How quickly some things change after one big road win! Talking with other Tech fans after the game, the air around the program has changed and many now feel anything is possible including sweeping the next four games and heading to Norman 7-0. I am not sure that is the majority of fans, but after that win just about every Tech fan has at least adjusted their season win total up a few.
The air of change and adjusted expectations isn't just fan chatter either. An article I ran across yesterday which wouldn't have been written this offseason by even the most optimistic Tech fan says Tech is now a dark horse in the Big 12 race.Don't get me wrong there were a few people who whispered the word dark horse in the general direction of the Tech program prior to the season, but you would have had more luck finding an palm tree in Antartica than someone willing to to agree with the article. The Dallas Morning News has now called TCU's trip to Lubbock daunting. I never heard that word uttered in regards to TCU's visit to Lubbock in the preseason.
Most people are looking at the Saturday's win as the reason for the air of change, but there is more to it than that. The win is the culmination of something bigger working behind the scenes that some fans may recognize and some may not. This team is different! This Tech team doesn't have the same feel as Air Raid teams of the past.
- Constant Improvement: Every game the defense has gotten better. In addition to that, after halftime each game, the defense has come out in the second half and played much better. The offense has gotten better each game. Even though the stats don't bear it out, the offense was as good as I have seen it versus Arkansas. They scored at will versus an SEC opponent on the road. That isn't the same as hanging 69 on UTEP at home.
- Quick Scoring: Coach Kingsbury has always stressed quick scoring, but hasn't seen those results....until now. We had the ball 74 seconds in the second quarter and scored two touchdowns. I think that is considered a quick strike offense. Being forced to constantly depend on long sustained drives with a pass happy offense is not a recipe for success. In my opinion the best offensive Air Raid year was 2003 when BJ Symons was slinging the ball all over the field. The passing stats say he had the best year as well. He took deep shots more than other Air Raid quarterbacks which made the offense more lethal. On a side note, I was glad to see us slow it down in the 4th quarter on Saturday when we had the lead and needed to milk the clock.
- Cleaner play: Through three games, we have moved from #124 nationally last season in turnover margin to #8. We have also improved from #116 nationally last season to #52 in penalties per game. The missed tackles is the only area that sticks out as sloppy through the first three games. I hope that improves over the course of the season like the other areas have improved.
I am not saying this team goes undefeated or something crazy but I feel like this is the team that builds the foundation for the Kingsbury era. As far as this season goes, my take is somewhere in the middle of all this. I think we split the next two between Baylor and TCU. From there we have some games that are very winnable which I may not have thought were winnable prior to the season. Kansas State has been struggling and Oklahoma State looks more beatable than I had anticipated. I started the season thinking 7-5. I am leaning now towards more of an 8-4 to 9-3 record. At this point, bowl eligibility should be a given unless something very unexpected happens.
I hope this Saturday is just as fun as last Saturday.