Seth: Well, that was pretty awful. I wrote a bit earlier this week about the reason why Kingsbury maybe is giving Webb such a long leash in terms of playing time. This is really a two part question, but would you give Webb the same long leash and part two what would you do against West Virginia?
Travis: Man I don't even know where to start. I wouldn't give Webb a long leash but I'm also not a well-paid football coach. Your post was outstanding, and really made me think about patience and looking at the big picture, but for now all I can see are maddening 3 and outs followed by backbreaking drives from the opponent that always include a couple of inopportune penalties to keep their drive alive. Our own mohave talks about how necessary it is for a defense like this to have a successful offense and I think he has a point. Smith's unit has flashes of brilliance, and if the offense could just hold up their end of the bargain, even a few more times a game, it would make a huge difference. I can't remember exactly but I think there were four or five stops against Kansas State last week- that should be enough to not only stay in the game, but often pull out a win. I know what all the stats say, but my eyes tell me that Webb just isn't getting it done and is in fact regressing. That's why I'd have a short leash and try to change things up.
And that segues into what I'd do against WVU. Just try and control the ball for a decent period of time. The true enemy of this team and its chances are the 3 and out, less than a minute drives that force an already tired and overmatched defense back on the field. Mahomes may not be ready to win us any games, but right now I'd settle for a few more first downs and better field position and see how things shake out.
So let's forget about Webb and the entire QB situation for a minute. What would you do differently to change things up a bit, beyond the QB?
Seth: This is a trick question, right? The only change that matters is at quarterback. Okay, yeah, I agree with you, I would be fine with seeing what Mahomes could do, but mainly because I think Webb's injury is a problem. Of course the problem with doing that is that then, Webb, would possibly have to have a procedure and he would be out for a while and then there's just no debt at all. With Webb playing and getting those reps, as painful as they are now, it does, at the very least protect Kingsbury from playing Testaverde, Jr. should something happen to Mahomes. I'll say it again, I think Webb is sacrificing quite a bit for this team by playing.
On to your question, and I think that Kingsbury has pretty much pulled the same moves I would have done. Fiddling around with the receivers and seeing what he has there.
I'm also thinking that despite the defense giving up the same big gobs of yards, that there is improvement there.
One of the things that I'm working on (that will be published in the Huddle, but I'll post it here) are warning signs of a team that might not be pretty good and what needs to happen to avoid not being good. The things that I am theorizing that are important are experienced wide receivers, defensive linemen and cornerbacks. In looking back at that fateful 2011 season, Texas Tech didn't have really an abundance of those things and that's to me the biggest problem with 2014. I think in what Texas Tech as to do, these are the positions that have to make plays and without a few playmakers at each of these spots, then more than likely, you're going to be an okay team. It's why I have some pretty decent optimism for 2015, but the thing that Kingsbury has to do is build that pipeline of these sorts of players so that there is never a drought at these spots, or really young and/or inexperienced players at these positions.
So what do you think? Half-baked or pretty solid?
Travis: No, I think you're theory is solid. I've never been a recruiting guru but I've always thought it's a good idea for a coach to try and recruit a brand new team every year. By that I mean out of your 25, get a player at every position (or as close to it as you can). While not always feasible, an approach like that does help prevent some of the lean years in certain areas (i.e. defensive line, etc.) An ideal class would be 1 QB, 2 RB, 4 WR, 5 OL, 4 DL, 4 LB, 4 secondary or something close to that. You could then use the remaining spots to fill in gaps. Of course, if you've got a 5 star DL banging down your door and you're already full you don't turn him away, but I think you get the point.
And I agree with you- the 2015 team seems to be set up with a strong foundation because of the young OL and DL, some defensive playmakers and maturing offensive players. The good news is that Kliff has five more months to complete the class and hopefully he can continue to bring in some big-time names. I wouldn't mind patterning after Ole Miss- go after the studs at each position, regardless of where they are geographically.
So, Texas Tech has asked that the #ATMO and "Suns Up Guns Up" shirts be removed and will no longer be for sale. Those terms and the colors red & black are apparently off limits for VTM. Do you ever feel like all the work you do (and the rest of the staff does) to promote Texas Tech isn't worth it? Do you ever just want to throw up your arms and say "eff it?"
Seth: Yes, the t-shirts were essentially removed. The ones that said #ATMO and "Sun's Up, Guns Up!" were removed from the t-shirt store that I have used, along with the Kingsbury is BAE shirt.
So yeah, I'm not sure what to do about this because I also purchased 250 or so koozies with the VTM logo on it with the thought of selling them. I was waiting on my accountant to tell me whether or not I needed to charge sales tax and now, as it turns out, I guess I'm glad I waited because I'm assuming that Texas Tech would have a problem with me selling these koozies as well since they are red and black. The last thing that I want is to have to pay money to anyone or anything for selling some koozies. I really don't know what I'm going to do with a box full of koozies other than try to give them away.
And this was probably a bad week for me to get this sort of thing. I received some disheartening news on our adoption of a child from the DRC so this somewhat just added to the pile of things that were disappointing. To clarify, the news on the DRC adoption is just that it looks like our family is going to have to wait for our child to come home and there is the thought that the DRC may never allow him or any children in similar situations to come home.
The news that Texas Tech or someone has requested that the t-shirts be removed was minor and I've been asked to do this before, so I guess at this point, I really don't even care. Texas Tech feels like they need to aggressively pursue any possible trademark infringement issues against VTM. This week, I've been depressed, not because of the trademark issue, but because of my kid that's halfway across the world. In both situations, I can't control or force anyone to do anything and it certainly makes you realize that YOU are not in control. We're all just hanging on and we all just have to do the best with what we have.
/45 minute lapse between emails/
I had a bit more to say, but I needed to get on the elliptical.
I am sad.
I've been sad since Monday afternoon. I haven't wanted to be online or anywhere. I continue to write in the morning, but I haven't felt like participating on VTM and discussing things. I just want to be alone for a while. I keep telling myself and my wife and my family that everything is going to be okay. Everyone keeps telling me that as well because you just don't know what to say. It is an incredibly rough situation and we don't know how to deal with it. I tell people that my belief system is dependent upon the idea that if we do good things that everything is going to be okay and it will work itself out. If you ever wanted to know why I believe that Kingsbury will work out, it's because that's how I'm wired. I don't know how to believe any other way. It's why I don't rail on players or coaches. I just have to believe that everything is going to be okay.
It's going to be okay. I promise.
/2 hour lapse between emails/
One little last thing. Please don't be sad for us. We appreciate your good thoughts. We really do. But be sad for our kid and other kids who are in similar situations that can't come home to a family that is waiting for them. I'm not sad selfishly, I'm sad that I can't help him.
Two questions: 1) Would you like a koozie or two? 2) What do you see happening against West Virginia?
Travis: 1) Yes, I'd love some koozies. 2) Everything will be ok. Against West Virginia, and everywhere else.
It'll all be ok.