of anything else for the rest of the day. This Saturday, the wife wasn't feeling well, so I cooked dinner too.
That's probably more detail than anyone wanted.
I've been thinking that this all seems so early, and people keep writing about Texas Tech's inevitable demise. There's a pretty good chance that Texas Tech isn't going to win every game from here on out. I don't think that's being pessimistic, just pragmatic. I honestly don't care what happens. I mean, I care, but I'm not sitting at home pining away about the probably likelihood that Texas Tech will lose a few or a couple of games left on the schedule. My question is if this seems all too early for all of this to be happening? I just don't see this team as being a top 10 team, there's just so many faults, but then again I keep thinking, why not. If my barometer for top teams is 2008 being the best, this team doesn't seem up to that level, but what do I know.
Travis (SARR): That’s what I’ve been missing on Twitter! I keep losing followers and VTM keeps gaining, so I need to drop more "wuts" on the people.
As to your question, that’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, especially over the past couple of weeks since it’s looking more and more like this could be a special year. I should probably try to write some epic post comparing 2008 to now and it would make me famous and people would buy me falcons, but I’ll break it down here instead.
First, let me say that 2008 was, for so many reasons, a magical year. Until we top it, it will always be my favorite football season, ever. I’ll never apologize to anyone for being a rabid fan of that team and a rabid fan of Mike Leach. But, with that said, a lot of people look back at 2008 with a gilded lens (and rightfully so) and forget about some of the blemishes. I know I sound like Jim Sowell but the 2008 team was really only a handful of plays away from being 8-4. Won in OT over Nebraska, the epic UT win, and barely squeaked by Baylor. Now again, before I get kicked off the internet, I only bring that up as a way to compare what we’ve seen so far this season.
In 2008 we had a senior quarterback, the best receiver in the game, several NFL caliber offensive linemen, and a strong, senior laden defense. That team started 10-0 and I’ll never forget how great that felt in the stadium to see the final seconds ticking away as they rolled Oklahoma State and the Double T scoreboard flashed 10-0. Looking back, I never imagined it would happen. I wasn’t sure we could beat Kansas at home. Then I wasn’t sure we could beat UT. Then I was really unsure about OSU. And I was completely unsure about OU. I dreamed about 10-0, then 11-0 but never believed it would really happen.
In 2013 we have two kids that were still thinking about the prom this time last year at quarterback, a very thin offensive line, the 5th DC in five years, a beast at tight end, a professional baseball player at wide receiver, and a head coach that’s younger than Kanye West. What makes this team different is that they’ve fully embraced the mentality and personality of their head coach and have used that to weather several storms. It’s amazing to watch. And the funny thing is I feel more confident about this group winning the rest of their games than I felt in 2008. Of course the level of competition is different (I still hate the timing in 2008, we were great but UT, OU and OSU were great too) but I’m also really starting to believe in this team. They win the money plays.
Now as to your point about being top ten worthy, maybe we aren’t quite there yet, but then again maybe we are. Every Saturday in the fall half of the teams in the country lose. Texas Tech hasn’t. Every season there are several huge upsets, and teams lose games they shouldn’t. Texas Tech hasn’t. On the flip side of that, every season a team plays a near perfect game, or goes on a great stretch of several mistake free very well played games. And Texas Tech hasn’t. So maybe we’re due.
Somebody has to be ranked in the top 10 and somebody has to win the Big 12. It might as well be us. I think it’s ok for everybody to dream about that. It sure is fun.
So put on your big purple Gilbert cape and tell me what you’re most worried about heading into Norman on Saturday.
Seth C: And the reason I asked that question was that I've already seen two articles about how Texas Tech will lose games. Well, you're going to look like a freaking genius when you write those sorts of articles half-way through the season with the toughest part of the schedule coming up. See here and here. Of course that's an easy prediction. My question is what was the prediction for this team seven games into the season for both of these types of writers. Obviously, not everyone was on this Red Raider Choo Choo Train since the beginning of the season, otherwise Texas Tech wouldn't have been picked 7th overall. I don't get mad at writers predicting those sorts of things, no one was really sure what Texas Tech had, just don't try to re-write history.
This is an awful question for me. Asking me everything I'm worried about could take a few days.
So I'll try to be as brief as possible. I hate that this game is in Norman, but I do love that a relatively average team in 2011 won in Norman and some of the same guys that were on that team are on this team. I think prior to that, Norman seemed like an impenetrable fortress. Maybe this is because of my experience in 2008. But now, those guys know that they can beat Oklahoma on their home field. So I think that's the first mental hurdle to get past and if they can do that, then it's a game that's just between the lines.
