1. Helmet-to-Helmet. Yeah, it was helmet to helmet and it should have been called a penalty and thinking about that play makes me ill. I love the game of football, but seeing that play makes me want to tell my kiddo that playing may not be a good idea. He's going to need that brain a lot longer than that athletic career will last. I just don't even know what to say and I'm not good at saying much of anything because it's over and done. There was no leading with the shoulder. It was helmet to helmet. There's no doubt that if and when football crumbles to the ground, it will be because of hits like this because it's clear, to me, that Quandre Diggs intent was to hit Patrick Mahomes in the head and injure him and then the officials don't throw the flag and the announcers vehemently defend the hit and then this hit becomes a vine and that vine goes viral and folks watch it like a train wreck knowing that a kid's brain was messed up enough to the point where Mahomes couldn't want straight. If it wasn't helmet-to-helmet, then Mahomes would have gotten straight up and he wouldn't have skipped a beat. But that didn't happen.
2. Throwing Deep. Well, I think I'm going to be in the minority here. There were many times during the game where Pat Mahomes and Vincent Testaverede Jr. would just wing a deep pass with the hope loosening up the offense so that there would be a better opportunity with the run and passing game. During the game, each time I cringed, but we all really knew the effect of it, or the intended effect, which was to create some breathing room for the short passes that we all knew that Mahomes and Testaverde would lean on through the game. Not only that, but DeAndre Washington, probably doesn't get some of the space that he had, without going deep.
None of those throws worked and as a result, Texas Tech ended up averaging just under 5 yards an attempt, which is pretty awful. Again, at the time I cringed, but I understand the logic. If you don't force a young quarterback to make an attempt to go down the field, they'll check to something easy each and every time, which is what they did. It was either short or it was incomplete. Not really anything intermediate either.
3. Those Cornerbacks Though. I don't even know where to begin here with the cornerbacks. Throwing up a jump ball to any receiver that is over 6'0" is considered an offensive play for opposing teams and you will continue to see it, even next year. Until Nigel Bethel, II, Tevin Madison and Justis Nelson figure out how to play this, which seems like by this point of the season that they'd start to figure some of it out, then it's just going to happen. There's really just no in between for the cornerbacks and as much as we gripe about the quarterbacks and their inability to progress as a season progresses, then the cornerbacks would be a target. I'm pretty sure that there is a good chance that Sterling Shephard will have a pretty big day in two weeks.
4. Defense Keeps Doing Things. The defense really does seem to continue to do good things. And if you haven't figured out that yelling for 10 things isn't going to work real well for me personally and yes, I do think that giving up 469 yards really isn't all acceptable, but we're trying to talk about things here. Again, the yards isn't good, but this defense is making plays behind the line of scrimmage and that's a good thing. The team had 6 tackles for a loss and 2 forced fumbles, recovering one for a touchdown, and 3 sacks. Micah Awe was incredibly active, although on the big running plays, he was sufficiently blocked and that was really problematic. I also really liked the play of V.J. Fehoko. I loved that Jackson Richards causes the fumble and Branden Jackson scored a touchdown because I really cheer for those guys.
5. Run the Danged Ball. Now, we get to the carries for RB DeAndre Washington, which was only 16 for the night. But maybe more than that, we should look at the total rushes, which was 32, which seems okay. A couple of those were quarterback carries, so about 30. Oh, sure, I'd like to put the ball in Washington's hands as much as possible, but this is, at it's heart, a passing offense. The only time that Kingsbury's offense has morphed into something a bit more was when Manziel was running it and it was never a zone read with Manziel, it was Manziel improvising. That's something that only a few folks can do. Even then, it was always a passing offense. There were times when Tuberville was here when things would get broken for there being 32 run plays, now, folks are begging for Kingsbury to scrap the Air-Raid and run. This is true, I think fans would be yelling about how could Tuberville dismantle the Air-Raid and how dare he mess with a sacred passing tradition. And don't get me wrong, I get the idea behind it. The quarterbacks are young or struggling or both and therefore, the offense should rely on the run. Well, right now, I don't think that this offense is really just able to run smash-mouth football without there being a threat to pass the ball. I'd love for it to get there some day, but I don't think Kingsbury is ready to become a run-based team that occasionally passes. I'd also add that my immediate thought this morning was that UT was pretty much stacking the box once Testaverde was inserted in the game. Washington can dance with the best of them and gain yards out of seemingly nothing. And sure, I could certainly see giving Washington a few more carries, but not once did I write in my notebook that Washington should be getting the ball except for the first three series, where it was clear that Kingsbury was making an all out attempt to get Mahomes in a rhythm. It wasn't until after the defense scored that touchdown did Kingsbury get Washington and the running game really involved.
