1. Webb Looks Rough. Yeah, it looks real bad, at least for me, in terms of overall performance. Webb did look good in the first drive of the game where he drove the team down the field and looked to strike as Texas Tech was inside Kansas State's redzone, but he threw, yet another, redzone interception, costing Texas Tech any chance at points. It was too far in front of Bradley Marquez, and the defender jumped on it. Almost the same thing with the pass that almost separated Jordan Davis' top half from his lower half of his body, throwing behind Davis. Davis did throw a block at the tail end of the first half trying to spring DeAndre Washington. I'm guessing that Kingsbury thinks that Webb gives this team the best chance to win. And that probably is true to some extent, but throwing four interceptions isn't going to cut it. You're probably wondering why Kingsbury left Webb out there so long and Kingsbury has been pretty firm about how he wants Webb to get as many reps as possible. It's really that simple. That probably drives some of you crazy, but that's the rational. Webb only completed 51% of his passes and only had 5.7 yards per attempt. Add those four turnovers and you might have Webb's worst performance of his career.
2. Patience Kills. Well, at least a patient running attack can be a killer. The Texas Tech defense did play better in spots. Or maybe the better way to write that is that the Texas Tech defense made more plays. When you make more plays, you at the very least give the defense the opportunity to create additional turnovers. For most of the first half, Jake Waters was a one man wrecking crew, rushing for 123 yards and then throws a huge touchdown at the end of the half on Tevin Madison. Madison let Lockett cross him up in front of him and it was an incredibly rough way to finish the first half. For me, the second half was just torture. Kansas State was never going to let Texas Tech get back in the game and would have held the ball as long as it took and that's pretty much what happened. Kansas State had a time of possession lead of 40 minutes to just a shade under 20 for Texas Tech. When a team leads by as much as Kansas State did and they can run the ball at will, then you can expect more of the same. That part wasn't going to change.
3. Change in the Lineup. I'm not sure that I'll get all of this, but Bradley Marquez moved back to the Y-receiver spot with Jordan Davis replacing him inside. That essentially means that Reginald Davis was benched (although he still played quite a bit) and Kingsbury continues to make some moves to try to make the offense as good as it can be.
4. No Breaks. The other strange thing about this season is that Texas Tech just isn't getting any breaks. None. Nothing really seems to be falling Texas Tech's way. there aren't any fluky interceptions or crazy fumble recoveries or passes that bounce off of a defender, directly to a Texas Tech offensive player. It's all absolutely not going Texas Tech's way. Not even a little bit. There's just nothing breaking Texas Tech's way. That's not a situation where I'm feeling sorry for myself, but I do think that there's something there that's just not clicking and I really can't put my finger on it. The easy thing is to point to Webb, but that's always pretty simplistic and there's always more to the equation. The defense is pretty terrible. Receivers are dropping balls for touchdowns. Whatever is or is not happening, it feels like there's just some sort of "thing" missing and I'm just not sure how to get it or get it back or find it.
5. Waters' Career Day. I wrote this last week and I'll write it again. Just about every cornerback had problems covering the receivers. Justis Nelson is really struggling at this point and the freshmen corners are, well, freshmen corners. You somewhat expect them to struggle, but Nelson is in a real bad way right now, two really poor games in a row. Waters ability to continue to make plays. A ton of plays and have a terrific night passing the ball should tell you how bad the secondary was. And this isn't to say that Waters doesn't have good days, but he isn't usually passing for darned near 300 yards at such a high completion rate and no turnovers. He had some pressure early, but by the end of the game, Waters had easy completions to Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. Again, there just didn't seem to be anyone close. Nigel Bethel, II did get into the game and played more, but he had his second touchdown scored on him in as many games. No one was really immune in the secondary and that's what happens when you have young cornerbacks. They get beat, but they eventually get better (that's the hope). And if you're asking why Madison and Nelson and Bethel are all playing rather than other players, well, they are young while some of the other guys are simply not disciplined. That's usually the difference and coaches will go with youth over undisciplined even though it can be really ugly . . . because . . . the light at the end of the tunnel is that these players learn from those mistakes.
6. That Penalty Against Gaines Was an Awful Call.
7. Rinse. Repeat. Penalties. Big chunks of penalties in the third quarter. And we've already talked about the turnovers. Texas Tech *only* had 9 penalties for 89 yards. I'm being sarcastic here because technically, this is an improvement. Meanwhile, Kansas State had 1 penalty for 15 yards and 1 turnovers. Compare that to those 9 penalties for 89 yards and 4 turnovers. Game over.
8. All But Abandoned the Run. When you get down so early, it's easy to simply ignore the run, but the running carries n the second half seemed non-existent. DeAndre Washington only had 7 carries for the entire game. I'm trying to recall, but I don't think that Washington ran at all in the second half. Yeah, zero rushes for the entire second half. And I also believe that Quinton White didn't have a carry in the second half. It was all-Webb, all of the time. I'm usually a proponent of doing what you do and putting the ball in your best player's hands as often as possible and I do think it was a mistake to take the ball out of Washington's hands for most of the first half and all of the second half. I can't explain that. Especially given Webb most likely not being 100% (he wouldn't have his shoulder wrapped up if he was 100%). It would have made more sense to put that pressure on Washington and White and Stockton. I understand that Kansas State had a terrific running defense, but to just give up entirely on the running game was tough to watch.
9. Looking for Answers.
"It was a little bit of everything. We keep hammering away, practicing, and working hard to get better, but then we get out to the games and it is not connecting. That is on me as the coach. I have got to find the disconnect and hit them, and when we do hit them, we have got to catch them. That is coaching, that is on me."
The response above is from head coach Kliff Kingsubry on the moves of some of the receivers. There's a disconnect and I'm glad that I'm not the only one that doesn't get why that's the case. That makes me feel just a bit better. Not because the result is any better, but I keep scratching my head as to the disconnect and it's a tough one for me to figure out. As mentioned above, there is obviously a disconnect from the quarterback position, but Kingsbury is betting on the long-term with Webb, whether you agree with it or not, I think that's the plan. This doesn't excuse anything. Just trying to figure things out.
And maybe this is the worst part of all, which is that I know that I don't have the answer. I've been spit-balling for the better part of the season, it's another thing for Kingsbury to be at a loss as to why things are simply not working out like he hoped that they would or why things are not translating.
10. About that Positivity. I'm pretty sure that I can expect to feel this way as the season progresses. Last week, I felt a bit better about the Oklahoma State game. The defense seemed to play a bit better, especially in terms of stopping the run, but did give up some really long passes and Webb appeared to have turned a corner in terms of decision making, at least for that game. Most, if not all of that was seemingly wiped away for me personally as Webb made significantly more bad decisions that he has all year long and the defense was incredibly porous, allowing almost 5 yards a carry and 245 rushing yards on the day. It's what happens when you have linebackers that cheat more than they should. There were some inexplicable plays for me, linebackers pinching inside more than it looked like they should have and missing gaps or maybe assignments. When you play a team like Kansas State, those linebackers have to be the one that make plays because Waters and the running backs are patient enough to look for that opening in the second level.
Aside from specific play, you can expect a roller coaster of feelings-ball for the rest of the way. You might feel great all week and then we see the team perform poorly during the game and then vice-versa.
This sort of thing and writing is never fun. I never really envisioned that I'd be bracing myself for a 5-7 or 4-8 year, but I fear that's where this thing is headed. That's woefully depressing for me. Each year, I try my best to think about what could or might happen and there's just no way to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario and that appears where things are headed.