As far as the Sooners, I do worry about that running game and how potent they can be. I am still trying to figure out why OU isn't becoming the 2013 version of K-State and just run the hell out of Bell with a bunch of read option and let him pass when he can. I think if OU were to do something like this, it would be incredibly problematic for Texas Tech. There's a lot of talent on that offensive line and with those running backs. Trey Millard, Brennan Clay and Damien Williams sure have run over a lot of Big 12 defenses.
The defense is a bit banged up, somewhat like Texas Tech, but they've lost one of their best linebackers and defensive tackles for the season. Still, it's Oklahoma, and they tend to have a lot of good players. It seems that Sooner fans are bemoaning their loss of these players, but they sorta have the luxury of seemingly being able to plug in one of their other highly rated recruits. In any event, I think that Oklahoma defense is really going to put the pressure on whoever is at quarterback and try to force some really bad decisions.
We keep reading about all of these things about Texas Tech. Kingbury's "swag" and the player's "swag" and the confidence of this group and this and all of that. Doesn't this really come down to Texas Tech maybe having some talented players and a coaching staff that gets it?
Travis (SARR): I think it’s actually the fact that the coaching staff "gets it" and that contributes to the swagger factor.
In order for Texas Tech to be successful, we can’t be UT Lite or OU Lite where we get all the 5 stars and line them up and hope they whip their opponent. We have to play with a "swagger" and a chip on our shoulder and a sort of recklessness that the other, bigger schools scoff at.
I remember an article a few years ago comparing Mike Leach to Mack Brown. The article talked about how Mack knows his 2nd string deep snapper and his tendencies and all of his positives and negatives, while Mike Leach pulls a guy from the stands and makes him his kicker. I think the genius of Kliff is that he brings a combination of the two. He’ll know every detail in every situation, but he’s also not afraid to pull a guy out of the stands, or play a true freshman, or throw a deep ball on 3rd and 6 with the game on the line. How many freshman has he played this year? 10 or 11? Meanwhile in Austin, many believe their best quarterback (Swoopes) continues to stand on the sideline with a clipboard because the analytics and computations say it wouldn’t be prudent to remove his red shirt.
Keep crunching. We’ll make more Fritos.
So I know we’ll do a prediction post, but tell me how you see this game playing out in your mind.
Seth C: I'm really not sure what to make of Oklahoma and maybe that's the problem. They don't have an identity. I wasn't a huge believer in that previously, but I think I see the light on something like this. You need to try to be good at something and if I'm an OU fan, I'm not sure what that is. They have gone from passing quarterbacks to quarterbacks that are more mobile in Bell and Knight but they also have some incredible running backs. Are they a passing team or a running team. What's their staple.
On defense, they were previously known to be a very attacking defense that can run a cover 2 and destroy you on the line of scrimmage with various looks. Are they really still that? I know they have had a string of injuries on the defensive line so they may not be as good as they thought, but are they known for having a suffocating run defense? From 2007 through 2009 Oklahoma had a rush defense ranked as follows: 17, 20, and 9. From 2010 through this year, here is the rush defense: 57, 44, 94, and 44. Something has changed and I'm not sure what it is and maybe that's why Oklahoma fans are a bit hesitant about investing in this team. What are they and what are they good at.
I haven't answered your question.
I think Texas Tech has as good a chance as any in this game and I don't think I've been real confident heading into Norman previously. It could be an epic disaster, but Texas Tech is playing with confidence, they know what they are offensively and defensively. They've been pretty successful thus far this season doing it. They haven't really been stopped on offense this year. The offense could have been better, but this team has really done pretty well given the circumstances.
How do you see the game playing out and what do you think will be the biggest difference in the game?
Travis (SARR): I think the biggest difference/key to the game will be in the first 15 minutes. If Tech can get off to a fast start (similar to all previous wins against OU recently, including 2011) then we’ll have a real shot. If OU comes out and punches us in the mouth and goes up 2 or 3 scores in the first half then we’ll be in trouble. If Tech is able to control the game early and jump out to an early lead then I’m confident we’ll be able to withstand the onslaught at the end. That’s the funny thing about OU. There always seems to be an onslaught. The difference between winning and losing is often determined by when the onslaught occurs. Here’s hoping to a late game surge by OU where they come up just short.
So is that it for the week? Confetti flies?
Seth C: Confetti flies and I find a picture of a kicker.
Travis (SARR): Doh