It takes a lot to bother me and I don't see Kingsbury or really any coach wanting to change the overall philosophy because of who is throwing the ball. Texas Tech is a passing team and it is a team that does pass the ball to help set up running lanes for the running backs. The fact that Kingsbury is sticking with his general philosophy isn't offensive or wrong or anything like that.
I don't know what to tell you other than I think that Kingsbury is going to stay true to his Air-Raid roots and generally speaking, I'm fine with that. I want coaches to stick to their offense, heck or high water.
6. Talking Special Teams. I loved the hire of special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini and he even did an interview with VTM and it was great. I honestly thought that this would be a tremendous advantage for Texas Tech and one that would help the Red Raiders win games, but it seems like this team is continually in a situation where there are special teams gaffes. Sometimes it is penalties and sometimes it is missing an extra point and sometimes it's not having the right personnel on the field and I don't know what to think about that. The personnel things I absolutely think has to be on Chiaverini, but the missed field goals and the penalties are something where I just don't know where to associate blame or if I should even associate blame. Generally, Kingsbury gets the blame and/or credit for the penalties or lack of them in a certain game. But with Chiaverini I've been reluctant to say much of anything. It seems crazy to think that Chiaverini gets the blame for Ryan Bustin missing an extra point and a chip shot field goal. That doesn't seem any more or less fair than if I blame Kingsbury for the penalties against Jared Kaster, one was a personal foul for something that I never saw and then the other was a false start. What about Lee Hays? Not only that, I know that Chiaverini is getting a lot of backups that he's asking to perform, as well as starters. It's a mix for sure, but I still don't know if I should assess blame or just let it go as some of this seems like it it is out of Chiaverini's hands. Still, I really don't know if the special teams has improved all that much and other than looking at the stats overall, it just doesn't "feel" better.
7. Might As Well and Get Ahead of the Curve.
Expect Testaverde to announce he is transferring to Oklahoma following tonight's game.— Seth Jungman (@SethC_J) November 2, 2014
8. The Slant to Grant on 3rd Down is Not a Good Play. Self explanatory. For some reason, I thought that Jakeem Grant wasn't playing, but he was actually replaced by Ian Sadler in the starting lineup and this seems like something that is interesting. I had heard that Grant had some injury issues during the week, but he obviously played so he was good to go on some level.
9. Dominique Robertson Out. That's two JUCO players that are, for all intents and purposes, off of the team. Prior to the game, Chris Level tweeted that OL Dominique Robertson was not with the team and not expected back this season, although there was a chance that he might return later in the spring. After the game, Kingsbury said that it was a week-to-week proposition and that's not encouraging. This is the thing about JUCO guys, is that sometimes, when you whiff, it is a big whiff because you are usually bringing in that player because they need to fill a need. Robertson was this week and S Josh Keys last week. Level also tweeted out that this meant that James Polk and Poet Thomas were the main back-ups and this means that this team is, again, very thin along the line as Josh Outlaw hasn't panned out as a player, Cody Hayes isn't really with the team, or he isn't on the 85 man roster (I don't know what this means) and now, Robertson, expected to compete at left tackle to start the season is now pretty much gone.
10. Don't Care About Being Fiery on the Sideline. There was some chatter after the game and I'm assuming during the game, where fans want to see Kliff Kingsbury be more animated on the sideline. Yell a little bit and be more animated and I don't see how this heps at all. Maybe it's just me, but I've never thought that yelling changes anything and it doesn't make anything better. At least not in my experience. Maybe that's my personality. Folks were upset that Kingsbury didn't yell at the officials after Mahomes got hurt, but he said after the game that he was trying to get Testaverde to play. Yelling and going ape-s during a game doesn't make you a better coach or make you care more or less about players. I cringe when coaches yell at officials, but that's just me. Being animated on the sidelines is one of the things that's on the lower end of my concerns. Trying to get 6 defensive players healthy and 2 quarterbacks healthy and cornerbacks to turn back and look for the ball and receivers that don't drop passes and not getting personal fouls are all higher on my list of concerns. And I do get the idea that you just want to see something, something change and be different because you are tired of the status quo, but I've just never thought that yelling solves a problem.