Thanks everyone for submitting your questions, we love doing the mailbag every week! Let's jump right in:
This is a big blow to the defense, no doubt. Dakota Allen was arguably the most promising defender Texas Tech was set to return this season, and linebacker was arguably the defensive position group to feel most confident about for this upcoming season. Luke Stice and Johnathan Picone were listed as backup linebackers on the spring two deep roster, but I'm not sure either one of them can replace Allen from a talent standpoint. As far as incoming freshman, Brayden Stringer and Jordyn Brooks seem to be the only two linebackers signed in this year's recruiting class. I think in the end coach David Gibbs is going to have to be innovative and move some pieces around to try and fill this gap. Hopefully he can come up with something that moves the defense in the right direction.
@vivathematadors there was a lot of chatter last week that the big 12 will dissolve in the next few years, where would tech land if it did?— Red Raider Lance (@clw1976texas) May 8, 2016
@vivathematadors (3) should TTU be scared for the Big 12s future or can we be P5 worthy despite being a way smaller tv market than UT/OU/KU?— Luis A Marroquin (@lamarroquin16) May 9, 2016
You know it's summer when conference realignment becomes a hot topic of discussion. Last week, there was definitely a lot of buzz around Big 12 expansion. These two questions are pretty similar. If the Big 12 were to dissolve, I believe Texas Tech would probably wind up wherever Texas goes. If the Pac-16 superconference ever became a reality, and the Big 12 ceased to exist, I would bet the Red Raiders wind up there along with Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Baylor and TCU would likely be shut out for a variety of reasons. If the Pac-16 doesn't come together, and there's a more chaotic shuffle of realignment, I still think Texas Tech will be safe in a "power" conference (whatever that winds up looking like in this hypothetical context).
There are many reasons for me to say "no". We have inexperienced pitching. We're projected to play in a very tough regional. Even if we host a regional, we haven't played noticeably better at home as opposed to on the road.
But there are more reasons to say "yes", I believe. A solid portion of the roster has played on that stage before, and will be used to the pressure (Eric Gutierrez, Tyler Neslony, Stephen Smith, Tyler Floyd). Tim Tadlock has been there before, and clearly knows how to be successful as a head coach. The bats on this team are so solid throughout the lineup.
I'm an optimist, so I will say "yes". It won't be easy, but Texas Tech has just been so consistently good all season, I think with the home field advantage (as minor as it may be), the Red Raiders find a way to get it done.
Yes and no. It's open, but it's now called "Texas Cafe and Bar".
@vivathematadors where are the answer keys to my finals?— Jon Luke Ingle (@JonLukeIngle) May 9, 2016
Did you check your pockets?
@vivathematadors did you miss me this weekend?— Drew Borsellino (@TheDrewTTU) May 9, 2016
My wife left me.